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Garden State Home Loan Review

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Garden State Home Loan Review 2022

Garden State Home Loan Review 2022

Editor’s note: (2.3/5)

Garden State Home Loan Review 2022

Editor’s note: (2.3/5)
  • Minimum credit score:

    640 conventional; FHA580

  • Minimum deposit:

    0% VA, USDA; 3% to 5% conventional; 3.5% FHA

  • Can apply online:


  • Operates in:

    8 States

NextAdvisor review


  • Most home loans are closed within 30 days
  • Customer service available seven days a week by phone, live chat or email

The inconvenients

  • Not available in Washington, DC and 42 states
  • Does not list mortgage rates or fees online
  • There is only one in-person office available

The essential

Garden State Home Loans is a regional lender with excellent customer service and a good range of mortgages. But only borrowers from eight states can get a mortgage here, and you’ll need to take additional steps to get a quote. If you live in the borrower’s footprint, check them out when you’re ready for pre-approval. Then compare the offer with others to make sure you get the best deal.


As with all of our reviews of mortgage lenders, our analysis is not influenced by any partnership or advertising relationship. For more information on our scoring methodology, Click here.

Complete Review of Garden State Home Loans

Since its launch in 2011, Garden State Home Loans has funded more than $4 billion in mortgages for its 20,000 borrowers. The lender is based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and is currently licensed in eight states in the United States.

Garden State Home Loans specializes in customer service. You can chat with a loan officer seven days a week via the website, email, or phone, or you can visit the Cherry Hill office if you’re nearby. The lender also says it closes most of its home loans within 30 days. However, this lender has two major downsides: mortgages are only available in eight states, and you’ll have to go through a credit check to get a quote. Here’s what you need to know about this lender before you apply.

Garden State Home Loan Review: Mortgage Types and Products

Garden State Home Loans offers a menu of conventional loans, government-sponsored loans, and home improvement loans. But borrowers won’t find some specialty products, such as construction loans, home equity products and reverse mortgages.

Borrowers have the choice between fixed rate loans, the rate of which never changes, and adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMs. With a Garden State ARM, the rate is fixed for the first five, seven, or 10 years. Then, for the remaining term of the loan, the rate may increase or decrease every six months or once a year depending on market conditions.

Garden State Home Loans also offers jumbo mortgages, which are home loans that exceed the conforming loan limit of $647,200. Garden State funds giant loans up to $2 million, which is lower than some of its competitors.

Garden State Home Loan Review: Transparency

When you visit the Garden State Home Loans website, you can fill out an online form to request a quote or chat with someone if you need help. The website also includes mortgage calculators, blog posts on homebuying topics, and answers to important mortgage questions.

The website does not specify lender qualification requirements for loans or list some important costs, such as lender origination fees. But loan officers are readily available to answer all your questions and provide pre-approval or a loan estimate, depending on where you are in the home buying process.

Garden State Home Loan Review: Mortgage Rates and Fees

On its website, Garden State Home Loans says it has “very low fees and low overhead,” though it doesn’t elaborate further. The website lacks some useful resources, such as a clearly labeled list of loans it offers, qualification requirements for each loan, current mortgage rates, and a list of loan fees it charges borrowers.

But a loan officer confirmed that borrowers never pay prepayment penalties and can lock in a rate for up to 90 days for free. Also, most home loans are closed within 30 days.

According to the loan officer, applicants cannot get quotes without submitting financial documents and approving a firm credit application. This is a major inconvenience because you won’t be able to see if you qualify and determine if you want to move forward with Garden State home loans without affecting your credit. Several other lenders offer a free quote with soft credit or no credit check.

If you decide to get pre-approved, request a closing cost spreadsheet and research some of these common lender fees and third-party fees:

The lender says it requires a credit score of at least 640 to qualify for most of its mortgage programs, including conventional loans. You will also need a down payment of 3% to 5% for a classic loan, depending on whether you are a first-time buyer or not. With a 10% down payment, you could qualify for a jumbo loan without mortgage insurance. FHA loans come with more flexible qualification requirements, so your credit score can be as low as 580 if you have at least 3.5% down payment.

Refinancing with the Garden State Home Loan Review

If you already have a mortgage and want to lower your monthly payment or tap into the equity in your home, you can refinance with Garden State Home Loans using one of these options:

  • Refinancing by collection, which allows you to take out a new mortgage for more than you owe and use the extra money for any kind of expenses. However, you will have a larger mortgage payment in the future and extend your repayment schedule.
  • Refinancing at rate and duration, which allows you to swap your mortgage for one with a different term, interest rate, or both. A refinance could help save on monthly mortgage payments, eliminate private mortgage insurance, or shorten the repayment period.

Garden State Home Loans vs. Other Mortgage Lenders

Garden State Home Loans Rocket Mortgage Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.
Minimum credit score 640 conventional; FHA580 580 to 620 620 for conventional; 660 for jumbo; 600 for the FHA; 600 for VA
Minimum deposit 3% to 5% for conventional; 3.5% for FHA; 0% for VA and USDA 0% to 3.5% 0% to 5%
Where does the lender operate? 8 states All 50 States and Washington, D.C. All 50 States and Washington, D.C.
Main types of loans Conventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, adjustable rate, fixed rate, refinancing, refinancing by collection, renovation Conventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, fixed rate, refinance, cash refinance Conventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, various renovation loans, adjustable rate, fixed rate, refinance, cash-out refinance, reverse mortgages, home equity loans, home equity lines of credit

How to Shop for the Best Mortgage Rate

Before you start shopping for a home, it’s a good idea to contact a lender and ask for a mortgage pre-approval. After getting your credit and reviewing some of your financial documents, the lender provides an estimate of how much you can borrow. This will help you define your budget and support your purchase offer. But you’re not locked in with this lender, so you can check out others when you’re ready to apply for a home loan.

Once you’ve found a home and the seller accepts your offer, submit mortgage applications to multiple lenders. (You can minimize the impact on your credit by applying for a loan in a short period of time, about two to six weeks.) You will receive a loan estimate that lists all borrowing costs you will pay with this lender . Use these documents to compare interest rate and closing costs, and use an online mortgage calculator to help you figure out how much you’d spend on interest with each option.

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Compare your payment options side by side to see which one is right for you and your financial situation.

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As with all of our reviews of mortgage lenders, our analysis is not influenced by any partnership or advertising relationship. For more information on our scoring methodology, Click here.