What Is Better.com?

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Apr 10, 2019

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.com 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.com 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.com offer a “better” mortgage 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.com Work?

We did a test run on Better.com'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.com created a video located on their homepage, to explain points.

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

Better Mortgage Interest RatesAn example taken from Better.com'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.com 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.com 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.com.

Where Do the Loans Come From?

As a direct lender, Better.com 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.com application process works:

  • Better.com 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.com, you can also roll it into your mortgage by accepting a higher interest rate in exchange for no closing costs.

According to Better.com, 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.com, 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.

In What States does Better.com Offer Mortgages and Refinancing?

Better.com's purchase and refinance mortgages are available in 31 states:

  • Alaska
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District Of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • New Jersey
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Better.com Consumer Reviews

Better.com receives good reviews from borrowers.

As of 4/10/19, the company had an average rating of 3.8 from 72 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.com'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.com 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.com a Good Choice?

Based on the research we’ve done on Better.com, 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.com 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.com 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.com 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.com only offers loans and refi’s in 31 states (Including District of Columbia) – since first writing about Better.com, this state of states has been gradually increasing.


Read 78 Better.com Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 3.7
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 48 4 star: 4 3 star: 2 2 star: 1 1 star:  23
Bottom Line: 67% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 78
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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Useless

    • California,
    • Oct 25, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Waited for six weeks for them to tell us we didn't qualify for a refinance despite having excellent credit and more than adequate assets and income. Asked for documents in a very piecemeal way. Website has a good interface and they're responsive, but the bottom line is they just didn't deliver.

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

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    • Oct 29, 2019

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi CF,

      We apologize for the inconvenience you encountered and appreciate the feedback. Since we cannot discuss about your situation in public, please contact us directly at reviews@better.com with information on what happened so we can look into your situation. Let's work this out!

      Sincerely,

      The Better.com Team


  • Stay away. Bait and switch.

    • Arizona,
    • Oct 1, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Locked in a rate with 0 points for refinancing a rental property. The origination fee in the initial good faith estimate was 0. Now the rate is fixed but there is an origination fee of 1% (of the loan). Also, their response time is fairly slow (they claim there is a queue and loans are processed accordingly).

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

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    • Oct 8, 2019

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Omar,

      We apologize for the inconvenience but can assure you we don't bait and switch. Since we cannot discuss your situation in public, feel free to contact us directly at reviews@better.com with details on what happened so we can look into it. We hope to work this out with you.

      Sincerely,

      The Better.com Team


  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Not good, too much aggravation

    • Pequannock, NJ,
    • Sep 23, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    At first, I really liked this site, it quickly spiraled out of control. Looking back there were a few "red flags" I should have recognized. I read some negative reviews and my first instinct was well, you can't please everyone. I wish I had realized that anything you read about other posters' experiences are absolutely true! Don't be a sucker like me and fall for the most likely false positive reviews. Here is my honest unbiased experience.

    I found Better.com while looking for rates for a second home condo refinance. I filled out some information to get my rate, which seemed a little high, but since it's on a second home I felt it may be in line. Immediately calls and texts start coming in. I ignored them for a day, and at one point someone named Andrew left me a voicemail with a number to reach him. A few minutes after his call I called back the number he left and listened to muzak for about 5 minutes. No answer, no automated system, nothing. I pictured the movie boiler room for a split second. But didn't dwell on it. Needless to say, I paid the $550 for an appraisal. Their portal asked for some uploads which seemed so smooth and user-friendly. Seemed like an amazing process. Right off the bat, they asked for my homeowner's policy on my primary residence, and my secondary. When I sent them my primary residence, it was rejected saying they wanted the HO6 policy for secondary...oversight I thought, and I just uploaded everything to their portal. Had an appraisal done, which according to their site if it was less than $550 they would refund the difference. Coincidentally it was $550.

    A few days later, a fellow owner and board member in our small condo community forwarded me emails that they were sending him. They were relentless, and so poorly written, it almost seemed like a fraudulent email telling you that you are the winner of a foreign lottery. He replied to all the questions they had, and more emails came. Asking for HOA insurance policies, and contact info and all stuff I had already provided. He said he even tried calling them to help and listened to Muzak, no one would answer. Finally, after a few days, I myself replied to the email, almost in a curt tone, saying you already have been provided this information, and there were no harassing messages to fellow owners. This concerned me, but I thought after this hurdle, or hoop as another reviewer called it, we would be in the clear.

    After that I spoke to a mortgage officer based in california, who was very friendly and said the underwriting was complete, everything looked good, would be closing within two weeks. In our conversation though he stated he is not licensed in the state of NJ, which was concerning.

    Then the insurance fiasco started. My insurance agent called me and unbeknownst to me said someone called him saying they needed to change the payee on my policy. However, the caller would not verify any information on my policy and he wouldn't do it. We finally straightened that out and I can't tell you how many times I uploaded my policy declarations. After a few days, they tell me I don't have enough coverage on my unit. The same policy I had for 7 years, and no other bank had an issue. I had to triple the amount of coverage and payout of pocket about $300. I have more insurance on a walls in condo policy than I do on my house currently. Another hurdle complete. And another concern making me wonder why I keep sending my insurance info. Where is all this information going on the mystery portal?

    Next, I had to obtain my own payoff statement from my current lender. When I contacted them their reaction was, why are you calling and not the lender you are dealing with? I got it anyway from them and sent it to the portal. $20 out of pocket, and another hurdle.

    There were small things throughout the process that were concerning, they said my property taxes weren't current and wanted me to pay them. They were paid by my current lender, were on to date and paid weeks prior.

    Finally, things were quiet for a few days and I started getting emails overnight. One, while I was on vacation with my family came at 12:30 AM. It basically said there were some things with a credit line that showed up, and I may or may not receive a call from a third party company to look into it. This was VERY VERY concerning, nauseating actually. I was worried that something may be wrong. I emailed my unlicensed NJ rep about it and he basically said someone will call you. I waited for DAYS! Sick about it. No one called. This is when I had enough. I checked my portal one day and it asked if I received a call. I answered no. Didn't hear anything. Then there was the "Have a better offer? We'll beat it screen." This got the gears turning in my head. It took me less than 5 minutes to find a lender with lower fees and rate, by a half an over half a point. And I sent it in. No answer for a few days.

    A few more days pass and I get another request on my portal requesting my mortgage statement, account number and just a repeat of everything I had sent over and over. I emailed my unlicensed rep and said you already have all this info. He said we, unfortunately, do not. And that is when I reached the end. I informed them I don't want to proceed. I have no idea where all my personal info is going, who sees it. But this experience has been a financial and emotional burden. I'm roughly $1000 out of pocket.

    To anyone reading this, please take my experience seriously and do not think yours may be better. There are much more professional and organized lenders. I really wanted to like this company and thought it would be easy and smooth. It was brutal. To any Better.com employee who reads this, please do not respond with a generic "sorry for your experience." You have a ton of my information, you know how to reach me.

    As a side note, I just checked my Better.com portal. Still no competing offer.

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

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    • Sep 24, 2019

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Corey,

      We apologize for the inconvenience we may have caused you. We appreciate your feedback and truly value it, however, since we cannot discuss your situation in public, can you email us directly at reviews@better.com with your full name, contact information, and the details of what happened so we can look into your situation. We strive to improve our processes so that borrowers can have a better experience.

      Sincerely,

      The Better.com Team


  • 7 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Don't waste your time

    • Dallas, TX,
    • Aug 7, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I thought I would receive a lower level of financial scrutiny at Better.com due to me being self employed. Instead, I've received two good offers from BANKS, where Better.com wouldn't give me the time of day.

    Forget this company regardless of its high ratings here or elsewhere. Waste of time.

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

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    • Aug 21, 2019

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Curt,

      I apologize you didn’t enjoy your Better experience. We value all feedback as we strive for customer satisfaction. I cannot speak publicly about your situation, however, if you’d like to discuss your experience in detail, feel free to contact us at reviews@better.com.

      Sincerely, the Better.com Team


  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    False advertisement

    • Bayonne, NJ,
    • Jul 24, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    They say they offer lower rates because they don’t charge lender fees but I was able to get better rates from other lenders. They promote a best price guarantee of $1000, either beating a competitor’s offer by that amount or crediting you $1000 if they can’t beat it. I provided them with a loan estimate within three days and then they pulled a fast one and stated "oh, the loan amount has to be less than $500,000 to qualify," which is not mentioned anywhere on their site!

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

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    • Aug 21, 2019

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Reginald, I'm sorry you weren't pleased with your experience at Better. Although we have responded to previous comments on other sites, we value all feedback. I cannot speak publicly about your situation, however, if you'd like to discuss your experience in detail, feel free to contact us at reviews@better.com. Sincerely, the Better.com Team.


  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Simple, easy, and transparent

    • Denver, CO,
    • Apr 22, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I ended up not refinancing with anyone, but if I do in the future, I will definitely strongly consider better. They're one of the few lenders that is transparent about all fees and associated costs.

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

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    • Apr 23, 2019

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi David! Thank you for the consideration. We try are hardest to make this a seamless, transparent and easy process. We hope you think of us again if ever in the future. Looking forward to work with you! Sincerely, the Better.com Team.


  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    No hard sell

    • Arizona,
    • Mar 17, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was looking into my options with regards to getting my PMI canceled by refinancing or by having an appraisal done. The representative went over some numbers with me and suggested that having the appraisal done, despite the risk it wouldn't be enough, was a better option financially than refinancing. I really appreciate the honesty and the lack of hard selling like I've seen with other mortgage providers.

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

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    • Apr 5, 2019

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Michael, thank you for choosing Better.com. We enjoyed working with you and are glad you could utilize our dedicated customer support team. I'm glad we were able to make the process transparent for you and wish you the best of luck. Sincerely, Megan Bellingham (Head of Mortgage Operations).


  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Scam! Stay away!

    • Georgia,
    • Jan 3, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was offered the better price guarantee for $1000 if I sent in my loan info. If they couldn't beat it then they give you $1000. I sent them my loan estimate but when they couldn't beat or match it, then I didn't qualify because they can write a loan the way a big bank can. This is after they sent us two or three estimates. This is a scam; they do this to try and get your business.

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

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    • Jan 7, 2019

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Brandon, I’m sorry you weren’t pleased with your experience at Better. We previously responded to your comment on other sites and value your feedback. I cannot speak publicly about your situation, however, if you’d like to discuss your experience in detail feel free to contact us. Sincerely,

      Megan Bellingham (Head of Mortgage Operations).


  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Impressed.

    • Corning, CA,
    • Dec 5, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I did not complete the loan because of health issues and life events but was impressed with both their fast online application process and follow up with loan consultant, Holly Haynes. When ready to proceed, I will go back to Better Mortgage.

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

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    • Dec 19, 2018

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Vicki, thank you for your feedback. I’m happy to hear that we could make the mortgage process easier. We can’t wait to work with you again in the future.

      Sincerely, Megan Bellingham (Head of Mortgage Operations)


  • Easiest mortgage experience ever!

    • San Francisco, CA,
    • Dec 4, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Taking a mortgage with Better was such a smooth and easy experience. I found Better while shopping for an investment property when I needed to obtain a mortgage pre-approval letter. I had the pre-approval letter in my hands within 5 minutes of finding Better - it was amazing!

    Better continue to deliver after my initial experience with them - they were consistently easy to use, smooth, with extremely helpful and professional loan consultants to guide me along the way. Their platform and notification systems kept me on track, so I knew exactly what I had to do at every step.

    Super simple process, great people. I'd absolutely use Better again in a heartbeat!

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

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    • Dec 19, 2018

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Stephen, I am happy to hear your Better experience was enjoyable. I’m glad you found Better’s digital application useful, making your mortgage process both fast and transparent. Best of luck in your new home.

      Sincerely, Megan Bellingham (Head of Mortgage Operations)


  • 7 out 8 people found this review helpful

    WORSE mortgage!

    • Florida,
    • Nov 29, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    This is the 6th house purchase we have made, thus we are not new to the mortgage application process. Compared with previous mortgages, Better required much more documentation. We were required to upload the finest detail, sometimes the same information was required more than once! I had to answer a question as to why my work location is more than 50 miles from my residence, and many more apparently inane irrelevant questions.

    After submitting all the info repeatedly, we were concerned that there may have been some sort of problem, so we reached out to them to make sure we were still on target for closing on 11/30/18. They assured us that it was.

    However, yesterday, 11/26/18 at approximately 4 pm, we received an email suggesting that there was a problem with the HOA's insurance coverage on the condo and they "are still trying to get clarification, but are pretty sure...we would not be able to complete the loan, even though you are well qualified borrowers, we would not have clearance on the HOA." The last time any discussion was documented regarding HOA insurance policies was 10/31.

    After uploading hundreds of documents, and several weeks of work and time, they left us high and dry three days before closing.

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

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    • Dec 17, 2018

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Paige, I’m sorry you weren’t pleased with your experience at Better. We previously responded to your comment on other sites and value your feedback. I cannot speak publicly about your situation, however, if you’d like to discuss your experience in detail feel free to contact me at mbellingham@better.com.

      Sincerely, Megan Bellingham (Head of Mortgage Operations)


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