About Rocket Mortgage
Launched in late 2015, Rocket Mortgage represents a fast, powerful—and completely online—mortgage and refinance experience that claims to “put the power in your hands.”
In fact, Rocket Mortgage’s parent company, Quicken Loans, claims they’ve reinvented the mortgage process by providing customers with loan approval in a matter of minutes. Simply answer a few quick questions and share your bank statements and paystubs, and Rocket’s proprietary software will pull your credit at no cost, while handling everything else.
In the end, Rocket claims to provide customers with an “intelligent, customizable mortgage solution” that’s custom built for your unique situation, and based on today’s rates. And although the Rocket Mortgage process is handled completely online, experts are always available to answer any questions.
Whether you’re looking to buy a new home or refinance your existing one, there’s no doubt that Rocket Mortgage’s ease of use is extremely appealing. After all, most of us have heard about (or experienced firsthand) the mountains of paperwork and glacial pace associated with most mortgage approvals.
When it comes down to it though, what can you realistically expect with Rocket Mortgage? Does it really represent something new? Are there better options? We’ll explore all of these questions in this review.
Now, since Rocket is owned by Quicken Loans, and they both provide mortgages, the first question you might have is: What’s the difference?
What’s the Difference Between Rocket Mortgage & Quicken Loans?
According to a November 2015 TechCrunch article, the Quicken Loans team started with the goal of helping someone obtain a mortgage while standing in line for coffee (it might need to be an extra long line though, as we’ll discuss next).
Currently, if someone wants to apply for a mortgage, they may be able to start the process by entering some of their information online. However, this information is then just sent off to a loan officer, who will begin the manual process of verifying income, etc. In other words, the same old thing you’ll find with most other lenders.
Instead, after 5 years of development using a team of 450 people (more than 1,000 people were involved in total), Quicken Loans released Rocket Mortgage at the end of last year. To accomplish their goal, Rocket Mortgage’s software crunches complicated numbers in a matter of seconds, while manually verifying information (such as asset and employment data). Then, customers will be able to see their interest rates and fees, as well as how changing the interest rates would affect their fees.
Rather complete the process on your phone? According to the company, Rocket’s software works just as well on mobile devices as it does on your desktop.
In a nutshell, Rocket Mortgage was developed by Quicken Loans to streamline the application process and make it easier, as well as provide complete transparency, without being required to talk with anyone
Let’s take a high-level overview at how the Rocket Mortgage process works.
The Rocket Mortgage Pre-Approval Process
To apply for a Rocket Mortgage loan, you’ll first need to create an account by entering your name and email address, and then choosing a password.
From there, you’ll move through a set of 8 different questions, such as:
- Do you currently own or rent?
- Do you already have a home picked out? Do you know how much you want to spend?
- Are you married? If so, will your spouse be on the loan?
- Where do you work?
- … and more.
Depending on your answers to each of these questions, the remainder of the application will be tailored to suit your needs.
The Rocket Mortgage application process seems simple and straightforward, with much of the heavy lifting handled in the blink of an eye.
Remember how we talked above about everything being automated? As you’re entering information into the Rocket system, a whole lot’s going on behind the scenes.
For example, if you enter the address of a property you’re thinking about purchasing, Rocket’s system will automatically pull relevant information like tax history, assessments, and more. Similarly, after entering your personal information, the system will automatically search for your employer. Even once you reach the asset and credit information section, this information is verified in real-time using publically available information, as well as having each customer log in to their bank account directly through the app.
After you’ve completed the process (which will probably take less than 10 minutes, so it better be a long line for coffee!), Rocket Mortgage’s software will display the mortgage solutions you qualify for. At the bottom of the page, you can adjust sliders to immediately see how interest rates affect fees.
Like what you see? Press the button at the bottom of the screen to lock in your rate and send your application off for approval. From there, you should receive a response within about 30 seconds. If approved, you could close in as little as a week (depending on the speed of third-party vendors, of course).
Sure, this all sounds great, but does Rocket Mortgage’s application system work seamlessly in the real world?
Does Rocket Mortgage Work?
If you search online for Rocket Mortgage reviews, except for in-depth articles like the TechCrunch one referenced above, most of the results that appear will be related to the parent company Quicken Loans. And of those specifically related to Rocket, very few talked about the overall process.
With this in mind, TIME quoted Rocket Mortgage’s Product Lead Regis Hadiaris as saying:
“We can customize solutions based on income, assets, property, our products and pricing, interest rates, and underwriting guidelines,” Hadiaris says. “The system figures out the very best option for each client. No more assumptions. It’s true clarity in the process.”
However, this transparency doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’re getting the “very best option.” As DoughRoller.net noted, although Rocket’s application and approval process might be much faster than with traditional mortgage lenders, this could create a big disadvantage; namely, that borrowers may take out a loan with a higher-than-necessary interest rate, potentially costing them thousands. Similar concerns were also expressed by RateZip.com.
Related: Good Credit Score & How to Get There
From a company perspective, Quicken Loans seemed to have a mostly positive online customer reputation—considering that they boast about 6% of the total market share—with an A+ Better Business Bureau rating (as of 4/26/16). Of the company’s 1,300+ complaints, most seemed to reference problems with the product or service, although no further details were provided.
As we mentioned earlier though, Quicken Loans is one of the top players within the mortgage industry—certainly the biggest name in online home lending. They’re widely known for their top-notch customer support, and have won numerous awards from JD Power for #1 Client Satisfaction.
Now, the ultimate question is: Should you use Rocket Mortgage?
Is Rocket Mortgage Right for You?
Whether or not Rocket Mortgage—or any home lender, for that matter—is right for you depends primarily on your needs. Are you looking for near-immediate approval? Do you loathe the thought of having to speak to a loan officer? Have you already shopped around, so you can quickly compare Rocket Mortgage’s rates with leading competitors? In these instances, the benefits offered by Rocket Mortgage might be right up your alley.
On the other hand, is this the first stop in your mortgage journey? Are you self-employed with fluctuating income levels? Did you start a new business in the last year or so? Do you have poor credit? Looking for a loan to purchase a second home? In these instances, Rocket Mortgage might not be able to help you—or if they can (such as someone who’s self-employed), additional verification might be required, negating any potential time savings.
The bottom line is that Rocket Mortgage represents a huge leap forward in home lending technology, and there’s currently nothing out there quite like it. Whether or not this translates into something meaningful, though, depends on your specific circumstances.