LendingTree is perhaps one of the most comprehensive online mortgage portals for one reason: apply and within moments you’ll get connected with the nationwide lenders without any extra work on your part.

LendingTree

That’s because LendingTree isn’t a lender, but is instead a liaison to lenders across the country. Scroll through their participating lenders and you’ll find they have 101 pages with 15 lenders listed on each.

The list is only expected to grow.

Shop around if you want, but LendingTree will tell you everything you need to know about any lender wanting to work with you.

Mortgage Application Requirements

Lenders in the LendingTree network look at several different criteria when evaluating your application.

Credit Score

It depends on the loan you apply for and the company you choose to work with, but typically borrowers with LendingTree have a credit score of at least 640. If your score is lower, you may want to consider improving it before buying a home. A lower score means a higher interest rate, which means more money you’ll pay for the ability to take out a loan no matter which lender you choose.

Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI)

Add up all of your monthly debts. How much do you pay for things like student loans, car loans, and credit card payments each month? Divide the sum of your monthly debts by your gross income (the amount you make before taxes and health insurance are taken out). That’s your DTI.

It all depends on what you make, but LendingTree’s maximum DTI tends to be around 45%. Remember: this 45% must include whatever monthly mortgage payment you would take on with a new home loan.

Available Cash for Down Payment and Closing

Depending on what loan you choose and qualify for, you may need to make a down payment. FHA loans are the standard loan of choice for many first time home buyers because of the low down payment option of only 3.5%.

The typical purchase price for a new home is usually around $200,000. In this scenario, 3.5% of $200,000 is $7,000. Plus there are closing costs to consider, which varies with each lender, loan amount, and location, but for a $200,000 house that could add about $4,000 to the necessary costs to close.

Employment History

If you haven’t worked at your present job for at least two years, that doesn’t mean you won’t qualify for a loan, but if you have, your application will be looked upon more favorably.

This is because borrowers who are able to hold a steady job tend to be more likely to pay upon their debts. If you’ve only worked at your job for a few months, and you don’t have a lengthy employment history, this may hurt you when you applying.

Types of Home Loans Available

LendingTree’s network offers a variety of home loans geared towards all kinds of borrowers.

Conventional

Unlike an FHA loan, a conventional loan mortgage is not guaranteed or insured by a governmental agency, such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). A conventional loan can mean any number of loans, such as:

  • Conforming Loan
  • Jumbo Loan
  • Non-conforming loan
  • Portfolio Loan
  • Sub-prime Loan

Almost all conventional loans are what we call “conforming” loans — meaning they operate within the parameters set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

A loan that does not operate within set parameters is called a non-conforming home loan. These types of home loans are often larger than the limitations set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and can also be called a jumbo loan.

A portfolio loan is one where the lender holds the loan in his or her own books/ portfolio. Each lender can set his or her own rules and allow the borrower to do things he or she couldn’t do with a traditional lender, such as use stocks and bonds for security.

A sub-prime loan is geared towards borrowers with poor credit scores and low income. This type of loan usually has higher interest rates and fees than other types of home loans. There are limitations for this type of loan set forth by the government to protect borrowers, but it still is not government backed.

FHA

An FHA loan is a government insured loan that enables people with low to moderate income to purchase a house with as little as 3.5% down. Depending on where you live there are mortgage limits and income limits.

FHAs are so popular with borrowers because they don’t demand a perfect credit score, the interest rates are often lower than other types of loans, and, if desired, can also become an assumable mortgage. That means a previous owner’s debt can be transferred on to a new buyer.

VA Loans

VA loans are offered to both current and retired military personnel, as well as their spouses. VA loans are great because they don’t require a down payment, have low rates, and they can be used to finance up to 80% of the home’s value.

Better still? Mortgage insurance (PMI) is not required. The loan is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and was made to help both active military personnel and veterans become homeowners.

Fees and Rates

LendingTree always posts the current rates for participating lenders online, so you never need to wonder what kind rate you could start at. Just keep in mind your credit score and loan amount affect how high of an interest you’re likely to get no matter which lender you ultimately choose.

Even with rates expected to rise for the foreseeable future, we’re still at historically low rates right now. If you have a good credit score, now may be the time to lock in a low rate.

LendingTree by itself doesn’t charge any fees, nor does any lender it works with charge any upfront fees before your loan closes. If you get a call from someone you need to pay a fee to ensure a loan or guarantee a rate, it’s a scam. No lender it works with would ever call you and ask you to make a payment over the phone so it can move forward with your application.

LendingTree Mortgage Process

Apply online through LendingTree’s website. LendingTree will match you with the best lender that services in your area and that can work with your credit score. From there you choose the lender that can offer you best package.

After pre-approval, the process is the same as it would be anywhere else. Find a house, make an offer, and then go through the inspection and appraisal processes.

If both come back fine, you’re good to close. Closing typically takes about a month, but depending on the lender it could either go by faster or longer. The exact timeline depends on the amount of traffic the lender has when you put in your offer.

Special Features

With LendingTree you can close as fast as 30 days, all the while knowing you got the best rate for you and your family. It’s a one-stop portal to the only the best lenders nationwide. With LendingTree, it’s no longer necessary to apply to several different lenders and compare rates. Apply once online and you’re done.

Bottom Line

LendingTree is convenient, safe, and perhaps the best use of your time if you want to shop around for the best lender before beginning your house hunt.

Many borrowers go on to use them for all of their other loan needs as well, such as personal loans, auto loans, or business loans. They offer the same great service regardless of what type of loan you need.