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Guaranteed Rate Mortgage Review 2020

Editorial Note: Parts of this article were reviewed by a lender to ensure accuracy prior to publication. The overall conclusions, recommendations and opinions are the author’s alone. The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.

In 2000, Victor Giardelli founded Guaranteed Rate to offer a digital mortgage experience to its customers. The company is headquartered in Chicago with more than 300 branches nationwide.

Working with Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate originates loans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and funded $37 billion in mortgage volume in 2019.

Guaranteed Rate borrowing requirements

Borrowers must have a minimum credit score of 620 across all product types to get a Guaranteed Rate mortgage. Financing is available on the following property types:

  • Single-family homes
  • Multifamily homes
  • Condominiums
  • Co-ops
  • Planned unit developments (PUDs)
  • Manufactured homes
  • Accessory dwelling units (ADUs)

Guaranteed Rate mortgage products

Guaranteed Rate offers a wide variety of mortgage products, including government-backed loans and some special loan programs. Here’s a sampling:

Fixed-rate mortgages. Customers can choose from 30- and 15-year, fixed-rate terms.

Adjustable-rate mortgages. Borrowers looking for short-term savings with a lower initial rate can get a 5/1, 7/1 or 10/1 ARM through the lender.

Jumbo loans. Guaranteed Rate offers jumbo loans to borrowers who need a loan amount higher than the conforming conventional limit of $510,400 in most parts of the country.

FHA loans. First-time homebuyers may be able to purchase a home with 3.5% down with a loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

VA loans. Eligible military borrowers can apply with Guaranteed Rate for a loan backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

USDA loans. Borrowers who have low or moderate incomes in designated rural areas may be able to buy a home with no down payment with a loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Renovation loans. Both the Fannie Mae HomeStyle® renovation loan and FHA 203(k) renovation loans give borrowers the option to buy or refinance a fixer-upper and roll the repair costs into the home’s purchase price.

Guaranteed Rate special mortgage programs

Interest-only mortgages. Borrowers looking for a temporary low-payment option can choose an interest-only loan. For a set period, only the interest each month is due, resulting in a lower payment than a regular principal and interest payment. Once the interest-only period ends, the balance must be paid in regular installments for the remainder of the loan.

Lock ‘n’ Build program. Consumers looking for the security of a rate lock while building their home can secure a rate for up to 12 months during construction. Eligible applicants may receive a $500 closing cost credit applied when the loan closes.

Accessory dwelling unit (ADU) construction. An ADU, also called a coach house or granny flat, is typically an addition to an existing home. Renovation specialists at Guaranteed Rate offer expert knowledge of the building process to help borrowers finance the construction of ADUs.

The mortgage application process

  • How to apply. Consumers can apply using Guaranteed Rate’s mobile app or contact a loan officer at a local branch.
  • Disclosure process. Guaranteed Rate offers a loan approval within minutes after applying for a mortgage online. Federal lending guidelines require lenders to provide a loan estimate within three business days of receiving a loan application.
  • Submitting loan for approval. A mortgage consultant handles the documents needed to verify application information and prepares the loan to submit to an underwriter. Documents can be uploaded electronically through Guaranteed Rate’s secure TransferSafe system.
  • Final approval. The loan underwriter reviews the loan package and verifies that it meets the loan program requirements. A loan coordinator then informs the borrower of the underwriter’s decision.
  • Closing. Eligible borrowers may be able to close with Guaranteed Rate’s FlashClose℠ eClose digital platform. All documents are digitally signed and notarized remotely, and the customer is identified through a virtual session on a laptop, phone or tablet.
  • Servicing. Guaranteed Rate provides an online payment portal for current customers to make payments, as well as contact information for mortgage servicing questions.

Communication during the process

Although the mortgage process is digital, there are several people involved in the Guaranteed Rate mortgage process. Besides the initial loan officer, a mortgage consultant may contact the borrower about paperwork needed for final loan approval. A loan coordinator communicates the loan decision near the end of the process.

You can contact Guaranteed Rate by phone at (800) 263-4159, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST.

Pros and cons of a Guaranteed Rate mortgage

Pros

  • Completely digital loan process. Borrowers can opt for an electronic loan process from application to closing.
  • Specialty loan programs available. Customers have access to homebuilding loans and an interest-only payment option.

Cons

  • Website lacks detailed information about borrowing requirements. Details about the minimum credit score, acceptable types of properties for financing and manual underwriting are not provided online.
  • Does not offer home equity products. Guaranteed Rate doesn’t offer home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) options.
 

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