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.


Customer Reviews

Start your review of Better.com:
  • 82 Customer Reviews
  • 65% Recommend This Company
3.6 out of 5
5 star: 59% 4 star: 4% 3 star: 2% 2 star: 1% 1 star: 31%

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We have a zero-tolerance policy for fake reviews, and companies cannot control or alter any reviews at any time.

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  • Great Experience

    Overall Experience:

    I just closed the refinance loan today after a little over 3 weeks. Working with Sathi Roy and team was smooth and professional. Got a great rate and terms. Highly recommend!

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


  • Quick and Easy Refinancing

    • By Paul D.,
    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Oct 18, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    It's a Quick and an Easy Rffi. I locked in at the end of Aug 2016, funded by end of September, and application and "paperwork" all online. Having a scanner really helps! I answered a few questions and loan approved.

    They did ask a couple of questions that I thought were kind of trivial, but, I did answer them and all went smoothly.

    I did choose to pay some points to lower my rate. I really liked that they displayed all the choices and I was able to choose the loan and rates that I wanted.

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


  • Low rate, easy website.

    • By Jared K,
    • Chicago, IL,
    • Jun 29, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I am a first-time homebuyer. I closed on a condo in 35 days (today is June 28th) with a 4% fixed 30-year rate with 5% down and no points. I worked primarily with Sathi and Amy, who were both attentive and easy to work with. I will refi with them if Trump turns the economy into a dumpster fire and rates plummet again. Thanks to the Better team!

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

    • Jul 3, 2017

      Company Response from

      Hi Jared,

      Congrats on becoming a homeowner! I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed your purchase experience with us, and I hope you'll stay in touch with any mortgage needs you may have in the future.

      Sincerely,

      Kristen Connor


  • The future is here

    • By Robbie Poe,
    • Raleigh, NC,
    • Aug 2, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Seriously, who would have ever thought getting a mortgage would be a wonderful experience? Speaking as a former Senior Digital Product Owner, Better.com is one of the most perfectly designed experiences I have ever seen online. I'd love to see these guys put all the other antiquated lenders out of business.

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

    • Aug 2, 2017

      Company Response from

      Hi Robbie,

      I’m thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your purchase experience with us. We agree that the traditional mortgage industry often operates as if the internet does not exist. That’s why our team is dedicated to building thoughtful technology that allows our customers to get a mortgage 100% online. Feedback like yours helps us ensure that we are succeeding in our mission, so it’s very much appreciated.

      Sincerely,

      Kristen Connor


  • Better, indeed

    • By Dzenan Zukic,
    • North Carolina,
    • Mar 5, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    When I read about Better's "promise" to beat any other offer by at least a $1000, I laughed at it.

    To get started, I didn't have to create a profile; I could use my Google account to log in. Also, only a soft credit check was required to get a loan quote (I wish everybody did that). The interest rate and the loan cost were not the best, much less by a $1k. I laughed again at the promise and carried on. I got quotes from online ("direct") and local lenders.

    But the next morning Lucy (a loan officer from Better) called me to check up on the loan. I said that they are not the best, and she asked me to forward her my best offer, and she will beat it. The best offer I had was from aimloan.com, and since they were the best in Zillow's comparison (https://www.zillow.com/mortgage-rates/quotes/) I thought that was it. But Better's updated quote matched AIM's interest rate and beat the loan cost (Origination Charges + Services You Cannot Shop For) by about a $1000! Of course, I went with Better.

    But the good news don't end there. Proving that I can pay off the mortgage was easy, sign into Paychex and banks, and give access to last three statements to Better. Rocketmortgage.com required that just to get a quote! Giving access to tax return by logging into CreditKarma didn't work correctly for some reason, so I had to upload PDFs.

    The biggest surprise was when they decided to "waive" the appraisal! Since the townhouse I was buying was publicly advertised, I had 20% down, and I assume they estimated that our contracted price (a bit higher than asking price) was around fair market value, they decided that appraisal was not necessary. That meant no waiting for the appraisal, no chance that the appraiser would appraise it for less, and no $500 appraisal fee!

    The last surprise was when they got final documentation from the closing attorney and realized that the townhouse is not a "condo" but a PUD (planned unit development). That means that lender credits increase from $121 to $520, meaning I had to pay $400 less towards closing costs!

    The reason I even considered "local" lenders is that our buyer's real estate agent strongly advised against internet lenders, that there is no way to get hold of them and see how far along is the loan process, and that the loan is sometimes not ready in time for closing, so closing has to be postponed, etc. That was totally not the case. You can schedule a call with the person currently in charge of your loan. It had to be done about a day in advance until we got to the closing phase, then it was the same day. And when we informed Better about our intention to close earlier than we had contracted, they moved the processing of my loan forward so it would be ready in time!

    You should definitely shop around, but definitely check Better and ask them to beat your best other offer!

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

    • Mar 5, 2018

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Dzenan, thanks so much for sharing your experience! I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed so many aspects of Better's mortgage process, especially our Better Price Guarantee. We wish you the best of luck in your new home!

      Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)


  • Fantastic experience

    Overall Experience:

    After comparing several brick and mortar and online lenders, it was clear that Better stood out from the pack not only for their low rates, but also the ease that their online interface offered. I was initially concerned that with an online lender, I wouldn't have anyone to talk to with questions or concerns. Better immediately delivered when my loan consultant returned my call on a holiday to discuss my loan and to answer my initial questions. The process moved quickly, and there was always someone available via phone or email to answer any questions. I never had to wait more than an hour or two for a response. My loan was approved and funded quickly, and the process was smooth throughout. I could not have asked for a better experience.

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

    • Mar 6, 2018

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi David,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed working with Better! With our efforts to provide superior customer support, 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)


  • Clarity throughout the process

    Overall Experience:

    I was initially attracted to Better because their interface and pricing were very clear. I loved the fact that I could see the whole constellation of different loan products all at once, which, as a finance guy, made it easy and fun to calculate the best mortgage deal for me.

    The process of filling out the loan was streamlined and easy, and I was never unsure on what to do.

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

    • Mar 8, 2018

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Russell, I'm so glad that we were able to make your mortgage experience transparent and seamless. Our goal is to support our customers so they can get the right mortgage for them, it's great to hear we succeeded in this for you. Good luck, and we look forward to working with you in the future!

      Best, John Moffat (Head of Loan Origination)


  • Amazing service, great response, and love the website for updates.

    Overall Experience:

    Honestly, it could not have been smoother. I did my part and stayed on top of what was asked for daily to help the process go smoother/quicker. I did have a few questions or clarifications along the way, all answered quickly and accurately so I could get what was needed. I will for sure use them again in the future as well as recommend.

    In short, I loved the experience and especially loved the fact that it was not gimmicky because well, you deal with the website 80% of the time. Added bonus, they don't bug you by calling unless you ask them to, then they do! Keep it up ladies and gentleman, you got a winner there!

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

    • Mar 9, 2018

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Nathan, it's great to hear that you enjoyed working with us! I'm so glad you enjoyed so many aspects of Better Mortgage process, especially since our team's goal is to provide support, not sales. We hope to work with you again in the future.

      Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)


  • First class tech-powered experience nearly flawless

    • By Albert Lilly,
    • Austin, TX,
    • Mar 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I am on my 5th mortgage so not my first rodeo. Better Mortgage lived up to their name and is truly better. Their mortgage platform and process helped us win the house in an uber-tight seller's market. Not only did they have the best rates no one could beat, their entire tech-enabled process enabled us to pounce immediately on the right opportunity, from a near real-time pre-approval letter we could present on through to the ability to close very fast, all making for a squeaky clean offer to the seller and getting us funded and done on time.

    Because they are an online/tech lender, you may not get the hand holding you would from a traditional lender but they have a team available at your disposal to help. Hence the more you know about the mortgage process the better. They also have tools and resources that clearly explain it for newbies.

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

    • Mar 26, 2018

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Albert, I'm thrilled that Better helped you seal the deal on your new home! We work hard every day to help our customers make winning bids in competitive markets, so your feedback is much appreciated. Best of luck, and we hope to work with you again!

      Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)


  • Perfect experience

    Overall Experience:

    Better Mortgage offered the best rate (I research over five sources), and the process was very simple. Uploading the required documents onto their website was very easy. Whenever I had questions, scheduling a telephone conversation was never a problem. Perfect experience.

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

    • Mar 26, 2018

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Derek, thank you so much for your feedback. It's great to hear you enjoyed various facets of the Better experience, from our transparent digital interface to our customer support. It was a pleasure working with you, and I hope you'll stay in touch!

      Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)


  • Quick and easy refinance

    • By Jason Benton,
    • Atlanta, GA,
    • Mar 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    We wanted to do a cash-out refinance and shopped around for pricing. Better Mortgage had competitive rates and excellent reviews. I really liked being able to do everything electronically. They have integrations with most banks and payroll systems, so it’s easier to provide them with all the required documents and information. They even sent the closing attorney to our house.

    Overall, it was a great experience, and I would use them again for a mortgage or refinance.

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

    • Mar 26, 2018

      Company Response from Better.com

      Hi Jason, I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed your 100% digital mortgage experience with Better. We hope to work with you again in the future! Sincerely, John Moffatt (Head of Loan Origination)


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