Quicken Loans Review: Competitive Rates and Good Customer Service
Early in 2013, I refinanced my mortgage with Quicken Loans. I was hesitant at first, since it seems as though a major loan transaction is something you should complete with a loan office you can speak with face-to-face.
However, my brick and mortar bank wouldn’t give me the best interest rate on a refinance — despite my good credit rating and my husband’s excellent rating. Seventy-five percent of my household’s income is the result of my self-employed activities, and the bank decided that constituted a risk.
So, when a Credit Sesame pop-up prompted me to refinance with Quicken Loans, I decided to go for it.
Why Choose Quicken Loans
Quicken Loans is relatively fast and friendly. The entire process is fairly smooth, and you receive help every step of the way. Quicken has a great loan center that provides you with information about your refinance and which documents you need.
It’s possible to get access to a number of home loan programs with Quicken. You can choose different loan terms, including mortgages with terms of 15 years as well as 30 years. I took advantage of the HARP program through Quicken Loans (HARP is slated to end December 31, 2015).
Costs and Fees
As with most loan situations, the costs and fees you pay depend on the type of loan you get. In my case, the fees were fairly reasonable. I had an origination fee of about $1,700. Since I save $300 on my mortgage each month, thanks to the refinance, it took a little less than six months to break even.
I also had to pay off the small second mortgage on the home as part of the process, which brought my total out of pocket requirement to a little less than $4,000.
Even though I was annoyed that Quicken required me to pay off the second mortgage as part of the refinance deal, I think it was for the best now. It will make my home easier to sell down the road, and I don’t have it hanging over my head.
Required Documents and Customer Service
A Quicken representative called my phone number minutes after I filled out the consumer information form on Credit Sesame. Talk about fast lead generation! I didn’t answer the phone, though. Instead, I let it go to voicemail. I waited a week (phone calls almost every day), until I was ready, to call back and start the process.
When I did talk to my loan officer on the phone, he helped me get set up with Quicken’s Loan Center. This serves as a hub for all your paperwork. It’s how you upload documentation, such as your Good Faith Estimate. I was able to initiate refinance proceedings immediately, using an electronic signature. My loan officer was on the phone, talking me through it the entire time.
All of the documents you need appear as a checklist. From copies of your identification to bank statements to tax returns and W-2/1099 forms to additional asset statements, you have an itemized list of exactly what you need. You can scan and upload documents fairly easily. Many banks offer their statements in PDF format that you can easily save to your computer and then upload to the Quicken Loan Center.
In addition to having a loan officer, Quicken assigns another team member to help you through the process. If there are questions about transfers and assets, you are emailed immediately. If you need additional documentation, and you are slow to submit it, you are reminded. And every few days, someone calls to keep you updated.
Any questions you have can be answered quickly via email or over the phone, from the step-by-step process required to cancel your automatic payments to your former lender to the timing involved in canceling those payments and starting payments to Quicken. I was surprised at the level of customer service I received. It was better than what I received when completing my first mortgage at a brick and mortar bank.
Other Features and Services
After everything was cleared, the next step was to sign the paperwork. For the final papers, a notary is required. However, rather than sending us a pile of papers and requiring us to find a notary, Quicken actually sent someone to our home (we could have arranged a meeting elsewhere, if we wanted). He had the paperwork and oversaw the entire process. Then, he took care of mailing the proper copies to the proper places. This was at no extra cost to us (the cost was included in the $1,700 total).
Quicken also allows you to the option to make bi-weekly payments, which we decided to do. Your Loan Center remains active, so you can review documents after the fact, and it also includes information on your mortgage statements and payments, so you can stay up-to-date.
How Quicken Loans Compares to Others
In general, Quicken Loans is competitive with other brokerages in terms of fees charged and interest rates offered. I experienced a higher level of customer care with a Quicken Loans refinance than I did with my initial mortgage with a brick and mortar bank. Additionally, Quicken Loans was willing to help me with the HARP program when my primary bank wouldn’t. I had to submit more documentation about my income and assets (including PayPal statements), but, in the end, we were able to get the best available interest rate, and get approval without too much trouble, thanks to the HARP program and our credit rating.
How Quicken Loans Could Be Better
Some lenders offer no-cost refinancing. While the fees I paid weren’t onerous, I still would have liked the option of a no-cost refinancing. Also, the value of my home was high enough that the small second mortgage could have been rolled into the refinance without too much trouble. That would have been a plus, but in the end it’s probably best that I just paid it off.
Also, even though the refinance only took slightly more than six weeks to close, it would have been nice to get things through faster, since the timing meant I had to submit additional statements reflecting the most recent situation. But I understand that my self-employment situation probably held up the process a little bit.
Who Is Quicken Loans Good For?
Because of the streamlined HARP program, Quicken Loans is great for the borrower with HARP eligibility trying to refinance a home. Quicken could also be good for a non-HARP refinance. However, the online nature of Quicken Loans means that a non-HARP refinance could come with additional headaches, since there are different appraisal requirements. The easier/non-appraisal situation with HARP means an online refinance is easy.
Bottom Line Recommendation
Overall, my experience refinancing with Quicken Loans was great. It was fast and easy, and my team was helpful and friendly. I’ve turned from skeptic to believer.
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