Editorial Review

Better Mortgage Review 2018

Ideal for tech-savvy borrowers who prefer an online experience, Better Mortgage provides a seamless and easy-to-navigate application process. Best of all: Better charges no origination fee.

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Our Take

4.0

Editor's overall rating

The Bottom Line: Better offers a complete online mortgage experience and a dedicated loan officer for each borrower.

Better Mortgage

Better Mortgage
Get Started

at Better Mortgage

Better Mortgage

Min. credit score 
620
Min. down payment 
3%
Loan types and products
Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Adjustable

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • An online process with human help as needed.
  • Loan officers aren't paid commissions; they are strictly available for "support, not sales."
  • For higher-value homes, offers 10% down with no mortgage insurance on jumbo loans.
  • Offers an "underwriter reviewed" preapproval letter in as little as 24 hours.
Cons
  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or HELOCs.
  • Doesn't do FHA, VA or USDA loans.
  • Available in fewer than two dozen states

Full Review

Better Mortgage is a digital mortgage lender — the new breed of home loan providers without a network of brick-and-mortar offices. The focus is on 24/7 service through technology and on-demand human assistance.

Found at Better.com, the lender has been working to simplify mortgage loans since 2014. Here’s how Better stacks up among today’s high-tech mortgage lenders.

Compare Better Mortgage with other lenders

A ‘digital mortgage experience’

Vishal Garg is the founder of Better Mortgage, and like many before him was frustrated by the difficulty of getting a home loan.

“I went through the mortgage process to buy an apartment, and it was a disaster; it took forever,” Garg says. “It took Citibank three weeks to get me a basic preapproval.” He launched Better.com in an effort to create a “fast, transparent digital mortgage experience.”

Better mortgage loan products

Better Mortgage handles purchase and refinance loans, with a variety of products available — from loans with 3% down payments for first-time home buyers, to 10%-down jumbo loans with no mortgage insurance.

The company says about one in three Better borrowers are first-time home buyers, and 72% of all Better home buyers put less than 20% down.

The lender says it will work with borrowers to find location- or income-based loan discounts and offers mortgage products to borrowers with out-of-the-ordinary situations: restricted stock income, Airbnb earnings, those who are self-employed or have student loan debt.

The Better Mortgage loan process

The process begins online by clicking the “Get Started” button and selecting “Purchase” or “Refinance.” That brings up a page with various scenarios (such as “I’m thinking about buying,” “I found a property I love,” “I want better rates/terms” or “I’m taking cash out”), each indicating how long the information-gathering process is estimated to take.

After what Better says is about a three-minute process, you can get a basic preapproval, telling you how much you can borrow or how much you might save with a refinance.

Completing the full loan application is a “dynamic Q&A” process that adjusts with the information you provide, prompting you for additional information relevant to your situation.

Here’s how the Better mortgage process goes, step-by-step:

  1. First, you’ll provide property information, your income and financial assets.
  2. Better takes a soft credit pull, which doesn’t affect your credit score.
  3. You’ll then be presented with mortgage options based on the information you provided.
  4. As the process continues, you’ll be connected with a dedicated loan officer for additional support.
  5. Once you’ve completed a list of tasks, you’ll receive an official Loan Estimate, and can lock in your interest rate.

Better says it usually closes on a mortgage loan within three to six weeks following the rate lock.

Considering fees and mortgage rates

Better doesn’t charge any lender fees. That includes application, underwriting and origination fees.

Garg also offers a mortgage price guarantee: “We will match or beat any competitor’s rate by $1,000, or we’ll pay you $1,000,” he says.

On the Better website, the offer is clarified: It’s all about closing costs, not mortgage rate. Better is offering to be “at least $1,000 less in closing costs at the same rate and for the same loan terms.”

As for shopping for a mortgage rate, Better can provide a few options. You can complete the initial application process and get a customized rate in a matter of minutes — or take a look at their generic national rates by clicking on “View Rates.”

What Better Mortgage does best

  • Doesn’t charge any lender, application, underwriting, or origination fees.
  • Users access a single platform through the entire mortgage loan process, from making an application to uploading documents and monitoring their loan’s status
  • Users can choose from various options in their loan pricing, adjusting fees and discount points for different interest rates.

Where Better Mortgage falls short

  • Available only in 18 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Doesn’t offer home equity loans or lines of credit.
  • Doesn’t handle FHA, VA or USDA loans.

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NerdWallet’s star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services that lenders offer to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The six key areas we evaluated include the loan types and loan products offered, online capabilities, online mortgage rate information, customer service and the number of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a percentage of loans issued. We also awarded lenders up to one bonus star for a unique program or borrower focus that set them apart from other lenders. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.