Guaranteed Rate Mortgage Lender 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.


Compare 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 “mortgage points” — which let you pay more upfront for a lower rate over the life of the loan.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage estimates at major banks

 
Guaranteed Rate
Quicken Loans
Wells Fargo
Chase
Interest Rate1
3.75% 3.375% 3.375% 3.0%
APR2
3.865% 3.617% 3.49% 3.093%
Mortgage Points3
0.0 1.875 0.375 1.0
Monthly P&I Payment
$926 $884 $884 $843

For example, Guaranteed Rate and another lender might advertise the same rate on a $240,000 loan. But if the other lender charges 1 mortgage point and Guaranteed Rate charges none, you’d be paying an extra $2,400 up front with that lender to get the same rate.

That’s not to say Guaranteed Rate’s mortgage rates will always be best. Just that it’s important to compare your loan estimates carefully, side by side, and see who’s really offering the best deal.

Rates shown here are current as of 05/07/2020. Monthly principal and interest payments are based on a home price of $250,000 and down payment of 20% for a home located in Washington. 

These numbers are a snapshot meant for general comparison only. Your own mortgage costs will vary depending on your loan, your finances, the economy, and other factors.

Verify your new rate (Aug 6th, 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

Considering how widely admired its customer service standards are, Guaranteed Rate doesn’t perform as well as you might expect in J.D. Power’s Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study.

Company
Mortgage Originations3
CFPB Complaints5
Complaints per 1,000 mortgages6
2019 JD Power Rating7
Guaranteed Rate
60,000 19 0.32 846/1,000
Quicken Loans
396,000 171 0.43 880/1,000
Wells Fargo
312,000 419 1.34 837/1,000
Chase
155,000 202 1.30 850/1,000

It scored an 846 out of 1,000, which J.D. Power describes as being “about average.” However, this is up from Guaranteed Rate’s score of 812 (below average) in the 2018 version of this same study.

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 access Guaranteed Rate’s loan payment portal here. >>

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 readers 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 Branch Locations from Guaranteed Rate Mortgage Review by The Mortgage Reports

Guaranteed Rate has about 350 branches spread across 45 states.

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.

Compare personalized rates from major lenders (Aug 6th, 2020)

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  1. Interest Rate: The rate you pay in interest per year based on the current loan balance.
  2. APR: The total cost of getting the loan including the interest rate and closing costs.
  3. Discount Points: Mortgage points, also known as discount points, are fees paid directly to the lender at closing in exchange for a reduced interest rate. - Read More
  4. Mortgage Originations: The number of mortgages this lender closed. The most recent data available is from the 2017 Mortgage Market Activity and Trends, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), published May 2018.
  5. CFPB Complaints: The number of mortgage origination or closing related complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2018. We ignore complaints about issues that don't concern mortgage applications and closings, such as loan servicing, since some lenders don't service loans and therefore would have an unfair advantage in complaint numbers.
  6. Complaints per 1000 mortgages: The number of mortgage-related complaints compared to this lender's total mortgages originated. Due to data availability, we're comparing 2017 originations with 2018 complaints to arrive at the number of complaints per 1000 mortgages originated.
  7. JD Power Rating: On a 1,000 point scale, consumer insight company JD Power scores large banks across six factors: channel interactions, deposit accounts, credit accounts, investment accounts, convenience, and problem resolution.