Unless you win the lottery, you’re probably not going to pay for your dream home with a lump sum of cash you’ve been hiding under your mattress. So to make homeownership a reality, most Americans have to take out a mortgage—or a loan specifically created for buying a home—from a bank or mortgage lender.
If you’re qualified, you’ll typically receive 80% of the assessed value of your home in the form of a loan. You’ll need to pay back this loan—with interest—to whichever financial lender loaned you the money.
It’s a simple concept to understand, but let’s face it: asking for money is never easy.
Whether you’re looking for your first fixer-upper or refinancing your seventh home-sweet-home, you’ll need to convince a lender that you’re trustworthy and financially sound to pay back the loan (with interest and fees) every month.
Now if you’re already getting hives thinking about waiting in your power suit for a stranger at the bank to approve the biggest loan of your life, take it easy.
Quicken Loans caters to future and current homeowners who prefer doing business in the online world instead of in person.
Even though you may have never considered applying for a mortgage or refinancing your home online, today we’re going to review the Quicken Loans process and see if makes sense for modern, tech-savvy buyers like you.
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What is Quicken Loans anyway?
Back in the old days, you used to have to apply for a mortgage at a bank, credit union, or government/private lending agency.
But as The Wall Street Journal reports, banks loaned less than half of all U.S. mortgage loan dollars in 2016. For the first time in more than 30 years, non-bank lenders like Quicken Loans actually gave out more loan money than the big banks.
So how did Quicken Loans become such a success?
Until the internet came along.
Dan Gilbert had the foresight to close their 28 local lending branches and focus on growing their online portal during the technology and dot.com boom of the 1990s. Digitally connecting with potential borrowers from all across the country sounded like a slam dunk.
However, every state has their own unique laws and regulations regarding mortgages. Neighborhood brick-and-mortar lending locations all have experts trained in these local matters.
So the Quicken Loans founders decided to hire staff with experience in local regulations from all over the country. With their knowledgeable crew gathered in one, centralized location, Quicken Loans started processing mortgage applications nationwide without having to open a single branch office to do so.
That’s exactly why software giant Intuit Inc. (makers of Quicken and QuickBooks) purchased Rock Financial in 2000. Intuit’s the one who renamed the web operation Quicken Loans.
Dan Gilbert eventually bought Quicken Loans back from Inuit with a small group of private investors in 2002. As a privately-held company, Quicken Loans doesn’t have to answer to the profit demands of shareholders and chooses to follow their own compass instead.
In 2010, Quicken Loans relocated more than 1,700 employees out of their office in the suburbs to Detroit, Michigan’s urban core. Revitalizing the once-bustling metropolis by occupying the city’s most historic and iconic buildings in the financial district, Quicken Loans now employs over 13,000 people and more than 11,000 work from downtown Detroit.
Quicken Loans is a direct mortgage lender
When you start researching mortgages, be prepared for the bombardment of mortgage brokers offering to research home loans from different companies to guarantee you the lowest rates.
While this seems super helpful in theory, use caution before you employ this kind of help if you value your privacy. In order to shop around for you, these companies gather your information and pass it on to multiple mortgage providers or refinancers across the country.
What comes next?
Only about a dozen daily phone calls and emails from mortgage providers competing for your business.
On the other hand, Quicken Loans is a direct lender, which means they connect only with their potential borrowers instead of using a middle person such as a mortgage broker. This puts Quicken Loans in the same category as solid mortgage lenders like Wells Fargo and Bank of America.
When you send your personal information, you can be confident that only the trained experts at Quicken Loans will receive it. This eliminates spam emails and phone calls and protects your information from getting in the hands of companies you’ve never even heard of.
Other mortgage lenders also engage in the practice of selling their home loans, which means you could receive approval from one company you trust only to later have to deal with another company you don’t like as much. Quicken Loans never sells their home loans so you won’t have to deal with this headache.
How does Quicken Loans work?
Quicken Loans is completely transparent about their mortgage process so you always know what to expect every step of the way.
Here’s a timeline of the steps Quicken Loans takes to process your application:
Step 1: Start the Application Process on Your Terms
Quicken Loans shines online, so you’ll want to head over to their quick and easy four step application portal where you’ll be guided to a loan option based on how you answer a series of questions (we’ll talk more about how to complete the online application process in section 9.1).
If you’re old-fashioned you can always start the mortgage application process by reaching a Home Loan Expert:
- Over the phone by calling Quicken Loans at 1-800-251-9080
- Via online chat with a Quicken Loans representative
- Through emails directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
No matter which route you choose, you’ll be paired with your very own Home Loan Expert who’ll be with you every step of the way. Think of them like your dedicated personal banker; they’ll pore over your application and ask you additional questions to match you with the perfect loan option.
Don’t know which type of mortgage is best for you?
Besides the helpful and informative Home Loan Experts, Quicken Loans also has an outstanding selection of online calculators and estimators to help you prepare re alistic mortgage goals.
Whenever you have questions about the application process, you can always turn to your Home Loan Expert for answers—no need to schedule an in-person interview and waste your valuable time.
Step 2: Credit History Review
Fact: Every mortgage company runs a credit check to view your credit score and credit history. This helps lenders determine how likely you are to pay your mortgage payments in full and on time.
As Jenna Lee explains for US News’ Money section,credit inquiries are either “hard” or “soft” checks:
- A soft credit check occurs when a person or company uses your credit report as a background check, or to pre-approve you for a credit card or loan
- A hard credit check occurs when a prospective lender checks your credit report to make a lending decision
Many lending companies and mortgage brokers will choose to perform a soft credit check at first, which doesn’t negatively impact your credit score (woo!), as a way to show you potential loan amounts and mortgage rates.
Unfortunately, Quicken Loans will perform a hard pull on your credit to determine these.
A hard check will slightly lower your credit score so be prepared to lose no more than five points when you get to this part of the process. The check will also stay on your credit report for the next two years.
Why is Quicken Loans trying to ruin your credit score?
First off, that’s obviously not the goal.
Second, pulling a hard inquiry has a major advantage for serious buyers.
See, when companies use a soft pull, they’re using basic information to pre-approve you barring any major red flags on your credit report. Yet once you move forward, they’ll run a hard credit check and you may not qualify for the same amount or interest rates you were initially given.
Talk about a letdown.
Using a hard credit check means you’ll have rates and approval based on your actual financial history so you have the facts sooner rather than later in your buying process. No bait-and-switch financials here!
Step 3: Create Your My Quicken Loans Account to Compare Your Options and Move Forward from Anywhere
Quicken Loans will return up to six loan options that fit your specific criteria.
Instead of flooding your inbox or mailbox with paperwork and requests for forms, Quicken Loans created their MyQL platform so borrowers can view and manage all their loan information from one online location.
Simply create an account online or download the MyQL app for compatible Android and iPhone devices.
With MyQL Mobile, you’ll be able to:
When your Home Loan Expert crunches the numbers, they’ll post your Loan Estimate form directly to your MyQL account.
Stats such as your property info, interest rate, estimated monthly payment, mortgage terms, and closing costs will appear in one easy-to-understand document.
At this time, you’ll need to show a little good faith by leaving a deposit. It’s a way to tell Quicken Loans that you’re totally taking your relationship to the next level. This deposit will cover processing costs (from obtaining your credit report, paying for an appraisal, etc.) and will be credited towards your closing costs.
This easy online back-and-forth exchange streamlines the application process and opens the possibility of closing on your mortgage in two to four weeks as opposed to two to four months.
Step 4: Underwriting (aka Checking All the Facts)
Even though your Home Loan Expert gave you flying approval ratings, Quicken Loans will ask another company specializing in mortgages to double check your application before it’s finalized.
This outside cross-checker will pore over your application and financial documents looking for signs that you don’t meet Quicken Loans’ lending requirements.
Quicken Loans will also schedule an appraisal of the home you plan to purchase or refinance. The value of your property (which is directly linked to your loan amount) will be decided by this state-certified third-party appraisal company.
Step 5: Closing on Your Home Loan
Once all your T’s have been crossed and the I’s have been dotted with smiley faces, you’ll be able to close on your home loan. You’ll have to sign a few closing documents with a Quicken Loans representative in person, but since they’ll meet you anywhere, anytime, it’s still easier than dealing with a traditional brick-and-mortar lender for the entire application process.
What are the services offered by Quicken Loans?
Quicken Loans knows mortgages better than any other company because that’s literally all they do. Here’s what they have to offer future and current homeowners in both conventional and specialized home loans:
Fixed- or Adjustable-Rate Home Loans
Most mortgages are differentiated by two factors: your interest rate and the length of your loan’s term (we’ll talk more about loan terms in section 7).
Your interest rate can either be fixed, which means it doesn’t ever change for the life of your mortgage; or it can be adjustable, which means it may change after a predetermined amount of time and depending on market conditions.
Let’s talk about how these two differ:
For one, ARMs usually offer the lowest possible interest rates for your initial fixed-rate time period. Quicken Loans gives borrowers five, seven, or 10 years of this fixed-rate before the interest rate changes.
So if you’re only living in your current or future home for a few years—like if you’re going to flip your house, relocate for work or active duty, or plan to move during retirement—you’ll enjoy super low interest rates for the few years you’ll physically be there, saving a bundle of money.
Though your interest rate may increase after this initial period, Quicken Loans will never raise it by more than 5% of your initial interest rate.
You also can’t get zapped with multiple increases; Quicken Loans will only give you an interest-rate adjustment once a year. You may even get a lower interest rate depending on how the financial markets are doing.
When you refinance your mortgage, it’s like signing up for a new home loan under different terms. According to Quicken Loans, homeowners usually decide to refinance their mortgage because they want to:
- Lower their monthly payments
- Pay off their mortgage faster
- Cash out the equity earned on their home
- Consolidate debt
- Earn more from an investment property
So for instance, if you didn’t have the best credit when you first qualified for your mortgage, your steady payments and the equity you’ve earned on your current house may be able to help you qualify for a lower monthly payment, better interest rate, or even a cash-out.
Plus, since interest rates are at an all-time low, you may score a better interest rate after refinancing. Check out Quicken Loans’ current mortgage rates (see section 6) to compare yours now.
FHA and VA Loans
FHA Loans Help You Qualify for a Mortgage if Your Credit is Less than Perfect
FHA loans are mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), hence the name. Quicken Loans is the largest FHA lender and has the lowest default rate among FHA originators.
These home loans are much easier to qualify for because you only need a credit score of 580 or better. They also only require a downpayment of as little as 3.5%.
Plus, if you have an FHA loan and think you may be able to save even more money by refinancing, you can take part in Quicken Loans’ fast FHA Streamline refinance option.
VA Loans for Veterans and their Families
Quicken Loans is the leading originator of VA loans, which are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans help active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their families buy the homes of their dreams.
When you qualify for this loan, you’ll be entitled to lower interest rates and you’ll also have the option of buying a home without a down payment. You can even use your basic housing allowance to pay down your mortgage each month.
If you have a VA home loan and you’re looking to refinance, you can refinance up to 120% of your primary home’s value with Quicken Loans.
Now that you know about Quicken Loans’ home loan options, get ready to be floored by Rocket Mortgage.
What is Rocket Mortgage?
Quicken Loans developed their Rocket Mortgage portal to create the fastest home loan application process on the planet. Unlike any other underwriting platform in existence, it took a Quicken Loans engineering team of 450 almost five years to develop this proprietary mortgage approval process.
What’s so special about it?
When you click over to Rocket Mortgage (rocket.quickenloans.com), you’ll be asked a series of questions about yourself and your home loan goals. As you fill in your answers, the Rocket Mortgage algorithm verifies your responses by checking information about you from a collection of online databases.
As Matt Burns writes for TechCrunch, these online databases already hold that information, so Rocket Mortgage just needs to access those vaults instead of have you fill out paperwork with the same information.
For example, Rocket Mortgage checks employment for over 60% of employed Americans using just a social security number. If you’re part of the majority, that’s all you need to enter to verify your income history.
To get an idea of your assets and credit info, you used to have to provide your mortgage lender with paystubs and copies of statements from your checking/savings/investment accounts. Gone are those days with Rocket Mortgage.
Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage has access to 95% of U.S. financial institutions. Similar to popular finance apps which let you view all your financial data—from bank accounts to credit cards—in one simple platform that travels wherever you go, you’ll log into your accounts via Rocket Mortgage and grant them permission to browse your numbers.
Rocket Mortgage will also ask all three credit bureaus for a copy of your credit score and report.
All this definitely beats having to wrangle these documents and send them over to a lender yourself.
Since the answers are verified electronically online, you won’t wait days, or even hours; you’ll be less than 8 minutes away from receiving an answer about your home loan application.
Worried about giving out this sensitive information online?
Quicken Loans has 24/7 security monitoring and bank-level encryption so your private information is safe. They also happen to have pretty strict privacy guidelines to make you feel even more comfortable with the online process.
When you’re done answering questions, you’ll see Rocket Mortgage’s “T-Minus” countdown display on the screen while it gathers all the mortgage options you should check out. Your results will include fixed-rate home loan options with loan terms lasting between eight and 30 years.
To create their self-directed buyer customer base, Rocket Mortgage will give you actual numbers for your potential mortgage payment and interest rate. Then the fun part begins.
When you choose your potential home loan, you’ll be given a set of customizations, or “buy points”, to fine-tune your choice. So if you want to see how your monthly payments differ with longer or shorter terms, just try it out! You’ll see real-time results based on current market conditions.
Quicken Loans President Jay Farner tells CBS News, "If you go to Rocket Mortgage, you can see the interest rates, you can see the fees," he said. "You can see how changing the interest rates would change your fees."
Now you can price out a home loan with specific details that matter to you: you pick your interest rate, your loan term length, and determine your own amount of points.
If you’re happy with the results, lock in your mortgage rate and submit your application for approval with Rocket Mortgage’s e-sign application. If you’re approved, you could close on your home loan in as soon as one week.
What are Quicken Loans’ mortgage rates?
Just like home and auto insurance companies, home loan lenders also have to assess your risk. If they lay out the money for your mortgage, they need to have some way of knowing you’re going to pay them back.
That’s why your individual interest rate depends on several factors, such as:
Mortgage rates change daily based on the market’s activity so it’s best to check them frequently. Here’s what Quicken Loans’ mortgage rates look like:
Don’t forget to sign up for daily email and/or text alerts from Quicken Loans so you’ll never miss a low rate when one becomes available.
What are the terms of the services offered by Quicken Loans?
Mortgages typically carry a term of five to 30 years. The longer your term, or the more time you have to pay down your loan, the smaller your monthly payments. Shorter terms mean larger payments, but you also pay less in interest.
Quicken Loans offers two fixed-rate home loans: a 30-year and a 15-year term option.
You may like the 30-year fixed-rate home loan if you:
- Plan on living in your potential or current house more than 20 years
- Would rather have smaller monthly payments
- Need to allocate a consistent payment amount when budgeting your monthly finances
Opt for the 15-year fixed-rate home loan if you don’t plan on living in your potential or current house forever. Though your monthly payments will be higher since your loan term is shorter, it would be beneficial for you if want to:
- Pay less interest over the life of your home loan
- Pay off your mortgage faster
- Build equity in your home quickly
Here are the term options for Quicken Loans’ other mortgages:
- Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs): 5-year, 7-year, and 10-year term options
- FHA loans: 30-, 25-, 20-, and 15-year fixed-rate terms; or a 5-year ARM
- VA loans: 30-, 20- and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages; or a 5-year ARM
How are Quicken Loans’ ratings?
Moody’s praised Quicken Loans for their “solid profitability” and the company's “strong market position in the US mortgage market.” The company branded them with a stable outlook.
S&P also believes in Quicken Loans’ financial stability and gives them solid ratings as well. Quicken even earned an A+ rating from the BBB—the highest grade any company can earn.
How do you get the services offered by Quicken Loans?
Just start their simple 4 step application process:
To apply for a mortgage with Quicken Loans, you can:
- Apply online right here
- Chat with an online Home Loan Expert
- Speak with a Home Loan Expert over the phone at 1-800-251-9080
Let’s talk about the questions you’re going to be asked no matter which route you choose:
1. What type of mortgage do you need?
Are you looking to refinance a home you currently own or do you wish to purchase a new home?
2. What are your home loan goals?
Whether you’re just researching home loan options or already signed a purchase agreement, Quicken Loans wants to know where you’re at so they can offer you the tools, guidance, and expertise to find a home loan that’s right for you.
They’ll also ask for the address of the home you’re refinancing or purchasing so you only see mortgage options that are in compliance with your neighborhood’s home loan regulations.
3. What do your financials look like?
To determine your borrower eligibility, Quicken Loans needs a peek at your financials.
Answer questions about the purchase price of your home and your estimated down payment. Then include information like your credit score and indicate if you qualify for a VA loan before you move on to the final step.
4. Make a formal introduction
Though you’ve already disclosed more information to Quicken Loans than you did on your last date, it’s only when you reach the last step of the application process that Quicken Loans asks for your full name, zip code, phone number, and email address.
Add these key details, submit your application, and wipe the nonexistent sweat off your brow.
If Quicken Loans says you’re a stellar candidate and you meet their eligibility criteria, a Home Loan Expert will contact you and complete the final moves to close on your home, like uploading all your supporting documents (pay stubs, account statements, tax forms, etc.).
Do I qualify for the loans provided?
To determine your eligibility, home loan lenders take a variety of factors into consideration, such as your:
- Credit history
- Estimated down payment (purchase)
- Established equity (refinance)
A combination of any of these factors tilting in a certain direction could get you approved or denied for a mortgage.
For example, if you have a crummy credit score, but you have virtually no debt and a decent income, you may see an approval while your friend with an average credit score and a pile of debt gets denied.
So the easiest obstacle you can overcome before applying for a mortgage is raising your credit score.
Though other lenders have different mandates, Quicken Loans requires a minimum credit score of 620 for all their conventional loans. But borrowers with credit scores higher than 580 will qualify for FHA home loans.
Unfortunately, Quicken Loans also asks for a minimum 620 credit score for all VA loans even though there’s technically not a minimum score required by the VA.
When you raise your credit score, you not only gain access to other types of mortgage options and sail through approval time, but you’ll also qualify for better interest rates so you save money every month too.
How user friendly is the home loan process at Quicken Loans?
How is the customer service at Quicken Loans?
J.D. Power & Associates’ annual Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study examines customer satisfaction with the largest mortgage lenders in the U.S. They use six key factors to determine their rankings, including:
- Loan Offerings
- Application/Approval Process
- Problem Resolution
Quicken Loans took home this award every year between 2010–2016.
J.D. Power also runs an annual Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study, which evaluates the performance of mortgage lenders across a different set of factors, such as:
- Billing and Payment
- Escrow Account Administration
- Interaction (Online, Live phone, Automated phone)
Quicken Loans won this honor the last three years (2014–2016).
Is Quicken Loans safe and legitimate to use?
What are Quicken Loan’s strengths?
What are Quicken Loans’ weaknesses?
Frequently Asked Questions about Quicken Loans
Our Final Review of Quicken Loans
If you use your smartphone to pay for your morning coffee, hail a ride from happy hour, and complete all your banking transactions online, you’re probably going to dig Quicken Loans when choosing a mortgage lender.
Their completely online home loan application process takes the hassle out of dealing with a mortgage lender in person and gives you the convenience to start on your time, wherever you are. And if you use their Rocket Mortgage option, you’ll literally never have to speak to a representative before receiving a legitimate home loan approval.
The Quicken Loans application process works best for self-directed borrowers who don’t need to ask a Home Loan Expert a ton of questions every step of the way. However, Quicken Loans’ award-winning customer service and dedicated team won’t be more than a click, email, or phone call away should you be less cool on the tech front than their target audience.