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Saturday, June 25th
If you'd like to see your home loan options with a variety of lenders, LendingTree is a resource that might get your attention. When you provide LendingTree with your information, you'll get matched with various banks and other financial institutions that they've already vetted: up to five offers, depending on your state of residence, credit history, and so forth. But, keep in mind that you'll still have to complete all of the steps to prequalify and then apply for your loan with any lender in your results list: LendingTree just makes the match, and you do the rest.
Basic initial questions
Get started by clicking on the "Home Purchase Quotes" button on the main Mortgage Loan page. You'll be asked to identify the type of property you're hoping to buy (single-family home, townhome, condo), if it'll be used as a primary or secondary residence/rental, the city where it's located, whether or not you've already found a home to buy, and so forth.
Your contact info shared far and wide
One thing to watch out for is the part where they ask for your phone number. As you can read in the fine print beneath the "Find My Rates" button, you're consenting to have your information shared with up to five of LendingTree's partners (sure, that's what we're here for) AND that those partners may share your information with THEIR partners (hey, wait a minute...). Time and time again, we find people complaining that just looking up rates on LendingTree resulted in months of not-really-solicited calls, texts, emails and regular mail from lenders they'd never heard of - offering not-great rates and even products that weren't related to what they had been looking for (pitching refinancing when they were originally looking for a second mortgage).
No quotes without identity verification
You could opt to not put in your actual details, but then your results will only be vague matches with generic banks, if you're even matched at all. For example, when we declined to enter our phone number or SSN, we were told that they couldn't find a lender and suggested a personal loan instead.
LendingTree recommendations benefit themselves first
If you decide to provide your information to get your specific recommendations, you should also be aware that LendingTree's disclosure reveals that your five loan matches may not be the best ones available to you. That's because LendingTree's compensation for matching you "may impact how and where products appear on this site" . So, if LendingTree is going to make more money by showing you a less-beneficial-to-you loan, you might not see other mortgage possibilities that would be better.
Surprisingly positive user feedback
And yet, you could still be matched with a terrific home loan from a reputable lender. When you get your list of mortgage matches, you can see what other LendingTree clients have said about each partner - and there are many with dozens (or even hundreds) of positive reviews from satisfied clients. Just be sure to do your own research before connecting with any of the lenders in your list.
Legit business, endless solicitations
LendingTree continues to have an "A+" and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, so there are no concerns about this service being on the up-and-up. However, as we discussed earlier, there's no shortage of complaints about the avalanche of emails and phone calls that result from sharing one's contact information with LendingTree. Do you really want to be getting all of that - maybe even for months after you've already closed on your new home and have zero need for a loan offer?
Might not be worth the trouble
We love the idea behind LendingTree. Who wouldn't benefit from being able to comparison shop several financial institutions to get the best rates and terms on a home loan? But, because LendingTree benefits financially, you may not see the best possible mortgage offers here - on top of all of the not-really-solicited messages you can expect when using this service. It's up to you to decide if it's worth it to look for a home loan through LendingTree.
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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