If you have been an adult long enough to own a house or a car, chances are the interest rate you received on your loan isn’t as low as one you could receive today. Unfortunately, the best loans in recent history are behind us and unlikely to be seen again within our lifetimes. But this doesn’t mean that the rate you could get now isn’t better than the one you have. Despite this fact (and despite the huge savings a lower rate would lock in), many people just haven’t refinanced yet. The reason? It’s easier not to.
But refinancing is simpler than ever. Especially with Lending Tree, which is what I am reviewing here today. I first used Lending Tree’s services for refinancing our home in 2014. We ended up with a 3.625% rate for 30 years. If you compare it to the original rate of 4.75 when we bought our home, it’s now down by 1.125%. Closing costs amounted to about $1400 for us, but we will end up saving over $4000 in interest over the course of our loan. Our house is small and inexpensive. People with pricier homes who secured rates back when they were a lot higher will save much more than we did. But even at the level we saved, LendingTree’s refinance services were very helpful and well worth it for us. We found them to be a great company to work with. The process was smoother than our original mortgage, and we never felt confused or out of the loop. This general impression might be enough to sell you on LendingTree, but I’ll give a lot more detail below, as well as notes on LendingTree’s other services.
Basically, LendingTree helps you, a consumer, find and select the best rates on loans of all kinds – home, personal, business, auto, insurance. This saves you a lot of legwork calling and emailing lots of different financial institutions to get their rates, their Truth in Lending documents, and all of the other conversations and paperwork required of someone seeking a good loan. If you’ve never refinanced, the process is very complex. LendingTree doesn’t do the whole thing for you, but they did facilitate the process with me, help for which I was very grateful. We managed to navigate the re-appraisal of our home, the fees, the legal fees, credit reports, and title searches, all with a minimum of mistakes and frustration. Of course, all of these things could be performed on your own, more or less, but LendingTree provides such a nice foundation, their services are more than worth it to me.
Back to the specifics. Once you sign up with LendingTree, banks are literally going to start bombarding you with emails containing their available offers. LendingTree caps these offers at 4, but they still come thick and fast. So be ready for this, by giving only the phone number and email addresses at which you want to receive these contacts. I recommend setting up a new email address specifically for this purpose, as you will start receiving email offers within minutes of completing LendingTree’s online forms. I also like this because I don’t like giving my main email out to just anybody. This has nothing to do with LendingTree, but my disdain for inbox clutter and online identity care made it worth it to me to create a quick Gmail account for these offers.
At this point, you will already have saved hours of time trying to get specific offers from a diversity of institutions. If it were me on my own, I probably would have stopped at three. With LendingTree, I received dozens of loan offers, with a surprising diversity of terms. Once you’ve waded through all of your offers, you will make your selection, and this is where LendingTree really shines, in my opinion. When we picked our bank, all of the necessary documentation was completed via email. LendingTree facilitated most of it, and we were never kept waiting. We didn’t have to send faxes or buy stamps. When we needed a notary, we made an appointment through LendingTree and a notary arrived at our door, stamp in hand. We didn’t meet with a lawyer; we didn’t have to sign documents for an hour in some office. All the documentation was validated with the notary, in our living room. And that was it! Our new mortgage was complete and operational. The whole process took four days, and most of that time was waiting for our appointment with the notary.
A Deeper Look
Some people complain that 4 offers doesn’t seem like enough. But there is a reason for LendingTree’s decision to give you this number. LT’s proprietary algorithms seek out offers that are complete, diverse, and low. Once you’ve signed up, LendingTree knows a lot about you, your needs, and your finance and credit history. The vet a lot of possible offers to give you only that which will be of value to you. While it is theoretically possible that you could find better rates and other terms, it is unlikely. This fact is one of the reasons LendingTree has been in the game as long as they have, and why they are a logical choice for financing your home, rental condo, motorscooter, or what have you.
Because LendingTree has been doing this for a long time, there have plenty of information and customer reviews about lenders in their network. You can read about other customers’ experiences with any of over 200 LendingTree network lenders, before you make a final decision.
When you sign up with LendingTree, you’ll have to give some general and not-so-general information about yourself. First, you’ll have to specify the nature of the thing you are buying or refinancing. Let’s keep talking about real estate. If you are buying a home, is it a single family, a condo, an apartment building, or a mobile home?
Will you be using it as your primary dwelling, as a secondary house, or as an investment? The rates offered to you will be different based on these factors.
In addition to this, you’ll have to include: zip code, estimated home value, loan/refinance type requested, current mortgage balance, estimated credit score, birthday, military record, bankruptcy information, foreclosure record, address. This and your name and contact info, and you’ll be all set. Depending on what you want (30 year fixed/variable, 15 year fixed/variable, or 5/1 ARM), you’ll start receiving offers in just a few minutes.
That’s about all there is to it. I like LendingTree for the convenience they bring to the refinance process. This is my only practical experience with the company, but I have to assume that they bring the same convenience and professionalism to every service they provide. This is a more intangible impression, but I felt that the contacts I had with LendingTree employees through phone and email were the communications of happy and motivated people. They always seemed happy to talk with me, to answer my questions and move the process along quickly and reliably. Not only did I secure a great rate a save a load of money, I learned a lot and find myself a lot more prepared to get another loan for a future investment. I’ll probably use LendingTree again for this purpose, and I definitely recommend that you do the same.
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