You already know that your home might be the single largest purchase you ever make. Even though buying a home is a time to celebrate, the process can be a really stressful experience.
We’re lucky to live in an age of simplification. Gone are the days when a loan officer needed to show up at your house with a 200-page stack of documents for you to read, digest and initial or sign. That’s exactly what happened to me the first time I bought a home. I was overwhelmed and completely out of my league. I felt pressured to complete the review and signing process in one sitting, rather than ask for my three days’ review time and a follow-up appointment with the loan officer. I don’t remember the forms or the jargon, only that my eyes glazed over and I prayed that the loan officer was steering me in the right direction.
Now, digital services are emerging to help streamline and modernize the process of getting a mortgage. Enter: Rocket Mortgage®.
What is Rocket Mortgage?
Under the umbrella of Quicken Loans℠, Rocket Mortgage is doing for mortgages what TurboTax® did for tax returns — creating an online, mobile-friendly platform to help guide you step-by-step through the mortgage process. You can apply for a home loan online, from the comfort of your home.
The service is available in all 50 states.
How does Rocket Mortgage makes life less hard
Rocket Mortgage has two hallmarks: convenience and speed. A purchase or refinance application can be completed and approved in as few as eight minutes. Of course, you’ll still need to schedule an appraisal before you can move forward to closing, which, according to some Highya reviews, can be admittedly time-consuming.
However, according to Rocket Mortgage, folks have closed their loan as few as eight days after they were approved for the mortgage, and their average client closes their loan more than two weeks faster than the overall industry average.
When you are approved for a mortgage with Rocket Mortgage, you’ll be looking at live industry data, not a ballpark offer.
Whether to speak to a licensed mortgage officer is up to you. If you do have questions, they do have real human support available.
How Rocket Mortgage works
Where applicants previously had to submit paper copies of tax returns, bank statements and pay stubs, Rocket Mortgage accesses that data digitally after collecting your information (social security number, birth date and other basic identity data) and permission (you’ll have to authorize a credit check).
Once the platform analyzes your data, it returns loan options that could work for you, including fixed and variable rate options, conventional loans, jumbo loans and government-backed loan programs like FHA, VA and USDA loans.
To get started, you visit the Rocket Mortgage home page and choose either home purchase or refinance, and click the big green button.
From there you’ll set up a login username and password. Then you’ll start answering basic questions, such as whether you currently rent or own your home. You’ll need to provide details about your assets and income, and in the final stages you’ll provide your social security and authorize a credit check.
Each piece of information you submit will move your application to the next step, leading you toward more questions and ultimately toward the approval decision.
Rocket Mortgage fees
There is no charge to submit an application for a Rocket Mortgage, however, the loan itself involves costs and fees.
While closing costs depend on multiple factors, in general, you should expect to pay 0.5 to 3 percent of your purchase price in costs and fees (not including your down payment). You can find a list of typical closing costs on Zing!, the Quicken Loans blog.
As with any loan option, comparison shopping — with both digital and brick-and-mortar banks — may help you find the lowest cost loan. One thing to note: Quicken Loans offers a 0.125 percent interest rate reduction if you are willing to use its automatic search and share feature to connect your accounts (rather than submit hard copy or scanned documents.) Restrictions apply, so be sure to find out about eligibility before you apply.
Rocket Mortgage competitors
The mortgage industry is huge, and Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans competes with all of the big and small lenders out there clamoring for your business. In terms of size, according to the Washington Post, Quicken Loans ranks right up there with the biggest national mortgage lenders. At the end of 2017, Quicken Loans became America’s largest mortgage lender by loan origination volume.
For a digital mortgage experience, though, the competition makes up a shorter list. These are some of the other lenders that currently offer an online digital mortgage application:
- Guaranteed Rate®
- Bank of America®
- Better Mortgage
- Network Capital Funding
Rocket Mortgage reviews
In 2018 Quicken Loans was rated highest in the nation for client satisfaction among mortgage servicers by J.D. Power for the fifth consecutive year. It also ranked highest in client service in J.D. Power’s mortgage originator survey for the eighth straight year in 2017. The 2018 ratings of mortgage originators have not been released yet.
Online consumer reviews are also generally positive. You can read recent reviews for Rocket Mortgage on Highya.
Pros and cons of Rocket Mortgage
Rocket Mortgage may be a good fit for these kinds of home shoppers:
- You are comfortable conducting business on your phone, or at least from your personal computer
- You want online quotes and prefer digital transactions
- Your income and assets are straightforward and easily verified (traditional paycheck job, and documentable investment accounts, for example)
- You want to get approved for a mortgage so you can begin shopping for a home in your price range
- You know what home you want to buy, and you’re ready to rate-shop by applying with multiple lenders
Rocket Mortgage probably won’t be the best choice for applicants who are not able to qualify for standard mortgage loan products. For example, a self-employed applicant who needs to qualify based on bank statements and cash flow rather than on tax returns and pay stubs. This kind of borrower might need to consider speaking to a mortgage broker about a portfolio loan rather than a self-serve process like Rocket Mortgage.
Rocket Mortgage may also not be the best choice for an applicant who wants or needs to explore a larger variety of loan options, including some that Quicken Loans doesn’t offer. There is still a place in the mortgage industry for the mortgage broker who is familiar with and has access to a wider selection of loan programs from different lenders.
A new generation of home buying
Because a mortgage can easily be the most costly financial product you ever get, the best thing you can do is shop around. Rocket Mortgage makes that process pretty seamless. See a home you love while browsing the Internet or a real estate app? You can click open a new tab and immediately apply, so you know whether or not the house you saw is in your budget. Do note: applying for a mortgage will affect your credit score.
Rocket Mortgage, as well as other lenders navigating the digital-first space, can make it less complicated to reach a major financial milestone. While you may want to comparison shop, or may appreciate the personal interaction from a mortgage broker, knowing there’s an online option can make the mortgage process much less daunting – and much more convenient, to prospective buyers.
Kimberly Rotter is an editor at Haven Life, and a consumer credit and personal finance expert. She provides consumers with understandable, actionable information that can help them improve their financial and credit health.
Haven Life Insurance Agency offers this as educational information only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies or offer the products, services and/or strategies discussed here.
“Quicken Loans” is a registered service mark of Intuit Inc. “Rocket Mortgage” is a registered trademark of Quicken Loans, Inc. “TurboTax” is a registered trademark of Intuit, Inc. “SoFi” is a registered trademark of Social Finance, Inc. “Guaranteed Rate” is a registered trademark of Guaranteed Rate, Inc. “PennyMac” is a registered trademark of PennyMac Loan Services, LLC. “Bank of America” is a registered trademark of Bank of America Corporation. “PNC” is a registered trademark of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.