How to Shop for a Mortgage Online with LendingTree
LendingTree promises to make finding a mortgage online easy. We put this mortgage company to the test in our thorough LendingTree review.
- Easy to Use
- Free Credit Score
- Dozens of Available Lenders
This service is a sort of all-in-one platform for finding loans of all sorts. It consolidates lenders and offers so that you can shop around all on one website. Plus, it gives you access to a free copy of your VantageScore 3.0 credit score.
Of course, LendingTree, like any other site, has its disadvantages. We’ll talk about those, too. But first, let’s dive into what the platform offers and how it works.
How LendingTree Works
You may have seen reviews on DoughRoller of websites similar to LendingTree but for insurance. These sites consolidate offers from various insurance providers into one site, making shopping around easy.
LendingTree is similar. When you sign up for a LendingTree account, you can do a couple of things. The first is to check your credit score. The second is to shop around for rates on various credit products.
Your Credit Score with LendingTree
LendingTree’s credit score dashboard looks similar to that of many other free credit scoring services. It shows your current VantageScore 3.0 and a history of your score. This score is based on your TransUnion credit report.
Here’s what it looks like:
Credit Score Factors
From your basic dashboard, you can then look at the factors that weigh into your credit score. LendingTree will rate you on various factors, including your payment history, age of credit, utilization, negative marks, credit inquiries, and available credit. It’ll summarize each of these areas so you can quickly see where you can improve.
One thing I found interesting was that the “age of credit” factor was listed as highly important for your overall credit score–even above credit utilization. That may be due to the different way the VantageScore looks at various credit-related factors as compared to the more common FICO score.
You can look closely at each credit factor, so that you can get a better breakdown of why you’re scoring well or poorly in those areas. Again, this can help you get a general idea of steps to take to improve your credit score.
And, of course, since LendingTree makes money by making recommendations for credit products, your credit score dashboard will show you various products for which you might qualify. Some of the suggestions could be helpful.
But it did tell me I could save money by refinancing a 0.00% APR loan to a 7.5% APR loan with a longer repayment term. So take the suggestions with a grain of salt and some common sense.
In short, LendingTree’s credit score dashboard isn’t anything earth shattering. But it’s helpful, especially if you want a look at a different scoring model that seems to be gaining popularity with lenders.
Shopping for Loans
The main purpose of LendingTree, of course, is to help you shop for loans. It consolidates loan offers for mortgages, vehicles, student loans, personal loans, and credit cards.
Each of these options has a tab on the website. You’ll see a green dollar sign next to the tabs where LendingTree would like to make potentially money-saving suggestions.
These will generally be options for consolidating or refinancing loans to a lower interest or a longer payment term with a lower monthly payment. But, of course, you can use LendingTree to refinance just about any debt.
Applying for the loans is pretty simple. You just click into, for instance, the Personal Loans tab. Then tell LendingTree why you want a personal loan. Put in a few relevant personal details–including your address and the last four digits of your Social Security Number–and you’ll get loan offers.
LendingTree will always show you the lowest rate loan offer first, but you can sort the offers any way you’d like.
Pretty much as soon as you fill out this application, you’ll get emails from relevant lenders offering to extend you money. I filled out the form late at night, but I fully expect to get some telemarketing calls in the morning. In fact, that’s one of the most common negative reviews of LendingTree. They disclose that they give your information to potential lenders. And those lenders can be somewhat relentless in following up to try to win your business.
So just make sure you’re ready for that if you decide to look for a loan through LendingTree.
Next Steps and Caveats
Here’s the deal. You can’t actually get a loan through LendingTree. They’re a service rather than a lender. You’ll have to apply for the loans with the lenders themselves.
So this comes with a couple of potential caveats. For one thing, you may find that after you complete a full application, you don’t get the offer you were expecting. You could be denied, or you could be offered a much higher interest rate.
Another issue is that you won’t know about this issue until you actually apply–or at least call the lender in question. So you may still have to apply with multiple lenders before finding a loan that suits your needs. And those multiple applications could ding your credit score with multiple hard inquiries. So just be aware of that issue.
Pros and Cons
- Dozens of Available Lenders
- Easy to Use Navigation
- Free Credit Score
- Pre-Qualification Not Always Concrete
The Bottom Line on LendingTree
LendingTree may be a good option for you if you need to consolidate some debt or start shopping around for a mortgage. Of course, it won’t pull information from every potential lender. So it’s not really a one-stop shop.
With that said, it could be a good starting point for finding a loan that fits your needs. And you might even find a lender you’ve never heard of offering excellent terms. So give it a shot–just be prepared to screen a few emails and 800-number calls for a while after you give LendingTree your information.