Guaranteed Rate Mortgage Review 2023
Guaranteed Rate at a glance
Lender rating: 5 out of 5
Minimum credit score: Not published
Minimum down payment: 0% to 3.5%
Available loan products and programs: Conventional, FHA, VA, jumbo, HELOC, interest-only and renovation loans
Online rate information is updated daily
Multiple mortgage program choices including hard-to-find renovation loan options
Completely digital mortgage experience for tech-savvy customers
No information about minimum credit score requirements
No USDA loan programs offered
No reverse mortgage programs offered
Guaranteed Rate was founded in June 2000, and is a retail mortgage lender specializing in a completely digital mortgage experience. Headquartered in Chicago, Guaranteed Rate is licensed to offer mortgages in all 50 states including the District of Columbia.
Guaranteed Rate mortgage products
Both 30- and 15-year fixed-rate conventional loans are offered at Guaranteed Rate, as well as a variety of adjustable-rate mortgages with lower initial rates for five, seven or 10 years. Borrowers that want to tap equity can borrow up to 80% of their home’s value with a cash-out refinance as long as they have a credit score of at least 620.
Guaranteed Rate offers loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) with flexible credit requirements and down payments as low as 3.5%. The website indicates that FHA borrowers may be approved with a score lower than the 620 minimum required on conventional loans, but doesn’t provide the minimum score Guaranteed Rate will accept.
Current and retired military service members may be eligible for no-down-payment financing with a Guaranteed Rate VA loan. Backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), VA loans don’t require any mortgage insurance and are easier to qualify for than conventional loans.
Guaranteed also offers the following refinance options:
- VA-cash-out refinance. According to Guaranteed Rates’ website, current homeowners can borrow up to 100% of their home’s value with a VA cash-out refinance. Some lenders may restrict this to 90% of the home’s value.
- VA IRRRL. Homeowners with a current VA mortgage may qualify for the VA interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL), which doesn’t require an appraisal or income documents.
Guaranteed Rate offers a digital home equity line of credit (HELOC) program with unique features and one potential drawback including:
- A fixed interest rate. Unlike most HELOC programs, the interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan.
- The ability to borrow up to 100% of your home’s value. HELOC lenders usually only permit you borrow up to 85% of your home’s value
- A shorter draw period. The draw period is much shorter than a standard HELOC, lasting only two to five years, compared to 10 years for a standard HELOC. That means you’ll have a shorter time to use, pay off and re-use the funds before the loan converts to a fixed-rate monthly payment.
Borrowers that need a loan amount above the conforming loan limits in their area can choose a jumbo loan at Guaranteed Rate. Qualified jumbo borrowers typically need a credit score of at least 670, although some products may require a score as high as 740. Lending guidelines may vary and may be much more stringent than conforming conventional loan requirements.
Borrowers that need to cut their mortgage payment temporarily may benefit from Guaranteed Rate’s interest-only mortgage. You’ll only make payments on the interest due for a set time – usually five years – which makes your initial monthly payments much lower.
Borrowers who want to buy or refinance their home and add the cost of renovations to the loan amount can choose from four different renovation loan programs.
- FHA 203(k). Fixer-upper homeowners or homebuyers can add the cost of repairs and upgrades to one loan with Guaranteed Rate’s FHA 203(k) loan options. Homebuyers can choose the limited 203(k) program for projects up to $35,000 or the standard program for bigger projects including structural repairs.
- Fannie HomeStyle and Freddie Mac CHOICERenovation mortgage. Homeowners that need more borrowing power than FHA loan limits allow, may opt for the Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation® or Freddie Mac CHOICERenovation® loan programs. Down payment options are as low as 3%, and unlike the FHA mortgage program, you’re not limited to financing a primary residence – you can spruce up a second home or investment property as well.
- VA renovation loan. Guaranteed Rate is one of very few lenders that offer the VA renovation loan program to help military service members buy a new home or fix up their current home. Eligible borrowers can finance up to 100% of the home’s value or purchase price plus the cost of the improvements.
Guaranteed Rate mortgage rates and fees
Guaranteed Rate’s website provides mortgage rates updated daily for the following loan programs:
- 7-year ARM
- 10-year ARM
- 30-year fixed-rate mortgage
- FHA 30-year fixed rate mortgage
- 15-year fixed-rate mortgage
Online users can customize their rate quotes by adjusting the purchase price, down payment and zip code. Guaranteed Rate doesn’t provide information about its fees online.
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Guaranteed Rate application experience
Guaranteed Rate advertises that it created the first digital online mortgage, which allows eligible home loan borrowers to:
- Use the affordable mortgage calculator to for real-time rates and loan options without filling out a direct contact form
- Apply online from anywhere
- Upload documents through a secure “Transfersafe” electronic portal
- Opt for a “FlashClose,” which allows you to sign the bulk of final closing documents electronically
Guaranteed Rate customer service experience
Customers of Guaranteed Rate have several different ways to contact a Guaranteed Rate representative, depending on whether they are a current or new customer.
Customers with a current Guaranteed Rate home mortgage, HELOC or personal loan can call:
- 1-800-263-4159 for questions about current mortgages
- 1-888-527-1950 for questions about current HELOC
- 1-833-531-1306 for questions about a current personal loan
- Or use the appropriate email address on the loan servicing page of the website
How does Guaranteed Rate compare to other lenders?
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How we rated Guaranteed Rate
LendingTree’s mortgage lender rating is based on a five-point scoring system that factors in several features, including digital application processes, available loan products and the accessibility of product and lending information.
LendingTree’s editorial team calculates each rating based on a review of information available on the lender’s website. Lenders receive a half-point on the “offers standard mortgage products” criterion if they offer only two of the three standard loan programs (conventional, FHA and VA). In some cases, additional information was provided by a lender representative.
Guaranteed Rate scorecard: 5/5
Publishes rates online
Offers standard mortgage products
Includes detailed product info online
Shares resources about mortgage lending
Provides an online application