Guaranteed Rate is one of the largest retail mortgage lenders in the United States. Headquartered in Chicago, the Company has approximately 210 offices across the U.S. and Washington, D.C., and is licensed in all 50 states. Since its founding in 2000, Guaranteed Rate has helped hundreds of thousands of homeowners with home purchase loans and refinances and funded nearly $19 billion in loans in 2017 alone. The Company has become the Home Purchase Experts® by introducing the world's first Digital Mortgage technology and offering low rate, low fee mortgages through an easy-to-understand process and unparalleled customer service. Guaranteed Rate won an American Business Award for its Digital Mortgage technology in 2016, ranked No. 1 in Scotsman Guide's Top Mortgage Lenders 2016, was chosen as Top Lender 2016 and 2017 by Chicago Agent magazine, made the Chicago Tribune's Top Workplaces list seven of the past eight years, and was named Best Overall Online Lender and Best Lender for FHA Refinance by NerdWallet in 2018.
Fast but not enough transparent
I used them to purchase my first property. My closing required 30 days to be eligible of a seller concession and GR team eventually managed to close by that date. However, only now, with more experience - and less rush - am I understanding the terms of my mortgage:
1. I paid a 525$ fee that was presented to me as a 'commitment fee' at the very beginning that, however, was not reported anymore in the final HUD. In the HUd instead, only the origination fee of 990$ was shown. I guess that was a smart technique to tell the customer how the GR fees were low compared to others.
2. I have been actually overcharged without even knowing it. In fact, my rate was presented to be 3.375%. I assumed that this was at par with my base rate. Since I was given 1,460$ as 'allowance', I was wrong. However, nobody from GR explained to me that, actually, what I was doing was to get more cash at the beginning of my mortgage in exchange of a higher rate. I was not in need of that cash at all but the structure was presented as the only solution I could get from GR at that time. I should have insisted to have more scenarios prepared for my case. If you read online, you would find out that GR made money with me twice: one with fees charged on me, one by the fee paid by secondary market operators who have later bought my (conventional) mortgage from GR.
I believe GR should have been more transparent with me. However, I should have asked much more questions during the process and negotiated more. Working with GR was a very educative experience as I am now about to repay this mortgage and sell the property. As I am buying a new one, I will definitely not return to GR nor the people that provide me with the mortgage at that time.
Guaranteed Rate review
Initial contact was speedy and friendly. Our lending agent, Anthony was very helpful and spent a lot of time explaining their product and fees. Their rate wasn't the lowest but close and our initial impression was that of good service and competence. After we made our decision to use Guaranteed Rate and actually started the refinace process, things slowed down. We had to make numerous corrections to the application and other documents, i.e. how to spell "Tucson". We chose to use the title company they recommended (an online title agency) and that was probably a mistake. Our loan stalled in the underwriting department. We closed almost 2 weeks after the original date. It took almost 2 months to complete the entire process.
Responded very quickly.
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