Best for: Seeing a wide range of offers within moments
- Fill out one form and information is sent to multiple lenders
- No fee from Lending Tree to use the service
LendingTree is one of the biggest names in the world of online refinance lending, helping tens of millions of users get connected with lenders over the past two decades.
The site has an easy-to-use interface, and while LendingTree doesn’t originate any loans on its own, all you have to do is just fill out a quick online form and you should be perusing competing refinance offers from various lenders within moments.
The credit limits on LendingTree aren’t set in stone—they’re up to the standards of the individual lenders you’re linked up with.
For refinancing, you should be able to find lenders who can meet a wide variety of credit scores as well as debt-to-income ratios, and repayment terms that work for you.
In addition, using LendingTree is free, and while you are likely to face closing costs with the lender you pick, you won’t have any hidden fees from LendingTree.
Best for: Making hassle-free comparisons between lenders
- Browsing for a loan won’t affect your credit score
- Your personal information isn’t sold
Credible has a similar approach to LendingTree, in that it allows you to review offers from a variety of lenders within a matter of minutes, all from the comfort of your home. That said, the company does have a smaller selection of lenders than what you’ll find on LendingTree, and doesn’t include any retail banks.
The selection of lenders includes some of the big names, like Quicken Loans and LoanDepot, and can include all types of loans, such as fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, and jumbo loans, to name a few, on top of refinance loans.
When you apply for a loan with Credible, all of the refinance offers are displayed across an easy-to-read dashboard that shows the rates, terms, and fees from the various lenders. The entire process is paperless, as Credible has automated so much of the process of collecting documents.
The company will provide you with mortgage refinance offers from up to 6 lenders, and can also facilitate student loan refinancing and personal loans.
Best for: Customers who want a live representative to talk to
- Quick and effective customer support
- Streamlined application, made easier with help of a loan officer
Freedom Mortgage has spent more than 2 decades helping people get a handle on their finances, and as of 2015, has gotten into the mortgage game.
The company provides a number of refinancing options, and can handle fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loans, as well as VA and Jumbo loans.
The company operates an online service that can answer your needs, and if you’d like to deal with an in-person associate, there are also Freedom Mortgage storefronts in 15 states.
With just your basic personal information you can easily get pre-approved online, and then a Freedom Mortgage agent will take it from there to see if you meet the company's requirements. This can take up to a few weeks, but the process should be quite painless.
One thing to keep in mind though, while Freedom Mortgage has attractive interest rates of well below 5%, you can face closing costs that range from 2%-5%.
Best for: Using an easy automated lending process
- Fast approval process
- Promises to match competitors prices
Better Mortgage has created an automated lending process that helps users find loans, with matches in a matter of minutes.
The company doesn’t charge any origination fees, lender fees, or commissions, and you can always pay the mortgage off early and not face prepayment penalties. The company doesn’t offer any HELOC, FHA, or USDA loans, though, so it is a bit more limited than much of the competition.
If you’re looking to refinance, Better says you can apply in as little as 3 minutes. You’ll just need to have some equity in the property. Just enter in some basic details and you’ll be sent an estimate and matched with a loan officer who can walk you through the process. Usually, customers can get from their initial query to a locked in mortgage in as little as 3-6 weeks.
You will need to have a credit score of at least 620, which, while higher than the requirements of some companies, is still pretty average for the industry.
Best for: First-time home buyers and people who might not have great credit
- Every customer gets a dedicated loan officer
- Low credit requirement (580)
CrossCountry is licensed to provide refinancing in all 50 states and is a sound option for first-time home buyers, including ones who only have a credit score of 580.
When you apply for a loan with CrossCountry you will be assigned a dedicated loan officer to help you with the process, which is no small thing if you’re a first-time home buyer or just someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with lending.
Every loan comes with an offer for mortgage insurance, but it’s not required for all loans. The company can provide VA, USDA, and FHA loans as well, and if you qualify, this is a great way to get a low- or no-down-payment loan.
With CrossCountry you’ll find a wide range of loan terms between 10 to 30 years, and most likely with terms that can fit your budget.
How to Choose the Best Company for You
Every mortgage refinance company has specific details that distinguish it from its competition. Take into account reputation and customer service, as well as the terms you need. Follow these 4 steps to start the process and find the right lender for you.
1) Get all of your personal paperwork together.
Take a look at a refinance guide with a list of the documents you'll need to provide. This includes your credit score, income-to-debt ratio, and income, which you can use to get preapproved for a loan or just to get an idea of what your options are when you start shopping around with different lenders.
2) Read up on different lenders you’re considering.
Reading in depth online reviews can give you deeper insight into the details you'll want to know. Do the lenders you're interested in have a good reputation? Do they provide reliable customer service? Will they provide you with your own loan advisor who can walk you through the process? Make sure to take a long, hard look at how the company has performed and the reputation it has accrued with consumers.
3) Closely examine your own budget.
Calibrate how much you could pay each month on your mortgage refinance loan, and whether a 15- or 30-year fixed- (or variable-) rate mortgage makes more economic sense to you. If you’re doing a cash-out refinance in order to renovate a home for the real estate market, take a look at how prices are doing in your locale, so you can get an idea of how much sense it makes money-wise.
4) Take into account any and all fees that may be included in the loan.
These could be origination fees and closing fees, among others, so make sure you read the fine print and factor in those costs.
How Do You Get the Best Rates?
The rate you receive will be based predominantly on your credit rating and credit history. Typically the better your credit rating, the better interest rate and APR on the loan. If the rates you’re being quoted aren’t good enough for the refinance to make economic sense at the time, then it may be a better idea to shore up your credit rating and wait until a later date.
The Mortgage Refinance Bottom Line
Whether or not you decided to go for a mortgage refinance is a personal decision based on your monthly budget and your financial needs going forward. A mortgage refinance can be a great way to use the equity on your home to get better terms on your loan, and also to cash-out and get some much needed cash flow to pay for other debts. If the numbers make sense for your pocketbook, then a mortgage refinance can be a great step in the right direction.