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Today we’ll take a good look at Planet Home Lending, a rising star in the mortgage world that’s beginning to make inroads and become a household name.

Founded just 13 years ago, they were able to muster nearly $2.5 billion in retail loan origination volume in 2019, per HMDA data.

It was almost perfectly split between conventional loans, FHA loans, and VA loans, with a handful of jumbo loans and USDA loans thrown into the mix as well.

They seem to do the most business in California, Florida, and Texas, despite being headquartered in Connecticut.

True to their name, Planet Home Lending has also partnered with the National Forest Foundation, pledging to plant three trees for every closed loan, up to 30,000 trees in 2020.

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Planet Home Lending Quick Facts

  • Direct mortgage lender founded in 2007, headquartered in Meriden, Connecticut
  • Operates both a retail and correspondent lending business
  • Originated nearly $2.5 billion in home loans via retail channel during 2019
  • Does majority of business in California, Colorado, Florida, Texas, and Virginia
  • Licensed in all states other than Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Utah, and Wyoming

How to Apply for a Mortgage with Planet Home Lending

  • You can apply directly online, via smartphone, over the phone, or in-branch
  • They offer a digital mortgage application powered by AI known as Skymore
  • Allows you to link financial accounts, upload documents, and track loan progress 24/7
  • Hybrid eClosings and remote notary services available in select markets nationwide

If you’re looking to purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage, you can visit the Planet Home Lending website and navigate to the “Get Started” tab on their top menu.

From there, you’ve got the choice to get a mortgage rate quote, apply for a mortgage, find a loan originator, or locate a nearby branch.

Those who have been referred to someone specific can use the loan officer directory to select that individual.

You can also simply call them up directly to speak to one of their mortgage loan specialists to get the ball rolling.

Once you’re set up with a loan officer, you can apply online via a Blend-powered digital mortgage application.

They call it Skymore, an AI-powered personal digital mortgage assistant that allows borrowers to apply via their smartphone if they wish.

You can also link financial accounts, upload key documents, and track loan progress 24/7 as you make your way to the finish line.

Those who want/need a personal touch along the way are also able to lean on their loan officer and processing team.

What Types of Loans Does Planet Home Lending Offer?

  • Home purchase loans and refinance loans
  • Rate and term, cash out, and streamline refinance loans
  • Loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Government-backed loans including FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans
  • Jumbo home loans and home renovation loans
  • They provide financing on primary homes, second homes, and investment properties

They offer both home purchase loans and refinance loans, including cash out refinances if you want to tap your existing home equity, and streamline refinances if you want to lower your monthly payment.

If you’re buying a home, they can get you in the door with as little as 3% down via the Fannie Mae HomeReady loan program, or 3.5% via the FHA loan program.

Borrowers who qualify for a VA loan or USDA home loan can get a mortgage with zero money down as well.

Those who have found or own a not-quite-perfect home can also take out an FHA 203k loan with Planet Home Lending, or take advantage of their Jumbo renovation loan program that offers up to $500,000 in cash for home improvements.

You can also get a jumbo loan as large as $3 million, and they’ve got a no-mortgage insurance option as well at high loan-to-value (LTV) ratios, such as just 10% down.

In terms of loan type, they offer the full galaxy of fixed-rate mortgages, including the popular 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed, and terms in between such as a 10-year or 20-year fixed.

The one oddity is they don’t seem to offer adjustable-rate mortgages, with no mention of them on their website.

Pretty much all lenders offer the 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage at a minimum, so it’s rather bizarre.

The HMDA data also backs this up, with 99% of their loans apparently fixed-rate mortgages in 2019.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a fixed-rate mortgage, but it’s good to have all options available.

Planet Home Lending Mortgage Rates

Like a lot of other lenders, they don’t advertise their mortgage rates on their website or anywhere else.

As such, I have no idea how competitive they are compared to other lenders out there. That means you’ll need to shop around if working with Planet Home to see how they stack up price-wise.

The same goes for lender fees – no mention of fees on their website, so again no idea what they charge, such as a loan origination fee, processing fee, underwriting fee, etc.

Be sure to find out all these details when gathering a quote from Planet Home to compare with other lenders while mortgage rate shopping.

In this day and age, it’s nice to have transparency when it comes to costs, especially since some lenders like Better Mortgage don’t charge lender fees.

Planet Home Lending Reviews

The company comes highly-rated, with a 4.84 out of 5-star rating on SocialSurvey based on nearly 12,000 customer reviews.

They were also recently rated a top-10 large mortgage company for customer satisfaction by SocialSurvey for 2019.

Planet Home Lending is not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau, and also has a ‘B’ rating with the BBB based on customer complaints.

The customer reviews on the BBB website are also pretty poor, with just over a 1-star rating out of 5.

However, they’ve got a 4.3 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot, which is considered excellent, from more than 800 reviews.

So despite their questionable rating with the BBB, they appear to be a well-liked mortgage lender.

But with any large lender, customer experiences can vary widely given the many staff and situations involved.

Tip: Visit a Planet Home Lending branch website near you so you can see who works there and access individual loan officer reviews. Then you can choose who to work with and apply directly.

Pros and Cons of Planet Home Lending

The Good

  • Highly-rated by past customers on both SocialSurvey and Trustpilot
  • Offer a digital mortgage process via Skymore technology
  • Lots of fixed-rate mortgage options available
  • Free mortgage calculators on their website
  • They service their own loans instead of selling them off
  • Donate 3 trees to the National Forest Foundation for every loan closed

The Maybe Bad

  • Not licensed in all states
  • Do not advertise their mortgage rates or lender fees
  • Some mixed reviews and several complaints via the BBB
  • Unclear if they offer adjustable-rate mortgages
  • No home equity loans/lines available
  • No smartphone app