In a Nutshell
- Home Advisors negotiate with lenders for you
- Assistance with getting pre-approved
- Not a direct lender
- Only available in 6 states
Own Up at a Glance
Own Up is an innovative mortgage technology company that does more than the average mortgage comparison service. Own Up was created to assist home buyers and even negotiate on your behalf. Like other comparison services, Own Up helps its users compare lenders and find the best home loan for your needs and financial profile. It then goes a step further, assigning a dedicated mortgage loan originator (MLO) to help with the application process. MLOs assist home buyers with getting pre-approval (a step beyond mere pre-qualification) and even help negotiate directly with the lender to get a better deal.
While Own Up serves all types of home buyers, its service is tailor-made to first-time buyers looking for hands-on assistance. Own Up sticks with its customers from the beginning of your search through to closure, often saving tens of thousands of dollars on total interest payment across the life of the loan.
Types of Loans
Own Up assists customers with purchasing or refinancing. The lenders Own Up partners with offer conventional loans, jumbo loans, government-backed loans such as FHA and VA loans, portfolio loans, and all types of re-financing including cash-out refinancing.
The following are characteristics of Own Up-brokered loans:
- Customers must have US citizenship or residency or hold a visa
- Loan terms vary from 10-year to 30-year fixed-term loans and 3/1 to 10/1 ARM
- Minimum down payments vary from 0% for VA loans to 20% for conventional loans
- Minimum credit varies between participating lenders, and goes as low as 500—the lowest possible credit for government-backed mortgages
- APRs vary from customer to customer, and Own Up sees it as its role to secure its customers the lowest interest rates possible
The Application Process
The application process begins with a short online form that sorts customers by the stage they’ve reached in the home-buying process in order to offer them the most-relevant type of assistance.
To begin, customers must select from the following options:
- Buying or refinancing
- Not looking for a home, just looking around, or already accepted an offer
- Already pre-approved or not yet pre-approved
- Interested in getting pre-approved or not interested in getting pre-approved
We presented ourselves as a customer who was looking around, hadn’t yet been pre-approved, and was looking to get pre-approved.
Here’s what we were asked to fill out:
- State (only available to buyers in Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island)
- Type of property (single residence, condo, multi-family residence, or townhome)
- Purpose (primary home, secondary home, or investment property)
- Purchase price
- Size of down payment
- Details about previous home ownership
- Details of current employment, including salary, bonuses, and amount of time in role
- Option of adding a co-borrower
- Full contact details
- State whether you’re working with a real estate agent
- State when you’d like to purchase (0-3 months, 3-6 months, or 6+ months)
Depending how you fill out the form, Own Up can offer 1 of 2 services. The first service, if the user is looking to get pre-approved, is direct assistance from a mortgage license originator. The second service, if the user is not ready for pre-approval, is an invite to speak to one of Own Up’s agents and learn more.
Service number one, pre-approval, begins with a 7-minute phone call looking at the strengths and weaknesses of your lending profile, borrowing limits under different scenarios, and personal home financing plan. This includes a soft credit inquiry. Your MLO will then help you with pre-approval. According to Own Up, it is the first mortgage company to allow you to update your pre-approval letter in a fully automated way. Your dedicated MLO stays with you for the rest of the application, essentially negotiating on your behalf to cut you the best deal possible.
Pros and Cons
Own Up offers a couple of major benefits, namely hands-on assistance and a commitment to absolute transparency. Own Up guides its customers through the entire mortgage application process, essentially representing the home buyer in negotiations with the lender. It is also very transparent about the way its service works, with clear explanations on its website about the process and associated fees.
The only noticeable downside here is that Own Up currently only serves borrowers in 6 states: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, and Florida. Own Up has Stated that it plans to rapidly expand to new states this year.
Rates and Fees – The Bare Basics
Because Own Up negotiates rates on its customers’ behalf, there are no fixed APRs to speak of. Own Up helps customers compare the best lenders and the best rates, then negotiates with the customer’s chosen lender to knock the rates down even more. Own Up doesn’t charge the customer any fees; it earns all its money from the lenders themselves. Of course, the home buyer must pay all the lender’s fees, but again Own Up negotiates with the lender to save the home buyer money.
The repayment terms offered by Own Up’s various participating lenders vary. Generally speaking, terms range from 10 to 30 years for fixed rates, and 3/1 to 10/1 for adjustable rates.
Help & Support
Own Up’s service is built on guiding its customers through the mortgage process. When a user fills out the online form, they get to see full details of the MLO assigned to them, including name, photo, and MLO license number. Users may also contact Own Up directly during business hours on 844-947-2848.
Own Up ranks up there with the most innovative companies in the online mortgage business. Rather than just help buyers compare home loans, it goes one step further and actually guides you through the process. Own Up has its own mortgage loan originators who are licensed to pre-approve buyers on behalf of the lenders. By doing part of the lender’s work, Own Up saves the lenders a lot of money. It passes most of these savings on to its customers—the home buyers.
Own Up FAQ
Q: Who runs Own Up?
A: Own Up was founded in Boston in 2016 under the name RateGravity. The 3 co-founders, Patrick Boyaggi, Mike Tassone, and Brent Shields all had experience in the banking and lending industries and wanted to create a completely transparent mortgage brokering service. RateGravity re-branded as Own Up in 2019 and currently has 20 employees.
Q: How does Own Up make money?
A: If you take a mortgage from one of Own Up’s partnering lenders, the lender pays Own Up 0.30% of the loan amount. Just for comparison, the average commission for a mortgage salesperson is about 1.15% of the loan.
Q: How does Own Up save its customers money?
A: Own Up takes a lot of the origination process out of lenders’ hands, including pre-approval. In return for saving the lender money, the lenders agree to reduce interest rates on Own Up’s customers.
Q: How much can Own Up save home buyers?
A: According to Own Up, its customers save an average of $21,000 over the life of their loan. Obviously, savings can vary based on the loan amount and loan term.
RateGravity, Inc. dba Own Up
21 Union St.
Boston MA 02108