Mortgages 101: Are Online Lenders a Reputable Option for Homebuyers?

MORTGAGE APPLICATION CONCEPT.
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If you’re shopping for a home, you’re probably evaluating multiple mortgage lenders for the best deal, personalized service and low-interest rates. You may be looking for an online lender — or at least a lender with an online application process — for speed and convenience.

See: Chase Mortgage Review: Competitive Rates and a Generous Homebuyer Grant Program
Find: Mortgage Purchase Applications Jump 8% and Loan Sizes Hit a Record as Rates Begin to Rise

But are online-only lenders as reputable as other mortgage brokers? Can you count on the same quality of service?

Rocket Mortgage, the online mortgage lending division of Quicken Loans, is rated as one of the largest mortgage lenders in the U.S., according to Time.com. The company originated more than 1 million loans in 2020. It has a lower-than-average number of consumer complaints in the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau’s database.

Online-only lenders that offer digital mortgages, which means the application, loan documentation and processing, are all done online, may be faster, easier and less costly. A New York Federal Reserve Report discovered that digital mortgages can be processed 20% faster than conventional loans.

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Many traditional brick-and-mortar banks do have online mortgage applications, today, so if you’re looking for a balance between in-person service and convenience, you may consider financial institutions like JPMorgan Chase, rated as one of GoBankingRates’ top banks of 2022, or Navy Federal Credit Union, which touts 24/7 customer service.

If you choose an online-only lender, you’ll want to make sure the company has customer service hours and availability in the method you prefer, whether that is email, phone or chat.

See: Mortgage Shopping? Watch Out for Junk Fees as CFPB Launches Review Into Bank, Lender and Fintech Practices
Find: Who Owns the House in a Mortgage?

Compare rates carefully and shop around. Online lenders may advertise lower rates, but if you don’t qualify for those rates based on your credit score, employment situation or other factors, an in-person lender may be able to get you a better deal.  

More From GOBankingRates:

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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