What Is Better Mortgage?

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff Updated on: Oct 4, 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 purchase or refinance loan in a matter of minutes.

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 and similar sites say, they’ve come up with a better way of getting 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 Better Mortgage offer a “better” solution? How exactly does it work? Are there drawbacks?

We’re going to answer these questions in our review within the next few minutes.

How Does Better Mortgage Work?

Better’s purchase and refinance mortgages are available in 19 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.

We did a test run on Better Mortgage’s site to get a feel for what the average consumer can expect. We entered 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 several 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. To help you decide if paying points is right for you, Better created a video located on their homepage, to explain points.

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

Better Mortgage Interest RatesAn example taken from Better Mortgage's website of us trying to obtain interest rate quotes. Credit: better.com

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 Mortgage 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 originates (processes) and funds your loan. Once your loan is finalized, you’ll be making payments to the final investor who services the loan until it’s paid off.

Here’s how the Better Mortgage application process works:

  • 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.

What Are The 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. At Better, you can also roll it into your mortgage by accepting a higher interest rate in exchange for no closing costs.

According to Better, 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 $2,225.

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 where 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.

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 Consumer Reviews

Better Mortgage receives good reviews from borrowers.

As of 10/04/18, the company had an average rating of 3.9 from HighYa reviewers. The best reviews noted how easy and fluid the process was, while negative reviews focused on the funding process taking too long.

From our perspective, the reviews are indicative of the type of reviews you get with mortgage lenders. The good reviews laud the process while the bad reviews lampoon it.

What’s most important for you to know is that Better Mortgage’s reviews on HighYa are pretty solid and indicate that there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy your experience.

Reviews of the company are great on other sites as well, with most consumers giving Better Mortgage high praise.

In terms of how often the initial quoted rate for your mortgage matches the rate you actually get, Bankrate says borrowers had a 95% success rate.

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.

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 19 states – we hope to see the state inventory list expand in the near future.

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67 Consumer Reviews for Better Mortgage

Average Consumer Rating: 3.9
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 44 4 star: 4 3 star: 2 2 star: 1 1 star:  16
Bottom Line: 72% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 67
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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Nothing better about this mortgage company.

    • Nashville, TN,
    • Nov 5, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Nothing better about this company, I would suggest trying someone else, I know we will next time and will tell anyone that asks the same. The following is our experience with the Better mortgage company when doing a cash out refinance.

    First, a little background as a reference. Between my spouse and I, we have gone through the mortgage process six times in the past seven years, plus my spouse worked for several years in the housing finance industry, so we are both familiar with the process and know what is expected and why. This was not the worst mortgage company we have worked with, that would be Fifth Third Bank, but this was far from a good experience.

    The underwriting department was the majority of the problem. They would ask for documentation that was completely irrelevant and repeatedly read the credit report incorrectly then refused to correct their oversights. They refused to provide us with a copy of the credit report they were using. We explained that we paid for the credit report and that we were comfortable signing a release to have an electronic copy sent to us for review. They refused again telling us they “do not have the right” to send us a copy of the credit report even if we had paid for it to be run. So we ran my credit report so we could explain what we suspected they were seeing and how they were interrupting it incorrectly. This was not on just one account, there were several that they read incorrectly, including one for a previous mortgage that was clearly paid off and the account closed.

    There were several other problems with the underwriting process. My favorite was that they repeatedly told me that I had to provide proof that I did not own a specific other property. Before you say that is not an odd question, you are right, if they had asked if I owned any other property that would be understandable. But that was not what they wanted, they wanted me to provide proof that I did not own a specific property. We were dumbfounded. I have no claim to the property they were questioning, have no liens in my names against the property, and had never even lived at that address. After repeatedly telling them I had nothing to do with the property, they still demanded that I provide proof that I did not own that property. To put it simply, they said I had to prove that I did not own this other person’s house. For those who do not know, property ownership is public record and available at your local county clerk’s or tax assessor’s office, most modern areas offer this information for free if you can navigate to it from their website. So the information they were requesting from us is something that they should regularly have to do as underwriters. After refusing to move forward with the process until I provided proof that I did not own the property, I found the information from the tax assessor’s website and send them the link showing the actual property owner.

    Now that it is believed we have resolved all their issues and are ready to move forward, they come back saying that we have to renew our property insurance before we could move forward. So we had to contact our insurance agents and request to renew our policy two months early because the mortgage company will not move forward until it is renewed and paid. For those still reading are probably thinking this seems like it is taking a long time, and you are right, it is so long in fact that they inform me that if I do not close Monday, the rate lock will expire. So what is happening here is that they have taken upfront fees from us saying to lock a certain rate. They have pushed the process along so slowly that the locked rate was about to expire and they would be able to increase the rate of the mortgage.

    Our insurance agent gets us the renewal quickly, we get everything paid and copies of the renewal to provide the lender, then when we go in to upload, low and behold, they bypassed the insurance renewal requirement to schedule the closing, which for those that do not remember had told us everything was on hold until the insurance was renewed.

    Now the underwriting fiasco was complete on to closing. On the latest closing disclosure document, it has a line item with a change to pay the annual insurance premium, which this is not uncommon at all, the insurance needs to be paid. We called, informing the lender that the insurance had been renewed and sent in a copy of the renewal to have the line item removed.

    A couple of hours later before the closing, we get a new closing disclosure, which still has the insurance change. We call back and they explain after the closing that a new disclosure will be created with the line item removed and the amounts disbursed will reflect what is on that disclosure. But to no surprise, the amount disbursed was the incorrect amount. When I called back after the closing, I first spoke with a rep named Corin, who was very rude, and when I asked for his last name, refused, saying it was not relevant. The person he transferred me to, which was not even the correct person, was nice enough to give me his full name, Corin M, then transferred me to the correct person.

    That is the end of my review. There were more issues - they wanted us to explain how we paid off previous debt, had to verify employment more than once, and canceled then rescheduled mobile notaries without informing us, but figured this was already too long and I should skip that stuff. Hopefully, this helps someone, if you choose to go with another company. Good luck for those that decide to give them a try, do not say that at least someone did not try to warn you, and if you get Corin M, you should hang up right away and call back.

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

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  • Amazing company, great customer service, best rates, will use again!

    • Cumming, GA,
    • Oct 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I can't say enough great things about Better Mortgage. I've re-financed many times over the years, and Better was the best. Not only did they smash the rate I received from Quicken Loans by .25% but charged me ZERO origination points and fees were extremely low. It was also the web interface that was easy to use, the process, and the excellent customer service I received from Michael and James. They answered all my questions very quickly and efficiently.

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

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  • Excellent process

    • East Meadow, NY,
    • Oct 11, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    From start to finish, the entire team made our mortgage process quick and painless. They responded promptly to all questions and concerns, and electronically held our hands the entire time. I would definitely recommend them to all my family and friends. Thank you again!

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

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  • Other mortgage companies cannot compare!

    • Frisco, TX,
    • Oct 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    First, Better had a lower interest rate than any other lender I received quotes from. And I had around a dozen.

    Second, Better did not charge an origination fee, which saved me thousands of dollars. No other lenders offered this.

    Third, Better has a very nice interactive user portal for tracking and uploading your documentation. Plus the user receives email reminders when there are actions to be taken.

    If they keep this up, they're going to change the way the lending industry operates.

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

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  • Very pleased

    • Orlando, FL,
    • Oct 6, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I refinanced, and was my first time to refinance a loan in my life, so was a little nervous about the whole process. But the way Better.com does things makes the whole process go smooth. As long as you have all your documents you should have no problem because Better gives you a to-do list so you know what paperwork or documents are needed and at what time you need them. I made various phone calls and emails due to questions I had being my first time and every one of my phone calls and emails were answered quickly. All the loan personel that helped me (Samual, Dane, Tim, Eric) and the ladies at the front desk were very helpful to me. I would recommend Better.com to anyone!

    Thank you.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Do not recommend

    This was a terrible buying experience. My wife and I just used Better.com to buy our new home. At first, the process seemed too good to be true. Everything was "streamlined" and "accessible" through the fancy dashboard - and it was, at first. That was until we got down to crunch time. The first few steps in the process were very smooth, but once our loan went to underwriting, it slowed waaayy down and communication basically disappeared. In the final weeks up to our closing, we were constantly reaching out to our Better rep looking for updates, and we were assured over and over that we were on track.

    Then, the day before our scheduled closing, we messaged them, only to find that they had FAILED to send us a required disclosure and complete underwriting, moving our ENTIRE closing process and move-in back! We only found out about this BECAUSE WE CALLED THEM - no communication from on their part. This caused us to reschedule the closing of the home we were selling, our movers, days off work, getting utilities turned on at the new property, etc. It was a total disaster. Even though we had been told, repeatedly, that we were on track for our scheduled close.

    After that discovery, it was basically like pulling teeth to get anyone on the phone or to get anything done. By some miracle (it felt), we were finally able to close.

    I do not recommend this company or anyone associated with it. This experience was made WAY more stressful than it should have been all because of "Better.com" and their sub-par communication and outright lies.

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

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    • Oct 11, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Harrison, while we cannot speak publicly about the specifics of your situation, I am sorry we were not able to meet your expectations. Our team worked diligently on your loan, but ultimately, issues can arise in the homebuying process that are outside of any lender’s control. We do appreciate your feedback on our communication and will keep working to improve it. Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)

    • Nov 15, 2018

      Cathryn A.

      The worst experience of my life. The process dragged on and on. I was never able to upload the documents requested, so I was faxing documents daily. Almost the last day, one associate told me to download Chrome on my iPad and then I would be able to upload. I could have used that information in the beginning. My loan ranger was named Tony but almost daily, other associates emailed me and requested documents. I repeatedly was asked for the same documents over and over. I would supply the documents and the next day under my tasks would be a new request for the documents. All over a period of a month, I faxed over two hundred documents, many five or six times as associates would post a task of what I had already sent. It was not a smooth process, my loan request was not large and I was putting over 20% down.

      My seller requested documents asking the status of my loan and was provided information saying that everything was on track. We are now over a month into the process and two weeks to the close of escrow. My broker told me she was getting nervous and emailed Tony who told her everything was on track. Three days later Tony sends me a note saying he will not be able to fund the loan. Reason? Insufficient income for the amount of the loan, my broker was stunned. My income had been verified since the beginning of the process. I had been given documents showing all the costs and the loan amount. When I emailed Tony and questioned the process, he got snarky with me and said he would probably only be able to loan me $15000, I said you mean "$15000?"He sent back an email with the number 15, this is after the loan had been preapproved for over a month for over $200,000. The escrow company and my broker were stunned, this home I was buying was running simultaneously with a property I was selling, of which the proceeds from that sale would go to the property I was buying.

      The entire process of both escrows was thrown into chaos. When I questioned what was going on, he stopped communicating with me altogether. I am a former escrow officer and I have seen plenty of escrows fall apart but this was the most unprofessional experience I have ever had. At 9:45 am on the last day, I received a request for documents I had already sent the week before. At 10:45 am on the same morning, I was sent an email that my loan request was denied. And finally, I must say that my feeling is, because of the way it all was so sudden, that my age had something to do with this. My husband and I are seniors, and we felt the denial of this loan had something to do with our age. I think somewhere along the line someone noticed our age and shut it down, although we both still work full time. I would suggest that if someone would like a loan, that it would be better to borrow from The Soprano Family than work through the horrendous process I was put through.

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  • Above and beyond

    • Pennsylvania,
    • Sep 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    We worked with an extremely dedicated loan ranger (Joana) who worked and reworked our application fighting to get us approved. My husband and I had a very unique application, and Joana guided us every step of the way. I highly recommend Better.com and Joana Marin.

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

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    • Oct 3, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Nancy, I'm happy to hear that our loan team made the mortgage process easier, especially with your unique situation. We can't wait to work with you again in the future. Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)

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  • Better is better! They know how to treat their customers.

    • Beachwood, NJ,
    • Sep 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Obtaining loan approval for a mortgage can be an overwhelming and daunting task. Additionally, some companies I have previously dealt with leave you feeling forgotten, causing a nail-biting lapse that leaves you so distressed. Not Better Mortgage! Their customer service is above reproach, making each customer feel as though they are the only ones. The caring and concern and even emotional support that exudes from the loan officers are outstanding. Not once did I have to feel inferior or forgotten.

    Don't get me wrong, it's a long process, but Better Mortgage stays on top of things and helps you every step of the way. I highly recommend this company to anyone seeking a mortgage loan.

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

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    • Oct 3, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Pauline, I'm thrilled that Better's dedicated customer support team made your mortgage experience comfortable and less daunting. It was a pleasure working with you, and I hope you'll keep in touch! Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)

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  • Great rates, easy to use!

    • Chicago, IL,
    • Sep 11, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I happened to find Better online when I was comparison shopping for mortgage rates, and they had the best rate. Once I learned more about their process and goal of simplifying the mortgage lending process, I decided to move forward with them. The online portal was well-designed, easy to use, and they did a good job of keeping us up-to-date on where we were in the process and who we should contact if we had any questions or issues. The closing was scheduled at our convenience, and it went really smoothly! I'd highly recommend it!

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

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    • Oct 3, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Jon, I'm so glad you enjoyed working with Better. It's also 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 stay in touch! Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)

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  • Great online app

    • Atlanta, GA,
    • Sep 11, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Doing everything online allowed us to check daily to see what was happening. As we completed the task, the site was updated and we could see what other items needed to be done. Very easy to upload documents and watch the process proceed.

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

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    • Oct 3, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Pat, I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed working with Better! With our 100% digital application, we aim to make the mortgage process simple, transparent, and hassle-free. Feedback like yours helps us ensure that we are succeeding in this mission, so it’s very much appreciated. Sincerely, John Moffat (Head of Loan Origination)

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  • Better Mortgage - completely satisfied

    • California,
    • Sep 10, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The flow of the online application is simple and intuitive, Better Mortgage requires a minimal amount of work which is really required. Loan officers Kelly Lescano, David Hu, and Eric Wilson were very helpful and easy to work with. Highly appreciated.

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

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    • Oct 3, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Oleg, thanks for your review! It's great to hear you enjoyed various aspects of the Better experience, from our online application to our customer support team. We hope to work with you again in the future! Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)

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