Best mortgage companies in 2021

Our Choice: Lending Tree

Overview: Best for finding every type of home loan, even with subprime credit scores.

Launched in 1998 and based in Charlotte (NC), Lending Tree has been a pioneer of the online lending marketplaces, starting with mortgage refinancing and a variety of home loans.

Its service works as an aggregator of mortgage offers from several trusted lenders that are present in the network: banks, online companies, and individual lenders.

This way, it can provide a complete range of mortgages, as well as personal loans for any purpose, debt consolidation solutions, car loans, financing for students and businesses, and even a comparison service of home insurance quotes.

At now, Lending Tree has among the largest networks of lenders, taken other similar online platforms; the partnering companies have a certain background and are definitely all legit. Among well-known partnering lenders, there are: AmeriSave, BNC National Bank, loanDepot, PenFed, Sofi, Wells Fargo.

The company doesn’t underwrite mortgages, loans, or insurance policies, but connect prospective borrowers with a range of lenders that can make offers based on the selected criteria. This means that you will get personalized pre-qualifying offers, with rates, terms, and estimated payments for each.

Lending Tree can indirectly provide you whatever type of mortgage or home loan existent: this is possible because it involves several hundreds of lenders. Lots of borrowers’ profiles can find a tailored solution: from those seeking a traditional 30 or 15-year fixed mortgage, to people with low-income or low credit scores, militaries, wealthy individuals with high-worth houses, to mention a few examples.

This service of finding loans is absolutely free. Instead, Lending Tree’s revenue derives from publishing the offers, with lenders being the advertisers.

There are also less common options explorable: home equity loans and lines of credit, reverse mortgages, and loans on investment properties; credit repair is available, as well. And you have the chance to compare banking products such as saving accounts, checking accounts, and more.

Lending Tree currently operates in all 50 States, at least as for covering the demands of mortgages.

What mortgages are available through Lending Tree?

One of the main factors to be eligible for any mortgage is your credit score. LendingTree offers a quite useful free score check and assessment service: on a dedicated dashboard, you will see how the various factors affect the rating, such as the payment history, or credit utilization. In this way, you can easily see and understand how to take action to improve the score, if needed to qualify or to be able to obtain a better rate.

It must be mentioned that Lending Tree uses the Vantage Score3.0, which emphasizes the age of credit among other factors, rather than the more common FICO score.

Lending Tree in itself doesn’t set requirements: who does are, of course, the lenders that can accept your application. You can obtain a mortgage in most cases since many lenders allow a score down to 620, but with an FHA loan, you can finance your home’s purchase even with down to 500, though in this case, it will have a greater overall cost.

The interest rate can be fixed, that is to say, lenders will lock it for the entire duration of the mortgage, or of the variable type (ARM). In this latter case, you will have an introductory period of 3,5,7 or 10 years during which the rate is kept fixed at a lower than standard percentage, then once the period expires, the rate can go up or down according to the market fluctuations.

 

  • Types of home loans

    Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Home Equity Loan, HELOC (line of credit), Reverse Mortgage, Refinance, Home Construction Loan

  • Minimum down payment

    0% for VA and USDA loans. 3.5% for most of other

  • Terms

    10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years

  • APR

    As low as 2.79% with a 5/1 ARM

  • Interest type

    Fixed or ARM (Adjustable Rate): 3/1, 5/1, 7/1, 10/1

  • Fees

    Vary by lenders, but none from Lending Tree

  • Minimum credit score 620 for conventional,

    620 for conventional, 500 for an FHA mortgage

  • Other requirements

    Debt-to-income ratio <=45%, with some employment history and minimum annual income depending on the lender

  • States availability

    All 50 States

Lending Tree doesn’t charge any fee for its service: potential fees are only applied from the actual mortgage servicers, for things like originating the loan, processing documentation, closing the agreement, or home appraisal, to mention the most relevant. Anyway, these lenders are transparent about making customers know about fees before they actually sign their contracts. For instance, an upfront origination fee typically ranges from 0.5% to 1% of the mortgage amount: in some cases, it is possible to enroll this payment into the mortgage balance.

Why choosing Lending Tree to find a mortgage?​

The benefits of using the Lending Tree marketplace for both prospective home buyers and current homeowners are massive. Here we summarize them.

Pros:

Cons:

The benefits of using the Lending Tree marketplace for both prospective home buyers and current homeowners are massive. Here we summarize them.

Why choosing Lending Tree to find a mortgage?​

The benefits of using the Lending Tree marketplace for both prospective home buyers and current homeowners are massive. Here we summarize them.

Lending Tree is utmostly convenient to use, because it will help you find lots of mortgage offers from several reputable lenders, reducing the distress of searching and applying to each on your own just to see if you can qualify. Not only you will be able to save, find the most comfortable term and the suitable type of mortgage, but you can also see how a certain lender’s service is performing with current customers so that you are definitely confident with your decision. And for each offer you can even see estimations of monthly payments: there you have the complete picture of your ideal mortgage.

Typically, you will receive up to five lenders’ alternatives, offering their best deal for your situation, so that you won’t be lost in choice. An interesting thing is that you can leverage on getting a lower rate from a certain lender, to eventually negotiate the offer when speaking with its representatives: the alert system will guard you whenever a better rate unlocks.

So there is great potential to save, but it isn’t still guaranteed that you will get the lowest rate possible for your mortgage. The only guarantee to which Lending Tree is committed is that, even if you end up with an unknown lender, it is definitely legit and you won’t get in trouble with your mortgage, unless because of your inability to pay. By the way, most lenders will have deferment or forbearance policies.

If you a rookie homebuyer, you will find many valuable resources on the website: plus, Lending Tree provides a service of checking and monitoring your credit score over time. Altogether, these features make the company a unique point of reference to rely on when you have to deal with a mortgage, to refinance, or choosing a home loan for the variest purposes.

However, the system isn’t perfect and you may want to consider a couple of drawbacks:

It must be noted that several lenders from Lending Tree are quite proactive in grabbing their customers, so you have to expect frequent phone rings, and your email box to be filled with marketing materials. This is the main weak point we could find.

You may turn disappointed if you don’t actually qualify for a mortgage, while you were pre-qualified in the first place, but this depends uniquely on the lender and details of your full credit report. A higher than disclosed rate may be proposed, as well. This can happen with any similar service or direct lender.

But to know if you qualify, and find a loan that will be finalized, you may have to submit an application with multiple lenders: since each will put a hard inquiry on your credit report, the score might be noticeably affected. So, you just have to be careful about this.

Plus, consider that should you have any issue with your loan once signed, you will need to turn to your lender. This is not a big drawback anyway, since the company limits itself to show offers and put you easily in contact with them. If you encountered technical issues with your application, Lending Tree has a phone support line to solve them.

How to see mortgage offers from Lending Tree?

You have just to complete a streamlined form, and you are done: now you can directly compare home loans among multiple top lenders that are in the Lending Tree network.

In order to apply, you will have to disclose a set of basic, crucial information:

  • Personal details and contact data
  • SSN (last four digits)
  • Current address
  • Financial data, such as estimated credit score and annual income.
 

In details, it starts with choosing the loan type and kind of property you want to buy, then select:

  • City and State
  • Planned date to purchase, estimated price, down payment you want to make
  • If you are a first-time homebuyer
  • If you have a co-borrower
  • Age, employment status and income, credit score, eventual past bankruptcy
  • Information for creating a login account: name, phone number, email address, and password.
 

Within minutes, you will finally see a list of lenders with their rates and terms on your personal dashboard. If you are happy with an offer, you will proceed on the lender’s website and by phone, otherwise, you can arrive at a deal once a representative gets in touch.

Some lending institutions advertise that they make fast funding, which is something you may value in advance. And you can even sort the offers by APR, and create filters in advance to furtherly narrow down your selection. As far as we were able to find, closing a mortgage through Lending Tree can happen in as little as 30 days.

Lastly, the amazing Lending Tree app allows you to comfortably check your credit score as you make repayments in the years to come, and adds great value to consumers, providing advice about saving and financial health, quantifying cash flow, and helping with budgeting. It gets excellent feedback from almost 30k happy users.

Is your credit score affected by applying with Lending Tree?

Since the service needs to dig into your credit history to verify the provided information and to be able to make offers from the partners, it must perform a credit check, which is a soft pull, so it doesn’t affect your credit score. Even if you repeat the process with other lenders or comparison platforms, multiple soft checks will be considered as a single one from credit bureaus, if done within a maximum of 45 days.

Do current customers like Lending Tree?

On a steep rise especially in the last decade, the company has been recently accredited by Better Business Bureau, receiving an A+: since it focuses on the ability of businesses to manage complaints, no wonder that you will find mostly negative reviews. A positive mark isn’t contradictory in this context: it means Lending Tree can still provide top-level customer service.

The company has impressive feedback on diverse online websites, especially on Trustpilot where it gets an excellent rating over more than 8,500 reviews. There is general consensus about the convenience of using the platform to easily apply and find a mortgage or other suitable loans without hassle, mortgages that are lastly closed. It is reported high satisfaction about what is defined as professional and friendly customer service.

The main drawback seems to be an aggressive approach to customers by “calls and emails flooding” from some lenders that could make offers. Once you have filled the application, it is supposed you are somewhat ready to discuss some of your options, so you are promptly put in touch with offers that are likely to interest you: this is common practice from a marketplace-like service, that necessarily has to share your information with third parties. Your data undergo a privacy policy, anyway.

 

Our final verdict

Lending Tree is our choice because it is a convenient way to find and compare mortgages and other home loan options for whatever your need if you have a decent or better credit score: it saves you time and effort by gathering the most you can find on the market in one place. With a huge selection of lenders, you are likely to find the best terms for your situation. With 20+ years of experience, it stood the test of time with quite good overall performance.

That is not to say Lending Tree is the unique choice. There may be lower rates deals out there, you discard the idea of exposing too much of your information, or may simply prefer a more traditional approach for getting a mortgage, turning directly to a bank or an online lender. Being the case, check our selection of mortgage lenders