LendingTree Mortgage Review 2019
The Smart Investor reviews are unbiased, and reflect the views of our editorial staff. We’ve collected the information independently. Issuers did not provide the details, nor are they responsible for their accuracy. The review is not a recommendation, the actual rates/fees may be different.
LendingTree is a multi-line loan marketplace, or exchange, where consumers can go online, complete an application and receive quotes from multiple lenders. They have a comparison shop and obtain the lowest rate available among LendingTree’s stable of lenders.
Since their inception in 1996, they have expanded their product line, which was originally mortgages, to include personal loans, auto loans, business loans, student loans, reverse mortgages and more.
What makes LendingTree unique is that it is not a direct lender – it is a lead generation company. Through its advertising and marketing, it generates leads for its 400+ lenders, who pay Lending Tree to be connected to prospective borrowers.
- Choose your lender from over 400 different lenders
- “One stop shop” for loans
- Simple, friendly website & app
- Online application
- Not a direct lender
- Consumer reviews
- Over communication
- Connection between borrower to lender
The founder of LendingTree, Doug Lebda, took note of the challenges he faced in obtaining a mortgage to purchase his first home and designed a business to put the consumer in control of their choice of mortgage lenders. Instead of calling lender after lender, getting rate quotes and learning each lender’s different documentation requirements, all of which is time-consuming, he organized Lending Tree so that the consumer completes an application online, the information is analyzed, using LendingTree’s proprietary technology and the consumer then receives quotes from five lenders, based on his or her profile. In theory, the lenders compete for the business.
He started the business in 1996 and took it nationwide in 1998. It was acquired by IAC/Interactive in 2003 and was spun off in 2007, joining Tree.com, a consortium of financial matchmaking services. In 2013, the company was re-branded as LendingTree.com, with its multi-product loan matching services under the LendingTree brand. LendingTree is a publicly traded company, trading under the symbol TREE.
Through the years, LendingTree has added hundreds of lending institutions to its fold – major nationwide lenders, smaller regional lenders and alternative lenders, which fill the gaps for borrowers whose credit profile does not conform to the conventional norms.
LendingTree also added auto loan lenders, student loan lenders, personal loan lenders, commercial/income property lenders and business lenders, credit cards, reverse mortgages and banking products, among others. They have also partnered with or acquired credit repair services and insurance services, allowing them to be a one-stop shop for all types of credit.
LendingTree’s site has a number of resources and tools for prospective borrowers to read and use, including calculators, newsletters, and lender ratings and reviews. Nearly every borrowing need a consumer would have is offered by LendingTree, through its lender network.
LendingTree Business Model
The LendingTree business model is straightforward. The consumer goes to LendingTree’s website , completes a simple, online application and within minutes, receives quotes from five lenders, based on the profile presented in their application. They also immediately receive telephone calls and e-mails from the five lenders. The consumer then chooses the most competitive lender among the five and completes the loan process with the lender directly.
There is no charge to the consumer for this service. However, they will pay whatever charges are due to the lender with which they complete the transaction.
LendingTree’s revenue is derived from the lender. Lenders buy leads generated as a result of Lending Tree’s robust marketing efforts. The fees are paid per application. In mid-2018, those fees are about $20 for a “short” application, which contains the client’s contact information and minimal personal information. LendingTree pays approximately $40 per application for a “full” application, in which the prospective client has provided a full Social Security number and has authorized a credit report “pull”.
LendingTree Loan Products and Fees
As mentioned previously, through LendingTree’s network of over 400 lenders, every type of mortgage, auto, personal, student loan, reverse mortgage and others may be found in one easy session.
LendingTree does not charge the consumer for its matching services. Those fees are paid by the direct lenders, in exchange for LendingTree providing leads resulting from the consumer’s visit to their site and completing the online form.
LendingTree’s web site is comprehensive and includes descriptions and information about each of the loan types that a consumer can apply for while there. It also includes multiple loan calculators and articles regarding personal finance, such as whether to lease vs purchase an auto and how to repair credit.
LendingTree Mortgage Process, Pros & Cons
1. Submit Your Application – complete a simple short or long online form and submit. The process is simple and intuitive. This can be done from any device. Telephone assistance is available at 1-800-813-4620.
2. Evaluate Your Options – Receive multiple offers from lenders who provide customized offers based on the information you provided and a “soft pull” of your credit scores, if you authorized it. A soft pull is a way of obtaining credit scores without impacting someone’s credit score. A “hard pull” results in a deduction from each score of 5 – 15 points for each credit pull. If they choose the “short” application, borrowers can review the offers without having their credit pulled multiple times and with no impact to their credit score provided each of those “pulls” is done by LendingTree.
LendingTree makes it easy to evaluate the best deal by providing a Mortgage Rate Competition Index, which calculates the Annual Percentage Rate of each offer and showing the spread between each offer. This makes it easy for the consumer to see which lender is offering the best rate and the lowest cost loan over its expected life.
You can use our extensive set of calculators determine which of the loans are better for you, whether to get a 15 or 30-year loan, whether to refinance, how much home you can afford, whether to make extra payments and more.
3. Choose your lender – the consumer picks the best deal for him or her and then works directly with the lender’s loan officer to complete their loan application. There is live interface with the loan officer at the lender of their choice, throughout the process.
LendingTree is a proven leader in the lead generation arena for all types of financing and its lender-partners offer the entire spectrum of loans for virtually any borrower need, including:
- Diversity – LendingTree works with more than 400 different lenders in the US. They offer easy access to financing for any purpose, all in one place.
- Choose your lender – While LendingTree do not have retail offices.
However, the consumer can choose a lender that is local to them.
- One stop shop for loans – Conventional non-conforming (Jumbo) fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgages, Interest only loans, Alternate credit loans, Personal Loans, Income/Commercial Loans, Auto Loans, Credit Cards…and more
- Agency & Givernment mortgage loans – LendingTree supply conventional agency fixed rate and adjustable rate
mortgages (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). Also, they offer government guaranteed/insured fixed rate and adjustable rate
mortgages (FHA, VA)
- Friendly Website & app – LendingTree’s website is robust and easy to use, with enough resources to keep
someone who is contemplating financing, busy for days.
- Online application – The application can be from any type of device, or by phone.
LendingTree is not a lender and therefore does not maintain retail branch offices. The lender chosen by the consumer may or may not be local to the consumer.
- Consumer reviews – consumer reviews vary widely, depending on where you read them. The lender ratings shown on LendingTree’s web site rate each individual lender and are mostly positive (4 -5 stars). However, for the consumer researching loans, it is good to read the ratings on other rating services, such as the Better Business Bureau (A- rating), Consumer Affairs (2-1/2 stars) and CreditKarma (1 out of 5 stars).
- Connection between borrower to lender – there is a disconnect between what happens when someone applies on the LendingTree site and when they choose their lender. This could and should be better explained by LendingTree, because many consumers believe that LendingTree is their lender.
- Not a direct lender – LendingTree is not the lender but is a referral source for consumers to find lenders. While LendingTree may do a “soft pull” credit report, every lender referred will do a hard pull credit report, which may have a negative impact on the consumer’s credit report. This is a common complaint.
- Over communication – Many reviews complain that, once the LendingTree online form is completed, they receive calls, texts and e-mails, nonstop. Several mentioned that there is no opt-out. Let the buyer beware!
Should You Consider LendingTree Mortgage?
LendingTree’s concept is unique but should be understood for what it is – a referral source for lenders. The consumer will not get their loan directly from LendingTree.
Due to the variety and depth of its financing and related options, one can find virtually every type of loan, as well as the lenders which fund those loans, without having to sort through hundreds of lenders.
Their proprietary Mortgage Rate Competition Index makes it easy to see which lender offers the lowest cost financing. This can save tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan and may be worth extra credit pulls and incessant calls and texts.
LendingTree bills itself as an online exchange or marketplace for financing and it is, in that it makes the process of finding a lender simpler for the consumer, by aggregating the lenders suited for their request and their profile in one place.
Consumers would be advised to read all the fine print and ask about everything before providing their information. This is easily done by calling them at 1-800-813-4620.