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Formerly known as Quicken Loans, Rocket Mortgage is one of the best-known mortgage lenders in America, thanks in part to a comprehensive advertising campaign. But does it live up to the hype, and does it outperform its more conventional competitors?
Let’s dive in and see what Rocket Mortgage does – and doesn’t do – and how they do it.
How Rocket Mortgage Works
Rocket Mortgage is changing the game for mortgage applications. It automates the verification process, eliminating the need to send all of your banking information to a human being (typically multiple times).
Instant access to your bank records is impressive. But the most important feature of Rocket Mortgage is its ability to approve new loans at lightning speed, eliminating the waiting period for the borrower. Rocket Mortgage can approve applications in less than 10 minutes! That is incredible, and a huge reason that this process could be extremely successful.
The interface is simple, as is the application process itself. Rather than simply throwing hard-to-understand raw forms on the screen for you to fill out, Rocket Mortgage makes it easy by asking you a series of questions. Your answers to those questions will determine how the rest of the interview goes. Much like a modern tax program, Rocket Mortgage then imports your answers to the proper forms.
The process starts by asking whether you are buying a home or refinancing an existing mortgage. Depending on which button you select, the rest of the process is customized to fit that goal. Borrowing from automated financial tools like Empower and Betterment, Rocket Mortgage will ask you to link your financial accounts to their program. This allows them to check your financial statements online without you having to send them physical copies of your banking information.
After entering all of the relevant information, you can see a complete “real-time” itemization of your fees, interest rates, and projected payments. Through a simple set of sliders, you can adjust the length of your loan or “buy points” to decrease your monthly payments. When you’re happy with what you see, hit the submit button to lock in your rate and send your application off for immediate approval.
ONE+ By Rocket Mortgage
This is a special loan program offered only by Rocket Mortgage. It enables you to buy a home with a down payment of only 1% of the purchase price. It’s based on a conventional mortgage with a 3% down payment, except that Rocket Mortgage covers the remaining 2% of the required down payment. Despite the super low down payment requirement, no private mortgage insurance is required on this program.
ONE+ By Rocket Mortgage is limited to single-family, owner-occupied homes. You must have a minimum credit score of 620, and your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio must not exceed 50% of your stable monthly income.
Rocket Homes is Rocket Mortgage’s partner in the real estate business. There are direct financial benefits if you use Rocket Homes and apply for a mortgage with Rocket Mortgage.
If you are buying a house, you can get up to $10,000 off on your closing costs with Rocket Mortgage when you buy through Rocket Homes. If you sell your home through Rocket Homes you can get 0.50% back on the sale price of the home. You can take advantage of both benefits if you are both buying and selling through a Rocket Homes agent and obtaining your mortgage through Rocket Mortgage.
Rocket Mortgage Features
Availability: All 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Loan programs offered: Conventional, FHA, VA, and Jumbo mortgage loans, as well as home equity loans. Purchase money mortgages and refinancing. Both fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages are available.
Minimum credit score: Varies by loan program. 620 for conventional mortgages and 580 for FHA mortgages. Jumbo mortgages require higher credit scores, and VA loans have no stated minimum credit score requirement.
Minimum down payment: 3% on conventional mortgages, 3.5% on FHA mortgages, zero down on VA mortgages, and 1% on Rocket Mortgage’s own ONE+ By Rocket Mortgage.
Maximum loan amount: Up to $3 million for “Jumbo loans”.
Mobile app: Available for both iOS and Android devices.
Customer service: Home Loan Specialists are available by phone, Monday through Friday, from 7:00 AM to midnight, Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and Sundays from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM. They can also be reached by live chat, Monday through Friday, from 7:00 AM to midnight, and on weekends, from 8:00 AM to midnight. (All times Eastern.)
Third-party ratings: Better Business Bureau, A+; Trustpilot, 4.7 out of five stars (“Excellent”); iOS users on The App Store, 4.9 out of five stars among 120,000+ users; Android users on Google Play, 4.8 out of five stars among 22,000+ users.
Rocket Mortgage Pros and Cons
- Entirely Online — The entire application process can be completed entirely online without ever talking to another human being.
- Approval in Minutes — Because Rocket Mortgage asks you to connect your financial accounts, you can have your loan approved within a few minutes.
- Real-time Transparency — After completing the questionnaire, you’ll be able to see how buying points or adjusting the term of the loan can affect your payment schedule through real-time information.
- Close Within a Week — Your loan through Rocket Mortgage and Quicken Loans can close within a week, provided third parties don’t slow down the process.
- Special financing program – With ONE+ By Rocket Mortgage you can purchase a home with a down payment of just 1% of the purchase price, and pay no private mortgage insurance.
- Rocket Homes – Enjoy financial benefits when you buy or sell a home through Rocket Homes and get your financing from Rocket Mortgage.
- For as much as it is an advantage, not having the opportunity to talk to a human loan officer could potentially be a disadvantage as well. Because of the DIY nature of Rocket Mortgage, consumers may lose out by applying for a mortgage that isn’t necessarily the best choice for their situation. Qualified applicants usually have several mortgage options available to them. Since most consumers are not mortgage experts, this is certainly one area where a human loan officer could help steer their client in the right direction.
- Does not offer USDA mortgages.
Alternatives to Rocket Mortgage
One of the dilemmas in choosing a mortgage lender is that the industry is so diverse. There are thousands of mortgage providers, but few that dominate the industry – apart from Rocket Mortgage.
General sources where you can obtain a mortgage include the following:
Banks and credit unions
Most banks and nearly all credit unions offer mortgage loans. You can check with local banks as well as some of the larger banks, like Chase, Citi, and Bank of America. In addition to locally-based credit unions, there are credit unions that operate on a nationwide basis. An example is Pentagon Federal Credit Union, or simply PenFed. One of the largest credit unions in the country, they provide mortgage loans nationwide.
Most mortgage brokers are small, independent businesses operating in local areas. You can find them by searching under “mortgage brokers”, with your ZIP Code. Mortgage brokers have the advantage that they typically work with multiple mortgage lending sources, and can often get you the best deal. They are especially good to work with if you have bad credit or other issues that might make getting a mortgage difficult.
Online loan marketplaces
This includes online platforms like LendingTree and Bankrate. Because dozens of mortgage lenders participate on those sites, you’ll have an opportunity to get the best rate available. By completing a single online loan application, you can get loan quotes from multiple lenders, and choose the one that will work best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the downside to Rocket Mortgage?
The major downside to Rocket Mortgage is that the entire process takes place online. This may not be an entirely comfortable situation if you prefer a face-to-face meeting with a mortgage representative.
Does Rocket Mortgage approve anyone?
Yes, millions of people. As one of the largest retail mortgage originators in America, it approves more applicants than nearly any other mortgage lender.
Why do people use Rocket Mortgage?
They certainly appeal to the speed and simplicity of an all-online application process. But an aggressive advertising campaign never hurts, particularly among mortgage lenders, who are generally not well known to the public.
What is the minimum credit score for Rocket Mortgage?
Common to other mortgage lenders, that’s typically 620 for conventional mortgages and 580 for FHA mortgages.
Should You Apply for a Home Loan with Rocket Mortgage?
The answer to this question depends on your comfort level with an all-online mortgage process. That includes everything from prequalification to closing. Not everyone is entirely comfortable with this process, especially since all required documentation must be uploaded to the platform. If you prefer face-to-face contact with a mortgage lender, you may be better served working with one of the alternatives presented above.
Though ONE+ By Rocket Mortgage and the financial benefits of working with Rocket Homes when buying or selling a home are innovative programs, Rocket Mortgage doesn’t offer much else that is any different from other diversified mortgage lenders. They just do it faster, by doing it entirely online. If you like doing business that way, Rocket Mortgage can be an excellent choice.
Rocket Mortgage has quickly become one of the best mortgage providers in the country. Filling out an application is quick and rates are very competitive.