About Better Mortgage

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff Updated on: Feb 28, 2018

If you’re looking for a mortgage, you’ve entered the arena at a pretty good time in history.

Instead of doing hours of research online before making your first phone call to a lender, you can use a service like Better Mortgage and get pre-approved for a loan in a matter of minutes.

Not only that but if you’re on the hook for an existing mortgage, you can use Better Mortgage to find a refinance offer.

That’s a pretty big sigh of relief, especially considering the stress that comes with the money, responsibility and information of buying a home or refinancing.

Thankfully, Better.com and similar sites say, they’ve come up with a better way of finding a lender who can get you a loan based on your credit score, income, down payment and price of the home you want. But this nearly automated world of lending isn’t always what it seems.

For instance, a site like LendingTree.com provides you dozens of mortgage quotes in less than 15 minutes. But customers have complained that they have no control over who calls them, or, in some cases, who taints their credit score by running hard checks.

Does Beter Mortgage offer a “better” solution? How exactly does it work? Are there drawbacks?

We’re going to answer these questions in one way or another over the next few minutes.

How Does Better Mortgage Work?

We did a test run on Better Mortgage’s site to get a feel for what the average consumer can expect. Right off the bat, their home page says they can quote you competitive mortgage rates in 3 seconds.

Better is now available in 14 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District Of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington

So, we redid the quote by entering a California zip code (92115), along with our credit score (740-759) and our down payment amount ($100,000 on a $500,000 house).

The results came in less than five seconds. We had 18 different options across six types of loans: 30-, 20-, and 15-year fixed rates and 10/1, 7/1 and 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages. We found this refreshing, as most lending sites lure you in with low percentages for adjustable rate mortgages (ARM). ARM’s are usually a bad idea because you pay lower rates for a period of five, seven or 10 years, but after the higher rates kick in many homeowners have a hard time making their payments.

Let’s get back to the quotes: two of the three included points payments. What that means is that they calculated our monthly payment based on us paying a percentage point of our APR up front, rather than spreading it out over the life of the loan.

The reason that’s interesting to us is that buying points is a hotly debated topic and there’s no one answer as to whether or not it’s the right thing to do.

Now, points aside, we appreciated how simple Better Mortgage makes the rates page.

Better.com rates page Better.com’s rates page is simple and easy to understand.

The refinance option worked exactly the same way.

To get a pre-approval for a mortgage or refinance, you choose which offer you like the best and fill out additional information, including the address of the home you want to buy/refi.

Quick note: It’s common to confuse Better Mortgage with a site like LendingTree.com who connects you to “direct lenders”.

However, the two aren’t the same. Lending Tree connects you with direct lenders. Better Morgtage is a direct lender.

You’re basically cutting out the middleman (and a lot of annoying emails and phone calls…check our Lending Tree review for the details) by skipping Lending Tree-style sites and going directly to Better Mortgage

Where Do the Loans Come From?

As a direct lender, Better Mortgage provides your loan via an investor. Once your loan is finalized, you’ll be making payments to the investor who services the loan until it’s paid off.

I asked Mike Pepin, a marketing analyst at Better Mortgage, about this process. Here’s what he said:

  • Better Mortgage analyzes your income, debt, credit history and the value of your home as compared to its price tag.
  • They come up with a loan amount and interest rate you get to see.
  • Meanwhile, Better.com finds investors who are willing to buy the loan and service it.

In other words, Better Mortgage is like a guy who has a lot of friends who like to lend. You ask the guy to borrow some cash. He says yes, based on how much you’re asking for and how able you are to pay it back.

Since he’s done the research and knows you are reliable, he can go back to his lend-happy friends and say, “This borrower checks out. Who wants to lend to him?”

Once they find an investor (lender), Better.com works out the details and, eventually, you start making payments to the investor. According to Mike and Chief Marketing Officer Peter Scherr, those investors include reputable big banks.

Better Mortgage Fees

When you secure a mortgage, you end up paying what’s known as “closing costs.” That’s cash out of your pocket, so to speak, that you need to pay up front. You can’t roll it into your mortgage.

According to Better.com’s FAQ page, closing costs for 2015 typically ranged from $1,500 to $3,500.

We double checked these closing costs with Bankrate.com’s figures for California. They calculated the average closing costs on a $200,000 home to be about $900, which falls into the $1,500-$3,000 range for a $400,000 mortgage.

Even though you’re buying your home with money you secured through Better.com, you still have to pay third-party costs like appraisals, title changes and other fees common to the home buying experience.

You won’t have to pay an origination fee, though, which is basically a charge for processing your application. In most cases, that fee is 0.5 or 1% of your loan amount. In the example we used ($400K), that would total out to between $2,000 and $4,000.

How Sure Are the Rates You’re Quoted?

Rates are a way for lending companies to lure you in. In many cases, they’ll plaster a landing page or home page with a low-interest rate. Come to find out, that rate is actually for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage and not the traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage (which typically has a higher percentage rate than ARMs).

Better Mortgage, as we pointed out, doesn’t do that. They give you the 30-year fixed rate as the first result when you ask for a quote. And, according to their FAQs, that rate will remain the same if your answers are consistent.

Once that rate is locked in, Better Mortgage claims you’ll have your funding in an average of 26 days. Normally, they say, it takes about 47 days.

Word to the wise: Be very straightforward about your credit score, income, and other related numbers. The more truthful you are, the better the chance that your final rate will be the same as, or close to, what you were first quoted.

Better.com will do a basic credit check and income verification, so fudging the numbers won’t help you.

Better Mortgage Reviews

Because Better.com is a relatively new company (registered in New York in 2014), there aren’t many reviews of the company. We did find five reviews of the company on LendingTree.com.

All five reviews were 5-star, with customers saying “love the online process from start to finish and everything was so open and clear” and “I felt like I was dealing with true professionals.”

Is Better Mortgage a Good Choice?

Based on the research we’ve done on Better Mortgage, we think the site offers some advantages you won’t find on a bigger site like LendingTree.

For example, LendingTree connects you with a bunch of companies who lend. Better Mortgage is actually one of those lenders, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of picking one lender out of many.

Another factor which works to the consumer’s advantage, in our opinion, is that Better Mortgage does research to understand exactly what kind of borrower you are. So, when they give you a rate quote, you most likely won’t see a big rate jump, according to Mike and Peter.

It’s kind of like how car companies say they’re selling cars with 0% APR, but when you read the fine print there are certain requirements you must meet to get that amazing interest rate.

From what we’ve seen in our research, Better Mortgage doesn’t do that. In fact, when you go to their site, you aren’t hit with ARM rates that try to lure you in.

What we’ve read and heard says that Better.com is a reliable site, and it appears that customers are overall happy with the company according to positive reviews on websites around the web.

Also, at this time, Better Mortgage only offers loans and refi’s in 14 states – we hope to see the state inventory list expand in the near future.

» For Further Reading:

Sign Up for HighYa Newsletter

Sign up for HighYa newsletter and get our best content delivered in your inbox as well as 3 free eBooks to help you save money and shop smarter. Enter your email below to get started!

34 Consumer Reviews for Better Mortgage

Average Consumer Rating: 3.5
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 19 4 star: 2 3 star: 1 2 star: 1 1 star:  11
Bottom Line: 65% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 34
Sort reviews by:

  • Great experience

    • Georgia,
    • May 26, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    A few days ago I closed on a mortgage loan with Better Mortgage. I didn't quite know what to expect from a 100% online process, but it was great. My loan officer was knowledgeable and very helpful through the process. Not only she responded timely and fulfilled her commitments, but she was friendly and easy to talk with. The online application process was very transparent, at any time I could see what phase of the process the loan was in, what documents were under review, what documents I still had to provide, or were pending review.

    Communicating with the loan officer, loan ranger, and loan closer was easy: call them, email, ask a question directly on the portal about a specific task or schedule a time that worked and they called me. They could improve the explanations for document request tasks to make it more clear that once you submit a task, you can't go back to add more docs (ex: bank statements must all be uploaded at once, before you click "submit"), but even then it was a short call or message away to reopen the task.

    Better Mortgage was efficient and worked with me to ensure I could meet my scheduled closing date. We worked so well together that we were ready to close three days before the scheduled closing date. Lauren M, Michael W, and Melissa H were great to work with. Very professional and great customer service.

    The rate for a conventional 30-year loan was better than the rate quoted by my previous brick and mortar lender. No origination fees and closing costs were a little lower than expected. All in all, it was a great experience, and I recommend Better Mortgage.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (0)
    View all 0 commentsHide comments

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Professional and best price

    • Monterey Park, CA,
    • May 24, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Better was the most professional lender I've dealt with. They were super transparent about their practice. They also offered the best price. Even though I didn't go with Better at the end because of a special circumstance, I would definitely recommend Better to anyone.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (0)
    View all 0 commentsHide comments

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Great model, good process, a few tweaks needed

    The initial loan approval and handling by loan 'ranger' was good - no issues. There was a huge amount of information and documentation that was needed, and the requests came dribbling in a piece at a time. A bit aggravating, but that is to be expected I guess. Investors want to be sure who their customer is.

    Once the loan was handed off to subsequent handlers, communications began to dwindle and I felt like the dearth of feedback and progress information was very unsettling. Then when it got to the funding stage, it seemed like a black-box; no indication that the loan clearance isn't handled until the day before closing. This leaves the customer in a very vulnerable spot and causes anxiety for agents and sellers as well since nobody is quite sure if things are progressing as expected.

    The major problem happened at closing. North Carolina has weird closing practices where the seller has one attorney and buyer has another and they each close at different times and locations - bizarre, but that's the way it is. My attorney submits docs to the mortgage company, the mortgage company sends wired funds to my attorney, and then he transfers funds to seller's attorney, who then gives to the seller.

    My attorney submitted the closing documents to Better and I got a notice that the loan had been funded. But later I was contacted by the seller that they had never received funds. After a lot of bad words and frustration on my part, my closing agent at Better finally found out that she had submitted the wire request to your warehouse bank, who then initiated the transmission to my attorney. Something was wrong with the transfer and it was rejected (repeatedly). But there was no feedback to Better about this so nobody really knew where the money was (in fact Better never knew that any problem existed at all!).

    After almost 48 hours of me getting really angry with the closing agent for not proactively finding out what happened, she did track down the issue, and it was finally fixed. But the delay to the seller and the fact that I had to drive the whole episode to completion is totally unacceptable and this process really needs fixed so that ONLY AFTER the seller has confirmed that they have their funds does the buyer receive notice that the loan has funded.

    Aside from those items (which are very solvable), your funding model is very good and I would use it again. Thanks!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (1)
    View all 1 commentsHide comments
    • May 23, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Dennis, I'm glad you enjoyed your overall experience with us! I'd also like to thank you for your feedback, as it helps us identify ways to improve our process. Our top priority is to make the mortgage process as seamless as possible. We'll continue to work towards this goal so that we can better serve any mortgage needs you may have in the future.

      Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Mortgage refi

    The Better Mortgage team was easy to work with, very thorough and checked in often. There was a lot of paperwork to provide for the mortgage but it was easily uploaded or linked and they responded quickly with questions or issues.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (0)
    View all 0 commentsHide comments

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Horrible!

    • Denver, CO,
    • Apr 29, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    This company is a joke for a mortgage company. We got all the way to the week of closing to find out they were missing some information and were falling way behind on processing. You can never get a hold of your loan processor and when you do call it sounds like you are calling a loud call center. Luckily I had a local lender who was able to help clean up their mess, but not without costing me an extra $1,000.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (2)
    View all 2 commentsHide comments
    • May 1, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Joann. I'm sorry to hear you are unhappy with your Better experience, and I'd really like to learn more. Since I have no contact information for you, please feel free to contact me directly at jmoffatt@better.com.

      Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)

    • May 9, 2018

      Michele

      I've been trying since March to refinance two properties with Better. I loved the online process but if I'm uploading all the information myself, you'd think the process would go faster. At first, they were very responsive (I imagine because they wanted the business), and as things have gone on, the delays are becoming much more difficult and I'm looking to be convinced not to just give up. The call center is difficult to navigate and you'd think that having a local "loan ranger" would be a plus, but I'm not sure how much influence they even have as everything seems to be up to the people in New York anyway.

      There have a been a number of confusing issues, most recently a new request for my employment information more than two months into the process. I would think they would have that information unless they aren't doing what they say they are. If my loans close in the next few days then it may all just be the regulations, but they really should have a much more realistic timeline.

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • Better Mortgage was better

    • Round Rock, TX,
    • Apr 28, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    After researching through review sites, we contacted three mortgage lenders for the purchase of our new home (two online and one local) and chose Better Mortgage initially for the rates and savings in fees. They quickly pre-approved us. Initially, we didn't always talk to the same person, but everyone we did talk to was very helpful and kept us moving along. Once you are past the preliminary approval process, you are assigned a "loan ranger" who becomes your single point of contact. After that, you are assigned a closing associate for the final stretch. Both of these people were amazing. You could schedule phone calls for them to call you if you had any questions which we did.

    The online interface is really well done. You have a "To Do" list which allows you to easily upload documents that they need. We got papers from the title company four days before closing to review which is wonderful. We would definitely use Better Mortgage again.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (1)
    View all 1 commentsHide comments
    • May 1, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Rodney, it’s great to hear we were the most competitive choice among the other lenders you considered. It was a pleasure working with you, and I hope you'll stay in touch!

      Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • Great experience

    Better made it very easy to go through the entire loan approval process online. Their website was set up in a way to make it organized and pretty painless, even though with any loan, there are many documents that need to be provided. It was easy to tell what they were waiting for. It was easy to get answers to questions as well. We were very happy with our rate and the overall experience.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (1)
    View all 1 commentsHide comments
    • May 1, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Ruth, I'm so glad you enjoyed working with Better (and our 100% digital application). We're working every day to bring mortgages into the 21st century, so feedback like yours is very much appreciated.

      Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • As easy as it gets

    The first few stages went faster than any other mortgage I've ever done. The underwriting, while cumbersome as usual, was quicker and easier to deal with due to being able to submit everything online, and having it reviewed within one or two days max. Also, throughout the process, my emails were answered within a day or two.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (1)
    View all 1 commentsHide comments
    • Apr 25, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Jeffrey, I'm so glad we were able to deliver you a fast and easy mortgage experience. It was a pleasure working with you, and we wish you the best of luck!

      Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • Great experience

    First I would like to express my truly gratitude to Margaret (loan ranger) and John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination), who helped me get my refinance loan approved. It was my second time refinancing my home, however, it was a little different now since Better Mortgage is a digital platform which means you will need to upload tons of documents during the whole process and check back periodically for any new task assigned to you in order to keep the process going.

    The only flaw during the process was the underwriting process, which in my opinion, was the lack of knowledge of the underwriter when it comes to adding overtime to your principal income delayed my process few weeks. Other than that, it was a great experience, especially when I saved over $3k in closing cost at the end. I will work with them in the future.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (1)
    View all 1 commentsHide comments
    • Apr 23, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Cristiand, I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed refinancing with Better. It was a pleasure working with you, and I look forward to working with you again in the future!

      Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • Innovative refinancing

    • West Covina, CA,
    • Mar 31, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    It was a great experience, knowing that I can track the progress of my refinancing online. There are times that it is so quiet, particularly while underwriting. I experienced one week of silence. I never heard anything from anyone. And this feeling is nerve-wracking for the borrower. Sometimes we need to get updates from email, text, etc. Just to relieve this stress. Say Hi, hello, we are dealing with VOE, etc. Just "Happy weekend" is probably enough.

    But overall, I recommend everyone to try Better Mortgage.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (1)
    View all 1 commentsHide comments
    • Apr 3, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Jeff, it's great to hear you enjoyed your overall experience with Better! We appreciate both your positive and constructive comments because there's always room to improve, and we'll keep at it!

      Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Awful customer service.

    After a Facebook advertisement about Better Mortgage, I engaged the website. Later I got an email asking me to contact a specialist. His schedule was booked for over a week. Also was included a strange message that my request must be over $0. Later I get an email that my request was denied when I never followed through or requested anything. Avoid this computer generated email company. They are not better at anything.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (1)
    View all 1 commentsHide comments
    • Apr 3, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Robert, I'm sorry to hear you were unhappy with your Better Morgage experience. We are looking into the issue you reported, in the meantime, feel free to contact me directly at jmoffatt@better.com.

      Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


Showing 1-11 of 34

Write a Review for Better Mortgage!

Share your experience to help others shop smarter & discover great products.

Write a Review