Internet-based mortgage companies often offer the best mortgage rates, but who are you working with? We review the best online mortgage lenders, so you know whom to trust and what to expect when you get mortgage quotes or apply for a home loan online.
When buying a home, it makes sense to look for the best possible deal.
After all, your mortgage will span decades, and the higher the interest rate, the more you’ll pay over time. Even a 1 percent difference in your mortgage rate can mean tens of thousands of dollars. As a result, it makes sense to get the best deal. And, later, if mortgage rates are lower than when you first bought, it can make sense to refinance your mortgage to take advantage of the interest savings and to improve your monthly cash flow with lower payments.
Whether you are looking to buy a home or refinance your current mortgage, you have the power to shop around for the best rate. You may choose to work with a mortgage broker, a local bank or credit union, or any number of online mortgage companies that sometimes promise lower rates because they don’t have the overhead of a physical office to support. As with anything, there are pros and cons to working with online mortgage companies versus a local broker.
Here’s a look at five of the leading online mortgage lenders and what you can expect from each of them.
One of the best ways to ensure the best deal is to shop around. LendingTree is one of the best places to start. This online aggregator can provide you with a number of loan offers, allowing you to choose from mortgage providers by the rate they charge. LendingTree also provides information about the fees you will be expected to pay with each lender.
It’s quick and easy to use LendingTree’s quote finder. You can choose to buy a home, refinance, get a home equity loan, or even to get a reverse mortgage. Specify which type of home it is, whether it’s a single family home, condo, multi-family dwelling (like a fourplex or an apartment building), or a mobile home/manufactured home.
You do need to answer questions about the loan, such as whether you are using it for a primary residence or a secondary home, and you will need to disclose if it is an investment property. The rates you receive will be different, and the down payment requirements different, depending on how you will use the property. Then you share your ZIP code and estimated home value. If you are applying for a refinance or a home equity loan, you will need to share the mortgage balance you already have.
Other information you have to share includes an estimate of your credit rating, your birthdate, military service, whether or not you’ve had a bankruptcy in the last seven years, any foreclosures, and your address. You end by offering your first and last name, email address, and creating a password. You will be notified of offers you receive, and you log in to see them.
Available loans through LendingTree include 30-year fixed and variable rates, 15-year fixed and variable rates, and 5/1 ARMs. Before you choose a lender, you should realize that the rates quoted to you might not be your final rate, since you will go through a more involved mortgage application process with the provider you choose.
But, as part of the process of shopping around, LendingTree is a good place to start. You might even be able to use quotes from LendingTree in your efforts to negotiate a better rate with a local bank or credit union.
One of the rising players in the world of home loans is QuickenLoans. QuickenLoans offers a variety of options when it comes to loans, whether it’s for your first home, a refinance, or an investment property. QuickenLoans also provides access to a number of government-backed loans, including the popular FHA and VA loans.
My current refinance was facilitated through QuickenLoans. Because I qualified for a HARP refinance, the entire process was quick and easy. The “streamlined” process offered through a HARP refinance meant that I was able to complete my refinance in about six weeks, and I didn’t need a separate appraisal.
QuickenLoans provides a handy document center where you can upload your supporting documents, as well as use an electronic signature to sign necessary documents. You are told which documents you still need, and which to sign, and it’s a very easy process. When it’s time to sign the final paperwork, QuickenLoans will send a notary out to help you finish the process. It was nice to have someone show up at my house and take me through the paperwork at my own kitchen table.
While QuickLoans didn’t offer me a no-fee option, the fees were still low enough that it only took about six months to recover the fees. Depending on your situation, it can make sense to pay fees when you can get a lower rate, or enjoy an easier process.
Discover Home Loans
Most of us think of credit cards when we think of Discover. However, Discover has a bank, and it’s possible to get a mortgage through Discover Home Loans. One of the things I like about the Discover Home Loans web site is that it provides you with practical education along with the current mortgage rates. You can get a quick look at which type of loan works best for you can provide you with information about whether a fixed rate loan or adjustable rate mortgage would work best for you. You can also find out if an FHA loan would be the best option for you.
Once you start the process, you include information about the price of the home, it’s ZIP code, and your first and last name, email address, and phone number. You will be called fairly quickly to talk about your situation and the possibilities after you submit your phone number.
Discover Home Loans also features a guarantee that you will close on time. If you don’t close on time, Discover Home Loans says it will pay you. That’s not bad, and it can provide you with peace of mind, knowing that you can expect to close when you should.
This is another aggregator that can help you figure out where to find the best mortgage deals. You can use Bills.com to find information about how to find the best rates, as well as use the Refinance Calculator to get an idea of how much you can save. Bills.com has information and rates for FHA loans, as well as conventional loans. You can learn more about mortgage requirements, and how to qualify for the best rates.
Bills.com is a good resource if you want education about mortgages, and if you are looking for information on specific types of loans.
The LowerMyBills.com web site works by helping you identify which bill you want to save money on. You can look at different types of home loans as part of this process, including refinance, home equity, debt consolidation, reverse mortgage, and home purchase. It’s also easy to look at loans for different purposes, such as condos, multi-family, mobile homes, and single family residences.
You start by filling in the purpose of your loan, and the type of property, along with your credit profile. Once you have that information filled in, you will be taken to a page that asks for your ZIP code, whether or not you are a first-time buyer (there are special deals for many first-time homebuyers). You can also enter your home buying situation, which includes the ability for you to indicate that you plan to buy in two or three months, or that you are simply research your options right now. You can indicate your down payment along with purchase price, and share your employment status (includes self-employed and retired), as well as information about bankruptcy and foreclosure.
After you have completed the information and provided your email address, you’ll receive information on how you can save money with your mortgage.
Thanks to the Internet, it’s possible for you to save money on your mortgage, and improve your monthly cash flow. Use these online resources to find the best deal on your mortgage.
Disclosure: Some of the companies mentioned in this post (LendingTree, QuickenLoans, and LowerMyBills.com are affiliate advertisers. This means that if you use links and ultimately become a customer, we may get a referral fee in our online tip jar. If you choose to support our free content in this way, thank you!
Andrew Osterland has edited various financial websites at QuinStreet for a span of four years. Because of his talent and hard work, he was raised to the role of senior editorial manager of the company’s insurance sites and was a contributing writer at CNBC.com. He is also an entrepreneur and has been the editor manager of Insure.com. Full profile here.