PenFed real estate rewards

I’ shopping for a mortgage and came upon penfed’s real estate rewards:

Has anyone here used this? It’s supposed to give 1.5% of the housing price back if you go through them.

This is an automatically-generated Wiki post for this new topic. Any member can edit this post and use it as a summary of the topic’s highlights.

Not quite:

I can think of a few reasons why this is probably a bad idea:

  1. They are providing you with a RE agent. All they’re doing is using a rebating agent and sharing part of that rebate with you. You can find a rebating agent on your own, or just use Redfin if they operate in your area and the purchase price is above the minimum necessary for the Redfin rebate.
  2. Their 15/15 ARM (resets once) has the same initial rate as the 30-yr fixed, but resets to the prevailing rate after 15 years. Either this is made for really dumb consumers, or I’m too dumb to understand why anybody would choose the 15/15 ARM over 30-yr fixed. Perhaps the initial rate isn’t always the same as the 30-yr fixed. It might make sense for some if it’s much lower.
  3. Most importantly – fail to compare PenFed’s mortgage rates and fees to Zillow at your own peril. I just did a quick glance and the best offers on Zillow are better – lower rate and lower fees (for 30-yr fixed and 5/1 ARM). But this depends on the amount, property type, location, etc.

Reminds me of Alliant Home Rewards


Howdy I used Penfed for 2 properties and did the 15/15 arm on both. The real estate agent on the first home was a bozo. I would say the program is only valuable in states with heavy closing costs otherwise the savings are minimal.

I’m in California. I think closing costs here are above average.

Thank you for your input on this. I originally thought they referred people to Seller’s agents. From you wrote, it appears that they refer you to a buyers agent.

They use Berkshire agents

If there was a way to get great rates and use Redfin I would go that route.

Is this your first time buying real estate? You can’t use a seller’s agent to buy a house if that agent isn’t selling the house you want to buy…

Why did you go with 15/15 ARM and not a 30-year fixed? Was it because of the 1.5% refund?

15/15 had a better rebate offer at the time and I didn’t expect to be in that home after 15 years. Turns out I was out after 2 and off to another state. It’s currently a rental that will likely be sold off in the next 2-4 years. The 15/15 is definitely a gamble if rates blow up 15 years later and the rate reset maxes you out at some 6-7 pts higher (it has some kind of cap).


Probably varies by location. Locally there was a penfed realty branch, but we’ve got more than one military base in the city. Only Penfed branding. I also found the Penfed agent to be incompetent and useless. The agent also just unlocked the door and stayed by the front door.

I moved on. I had one more miss, more incompetent than that Penfed agent. I submitted an offer and there were a dozen errors and spelling mistakes in the contract he sent me that I had to get him to correct. Plus he of course didn’t want to even submit the offer in the first place at a couple % under list price but with No financing contingency or seller concessions, not did the contract match the advertisement for commission rebate amount. Creekview Realty - advertised as 2% rebated in the applicable constraints but the written contract was a max of 1%.

I finally found a broker/owner with 1.5% rebate that I was very happy with. He did volume but also was competent and even showed up at inspection (for a few minutes anyway), sat through closing, got some uncommon contract mods (shifted his buyer’s agent rebate to sales price), and got a $200 personal check directly from the listing agent covering new issues (damage that occurred after contract was agreed) that showed up on final walkthrough. I think we viewed the property a day after first contact, he recommended lower than the offer I initially asked to make. The contract was signed/agreed ~2 days later, it might have been on the 4th of July.

1 Like

In many states you can’t do so in that situation either, but could use the listing broker. My state’s like that. Buyer and seller both have to agree first because the broker/agents are then not representing either party and are supposed to be a neutral third party.