History

There so many potential options now for getting a mortgage. Plenty of guides are out there that can help break down the choices, but I thought I’d capture my thoughts on what I experienced and how it shaped my thinking.

I worked through two different mortgage brokers previously, and there are definitely pros and cons. Their whole job is basically to get you a mortgage however they can in order to get paid. There’s nothing wrong with at a high level, at least at first glance. History has shown that they aren’t always working in your best interest and will happily put an unwary customer into a product that they shouldn’t be in. That hadn’t been my experience, but knowing it happens does kind of leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Choices

It had been a while since I had gone through the steps of getting a mortgage, but I had a pretty good idea where the technology had progressed. My approach was to test out a few different paths simultaneously to determine which one I wanted to proceed with. I took notes from my experience with each one.

Option 1: Local Credit Union

I thought I should check a few out. I selected one I had previously had a bit of a relationship with. Did the online inquiry, just to end up on the phone with a very nice lady who then asked me to repeat all of the information I had provided in the online app. I don’t like having to repeat myself, so this was already an annoyance. Since I was on the phone already, I thought I’d confirm the rate options. I quickly learned that the lowest rate they offered would immediately result in a sale of the loan, and it was still pretty high. No option for paying points to reduce the rate. Plus in usual credit union fashion, they wanted all of my business. Blah. These two things combined got them crossed off my list.

Option 2: Costco

I have a Costco membership, so I figured I’d check into this one. Didn’t take me long to decide I didn’t want to go down the full on broker path. Using a throwaway email addy and a secondary Google Voice number ended up being quite prescient when it came to ignoring these pushy folks.

Option 3: LendingTree

A different version of the mortgage broker path I found through Costco, so I noped out pretty quickly.

Option 4: Rocket Mortgage

Started checking them out based on the fact that they helped to usher forward the era of online mortgages, but

Option 5: Chase

They got added in to the mix because they kept coming up with some of the best rates. I have some credit accounts with them, and also had a relationship with them for my former business. Did the online application with no issues. Got assigned to an advisor who I spoke to who, shock of shocks, actually had my information available. But that didn’t help me get the details I really wanted. Each time I wanted an updated rate quote or closing costs worksheet, I had to reach out (and sometimes multiple times to get an answer). This got annoying fast, so they got crossed off of my list relatively quickly as well.

Pro: you’re just another anonymous customer. Con: you’re just another anonymous customer.

Option 6: better.com via Ally Financial

Ally used to be GMAC before the rebranding shuffle that came out of the Great Recession. I have an existing relationship with them and have been relatively happy so far. They don’t actually do mortgages; instead, they partner with better.com and offer some nice incentives if you’re an established customer. I started using their online app and was pretty impressed. There is an ability to pay points to change the rate, and that UI was awfully pretty.

Final Selection

I ended up going the Ally path. Just like most of the other options, it seemed they sell off the mortgage pretty fast. But almost everybody else was going to do that too. My financial situation was pretty straightforward, and lucky for me the sale was going to be easier that the normal craziness that is going on right now. So, I figured I’d go with this option.

Next up, a post with details on the process of using Ally / better.com.