Guaranteed Rate Mortgage Review for 2020

Guaranteed Rate has a reputation for great customer service and competitive rates. But it won't be equally matched for all borrowers. Learn more about the pros and cons of Guaranteed Rate mortgages here.

Lending flexibility 4.0
Customer service 4.5
Ease of application 4.0
Online experience 4.5
Minimum down payment 3%
Minimum credit score 580
Loan Products Offered

Fixed-rate mortgage
Adjustable-rate mortgage
Jumbo mortgage
FHA mortgage
VA mortgage
USDA mortgage
Interest-only mortgage

Best Features

  • High customer satisfaction scores
  • Good deals for creditworthy customers
  • Excellent online and mobile services backed up by 300 branches

Drawbacks

  • May not always be best for less creditworthy lenders
  • Advertises low fees but does charge some, including a $150 application fee
  • Some states have few branches, and five states have none

Overview

Guaranteed Rate is one the "disruptor" mortgage companies, shaking the lending process with new technologies and a closer focus on customers' needs.

And it's been successful. Just 17 years after it was founded, Guaranteed Rate became America's 16th biggest mortgage lender. It's licensed to lend in all 50 states and has physical branches in 45.

Guaranteed Rate's customer satisfaction scores aren't through the roof, but they're not bad. And the company has fewer complaints filed against it than other major lenders.

Rates and fees at Guaranteed Rate are about average compared to other major companies. However, rates vary a lot by person.

And, this company has a wide selection of loan products — so if it offers the type of mortgage you need, it's worth checking personalized rates to see how competitive they are.


Guaranteed Rate mortgage rates

At face value, Guaranteed Rate mortgage rates look about on par with other major lenders.

But look closer, and you’ll see that the company’s advertised rate doesn’t include any discount points — which let you pay more upfront for a lower rate over the life of the loan.

That means you might get a lower mortgage rate at a lower cost from Guaranteed Rate. However, rates and fees will vary by customer.

Average 30-year mortgage rates at major banks

 
Guaranteed Rate
Wells Fargo
Quicken Loans
Chase 
Average 30-Year Interest Rate, 2019
4.12% 4.22% 4.16% 4.22%
Monthly P&I Payment*
$969 $980 $973 $980
Median Loan Costs, 2019
$4,121 $3,484 $5,075 $3,440
Median Origination Charges, 2019
$1,290 $1,199 $2,805 $1,279

Average rate and fee data were sourced from public rate and fee records required by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).

*Monthly principal and interest payment are based on a $250,000 home price, with 20% down, at each company’s average 30-year interest rate for 2019. Your own rate and monthly payment will be different.

Verify your new rate (Oct 31st, 2020)

Guaranteed Rate mortgage review for 2020

There’s no denying Guaranteed Rate is an exceptional lender. Indeed, few have a bad word to say about it.

Borrowers often get good deals and the company’s online technology is easy to use. There’s good telephone support and those who live near a branch can have a face-to-face experience.

But, of course, nobody’s perfect.

If you are a borderline borrower — with iffy credit or high existing debts compared to your income — you may find other lenders more sympathetic.

And if you prefer a face-to-face experience when setting up a mortgage, Guaranteed Rate’s 300 branches may not cut it, unless you happen to live near one of those.

However, if you’re a mainstream borrower who’s comfortable with technology, there’s much to like at Guaranteed Rate.

Working with Guaranteed Rate mortgage

Guaranteed Rate’s 300 branches are distributed well. But some states still have none or only one or two. So not everyone will have one within a reasonable drive.

Of course, that won’t be a problem for those who are comfortable with technology. Guaranteed Rate’s online services come with all the bells and whistles you could want.

After all, these are the people who claim to have come up with the world’s first digital mortgage, which can deliver an approval within minutes.

There’s also an intuitive “loan finder” tool to help you find your perfect mortgage, a mobile app, and a facility to upload your documents in a secure environment.

Guaranteed Rate mortgage customer service reviews

In J.D. Power’s Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, Guaranteed Rate scored 846 out of 1,000, which J.D. Power describes as being “about average.”

This is up from Guaranteed Rate’s score of 812 (below average) in the 2018 version of this same study.

Company
Mortgage Originations 2019
CFPB Complaints
Complaints per 1,000 Mortgages
2019 JD Power Rating
Guaranteed Rate
130,400 20 0.15 846/1,000
Wells Fargo 
1,026,800 342 0.33 837/1,000
Quicken Loans
774,900 187 0.24 880/1,000
Chase
527,600 188 0.36 850/1,000

In addition to an uptick in satisfaction scores, Guaranteed Rate is an accredited business by the Better Business Bureau. It has an A+ BBB rating and 4.5 out of 5 stars from customer reviews on that platform.

Mega lenders like Quicken, U.S. Bank, and Chase still score better than Guaranteed Rate for satisfaction.

But, as shown in the table above, the company has fewer complaints filed against it with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

So when you look at the whole picture, it seems like customers overall have a pretty good experience with Guaranteed Rate. Or at least, not a bad one.

Mortgage loan products at Guaranteed Rate mortgage

Guaranteed Rate has a comprehensive range of mortgage products. With FHA, VA, and USDA mortgages, there are plenty of opportunities to get a low- or no-down-payment loan.

In addition, Guaranteed Rate is one of the few lenders we’ve reviewed that offers interest-only mortgages. This is a unique option that has lower, interest-only payments at the start of the loan term.

Guaranteed Rate’s full list of mortgage loan options includes:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) — America’s most popular home loan and often ideal for those planning on staying put for at least five years or so
  • 15-year FRM — You’ll pay much less in total than with a 30-year loan and will be mortgage-free sooner. But your monthly payments will be higher
  • Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) — Typically start with a lower rate than FRMs, which is fixed for 3-10 years. After that, your rate can go up or down with the markets
  • Jumbo loans — Let you borrow more than other mortgages (usually up into the millions). But expect to make a bigger down payment and to have to clear higher credit hurdles
  • FHA loan — You can put down as little as 3.5 percent of the purchase price. But you’ll have to pay mortgage insurance premiums each month until you sell or refinance
  • VA loan — Great for veterans, active service members, and others who are eligible. Zero down payment, easier credit, competitive rates, and no mortgage insurance
  • USDA loan — Available for low- to moderate-income borrowers in qualifying rural and suburban areas. USDA loans require 0% down and have competitive rates
  • Interest-only mortgage — This is a good loan choice in select circumstances. You’re only paying the interest, so you’ll owe the same at the end as at the beginning

With such a wide selection, many customers will be able to find the mortgage loan they’re looking for at Guaranteed Rate.

Guaranteed Rate FAQ

Is Guaranteed Rate legit?

Some mortgage borrowers are a little put off by the idea of getting a mortgage wholly online. But Guaranteed Rate makes the process very safe and legitimate. Guaranteed Rate was one of the first lenders to introduce fully digital mortgage lending, which lets you securely upload documents and financial information online to make the home loan process smoother and faster.

What credit score do you need for Guaranteed Rate mortgage?

Guaranteed Rate has flexible credit score requirements, starting at just 580 for FHA and VA loans. Borrowers looking for conventional loan will need a 620 credit score or higher, and Guaranteed Rate requires at least 640 for a USDA loan.

Can I make my Guaranteed Rate mortgage payment online?

Yes, you can.

How does Guaranteed Rate make money?

Like other mortgage companies, Guaranteed Rate makes money by charging “lender fees” to borrowers. However, the company has a reputation for charging lower fees (and interest rates) than many other big mortgage lenders.

Is Guaranteed Rate a bank?

Guaranteed Rate is a “non-bank lender,” meaning it offers mortgage loans but no other banking products (like deposit accounts or credit cards). The one thing Guaranteed Rate offers besides mortgages is personal loans, which it does in partnership with Marcus by Goldman Sachs.

What is Guaranteed Rate Affinity?

Guaranteed Rate Affinity is a partnership between Guaranteed Rate and the real estate brokerage Realogy. It lets Guaranteed Rate market through Realogy and reach more customers looking for home loans. 

Where can you get a mortgage with Guaranteed Rate?

Guaranteed Rate NMLS ID: 2611

Probably most borrowers who engage with Guaranteed Rate will do so online.

The lender is licensed across all 50 states so anyone can start their mortgage application right at home.

And why wouldn’t you? The website offers exceptional functionality and, if you get stuck, there’s a knowledgeable loan officer at the end of a phone line.

Guaranteed Rate has branches in 45 states. In the 5 states it doesn’t have branches (shown in light red) Guaranteed Rate is available remotely.

Of course, some borrowers prefer a face-to-face relationship when making big financial decisions. To serve customers in person, Guaranteed Rate has over 300 branch locations peppered throughout 45 states.

Some states — like California — have tons of branches, while others — like Louisiana — have just one.

But still, Guaranteed Rate’s branch network is better-spread than many other lenders and large banks. It’s worth checking where your nearest office is.

Is Guaranteed Rate the best mortgage lender for you?

To sum things up: There’s little not to like about Guaranteed Rate.

If it offers the mortgage loan product you need, it’s worth getting a mortgage rate quote to see what Guaranteed Rate could offer you.

Just be sure to get quotes from a few other companies, too. And compare them line by line.

Remember, things like mortgage points can make a loan look more or less attractive at face value than it really is.

Ready to get started? Request a custom rate quote today.

Verify your new rate (Oct 31st, 2020)

Compare to These Lenders

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Minimum credit score: 580

Sources:

  1. Average mortgage rates and fees sourced from self-reported data mortgage lenders are required to file under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Rates and fees shown reflect the previous year’s data and may not align with today’s mortgage rates
  2. Monthly principal and interest payments calculated using TheMortgageReports.com mortgage calculator. Payments shown are based on a $200,000 loan amount and assume a “very good” credit score. Property taxes and homeowners insurance are not included. Your own monthly payment will vary
  3. Number of mortgage originations for the previous year sourced from self-reported data mortgage lenders are required to file under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
  4. CFPB Complaints reflect the number of mortgage origination or closing-related complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the previous year
  5. Complaints per 1000 mortgages reflect the number of official complaints filed against a lender with the CFPB for the previous year, compared to the lender’s total number of mortgage originations for the previous year
  6. JD Power Rating reflects the company’s customer satisfaction score according to JD Power’s most recent Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study. Survey respondents score their lenders in four areas: application/approval process, communication, loan closing, and loan offerings