What Is Better Mortgage?

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff Updated on: Jun 5, 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.

A Look at Better Mortgage Consumer Reviews

Better Mortgage receives good reviews from borrowers.

As of 6/5/18, the company had an average rating of 3.7 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, 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!

53 Consumer Reviews for Better Mortgage

Average Consumer Rating: 3.8
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 34 4 star: 3 3 star: 1 2 star: 1 1 star:  14
Bottom Line: 70% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 53
Sort reviews by:

  • Amazing experience

    • New Jersey,
    • Aug 14, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Buying a house is extremely stressful. Especially if you're like me buying a house for the first time. I was recommended to Better.com just to get pre-approved. After speaking with Elizabeth and shopping around, I decided to use Better for my mortgage.

    The process could not have been easier and there are different staff members that are assigned to you along the way that are experts in the stage of the process that you are in. Everything is simplified online and you are given tasks to complete.

    It really couldn't have been easier, and I'm very happy that I chose to go with Better.com. I highly recommend them to anyone buying a house, especially a first time home buyer.

    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)


  • Very honest company and fast response

    • New London, CT,
    • Aug 6, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I apply online and I have a good experience and fast answer. It is sad that I have to stop the proses because of a personal situation, but I will apply again soon. Thank you and God bless. I hope that I can apply soon, see you soon.

    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)


  • Great online service

    • Texas,
    • Aug 5, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am a first-time home buyer and live in technology. Email and text messages (and chat) are my part of every minute.

    And Better Mortgage plays right in there.

    The initial sales/education call was super useful. As a first-time home buyer, I had many questions and each was answered in a patient manner.

    Once the sales process was over, the loan officer took over. And it was a very interesting (in a positive way) experience. All document submission was through a very effective workflow process. But I want to mention here that Sarah, my Loan Ranger, was super helpful. Again as a first-time buyer, I asked every small question and she responded promptly without being frustrated. Also in my case, they needed to verify my India employment, which took some time, but she was patient and supportive. She even helped me with friendly advice about other parts of the home purchase. I give huge credit to her for successful funding of the loan.

    They do require a lot of documents, but because of the online interface and super responsive staff, it was not stressful.

    After underwriting, the closing manager was also helpful.

    Overall I am quite satisfied with the whole 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 (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)


  • Awesome refinance experience

    • Houston, TX,
    • Aug 1, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Best rate, NO lender fees, responsive cudtomer service. The entire process from first contact to close was less than 30 days! 100% online until final loan doc signatures with mobile notary at my office.

    The easiest loan I ever closed. I will definitely be back for any future loans.

    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)


  • Great until close to closing

    • Connecticut,
    • Jul 30, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    We had a fantastic experience with Better Mortgage for 3/4 of the process. My husband and I both have full-time jobs, savings for a down payment, general savings, and excellent credit scores. We were happy with the rate we received and the initial support from the folks at Better Mortgage. We maintained an open communication on our end in terms of when to expect closing dates etc., and were told there were no issues meeting the dates set.

    However, in the last week of our closing, Better Mortgage continually missed deadlines for delivering our closing disclosures. We did not receive the closing disclosure until one hour before closing, which did not allow adequate time for us or our lawyer to review in advance. This almost caused our closing to be canceled. Once the disclosures were issued there were "tasks" issued by Better Mortgage that were intended to be completed before the closing. Unfortunately, because we were in the act of closing, we did not receive these until after. I'm unsure if this was an issue, but it was unsettling. I asked what caused the delay in the closing disclosure information, but did not receive a response.

    Ultimately the complete panic this caused at the end of the process makes me inclined to not recommend this company. I really want to because the initial mortgage shopping and coordination were very good, but in the end, was a bit of a nightmare.

    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
    • Aug 1, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Adrienne, I'm so 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 painless 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)


  • Good folks to deal with

    • Vancouver, WA,
    • Jul 28, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The three people that I worked with at Better were knowledgeable and professional. They told me how loans work at Better. As it turned out, I used a local bank that ALREADY had all my info.

    IF I was starting from scratch, I would definitely consider Better.

    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
    • Aug 1, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Nancy, I’m sorry that your loan with Better didn’t work out this time, but I’m so glad you enjoyed your experience nonetheless. We hope to work with you in the near 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)


  • An A+ mortgage company

    • Georgia,
    • Jul 27, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    A very friendly and informative company. While my timeline for my home purchase got pushed back for the time, I fully plan on using this company when purchasing my new home. I was provided with a lot of useful information and great customer service.

    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
    • Aug 1, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Patrick, I’m sorry your home purchase didn’t work out at this time, but I’m so glad you enjoyed your experience with us. We can’t wait to work with you when you're ready to buy a home. 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)


  • Almost perfect service. Really good website and process.

    • Georgia,
    • Jul 5, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Five stars and (almost) perfect service.

    Along the journey with the loan, being my first purchase, I was lost and confused. Better.com has very well prepared people for the different stages of the process.

    The website is also a very good tool they have. It is clear, simple and has helpful information. The information is updated almost immediately, which allows you to be aware of what's happening.

    The "almost" perfect comes from the unexpected change of people working with me. I had at least four people working on my loan in the different stages, and as I stated, each one of them is an expert in their field, but those changes got me by surprise. I wish I knew that was coming.

    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
    • Aug 1, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Ivette, it's great to hear you enjoyed your experience with Better and our digital approach to mortgages. We hope to work 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)


  • This lender misrepresented the necessary documents and effort to comply with silly requests

    • Spicewood, TX,
    • Jun 29, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    They told me there would only be basic documents like tax returns, bank statements, and proof of income and the like. They made 65 requests and wanted documents that do not exist and even asked for tax returns of publicly traded companies where I owned a few shares in my retirement account. They did not return calls, and you feel like you are dealing with a machine. The problem may be a lack of life experience by their employees, but regardless it was a terrible experience. They even missed an agreed deadline on my loan disclosure.

    You are better off dealing with a local lender, even if the rate is a little higher.

    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
    • Jun 29, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi David, I’m very sorry to hear you were unhappy with your experience with us, but I'm glad that we were able to resolve the issue privately. If you have any remaining concerns, please feel free to reach out to 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)


  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Wasted time and poor communications

    • California,
    • Jun 22, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I would not recommend. They provided a competitive loan estimate, and I really liked their online process. However, they wasted at least two months of my time. I explained from the beginning my income situation where I was receiving for two previous years a mix of cash and stock as compensation, and since then fully cash. I was told that both would be considered as income, and I should have no problems qualifying. Two months go by, and my lock gets extended because they are still working on it. Then it comes back as they can't get it through underwriting because they won't accept my stock compensation as income. Something they should have been able to determine at the very beginning.

    Overall poor communications once the loan process started. My "loan ranger" was a very poor communicator and not responsive. I am now closing with another lender; I wish I had not wasted time and effort with "Better."

    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
    • Jun 22, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi John, I'm sorry to hear you were unhappy with your Better experience. Because I cannot speak publicly about the specifics of your situation, please feel free to contact Better’s Head of Loan Rangers, Meg McDermott, at mmcdermott@better.com if you'd like to further discuss your experience. 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)


  • 5 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Awful company

    • Sanford, FL,
    • Jun 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I pre-qualified with this company and explained my entire financial situation, including a short sale from a few years ago. I did everything they asked - submitted all my paperwork, found homeowners insurance, paid for my inspection and even took money from my retirement account for the larger down payment they were requiring. Three days before closing they refused to fund the loan, and everything had to be canceled. Be very wary of this company!

    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
    • Jun 19, 2018

      John Moffatt,

      Hi Michelle, I'm sorry to hear you were unhappy with your Better experience. Because I cannot speak publicly about the specifics of your situation, please feel free to contact Better’s Head of Loan Rangers, Meg McDermott, at mmcdermott@better.com if you'd like to further discuss your experience. 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 53

Write a Review for Better Mortgage!

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

Write a Review