When shopping for a mortgage, you generally have three options: contact banks individually, with the hope they offer something good; get in touch with a broker, who could charge steep fees, or; send your personal information into the abyss by signing up for a mortgage comparison website.
By allowing you to choose from more than 40 lenders and 1,000+ loan programs, close in as little as 15 days, and save an average of $20K over the life of your mortgage, Sindeo claims to offer the best of all worlds. Or, as they put it, “a better way to get a mortgage.” How do they do this?
Sindeo promises to use technology to reduce paperwork, hassle, and confusion, while eliminating surprises and hidden costs. They’ll also provide you with a licensed, experienced, and full-service mortgage advisor, who can help you understand what you can afford and which loan is best for you—even if it’s not with them! And unlike most lenders, they get paid based on your satisfaction, not on your loan amount.
Instead of a bank or a traditional broker, Sindeo calls themselves a “modern mortgage marketplace.” What does this mean? Compared to your other options, will you have a meaningfully different experience with Sindeo? Are there any important factors you should keep in mind?
Let’s start answering your questions by taking a look at Sindeo’s details.
How Does Sindeo Work?
Sindeo is not a direct lender. Instead, they only collect your application (known as originating) and submit it to one of their 40+ lenders, based on your specific needs and preferences. This group of lenders is what Sindeo calls their “mortgage marketplace.”
To help you obtain the right mortgage, Sindeo focuses on providing you with the tools, information, and guidance you need. This involves a team of three professionals:
- Mortgage Advisor (Plan) – This is the first person you’ll speak with at Sindeo, who will remain your point of contact throughout the process. They’ll start off by learning about your home ownership goals and finances, in order to help you find the loan that best meets your needs.
- Mortgage Specialist (Qualify) – After your application is received, your Mortgage Specialist works as the main point of contact between Sindeo and the lender. They’ll also walk you through any additional information or paperwork that’s required, in order to ensure the process proceeds smoothly and efficiently.
- Mortgage Coordinator (Close) – During the application process, your Mortgage Coordinator will focus on managing credit reports, appraisals, and other third-party documents required by the lender. Their goal is to expedite closing.
In addition to their three-part support team, Sindeo claims to have built “internal technology that helps our mortgage team process your loan faster and with fewer errors,” although no additional information is provided.
As of this writing, Sindeo is only available in AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, IL, OR, TN, TX, and WA. The company claims they’re actively working on expanding into new areas.
What Are Sindeo’s Rates & Fees?
According to Sindeo’s FAQ, they’re defined as a “lender-paid mortgage originator.” In other words, they receive a commission for preparing your loan application and sending it over to the lender. This commission can be up to 1.25% of the loan amount, although it might be less depending on the lender or loan program.
Outside of this, we’re only told that within three days of completing your application, you’ll receive a Good Faith Estimate that outlines expected closing fees, including fees to Sindeo. As mentioned above, your Mortgage Advisor will walk your through the estimate.
Pro tip: Were you impressed by Sindeo’s $20K savings claims? While the exact details can be found in their FAQ, keep in mind that this is based on very specific criteria (state, loan amount, interest rate, down payment amount, etc.), so this won’t apply to everyone.
Do you have other questions about Sindeo’s rates and fees? Customer service can be reached at 866-733-7571.
Given their different way of doing business, are Sindeo’s clients pleased with their experience?
What Can We Learn from Sindeo Reviews?
However, this is largely because Sindeo is part of a quickly evolving market segment focused on using technology to provide quick, hassle-free loans, cut out the middlemen, and pass the savings along to customers. In a marketplace that’s quickly becoming crowded, this includes the likes of Lenda, Rocket Mortgage, SoFi, Better Mortgage, Clara Lending… the list goes on.
We found some more in-depth customer feedback and reviews on websites like LendingTree.com and Yelp, where Sindeo appeared to have a mostly positive reputation. Common compliments referenced great service, knowledgeable advisors, and ease of doing business.
On the other hand, what few complaints there were seemed to reference inattentive advisors, poor communication, long closing times (with frequent document requests), and higher rates than expected.
From a company perspective, Sindeo Inc., based out of San Francisco, CA, had an A+ Better Business Bureau rating at the time of our research, with no closed complaints (as of 6/23/16).
With a seemingly solid reputation, how does Sindeo stack up against the stiff competition?
Is Sindeo Better than Other Online Mortgage Providers?
As we mentioned above, Sindeo is part of a quickly growing segment within the mortgage industry that uses proprietary technology to provide accurate, upfront rates; streamline the application process, and pass the savings along to customers in the form of lower interest rates.
The good—and bad—news is that, unlike most of these other companies, who work as direct lenders (they fund the loans themselves), Sindeo only originates the loan and then sends your application off to the lender for approval. This is good, because it could feasibly provide you with far more options than going through a lender directly, including non-traditional financing.
Sindeo also seems to be meaningfully different in that they provide a technology-focused approach, while providing personalized support to their clients throughout the process. This is in stark contrast to some other online lenders who provide you with little more than an email address.
However, because Sindeo is providing a third-party service, they have to charge additional fees to cover their expenses. While the company claims this cost is passed on to the lender (up to 1.25% or your loan’s value), keep in mind that the lender may subsequently charge you more to cover this added fee.
On top of this, we read at least one review claiming that Sindeo charged an additional fee to the client, so this might be something you’ll want to keep a close eye on throughout the process.
Another pitfall of the “mortgage marketplace” concept is that you might not know all the rates and fees upfront, since you’re dealing with so many different banks, each of which have their own underwriting criteria and fee structures. Or if you are provided with a quick quote, it might not be accurate by the time you reach closing.
Before wrapping up, let’s talk about the movers and shakers behind Sindeo.
Who Founded Sindeo?
Sindeo was co-founded by CEO Nick Stamos and Senior Vice President of Marketing Ori Zohar.
After graduating with a degree from MIT, Nick spent 8 years as a strategic consultant, eventually forming the mobile analytics firm Telephia. Telephia was acquired by Nielsen, which then gave Nick the opportunity to “solve a big, important problem” with Sindeo. Sindeo means “to connect” in Greek, which is a nod to Nick’s heritage.
Ori graduated from University of Maryland, College Park, after which he spent his time developing marketing strategies for big ad agencies, getting the opportunity to work with clients like MasterCard, ExxonMobil, and more. When he’s not working, Ori tells us he enjoys traveling the world and running.
Does Sindeo Represent a “New Path Home”?
After you clear away all the marketing, Sindeo is basically an online mortgage broker. However, based on their use of technology, combined with their hands-on, client-centered approach, you might be able to get a quote much faster, and have a more enjoyable overall experience than with traditional brokers.
And compared to the recent influx of online-only, technology-driven mortgage lenders, Sindeo’s “mortgage marketplace” model could provide you with a wide range of options to align with your needs. Just remember to factor in Sindeo’s added fees when comparing their rates with other lenders!
Did you go through Sindeo for your last mortgage? If so, tell us all about the experience by writing a review below!