Orchard Mortgage Review: A Tech-Enabled Mortgage Broker That Wants to Transform the Stale Home Buying Process

Today we’ll check out “Orchard Mortgage,” formerly known as Orchard Home Loans.

The direct lender is backed by its parent company Orchard (previously Perch), a tech-enabled real estate brokerage that offers iBuying and cash-backed offers.

One of their more popular services allows you to buy before you sell, similar to companies like HomeLight, Knock, and UpEquity.

But they offer a complete end-to-end solution, including the mortgage, making them a potential one-stop shop.

They also appear to offer low mortgage rates, which when combined with the latest tech, could make them worth considering.

Orchard Mortgage Fast Facts

  • Direct-to-consumer mortgage lender (online mortgage brokerage)
  • Founded in 2020, headquartered in New York City
  • Offers home purchase loans, refinances, and all-cash offers
  • Its loan officers do not work for commissions
  • Currently licensed do business in 24 states nationwide
  • Acquired San Diego-based Loan Monkey in early 2022
  • Formerly known as Orchard Home Loans (rebranded in August 2022)

Orchard Mortgage is a direct-to-consumer mortgage lender that got started in 2020.

They appear to operate as a mortgage broker, meaning they work as a liaison between borrowers and third-party wholesale lenders.

This gives them the ability to shop mortgage rates on your behalf to find the best deal out there.

The company is headquartered in New York City and was formerly known as Orchard Home Loans.

In early 2022, the company acquired Loan Monkey and rebranded its loan division as Orchard Mortgage.

Aside from offering mortgages to home buyers and existing homeowners, the parent company offers Buy with Orchard, List with Orchard, and Move First, a buy before you sell service.

They also offer cash-backed offers to ensure your home purchase goes through if you hit any snags, or if you simply want to buy before you sell.

At the moment, the lending arm Orchard Mortgage is licensed to do business in 24 states nationwide.

Those states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

How to Apply with Orchard Mortgage

To get started, simply navigate to the Orchard Mortgage website and click on “Get Started” or “Start your application.”

That will take you to a digital mortgage application page powered by fintech company Blend.

From there, you’ll be able to complete a loan application on your own in about 10 minutes and then view mortgage rates in real-time.

Within 24 hours, a loan officer will reach out to discuss your application and your needs. If any additional information is required to complete your app, it will be requested at that time.

One nice thing about Orchard Mortgage’s loan officers is they’re not commissioned salespeople.

So there shouldn’t be any pressure to haggle or go with a certain loan program. In fact, you should be able to select your loan pricing on your own.

After the loan is submitted, you’ll enjoy a mostly paperless process, whether it’s eSigning documents, scanning/uploading paperwork, or checking loan status.

An online borrower portal allows you to check in 24/7 to determine what’s needed to get to the next step.

Loan Programs Offered by Orchard Mortgage

  • Home purchase loans
  • Mortgage refinances: rate and term, cash out, streamline
  • Conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • FHA loans
  • VA loans
  • Fixed-rate loans with terms from 8 to 30 years

Orchard Mortgage seems to offer a fairly basic menu of loan offerings at the moment.

However, it should be enough to suit most home buyers and existing homeowners.

You can get a home purchase loan or a mortgage refinance, such as a rate and term refinance or a cash out refinance.

They offer loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (conforming mortgages), along with government-backed options including FHA loans and VA loans.

It’s unclear if they offer jumbo loans or USDA loans, but that could change in the future.

They also only appear to offer fixed-rate mortgages. But aside from standard 15- and 30-year loan terms, Orchard Mortgage offers custom terms from 8 to 29 years in length.

Again, nothing too unique here but most homeowners go with conforming 30-year fixed mortgages anyway.

Orchard Mortgage Rates

While Orchard Mortgage doesn’t post daily mortgage rates on its website, they do say you can compare rates across lenders in real-time.

So once you complete an online profile, you should be able to views rates immediately after.

As noted, they appear to operate as a mortgage broker so they’re able to shop rates from various wholesale lenders concurrently.

This gives the ability to comparison shop on your behalf, though as I’ve mentioned, consumers should compare mortgage brokers too.

Orchard Mortgage also advertises on third-party websites, such as Zillow, where they had the lowest mortgage APR for both a 30-year and 15-year fixed (for a sample home purchase scenario I ran).

That’s pretty impressive, and perhaps a testament to their aggressive pricing. However, it’s unclear what, if any, lender fees they charge.

Be sure to inquire about any fees when you obtain your mortgage rate to ensure you see the full picture.

Orchard Mortgage Reviews

On Zillow, Orchard Mortgage has a stellar 4.98-star rating out of a possible 5 from just over 100 reviews.

While not a huge sample size because they’re fairly new, it’s an near-perfect rating.

Over at Bankrate, they have a 4.8-star rating from about 75 customer reviews, and 95% of reviews would recommend them to others.

Their parent company Orchard also has a 4.4-star rating on Trustpilot from around 400 reviews. But those may have more to do with the iBuying and real estate services offered.

Lastly, Orchard Mortgage is Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited and currently holds an ‘A+’ rating based on complaint history.

To summarize, Orchard Mortgage seems to offer the latest technology and competitive mortgage rates without commissioned salespeople.

Those who like to work remotely and do things themselves may favor this approach, while others who want a more traditional experience may choose to look elsewhere.

The integration of real estate and title services may also make it easier to navigate the home buying process, all from a single point of contact.

Orchard Mortgage Pros and Cons

The Good Stuff

  • Can apply for a home loan online in minutes
  • Offer a digital mortgage application powered by Blend
  • Mostly paperless loan process backed by the latest tech
  • Can use the same company to buy/sell a home and obtain a mortgage
  • Appear to offer competitive mortgage rates (and can shop your rate as a broker)
  • Excellent customer reviews across ratings websites
  • A+ BBB rating

The Maybe Not

  • Only licensed in a handful of states currently
  • No physical branches
  • Unclear if they charge lender fees
  • Limited loan options

(photo: Sue Thompson)

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