Quicken Loans began in 1985, and after changing its name from Rock Financial, the company switched its focus from traditional mortgages to becoming one of the leaders in the online mortgage world. In 2015 it launched the offshoot Rocket Mortgage, which specializes in quickly processing mortgages online.
Quicken Loans offers a variety of different types of loans, and you can complete the process entirely online.
How Quicken Loans Works
Quicken Loans’ focus is online mortgage applications, a field in which it was a pioneer. Technically, at this point all of the actual application processes take place through the company’s offshoot Rocket Mortgage, which you can access through the company’s website.
You can apply for a loan completely online, and customer service representatives are available if you have any questions. Once you begin the process, you will be paired with a banker who will work with you throughout the entire process. You can also begin the process on the phone if that is more your speed. Rocket Mortgage can quickly tell if you qualify for a mortgage, and if so, what rates are available to you.
How To Apply
The application process takes place as a series of questions. The company will do a “hard pull” credit check to see what mortgage rates you qualify for, which will temporarily lower your credit score, so consider waiting to go through the process until you are serious about buying a home.
Rocket Mortgage will be able to double-check your financial information, such as your bank and investment accounts, and can often but not always confirm your income and employment status.
Once your information is confirmed and, assuming you qualify, Rocket Mortgage will offer you a variety of different loan rates. You can customize these rates based on how much money you want to put down, how long you want your loan to be (the company offers customizable rates between eight and 30 years) and other options.
The process is designed to take about half an hour, and once you are approved, you can lock in your loan rate, get a preapproval letter and sign your paperwork completely online.
In order to qualify for a general loan or a Veterans Affairs loan, you will need a FICO score of 620, which is known as a good score.
There’s no set income level necessary to qualify for a loan, but Rocket Mortgage will verify your employment history and your monthly household income to see if you have enough money coming in to pay back your loan. Also, your debt-to-income ratio needs to be no more than 50 percent, and you will need money to cover the closing costs, which will be about 2 to 6% of the total purchase.
Rates and Fees
Rocket Mortgage will require a minimum down-payment of 3%, which is fairly standard. You can also opt to put down a higher down-payment to lower your rate.
The actual mortgage rate you will qualify for will vary by your situation, and Quicken Loans isn’t particularly transparent about giving you an idea of what that will be before you begin the application process. On their website, however, Quicken Loans does offer a general sense of their loan rates.
Currently, Quicken Loans offers 3.125% mortgage rate for 30-year-loans and 2.5% for 15-year-loans. It’s worth pointing out that both of these rates are higher than the national averages, which Money has at 3.05% and 2.30%. This might not sound like much, but even a single increase can add up over time.
Quicken Loans doesn’t disclose their origination fees, which is the upfront fee charged by the lender to begin the application process. Money lists the typical fee as being between 0.5 to 1%, which is about average.
VA loans are available to anyone who served in the armed forces, and in some cases their surviving spouses. These loans are designed to help veterans find the best possible mortgage rates, and their main benefit is that they don’t require a down payment, which can get people into a home much quicker.
Quicken Loans offers VA Loans with a 2.625% rate for a 30-year mortgage and a 2.25% rate for a 15-year mortgage, still a little higher than average.
If you’re looking to refinance your mortgage, perhaps in hopes of obtaining a lower interest rate (either due to your improved credit score or you want to take advantage of lower rates) then Quicken Loans has a variety of options, and you can again apply quickly online, but the website isn’t upfront about what those refinance rates might be, as you will only learn them once you are deeper in the process.
One area in which Quicken Loans falls short is if you’re refinancing in order to take advantage of your home’s equity. If your home has risen in value since you have purchased it, you can take out a loan against it, and use that money for anything from paying for renovations to financing a college degree.
Quicken Loans only offers Cash-Out Refinance, which replaces your current mortgage with a new, higher loan. The difference between the two mortgages is your loan. Typically, this loan is capped at around 80% to 90% of your home’s equity.
Because Quicken Loans is not a bank, it’s not able to offer a Home Equity Line of Credit, often called a HELOC. This differs from a Cash-Out Loan in that borrowers are offered a line of credit they can take out at any time during the loan, instead of getting the loan all at once. You then pay it back during the repayment period. HELOC’s interest rates can change monthly as the national interest rates fluctuate, while Cash Out Loans remain fixed.
Quicken Loans also does not offer Reverse Mortgages, which are loans that are available to people over the age of 62 who have paid off or almost paid off their homes These loans don’t have to be paid back until the person leaves their home.
Other Loan Types
In addition to standard fixed-rate mortgages, Quicken Loans also offers two products designed to help lower-income families, FHA loans and USDA loans. You will have to talk to your banker to see if you qualify for either.
FHA stands for Federal House Administration loans. These loans are backed by the government and are designed to help lower-income people buy a home. Quicken Loans required a 580 credit score to qualify, which might make this product more available to people with a bad credit history. Quicken Loans can offer FHA loans with a down payment as low as 3.5%.
USDA loans are backed by the United States Department of Agriculture, and while they are often thought to strictly be for purchasing farm land, that’s actually a popular misconception. USDA loans are attractive because they come with zero down payment as well as reduced mortgage insurance costs and low-interest rates. but they are only available in towns with a population of 35,000 or fewer residents. (See if you qualify here.) Quicken offers USDA loans to qualifying people with a minimum credit score of 640.
Finally, there are what is known as Jumbo Loans, which are loans too large to be backed by government entities such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored enterprises that buy home loans. Quicken Loans offers Jumbo Loans between $510,400 and $2,000,000, with a minimum 20% down payment.
Quicken Loans Pros and Cons
- Application is designed to be quick and easy and can be done entirely online
- Employment status, income and credit history can be quickly verified
- Offers a variety of flexible mortgage rates from 8 to 30 years
- Dedicated account manager to help with questions about the process
- 3% down payment is in line with current averages
- Ranked best in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power
- Higher mortgage rates and origination fees than the market average
- Lack of transparency about the rates you can qualify for and the fees involved
- No physical locations
- Higher minimum credit score requirements than other lenders
- Home equity loans and reverse mortgages not available
If you have a healthy credit score and savings, Quicken Loans is best if you want a completely online experience, and you don’t mind paying a little more in order to get things done quickly. But if you’re willing to put in the extra time to shop around so you can find the lowest possible mortgage rate you can, then Quicken Loans won’t be your best options. Ultimately, it comes down to whether your priority is getting a new home as quickly as possible or getting a new home at the best possible bargain you can.