What Is Sebonic Financial?
Sebonic Financial is an online mortgage lender offering you six different types of mortgages and a set of refinancing options.
What sets Sebonic apart from other mortgage marketplace companies like Lending Tree is that they lend directly to you; you don’t have to go through a third-party.
The company behind Sebonic is Cardinal Financial, which is based in Charlotte, N.C. Though it might seem confusing, Sebonic is Cardinal’s website for capturing leads for borrowers who want to get a mortgage or refinance their existing mortgage.
A comparable website would be Rocket Mortgage, which Quicken Loans uses to get people to borrow from them.
The company’s website doesn’t have an About Us section, nor does their LinkedIn page include any company history.
To find out that information, we had to go to Cardinal Financial’s About Us page, where we discovered that the company started in 1987 and they have more than 900 employees.
According to WhoIs.net, the Sebonic.com domain name was registered in 2012, though we couldn’t find an exact date when Sebonic.com was launched. Either way, the website is one of many in the new wave of online mortgage lenders.
Because mortgages consist of a lot of money – the average mortgage in 2015 was $294,000 – we think it’s important to know exactly what Sebonic offers and what people are saying about them.
Without these two areas of knowledge, it can be virtually impossible to know if Sebonic is a good fit for you.
We’re going to take you step-by-step through those two topics, digging into the details so you can get a good overview of Sebonic. We’ll end our review with a few overall conclusions and recommendations.
What Does Sebonic Offer?
Sebonic offers purchase mortgages and refinance mortgages, the difference being purchase mortgages are what you use to buy a house and refinance mortgages are what you use to get a lower rate on your current mortgage.
Sebonic’s Purchase Mortgages
Mortgages aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Lenders have created many different types of loans to meet the needs of consumers and the lenders themselves.
Sebonic’s six types of mortgages are: Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA and Expanded.
These types of mortgages are the ones you are probably most familiar with. They include fixed-rate mortgages of varying lengths, as well as multiple adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM).
Fixed-rate mortgages have one interest rate for the life of the loan, while ARMS have interest rates that, in a very simple sense, move up and down as the economy rises and falls. Some ARMS offer five years of fixed-rate interest, then change to adjustable rates.
Sebonic’s conventional mortgages require that you have a FICO score of at least 620 and are able to make a down payment of at least 5% of your purchase price.
These mortgages are designed for more expensive homes, which is why you can only get this loan if your purchase price is between $417,000 and $3 million (the minimum is higher in Alaska and Hawaii).
These loans are designed for people with FICO scores above 700 and who can pay a 20% down payment.
The requirements for these loans are higher because the bank takes on more risk by giving such big mortgages.
They want to be sure that you can pay them back, which is why you’ll need a far better credit score for these loans as compared to fixed-rate and ARMs.
“FHA” stands for Federal Housing Administration, the organization who backs this type of loan no matter who your lender is.
The FHA created these loans to provide Americans an easier way to get a home, which is why you can secure an FHA loan with a 3.5% down payment and a credit score of at least 600 (both lower than conventional and jumbo loans).
“VA” stands for Veteran Affairs, the government department who backs these types of loans. VA loans are created specifically for military service members to get a home as easily, financially speaking, as possible.
Those who qualify for these loans don’t have to make a down payment or pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), a fee normally paid when you can’t make a 20% down payment on a home. Also, interest rates tend to be low on these loans.
Like the previous two loans we talked about, this acronym loan is part of a federal program. This time, the backer is the United States Department of Agriculture.
These loans were designed to promote homeownership in rural areas for Americans with low to medium income. People who qualify for these loans have a 0% down payment.
However, USDA loans are reserved for homes under a certain price and located outside urban areas.
For illustration, we’ve included a screenshot of a map of the greater Seattle to help you see the definition of “urban area”. Assuming you qualify for this loan program, homes located outside the brown shaded area are eligible for USDA loans:
The final category of loans Sebonic offers are called expanded, which means they’ve expanded their basic criteria for a loan in order to include people with lower income.
Sebonic’s site doesn’t list many details about these loans, only noting “credit scores as low as 560 may be eligible”, tax returns might not be required to verify income and they can be used for purchases or refinancing.
Sebonic’s Refinancing Mortgages
Like we pointed out earlier, Sebonic offers refinancing in addition to purchase mortgages.
The concept of refinancing is pretty simple. Let’s say you bought a home with a fixed-rate mortgage at 6% interest. A few years later, mortgage rates drop down to 3.5%.
You know that you could save a lot of money each month if you had a mortgage at 3.5% instead of 6%, so you apply for refinancing.
If approved, you’ll get the mortgage at a lower rate and the bank will use that loan to pay off the first mortgage you took out.
How You Get Sebonic Financial ’s Loans
When you apply for a mortgage with Sebonic, you go through a common two-step process of pre-approval and approval.
The pre-approval is a preliminary amount that Sebonic thinks you’re eligible for based on your income, credit scores, and existing debt.
To get pre-approved, you have to answer 18 questions about the house you’re looking for, your income/credit as well as your name, email address, and phone number.
Once you fill out the survey, you have to sign off on Cardinal Financial calling you about your pre-approval, as well as any subsequent real or robo calls from the company.
Though we didn’t go through the entire pre-approval process while we researched for this review, we can say that, most likely, once you answer the 18 questions and submit them, Cardinal will call you and let you know the amount you’re pre-approved for.
From there, you’ll work with a Cardinal loan officer to submit the necessary paperwork to get approved for the loan as well as take care of home-buying details like inspections, title, and other things.
Once you buy your home, you have the option of making your monthly payments through the Sebonic website.
Pro tip: Don’t assume what type of loan you’ll get. Sebonic will most likely match you with the loan that best fits your financial situation, along with the home that you want to buy.
Sebonic Financial Reviews: What Other People Are Saying About Sebonic
Word-of-mouth can be really helpful when you’re figuring out which mortgage lender you want to use to purchase or refinance a home.
When you read through reviews, make sure you examine the positive and negative comments; focusing on one or the other can give you a skewed perspective.
We’ve gathered up customer reviews from several different popular websites. Two of those sites, Lending Tree and Zillow, are third-party sites that connect consumers to Sebonic for mortgages.
- Lending Tree, 550+ reviews, 4.7 stars: Multiple customers said their loan officer was patient and attentive, noting how pleasurable the loan process was. Negative reviews centered on drawn-out paperwork processes and escalating fees.
- Zillow, 2270+ reviews, 4.5 stars: The positive feedback here was similar to Lending Tree. Customers loved the attentiveness of their loan officers and were pleased with the interest rates on their loans. They also noted they enjoyed the speedy paperwork process. Negative reviews were similar to Lending Tree, too. Clunky paperwork processes and rates that were higher than expected popped up in recent bad reviews.
- Bankrate, 980+ reviews, 4.7 stars: We found much of the same feedback here. Positive comments praised the ease and friendliness of the loan process, while negative reviews said rates were higher than published and the paperwork process was frustrating and repetitive.
Our Conclusions About Sebonic Financial
Finding the right mortgage lender is important because you want a company who will make the process as easy and responsive as possible.
Sebonic’s website makes pre-approval really simple, and the offer a variety of loans to fit consumers’ needs.
Just remember that you may not be approved for the loan you want; the mortgage process can have its hiccups and everything is based on your income, credit, and other financial factors.
From all that we’ve read, there’s a good chance you’ll have a positive experience with Sebonic. However, there are a segment of past customers who said the paperwork process is a headache and Sebonic Financial wasn’t as responsive as they needed them to be.
If you don’t mind doing your mortgage through a website, we think Sebonic could be a good fit for you.
We can’t guarantee that the loan process will be flawless, though, so be prepared to follow up on your loan officer if it seems like you haven’t heard from him or her in a while.
If you feel like you’re the kind of person that likes to do important business face-to-face, then you may want to consider getting a mortgage through your local bank or credit union.
Doing so means you’ll be able to sit down with your loan officer, get to know him or her and work together, in person, to find a good solution.
We understand that every consumer is different. If anything you’ve read here makes you think you want to explore your options before committing to Sebonic, we understand.
Check out our review of Quicken Loans, another online direct lender who processes hundreds of millions of dollars in loans every year.
Should you find yourself wanting to compare rates between mortgage lenders, try a website like Better Mortgage, who is a direct loan originator as well.
Sebonic Financial is a great company, and my loan officer, Justin Fry, was amazing! He was very patient and willing to explain all the things I didn't understand about my mortgage refinance. He was extremely responsive to my emails and phone calls, and really knows his stuff. The outcome was way above my expectations, and I couldn't be more thrilled. I will recommend him to anyone who has financial needs, and I would use Sebonic again in a heartbeat.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend