The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan is often referred to as a first-time homebuyers' loan,…
For many of us, debt is just a fact of life. It’s one of those things everyone eventually encounters as we grow old, especially if we mean to settle in our own home.
Today, applying for a mortgage is an essential step to making a dream home purchase a reality. But how can you best accomplish this during the time of a pandemic? When is it not recommended to venture out of the confines of our houses, except for when it’s a matter of life and death?
In this article, we’re going to talk about online mortgage lenders you can trust and how they can assist you in securing that necessary home loan even as we wade through the waters of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re going to point out the advantages of a few of the most well-known online mortgage companies that you can find on the web. Nowadays, you might find that mortgage applications might be easily made with just a few taps on your smartphones.
We hope to leave you today with more options than you had before you started reading this article.
Are you ready?
Table of Contents
Is it safe to apply for a mortgage online?
These days, you can have two options when it comes to a mortgage application. You can either apply over the internet through online mortgage lenders, or you can call up a broker or a loan officer to set up a meeting. Between the two, most people today would probably prefer the former, not just because of the threat of transmission but because it is also just more convenient.
Applying online means being able to skip the hassle of getting out of bed early and looking for parking space. It will save you both time and money!
However, when talk of safety is included, this usually also refers to the security of the data you transmit. Personally, we would recommend that you only transact with online lenders of repute. Not only will you be making a secure financial transaction, but you’ll also most likely be able to land the best of the available deals out there.
Another advantage of using an online mortgage lender most people don’t realize is the opportunity to find quality reviews.
Whatever the business or the industry, it’s usually harder to find reviews for local companies. You might have to go on foot to fish for recommendations literally. For online mortgage lenders, it can be tons easier to get feedback from experienced clients. You might be able to find chitchat on the web that will give you sound advice on who and what to avoid. To ensure your utmost security, the bottom line is it may be necessary to get friendly advice from those who have been in your shoes. When in doubt, it’s time to ask around!
Who are the best online mortgage lenders?
To make your research easier, though, we have compiled here a brief list of some of the most trusted online lenders on the market. Whether they are the best online mortgage lenders may be up for debate, but we hope you can sound your own feedback.
When it comes to security, it’s safe to say that these companies are your best bet!
This online lender is great for you only if you are applying for a conventional loan. On Ally’s website, the company advertises a preapproval waiting of just 3 minutes! No kidding! Borrowers also have the further advantage of locking their rate in as short as 10 minutes right after preapproval.
If you are applying for jumbo loans, they have a deal that’s hard to find elsewhere! Usually, for conventional mortgages, you’ll need to put down at least 20% home equity before private mortgage insurance can be waived. But for Ally, all you’ll need is a 10% down payment on your jumbo loan so that you can skip private mortgage insurance altogether. Sweet!
Just be informed, even if the application process is fully digital, you will have to sign your closing papers in person once your home loan is approved.
Bank of America
It only makes sense that one of the biggest banks in the country will also be among the best online lenders on our list. After all, Bank of America is a trusted and well-known name in the industry, servicing at least 10% of all American deposits.
If you’re hoping to get access to assistance programs, make sure that you keep them in your mortgage options. With Bank of America, you can get help for both down payment and closing costs. Customers who also have existing accounts can get an up to $600 discount on origination fees.
The only service they might not be able to offer you are renovation loans.
On their website, Better says that they’ve “streamlined the mortgage process to eliminate fees, unnecessary steps, and time-wasting appointments.” Their services are available for most U.S. states except if you’re purchasing in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Virginia. When you’re just trying to get preapproval, twenty minutes might already be the longest time you’ll have to wait! And when it comes to closing, they have one of the industry’s fastest at just 32 days on average. Please take note that they don’t offer VA and USDA loans.
This company promises that they can assist you with a low-cost home purchase and refinancing for your home at a faster closing period. Although their main headquarters is located in Chicago, Guaranteed Rate is available online anywhere in the U.S. and hundreds of brick-and-mortar offices in all 50 states.
If you are looking to apply for a VA loan, we have great news for you! Guaranteed Rate only asks for a minimum credit score of just 600, and they also waive fees for those who apply for VA loans.
Just remember that they offer neither home equity loans nor home equity lines of credit, so you might have to apply through another online mortgage lender if you were aiming for this.
LoanDepot is one of the biggest non-bank home loan lenders in the country, offering government-backed mortgages, conventional loans, as well as refinances. If you are looking to close your mortgage in a hurry, LoanDepot is your best choice, with an average of just 20 days from application to closing. Since you can also apply with them online, you also need to wait for 20 minutes to get preapproval as long as you have complete requirements. Do take note, though, that while they offer other government-backed loan types, they do not offer USDA loans. Some customers also report that the origination fee they quote is more expensive than offered by other online lenders.
Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans was launched in 2015, promising to give you results in as fast as 8 minutes! Eight minutes being the average length of time it takes for a rocket to reach Earth orbit. Quicken Loans is the largest retail lender in the country, and it may have Rocket Mortgage to thank for that. After just its first full year in operation, Rocket Mortgage was able to close about $7 billion loans for Quicken Loans, and industry experts called it a turning point for the online mortgage industry.
Although Quicken Loans doesn’t focus on the 8-minute Rocket Mortgage promise anymore, you are still bound to experience a faster turnaround time for your mortgage compared to in-person applications.
By July 31, Quicken Loans will fully transfer to this new name to align with sister companies Rocket Homes and Rocket Loans to simplify their customers’ overall borrowing experience.
This brand is already firmly established; we may not need to offer a review to assure you of its quality. In 2015, Wells Fargo was even named the world’s most valuable bank for the third consecutive year with a valuation just short of $35 billion.
If you are a union member, you can also take advantage of a specialized loan program that exclusively benefits you. Their services also give special attention to first-time homebuyers to better assist them in choosing their loan options.
Due to their mammoth size and office capabilities, you can also take advantage of over a thousand of their branches located in almost all 50 states (except Vermont).
How to choose the best mortgage lender?
As those with existing mortgages might tell you, there’s no one ideal mortgage that would be a great fit for everyone. The same might be said about lenders. The best online mortgage company for you might not be the best one for your neighbor. It will really depend on the ideal mortgage deal that lenders offer every customer.
The industry has experienced substantial changes since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. Today, the home loan market is quite a crowded industry with more non-bank lenders than bank-affiliated ones. In case you do choose an online lender that we have not mentioned in our list, make sure you do your due diligence: getting reviews from verified customers, checking their online portals for web security, and talking to as many lenders as you can about all the loan products you are interested in, so that you can be appraised of the best mortgage rates.
A little effort can really go a long way! Not to mention savings!