Alterra Mortgage Review 2020

Alterra Mortgage rates

ProductInterest RateAPR
30-year fixed rateContact lender for detailsN/A
15-year fixed rateContact lender for detailsN/A
5/5 ARM rateContact lender for detailsN/A

Because Alterra offers unconventional loans to individuals in unique situations, it doesn’t list specific rates on its website. The interest rate for a loan will depend on a variety of circumstances, including the type of loan, the credit of the borrower and the person’s specific circumstances.

To get detailed rate information, you need to go through the prequalification process and then speak to a loan officer.

The home lending industry is a crowded place. According to the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry, or NMLS, there are 8,878 federally registered lending institutions and over 18,253 state-registered entities. Although the vast majority of these lenders are similar in the home mortgage services and loans they provide, some do stand out.

One such lender is Alterra. Since its founding in 2007, Alterra has built its reputation in the mortgage lending business by focusing its attention on providing home lending services to historically overlooked communities.

Why it might pique your interest

Alterra Home Loans, based in Las Vegas, Nevada, is a home lending service specializing in providing loans to traditionally underserved borrowers in minority or low-income communities. Reinforcing the commitment to those home borrowing segments is the fact Alterra is a completely minority-owned business.

Alterra actually takes its name from the Spanish word “alterar,” which means to alter, and this is backed up by the company’s clientele. The bulk of Alterra’s customers — roughly 80% — are minority buyers. Its product menu, detailed below, and its overall business commitment is geared toward helping secure homeownership for those who would otherwise be unable or denied based on non-qualifying factors.

Alterra offers home loan products that many other mortgage companies do not. These include loans for individuals or families with low- to middle-incomes or who might require low down payment options, those without Social Security numbers or borrowers that need Spanish language services. 

The company has nearly 50 offices in 16 states and is licensed to conduct business in 18 additional states and Washington, D.C.

Alterra Mortgage overview

Loan options:

  • Conventional loan: Alterra offers conventional loans (both fixed and adjustable) in accordance with the guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for buyers with good credit, savings and the ability to make a 20% down payment (less than 20% is subject to mortgage insurance).
  • Government loan: Alterra offers several differing government loans, which carry with them little to no credit requirement, lower than average interest rates, low down payments, non-occupant co-signatories and a streamlined lending process. Specific loans include:
    • FHA: Federal Housing Administration loans include low down payment and closing costs with a standard FICO score of 620 required for approval or low FICO score of 550 to 619.
    • VA: Veterans Administration loans are set aside for qualifying active-duty military personnel, reservists or National Guard members, veterans and eligible surviving spouses.
    • USDA: Rural Development Loans allow borrowers to purchase a home with no money down.
  • ITIN products: Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or ITIN loans are specifically offered to undocumented mortgage seekers without Social Security numbers. The loan itself is a 30-year fixed mortgage but requires a higher down payment and cannot be used on an investment property.
  • Refinancing: Alterra also offers refinancing options for all of the above-listed loan products.
  • Jumbo non-delegated loan: The first of Alterra’s three non-conventional loan offerings, jumbo (or in some cases, nonconforming) loans are those that exceed $510,400 in the majority of counties in the United States (some counties are higher). These loans are mainly reserved for luxury homes.
  • Portfolio loans: Portfolio loans are offered mainly for business owners that are able to pay back a loan but must qualify through non-conventional methods, including those without a W2 or individuals who’ve recently experienced a bankruptcy or foreclosure.
  • Renovation loan: For current homeowners seeking to upgrade an existing home or those considering purchasing a home that will require renovations (referred to as a homestyle loan), Alterra does offer financing options.
  • Other loans: Depending on the local office you reach out to, Alterra provides loans specific to the housing in your city. For example, hi-rise condo and non-warrantable condo financing and foreign national loans.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Alterra caters to communities that may otherwise have difficulty securing a home loan. 
  • Offers a number of programs not available at other mortgage lenders, including ITIN loans for those without a Social Security number and non-conventional loans for those with low income, low or minimal down payments or first-time homebuyers.
  • Offers services and pathways to homeownership for those without non-traditional income or who are self-employed.
  • Caters to Spanish-speaking clients with bilingual agents and a dedicated Spanish-language section on its website.
  • Offers a wide variety of home lending products, including conventional loans and FHA, VA and USDA loans.
  • Offers refinance and renovation loan options.
  • The overall loan process is relatively simple, with an online application and an average closing time of fewer than 30 days on a conventional loan.

Cons

  • Although Alterra offers a number of home loan services, it does not currently provide home equity lines of credit.
  • Alterra’s website does not provide a wealth of information for loan seekers hoping to compare current interest rates.
  • Alterra only has field offices in a third of the U.S. and is licensed to do business in just 35 states.

The final word

As a non-traditional, minority-focused mortgage lender, Alterra is ideal for those who may have trouble securing a mortgage from a conventional lender. Its menu of non-traditional loans and its ITIN and Portfolio loan packages provide a much-needed alternative for individuals or first-time homebuyers who may not otherwise have the credit or citizenship requirements to qualify for a mortgage.

In addition, its commitment to underserved borrowers also means a pathway for those who may have experienced hardships in the past, including bankruptcies or foreclosures. However, Alterra remains an excellent option for those looking for conventional loans as well. While its nationwide scope may be limited, a vast majority of Alterra offices are concentrated in major cities, and accessible for a large portion of the population.

Alterra Mortgage Review FAQs

Is Alterra Home Loans legit? 

Alterra Home Loans operates as a niche player in the mortgage lending industry. With a particular focus on Hispanic communities, Alterra Home Loans centers find better ways to serve customers and improve communities. 

Rather than just a single, one-size-fits-all cookie cutter product, Alterra Home Loans offers a range of loans and loan types — including conventional, government, portfolio, renovation and VA. 

Alterra Home Loans also offers ITIN loans. These loans, designed for undocumented residents without social security numbers who live in the United States, make the dream of homeownership an option to a whole segment of the population that would typically run into hurdles when dealing with banks, credit unions or other similar financial institutions. 

Is Alterra Home Loans a direct lender? 

Yes, Alterra Home Loans directly provides mortgage funds to borrowers. The role of Alterra Home Loans as a direct lender is to provide mortgages to customers, and this lender has spent years doing just that, while applying high-level expertise to the mortgage process and helping to build communities one household at a time. 

And because Alterra Home Loans is a direct lender, it’s simple to borrow money for a home — as the mortgage application and processes are efficient and streamlined. 

How long does it take Alterra Home Loans to approve a mortgage? 

Loan officers at Alterra Home Loans work to approve mortgage loans and close on real estate as quickly as possible. The approval process largely depends on the availability of information regarding income, debt and the other financial information required to determine the loan amount and approval. 

The average mortgage loan closes within 30 to 45 days, and you can expect Alterra to be on a similar timeline. Be aware, though, that some cases are more complicated than others, and it can take up to 60 days to close on a home loan in many cases.

Stephen Altrogge

Personal Finance Contributor

Stephen Altrogge is a business and marketing writer from Ashland, Ohio. His writing has been published in Fast Company, Zapier, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and a host of other publications. He has a degree in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Before launching his own business, he worked as an auditor at a bank.