Established in 2000, Guaranteed Rate Companies is a large mortgage lender based in Chicago, Illinois. The company offers a vast selection of home loan products, including conventional fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), jumbo loans, FHA mortgages, VA loans, interest-only loans, home renovation loans and more.
When shopping around for a mortgage, there are many factors to consider before selecting a home loan provider. In this Guaranteed Rate mortgage review, we'll explore the company's variety of loan products, pricing, customer satisfaction ratings and accessibility. Continue reading to find out if Guaranteed Rate is the right choice for you.
Best digital mortgage application process
As the first company to offer a completely online mortgage application process in 2015, Guaranteed Rate set the bar when it comes to digital convenience. The company states that its simple online application can be completed in as little as 15 minutes with minimal paperwork required. When combined with the Guaranteed Rate's FlashClose℠ technology, a tool that allows customers to sign closing documents electronically from anywhere, homebuyers can expect a fast and efficient online mortgage experience.
Guaranteed Rate mortgage pros and cons
- Streamlined digital mortgage process
- Provides sample rates for its loan products
- Available nationwide
- Doesn't offer home equity loans
- No branches in Delaware, Vermont or Wyoming
Streamlined digital mortgage process
Guaranteed Rate provides customers with a fast and efficient digital mortgage application process that borrowers can finish in as little as 15 minutes. In addition, The company's FlashClose℠ technology allows customers to sign closing documents remotely. This helps to streamline the process and provide customers with a convenient digital experience.
Provides sample rates for its loan products
Guaranteed Rate has a convenient sample rate page on its website. It compares sample mortgage interest rates for many of its loan products to national averages for current mortgage rates. Sample rates are provided for its 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, FHA loans, VA loans and jumbo loans.
Guaranteed Rate is licensed in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Its digital process allows residents all over the country access to its loan products. For customers who prefer a more personal touch to the mortgage process, the lender operates branches in 47 states. Customers may be able to find a local office or loan officer to visit in person, depending on where they are located.
Doesn't offer home equity loans
Guaranteed Rate doesn't offer home equity loans. Customers looking for home equity loan options will need to look elsewhere, but Guaranteed Rate does offer a home equity line of credit (HELOC) product.
No branches in Delaware, Vermont or Wyoming
Even though Guaranteed Rate has physical locations across the country, no branches exist in Delaware, Vermont or Wyoming. Additionally, some states that do have branches may only have a few locations.
Guaranteed Rate mortgage offerings
Guaranteed Rate provides a variety of mortgages and mortgage products, including fixed-rate and ARMs, FHA loans, VA loans, jumbo loans, home equity lines of credit and home renovation loans. Aside from these standard home loans, the company also offers more specialized types of mortgages, such as interest-only and reverse mortgages. The following section examines each of Guaranteed Rate's home loan types in more detail.
Fixed-rate mortgages offer the security of predictable monthly payments over a specified period of time with an interest rate that doesn’t change. Guaranteed Rate provides fixed-rate mortgages in 15-year and 30-year terms. While the shorter 15-year loan has a lower interest rate, the longer 30-year loan offers significantly lower monthly payments.
Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs)
ARMs feature an initial period with a lower interest rate than a fixed-rate mortgage, followed by periods when the rate adjusts based on changes in the market. Guaranteed Rate offers 5/6, 7/6 and 10/6 ARMs. This means the rate is fixed for the first five, seven or ten years before adjusting every six months after that. Both the fixed-rate conventional mortgages and adjustable-rate conventional loans offered by Guaranteed Rate require minimum credit scores of 620.
Home renovation loans
Guaranteed Rate provides a variety of home renovation loans, including FHA 203k renovation loans, HomeStyle® or Choice® renovation mortgages, VA renovation and cash-out refinance options. These loans require all remodel, renovation or repair work to be completed by a licensed and insured contractor as well as borrowers with a minimum credit score of 620.
Jumbo loans, also known as non-conforming loans, are mortgages with loan amounts that exceed the standard limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Jumbo home loans are available in both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. According to Guaranteed Rate, the minimum credit score to qualify for a jumbo mortgage may be as high as 740. Jumbo loans typically require large down payments, more stringent debt-to-income (DTI) ratios and specific liquidity requirements.
FHA loans are mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). They tend to be easier for borrowers to qualify for and require a smaller down payment than other types of mortgage loans. You may be eligible for a fixed-rate FHA loan with as low as a 3.5% down payment. Guaranteed Rate notes that lower credit scores could result in higher interest rates. Additionally, further requirements may apply.
VA home loans
VA loans are mortgages offered to current or former military members and qualifying spouses. VA loans don’t require a down payment or private mortgage insurance (PMI). The company states it will accept credit scores as low as 580 for certain loan amounts under the VA loan program. Higher mortgage amounts may require a higher credit score.
Interest-only mortgages are a type of loan in which the borrower pays only interest for the first set number of years, then begins to pay down the principal. This type of loan is not available from all lenders and may require good credit scores and larger down payments. Although Guaranteed Rate offers interest-only mortgages, it doesn't specify the particular credit score requirements for such a loan.
Specialty mortgage loans
Guaranteed Rate also offers a variety of specialty loans, including non-qualified mortgage loans (non-QM loans), foreign national loans, bank statement loans and physician loans. These specialty mortgages are meant to fill in the gaps for borrowers who may not qualify for traditional mortgage financing or need more flexible terms. For example, bank statement loans help self-employed borrowers with difficulty documenting their income, while physician loans are designed for medical professionals with good credit scores but high student loan debt.
For borrowers 62 and older, Guaranteed Rate offers Home Equity Conversion (HECM) reverse mortgages. Reverse mortgages are a unique type of loan that allows homeowners to access the equity in their homes without having to make payments. The equity is accessible as a lump sum upfront payment, monthly disbursements or a line of credit. To learn how much you qualify for, you'll need to consult a Guaranteed Rate mortgage specialist.
Guaranteed Rate mortgage pricing
Based on its sample mortgage rates page, Guaranteed Rate's interest rates are competitive and close to the national average for mortgages as of Aug. 2023. However, your rate will vary based on factors such as your credit score and more. The lender claims that loan origination fees range between 0.5% and 1% of the total loan amount.
Guaranteed Rate mortgage financial stability
None of the three major business credit rating agencies (Moody's, S&P Global Ratings, or Fitch) have rated Guaranteed Rate. This makes it difficult to assess the company's financial stability accurately. However, the company did originate a total loan volume of over $116 billion in 2022.
Guaranteed Rate mortgage accessibility
Guaranteed Rate provides loans in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. It has physical branches across 47 states, with multiple locations in each state. Borrowers in most states may be able to meet with a local loan officer in person, though locations in some areas may be scarce. There are no branches in Delaware, Vermont or Wyoming. That said, Guaranteed Rate’s products are accessible online with a streamlined digital loan process.
Guaranteed Rate provides customers with a few ways to contact the company. These include an online contact form as well as two email support and phone number options (for either general questions or mortgage loan servicing).
General information and application questions:
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 1-866-934-7283 (option 4), available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 1-800-263-4159
Guaranteed Rate's website is intuitive and easy to navigate. It offers a variety of helpful tools when buying a house or refinancing, such as a refinance calculator and a sample interest rate page. The website also provides informative articles, mortgage guides and other financial calculators to assist first-time homebuyers in making informed decisions about a potential mortgage loan. Plus, its online application process is quick.
Guaranteed Rate Mortgage customer satisfaction
Guaranteed Rate maintains relatively positive customer service ratings across various review websites. The company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating. Additionally, Guaranteed Rate landed slightly above average on J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study with a score of 731 out of 1,000-point scale (the industry average is 716).
Guaranteed Rate Mortgage FAQs
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How we evaluated Guaranteed Rate mortgages
To evaluate Guaranteed Rate, we examined factors ranging from interest rates and fees to customer service ratings. The following are the important criteria we looked at:
- Interest rates and fees: We considered loan origination fees, closing costs and expected interest rates.
- Customer satisfaction: We examined customer reviews and third-party customer satisfaction ratings for Guaranteed Rate.
- Loan products offered: We evaluated the number and scope of different loan products.
- Online resources: We reviewed available information on Guaranteed Rate's website and mobile app.
- Application process and eligibility requirements: We looked at how easy it is to apply for a mortgage with Guaranteed Rate as well as any listed eligibility requirements for loan approval.
- Accessibility: We considered the number of states where Guaranteed Rate is licensed to provide mortgages, as well as the number of states where the company maintains physical branches.
Summary of Money's Guaranteed Rate mortgage review
As the first lender to offer a completely digital mortgage experience, Guaranteed Rate may be a great choice for those who want an easy and convenient way to apply for a mortgage. The company offers competitive rates as well as impressive customer service ratings. Aside from its outstanding online mortgage experience, the lender's breadth of home loan products makes it worth considering for a variety of potential borrowers.