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Saturday, June 25th
For over 20 years, AmeriSave has been helping people get and refinance home loans. They've funded over $103 billion for nearly 400,000 homes in 49 states plus Washington DC (sorry, New Yorkers, but AmeriSave isn't an option for you).
Not as many rates displayed now
In the past, prospective borrowers could click on the Rates tab and get a chart of the current rates and terms. During our most recent visit to the AmeriSave site, we could only find a preliminary idea of one "as low as" daily rate. Just check the bottom of the page for all of the corresponding assumptions and disclaimers. As with any home loan provider, your rates and terms depend on your borrower profile.
Phone verification can be tricky
Click on Home Purchase to start the process of prequalifying for an AmeriSave mortgage. You'll be asked for your current address, your step in the home purchasing process (signed a purchase agreement, researching options, and so on), and other typical details. To confirm your identity, AmeriSave asks you to provide a mobile number and respond with a verification code. We had some challenges getting the site to recognize our cell number: we kept getting error messages saying that it "does not appear to be valid" , and we had to use another number on a different carrier (or call AmeriSave's toll-free number to continue the process).
Soft pull on credit to get quotes
Once you've jumped through those hoops, you'll have a soft credit check to get a rate quote. That's the only option: you can't self-report your credit score or even get a ballpark of your rates. That's pretty standard within the home loans industry, but some lenders give you a little more information before requiring identity verification.
Reputation trending downward
While we're happy to see that AmeriSave continues to have an "A+" and accreditation with the Better Business Bureau, some more recent client feedback has us feeling a little hesitant about recommending this lender wholeheartedly. Yes, they have over 6600 five-star reviews, but many of the client comments we read from the last few months are very unhappy with this lender. From pushy and disrespectful customer service reps to huge delays in processing paperwork that resulted in much higher monthly payments, there are too many negative comments for us to trust that AmeriSave is completely living up to their earlier five-star ratings.
Non-refundable application fee
Another downside that you may not spot until later is AmeriSave's non-refundable application fee of $500. We eventually found it in the "Advance Application Fee Agreement" part of our home loan application, but we might not have noticed it if it weren't for it being mentioned by other AmeriSave clients. In other words, once you start the formal application process, there's no way to get that money back - even if your mortgage application is denied or you find a better rate with another lender. We could understand that if it was non-refundable after the appraisal part of the process (after all, that costs money and is paid to a third party), but it's not great to have it applied regardless.
Could be better, could be worse
We give AmeriSave a cautious three-star rating. There's something to be said for a lender that operates in almost all 50 states, has been around for two decades, and that has a history of keeping customers happy. And yet, we can't ignore the apparent downturn in more recent months. You may want to keep AmeriSave in reserve as a backup option for home loans, if you don't find what you need with one of the higher-ranked options in our review.
Your first thought might be to visit your local bank or broker, but think again. Why? You're not likely to get the very best rates and terms there. True, you might get a promo or slightly lower interest rate for being a current customer, but will your financial institution shop around to find you the ideal loan for your situation?
More than likely, they'll fit you with whichever mortgage is convenient (or profitable) instead of working to get you a home loan with the best possible terms. With interest rates constantly fluctuating, it's never a bad time to start looking into your financing options if homeownership is your goal. Even if you're just curious to see how much you can ultimately afford when the time comes, that will help you start budgeting and saving to have enough to secure your new home when you're ready.
Some mortgage terms stipulate that the funds can't come from a last-minute gift or contribution from a well-meaning family member, so plan ahead!
The easiest way to know how much you can borrow is by shopping for a home loan online. While some lenders require you to enter your personal information to show you their rates, others post sample rates online or let you choose your credit score range and other details to preview a more personalized quote. Be mindful that there's a difference between a "soft pull" on your credit - usually used to prequalify you, and only uses your address and phone number to verify your identity - and a "hard pull" that will impact your credit history.
The latter usually happens only when you've got a home under contract and you're ready to secure a mortgage, but pay attention to the fine print when you're checking out a lender's rates. You don't want to be "just browsing" and find out that your credit score took a nosedive with an unintentional hard inquiry on your report!
With many lenders interested in your business, how can you decide which one to use for your mortgage? Here are a few factors to look at before you complete a loan application:
To help you finance the home of your dreams, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's most popular mortgage lenders. We're confident that this information will be useful on your journey to home ownership. Congratulations!
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