Better Review

Better.com at a Glance

Loan TypesFixed and variable rate mortgages
Loan FeaturesNo origination fees and fast approval
Repayment Terms   From 3.75% APR on 15-year loans
ProEasy approval process
ConNo FHA, VA, or USDA mortgages
Best forFirst timers who want guidance

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Overview

Better is an entirely digital mortgage platform that prides itself on helping homebuyers and homeowners find the best available purchase or refinance loan based on their goals, affordability and transparency. The online application is simple and can be completed in minutes at any time of day. Once a borrower completes and application, they have access to a suite of resources designed to help them pick the right loan at the most competitive price. These tools include a personalized rate tool, a dedicated non-commissioned loan officer, a customized loan estimate, an automatic discount finder, and expert-written content designed to help borrowers navigate the process. Plus, all of Better's rates are backed by the Better Price Guarantee, which promises that Better won't just match a competing price, but beat it by $1,000. 

Better currently doesn’t offer any HELOC loans, FHA, or USDA loans. As an alternative to FHA loans, Better does offer Fannie Mae’s HomeReady product, which accommodates 3% down loans and features cancelable mortgage insurance. Additionally, Better customers can choose from a range of fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loan terms with no origination fees, and request a rate lock 24/7.

The Better.com way to understand your mortgage

Best for?

Savings. Better has automated the mortgage process, and in doing so, they have drastically reduced the cost to originate. Why is that cool? Better passes as much of those savings as possible onto the customer and invests in additional resources to support the customer even before they lock their loan. The bottom line is that Better customers are able to save money on their mortgage and pick the right financing option for them. Better has an intuitive online platform, complemented by non commissioned staff that guides customers through the process starting with how much house they can afford or how much they can save, all the way through to close, completely jargon-free, with airtight certainty and the best rate possible.

Loan Features  

Better offers loans on primary, secondary, and investment residences. There are good range of mortgage loans for both purchase and refinance, with terms from 15 to 30 years for fixed rate loans and 5/1, 7/1 or 10/1 variable-rate loans. Better doesn't charge any origination or lender fees and no commission, and there are no pre-payment penalties on any Better mortgages. Better also offers the option of locking in your rate when it suits you and connects you with a single loan officer once you've finished the pre-approval process.

  • No origination fees or lender fees
  • No commission
  • Wide range of loan terms and rate options
  • Fast response
  • Dedicated loan officer
  • Rate lock on demand

The Application Process

Better's application process is entirely online and takes only about 3 minutes for house hunters who are just looking for basic pre-approval, although the website indicates that it takes up to 2 hours if you are shopping for a home and 30 minutes if you've found a specific property to buy. The application for refinancing takes just 3 minutes.

Once you’ve answered basic questions about your financial situation, home equity, or prospective property, you’ll be sent an initial loan estimate and connected with a dedicated loan officer for more in-depth support along the way. Once you’ve carried out a list of tasks which you’ll receive with your loan estimate, you’ll be able to request to lock in a rate. Better usually closes on a mortgage loan within 3-6 weeks after rate lock, often 10 days faster than the industry average.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
No origination or lender feesClosing costs can be quite high
Many different fixed and variable rate loansNo FHA, VA, or USDA loans
Fast approval processNo HELOC or Texas cash-out mortgage

Better’s biggest advantage is that the loan approval process is so fast. You can complete the application online in just 3 minutes, get an initial loan estimate in seconds, and score a complete loan approval within 24 hours. Better is able to offer clear terms and rates for each of the 3 fixed-rate and 3 variable-rate mortgage products. Better also offers refinancing with the same speed and clarity.

However, because Better only focuses on residential mortgages, there are no FHA, VA, or USDA loans available, nor any commercial or construction loans. If you want a specialized mortgage product, you'll need to go elsewhere. Better also doesn't offer other refinancing options like a HELOC or home equity loan, or a Texas cash-out loan.

Loan Terms- The Bare Basics

Better offers 3 different fixed-rate mortgages and 3 variable-rate mortgage products. Each mortgage is available as both a regular and a jumbo loan. Better will finance the purchase or refinance most types of residential property, including multi-family homes, planned unit development, and condominiums as well as second homes and investment property. You can get a cash-out refinance loan or a standard refinance loan, but no HELOCs or home equity loans and no Texas cash-out loan. Commercial property, construction loans, and VA, FHA, and USDA loans are not on offer.

Better only offers mortgage loans to borrowers with a credit score of 620 and above, and also carries out an appraisal before making a final loan offer. Better will carry out a soft credit check before sending your initial loan estimate and a second, hard credit check when you decide to continue with your loan application. Better doesn't insist that borrowers use an escrow account, but it does note that usually, escrow account holders get the best rates.

In order to take out a loan with Better, you’ll need:

  • A credit score of 620 or above
  • To be age 18 or over
  • To be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • To live in 1 of the 13 states where Better operates or Washington, DC
  • For refinancing, to own an eligible residential property with sufficient equity
  • To plan to buy a residential property that is not mixed-use, manufactured or modular, a co-op, or a multi-family home of more than 5 units

Repayment Terms 

Better’s fixed-rate loans for purchase or refinance have terms of 15, 20, or 30 years. Variable-rate loans are on offer in 5/1, 7/1, and 10/1. Buyers who want a mortgage with a shorter term might find this frustrating, although since all of Better’s loans have no prepayment penalties, you can pay the loan back sooner if you’re able to.

Better’s example APR rates start at 3.75% on a 15-year fixed-rate loan and 4.25% on a 30-year fixed-rate loan. The APR rates for variable-rate loans start at 3.875% for a 5/1 ARM loan and 4.125% for a 10/1 ARM loan. Average closing costs are $3,598 in third-party fees for a purchase loan and $1,824 in third-party fees for a refinance loan.

Help & Support

Better offers a single, dedicated loan officer to every applicant to help you through the loan process. In general, you can get in touch with Better’s customer support by email at hello@better.com, via phone at 415-523-8837, or schedule a convenient time for a representative to call you back using the online form. Both your loan officer and general customer support are available from 9am to 9pm ET Monday-Thursday, 9am to 6pm ET on Friday, 12pm to 4pm ET on Saturdays, and 12pm to 6pm ET on Sundays.

Better offers plenty of information on the website with an easy to find and easy to navigate FAQ section and lots of educational resources.

Summary

In short, Better is a fast mortgage lender with a useful range of purchase and refinance mortgage loans for residential properties. The speedy loan approval process, dedicated loan officer, and zero origination and lender fees make it an attractive choice for homeowners looking to refinance and homebuyers looking to purchase a first or second home. Customer support is a core focus of the business and customers can reach a licensed loan officer 7 days a week. The website is easy to use and provides clear information. 

Physical Address

Better Mortgage Corporation

459 Broadway FL 5,

New York, NY 10013

 

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