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Best Online Mortgage Lenders: Rocket Mortgage vs LendingTree vs GuaranteedRate vs Lenda & More!

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Rocket Mortgage logo
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GuaranteedRate logo
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Sebonic Financial logo

Want an easy way to finance your new home purchase? Or considering refinancing your existing mortgage for a better rate? You might be surprised how popular online mortgage lenders have become. Rocket Mortgage, for example, is the third largest mortgage loan provider in the U.S. — and the loan process is entirely online!  Why go with an online mortgage company? Some offer the best rates you can find. And the best online mortgage lenders have a streamlined online mortgage approval process and customer service reps to assist you along your path. Here we give you our recommendations for the best online mortgage lenders with all of the info you need to start your search.

What Is an Online Mortgage Lender?

Online mortgage lenders let you request mortgage pre-approval online, apply for mortgage online and assist you through the process. There are four types of online mortgage lenders: direct lenders, peer-to-peer lenders, mortgage loan marketplaces, and traditional lenders/banks. What’s the difference?

  • Direct lenders do their own underwriting, process your application and issue your loan directly to you.
  • Mortgage loan marketplaces, also called lead-generation websites, take your information and find lenders that will offer you a loan. Depending on your financial situation, you could get multiple offers — some better than others.
  • Traditional lenders, such as Wells Fargo and CitiMortgage, are moving some of their mortgage applications online. We haven’t included traditional lenders/banks in our reviews because their rates are typically higher and they’re not strictly Internet-based.

Are Online Mortgage Lenders Legit?

Not all online mortgage lenders are created equal. But you can make sure the company is legitimate if it holds a license from the National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS). You’ll likely be able to find the company’s NMLS lender number displayed on their website. Or you can search the NMLS database to verify if the online lender holds a license. All of the online mortgage lenders we review here are NMLS licensed. 

Why Don’t We List Mortgage Rates?

Mortgage rates fluctuate regularly based on market trends. Your rate will depend on many factors, including:

  • Your income to debt ratio and credit history
  • Loan amount, loan type, loan term and amount of down payment
  • Location and state of residence

Best Online Mortgage Lenders

We chose our top winners based on several criteria, including competitive rates, customer support, ease of online process, transparency, reputation, online resources and more.

Rocket Mortgage/Quicken Loans Review

#1

Visit Website

Rocket Mortgage, part of the online powerhouse lender Quicken Loans, wins our top spot as the best online mortgage lender. This company is the third largest provider of mortgage loans (online and off) in the U.S., originating a massive $79 billion in 2015 alone. There’s a reason they’re number one online — Rocket/Quicken makes the application and approval process as seamless as it gets. They offer extremely competitive rates and have earned the highest customer satisfaction rating by J.D. Power for seven years in a row. We highly recommend checking out Rocket Mortgage.

Pros

Cons

  • Extremely easy application and approval process
  • Competitive interest and APR rates
  • Widest variety of loan types and terms out of companies we’ve reviewed
  • Many purchase and refinancing loans available
  • Available in all 50 states
  • Excellent customer support via live chat, phone and email 7 days/week
  • BBB rating: A+
  • Minimum credit score of 620 (580 for FHA loan)
  • No physical branches
  • No set fees listed on website (varies by state)
  • Doesn’t offer home equity loans

Read our in-depth Rocket Mortgage Review

GuaranteedRate Review

#2

Visit Website

GuaranteedRate has been in business for more than 15 years and has built a solid online mortgage lending track record. They offer an impressive number of loan types for refinancing and purchase, and their website has a ton of information and tools to help you choose the best loan type for you. GuaranteedRate also has 170 local branches in all 50 states if you’d prefer to hand over your personal documents instead of securely uploading them. Once you get your offer, you can lock in your rate for 40 days. We did find some online buzz about problems with customer service, but the company boasts a 95% customer satisfaction rate.

Pros

Cons

  • Competitive interest and APR rates
  • User-friendly platform and application process
  • Wide variety of loan types, including fixed, adjustable, FHA, VA and more
  • Homebuyer and refinancing loans available
  • Physical branches located in all 50 states
  • BBB rating: A
  • Expensive appraisal and lender’s fees
  • Several consumer complaints about poor customer service
  • No live chat and no Sunday customer support hours
  • No home equity loans available

Sebonic Financial Review

#3

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Sebonic rounds out our top three picks for the best online mortgage lender. Sebonic is a division of Cardinal Financial, a full-service mortgage lender in business for 30 years. Sebonic stands out for its Expanded Loan, an excellent option for homebuyers who don’t have the best credit record. You might be able to qualify with a credit score as low as 560, which is a lot lower than other companies require. Sebonic also gets great reviews for its customer service. The issue we have with Sebonic, which kept them out of our top two spots, is a lack of transparency on their website — they have no information about their interest rates and fees.

Pros

Cons

  • User-friendly platform and application process
  • Wide variety of loan types, including fixed, adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA and more
  • Expanded loan available for borrowers with lower credit
  • Homebuyer and refinancing loans available
  • Available in all 50 states
  • Consumers report excellent customer service
  • BBB rating: A+
  • Fees and interest rates not disclosed on their website
  • Minimum credit score for FHA loans is higher than most
  • No live chat and undisclosed customer support hours
  • No home equity loans available

Want a Quick Comparison?

Check out our side-by-side comparison table to quickly view the types of mortgage loans and other features each company offers.

 Winner: Rocket Mortgage2nd Place: GuaranteedRate3rd Place: SebonicLendaLending TreeSmartPath Mortgage
Winner: Rocket Mortgage2nd Place: GuaranteedRate3rd Place: SebonicLendaLending TreeSmartPath Mortgage
Read ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead Review
Visit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit Website
Years in Business32183042020
BBB RatingA+AA+Not AccreditedA+A+
NMLS LicensedCheckmark
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Type of CompanyDirect LenderDirect LenderDirect LenderDirect LenderLoan MarketplaceDirect Lender
Home PurchaseCheckmark
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Home RefinanceCheckmark
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Home Equity LoansCheckmark
Fixed Rate LoansCheckmark
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Adjustable Rate LoansCheckmark
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Jumbo LoansCheckmark
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FHA LoansCheckmark
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VA LoansCheckmark
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USDA LoansCheckmark
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Reverse Mortgage LoansCheckmark
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HARP LoansCheckmark
Availability in U.S.50 States50 States50 States3 States50 States22 States
Minimum Credit Score620 (580 FHA)620 (580 FHA)620 (600 FHA)640VariesUnlisted
Secure Document UploadCheckmark
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Depends on LenderCheckmark
E-SignaturesCheckmark
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UnlistedDepends on LenderCheckmark
Lender/Origination and Other Upfront Fees$400-$750+$1,590UnlistedNoneVariesUnlisted
Online ResourcesExcellentExcellentFewFewExcellentNone
Customer Support7 Days/Week; Live Chat, Phone, EmailM-Sat.; Phone, EmailHours/Days Unlisted; Phone, EmailHours/Days Unlisted; Live Chat, Phone, EmailM-Sat.; Phone, Email24/7; Phone, Email
Visit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit Website
Read ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead Review

Other Best Online Mortgage Lenders

Although the following online mortgage lenders didn’t make it into our top three picks, they’re still worthy of consideration.

Lenda | LendingTree | SmartPath Mortgage

Lenda Review

Lenda logo

Visit Website

Lenda, a startup in 2013, is an up-and-coming online mortgage lender available in three states, California, Oregon and Washington. They currently only offer refinancing loans online with plans to expand to home purchases soon (although you can call them about a home purchase mortgage). Their products are limited, and they require a higher credit score than some competitors. But a significant advantage with Lenda is much lower fees upfront — they fold their fees into interest rates. And Lenda gets good reviews from consumers for its easy process and competitive loan rates.

Pros

Cons

  • Competitive refinancing rates
  • No upfront origination fees
  • Intuitive interface and easy application process
  • Offers cash out refinancing
  • Good customer service via live chat, phone and email
  • Doesn’t offer home purchase loans online (only refinancing)
  • Only available in CA, OR and WA
  • Doesn’t offer adjustable rate loans
  • No physical branches
  • Not BBB accredited

LendingTree Review

LendingTree logo

Visit Website

LendingTree is a well-known mortgage loan marketplace (they also offer personal and small business loans). There’s a lot to like about LendingTree — they have a good reputation, excellent customer service, and a wide variety of loan types. The thing that stands out with LendingTree is that you get choices. Once you pre-qualify via their website, they present you with several offers from their 300 lending partners. Interest rates, terms and fees differ with each lender, so you can “shop around” for the best deal. And it’s entirely free to see your offers. The downside is, you don’t know upfront what the interest rates and fees are. And you ultimately work with the lender for your mortgage, not Lending Tree.

Pros

Cons

  • Can get several offers from various lenders for free
  • Wide variety of loan types, including fixed, adjustable, FHA, VA, and more
  • Homebuyer and refinancing loans available
  • Home equity loans available
  • Available in all 50 states
  • Consumers report excellent customer service
  • BBB rating: A+
  • Interest rate, fees, terms, etc. vary widely
  • Minimum qualifications to be approved vary widely
  • May not be able to complete the loan process online, depending on lender
  • No live chat

Read our in-depth LendingTree Review

SmartPath Mortgage Review

SmartPath Mortgage logo

Visit Website

SmartPath Mortgage, a division of Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, L.L.C., is a lesser-known online mortgage lender that offers a wide variety of loans to homebuyers or those looking to refinance. They’re available in Washington, D.C. and 22 states, mostly in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. SmartPath’s parent company has a 20-year track record of reliable mortgage lending. As for the online lending portion, SmartPath’s website is sparse, to put it mildly. There’s no information about loan terms, interest rates, fees, minimum credit scores, etc. SmartPath is probably not the source for you if you’re looking for an easy, online-only mortgage.

Pros

Cons

  • Wide variety of loan types, including fixed, adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA and more
  • Homebuyer and refinancing loans available
  • 24/7 customer service
  • BBB rating: A+
  • Fees and interest rates unavailable on their website
  • No information about credit scores or qualifications on website
  • Only available in 22 states and D.C.
  • No live chat or online resources
  • No home equity loans available

When’s the Right Time to Buy?

One of the best things you can do if you’re concerned about hitting rates while they’re down is to keep a vigilant eye on how they’re trending. An excellent source is The Mortgage Reports. Traditional mortgage loans and mortgage loans online follow the same trends. Some of the companies we’ve reviewed here, including our top two picks Rocket Mortgage and GuaranteedRate, have tools on their websites to help you compare their rates to other lenders. Based on what we’ve observed, both of these online mortgage lenders offer lower than average rates. But be sure to do your homework!

Which Type of Mortgage Loan Do You Need?

Check out the video below by Realtor.com that does a fantastic job of explaining the different types of mortgage loan products and which type may be best for your situation.

Other Types of Loans Online

Mortgages aren’t the only type of loan available online. Many peer to peer lending sites have popped up over the past few years that offer personal and business loans. If you’re interested in one of those products, check out our peer to peer lending comparison to learn more.

Why are you considering an online mortgage lender vs. a traditional lender?

Sally is a passionate writer but her interests do not stop there. She spends a lot of time daydreaming about the beach, however, she spends most of her time taking advantage of all the activities her town has to offer in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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1 Comment on "Best Online Mortgage Lenders: Rocket Mortgage vs LendingTree vs GuaranteedRate vs Lenda & More!"

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Ivan F
Ivan F

My wife and I are trying to buy our first home and having a hard time getting approved by the bigger banks, we’ll try one of these and hopefully have better luck!

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