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LendingTree Review: Do You Really Win?

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“When banks compete, you win” is a slogan you’ve probably heard recently but is that really true or is that just a clever slogan wrapped around some somewhat clever advertisements? In summary, I think LendingTree offers you a quick, free, easy way to determine what the ballpark rates should be for someone with your credit profile. The fact that it’s free makes their offer compelling, why not enter in your information so you can figure out whether you can get a good rate or just an OK rate.

When I was looking at houses over two years ago, I signed up to LendingTree because of all the advertisements I saw on the television and because I felt that it was a useful resource. It’s essentially a search engine for mortgage loans and while the banks don’t necessarily “compete” in the sense that they are scrambling to beat one another for a loan, it certainly aggregates all the offers in one place so you can compare them easily.

Easily Compare Offers

I think that everyone should use LendingTree because getting those offers is free and because it gives you a general idea of the rates you can probably expect. See, Bankrate is nice with their rate listings but they’re not terribly accurate; getting a series of rate quotes based on your personal information and geographic area will give you a better sense of what’s a “good” rate and what’s a “bad” rate.

Pre-Approval Letter

Another benefit to using LendingTree was that they processed me for a pre-approval letter and I was able to print that out within hours (I want to even say within minutes since in a previous post I talked about how LendingTree called me a little after I submitted a quote). A pre-approval letter is crucial whenever you’re bidding on a home because it shows that you are a qualified bidder (that you’re good for the amount that you bid) and, given how hot the market was in two years ago, so it was definitely a bonus to using LendingTree (even though my loan wasn’t originated by a LendingTree lender).

Lots and Lots Of Offers

This can be a good or a bad thing depending on your perspective but within minutes of applying, I was deluged with mortgage related emails from all sorts of lenders from local banks and credit unions to big national banks that had a presence in my geographic area. Some of the offers included sample rate quotes based on my information, some were just cold call type “hey we’re here, call us,” but in general it was good.

Why Am I Pimping LendingTree?

I’m compensated for each signup but also because I had an email asking me whether I thought LendingTree was worth using and whether it resulted in any spam. I don’t think I’ve gotten any spam as a result of using LendingTree but you can never be certain with those sorts of things. Since it’s a major company and fairly reputable, I’m inclined to think that they don’t sell the lists or do anything questionable. However, considering your information is forwarded to a bunch of banks and lenders, you could perhaps get spammed if those institutions sell your information. Ultimately, who knows… use a good spam filter and you should fine.

Has anyone had a good or bad experience with LendingTree?

{ 19 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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19 Responses to “LendingTree Review: Do You Really Win?”

  1. NewHomeOwner says:

    I purchased a house in March of this year, and this is whom I contacted regarding financing the property (My FICO score was above 750, and I had 10% down payment and income documentation, so this was for a prime loan):

    1) Independent Mortgage Broker
    2) Washington Mutual
    3) CountryWide
    4) LaSalle Bank
    5) My Credit Union
    6) LendingTree.com

    For the above 6, by far the worst offers were from Lending Tree. Washington Mutual, Countrywide, the independent mortgage broker and my credit union all had the same rates and loans, just different amounts for closing costs. LaSalle bank was about a half point higher.

    And LendingTree.com assailed me with loans a point higher of interest, higher closing costs, and no real way to distinguish a reputable lender from a fly-by-night operation.

    In my experience, lendingtree.com was useless. And since when you go to lendingtree.com, EACH lender hits your credit report, so it can also potentially lower your credit score.

    The web makes it easy to know what the current rates are, but you still have to pick up the phone.

  2. jim says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, just one point worth mentioning is that the credit bureaus count all mortgage lender inquiries within a 30 day period as only one because they recognize you’re going to be shopping around, not getting 30 mortgage loans.

  3. Rich says:

    I looked at Lending Tree a few years ago when I refinanced. If you read the fine print, there is nothing that says they will get you a low rate, only multiple offers. The lenders are chosen at random. I got a much better rate and lower costs from Wachovia on my own.

  4. I have spoken to mortgage firms and every one said you actually pay more with lending tree. If you bother to shop around, you will pay less. Lendingtree is a broker and takes in “fees”.

    This is the real scoop that folks who just go online thinking it is the cheapest because of competition have got it all wrong.

  5. Louis says:

    I found Lending Tree to be useless. The “bids” that lenders give you are not binding in any way. Often lenders will just post low bids to get your attention and once you start dealing with them the rates change. If rates go up during the process the bid is meaningless. You are better off shopping around on your own.

  6. Crystal says:

    I will be closing with Lending Tree on 3/14/08! What a relief! In November 2007, I submitted information to Lending Tree at the same time my husband talked with a mortgage broker to refinance our home. I had ONE point of contact (Austin Crigger)with Lending Tree who was extremely helpful and not pushy and my husband had ONE point of contact with his friend of 40 years, the mortgage broker. In December 2007, in the interest of friendship, we went with the mortgage broker (though I really felt much more comfortable with Lending Tree). We paid for the appraisal (which could only be used by this broker) and began the process. By the end of February 2008, we had been through so many ‘locks’ that never materialized but that left us having to keep ‘locking in’ at a higher rate that I finally refused to do this again and sent an email to Austin. He was unable to answer but, fortunately for me, Saeed Gazemzadeh called me and continued right where Austin left off – quoting me daily rates and ranges and a firm lending cost – until I was ready to lock the rate. Now, three weeks later, we are signing and will have money in hand in less than a month! All this with only ONE credit pull from Lending Tree (the other broker had three pulls during the previous two and a half months – two of which lowered my credit rating). I am pleased as punch, happy as a lark and a lot less stressed because I made the choice to go back to Lending Tree. Due to my very pleasant experience, I highly recommend Lending Tree to those looking to refinance.

  7. bill mullen says:

    If you know of anyone from South Carolina who has obtained a mortgage using Lending Tree, please let me know.

  8. Felice says:

    Honestly, good for you but…BUYER BEWARE~~~Initially the person I began the loan process with was WONDERFUL!! Communicative, polite, responsive…once my loan went to my personalized loan processor everything went down the tubes, esp as far as customer service. She never made an initial contact as promised and then every time I had a question or concern it took a minimum of two (usually three) contacts on my part before she ever responded & then in a brief, laid-back, don’t worry, “you are fully approved” manner or an “I need this ASAP”. I was questioned deeply as to where funds came from and although I was applying for the mortgage on my own my live-in lesbian partner had supplemented my down payment but that did not seem to fit well with my so-called personal loan processor. Although she never made any direct derogatory comments she asked a lot of questions relative to my relationship to the person who contributed to my down payment. It is my understanding that legally it no longer needs to be a ‘relative’ who provides ‘gift money’. An incredible amount of documentation was required & more & more as the process went on. Since I am in FL and LT is based in CA that communication from her usually did not occur until around 3ish her time which made it 6ish my time and need I explain further? She lied to my attorney’s office repeatedly, did not return phone calls or send out paperwork she promised, not only in a timely manner, but NOT AT ALL! It was not until 4:30 CA time THE DAY BEFORE MY CLOSING(actually night for me–7:30 p.m.!!!) that I was informed after several phone calls initiated by me to supervisors, that I was ineligible for my mortgage! I was told this was because of recent changes to PMI requirements, but after doing some of my own investigating I found out these changes had been initiated MONTHS AGO! Then after that I still tried but it got worse & the lies on LT’s part increased. Not only that, but this process was about seven weeks & THE VERY SAME DAY THAT THEY DENIED MY LOAN THEY HIT MY CREDIT AGAIN! This, then, had a plummeting effect on my FICO. I have a hard time believing this was not done intenitionally as I had called “my personal loan processor”s’ supervisors several times to get a response. If they needed my $600 that badly I would have much rather given it to outstreched honest hands.

  9. james says:

    they are the only person i know who will honor there terms down to the penny once you lock, even the third party costs. Who else will do that for you? not your local broker or bank. you will always find someone with a better rate allegedly. There parent company is IAC which is good to know. From start to finish it was 9 days till i was signing my final loan documents, in this market that is more important than shopping around to see who has the cheapest credit report, cheapest processing. Once you lock your good to go. Lending Tree is in bizz to make money just like your local bank is just make sure you feel you got a fair shake.

  10. Frank says:

    Lending Tree blows. Don’t you know that Lending Tree gets a huge cut?

    Cut out the middle man and you win!

    I’m a Realtor, and just today my client got screwed by a Lending Tree loan that didn’t (and wont) close on time.

    Frank

  11. Rourke says:

    Let me give you a little info from a former mortgage broker’s perspective: LendingTree is nothing more than a lead-generating source! Once you sign up, your info is sent to at least three lenders who pay heavily for the info. LendingTree is a much sought-after and valued lead source for mortgage lenders because of their tremendous advertising. Brokers pay an initial sign-up fee of about $10,000 and then pay an additional fee of about $895 for every LendingTree loan that closes. Guess what, that cost is passed on to you, the borrower.

    Bottom line, you will pay either a higher mortgage rate or higher closing fees if you get your loan through LendingTree. You can save money by simply contacting a few banks and/or mortgage lenders in your area.

  12. Kerri says:

    I just got off the phone with a Lending Tree rep because I want to refinance my mortgage. What a joke. They want to charge $7700 in closing costs to refinance a $225,000 loan. The rep was a typical salesman trying to make me feel like I wasn’t smart enough to understand the complex financials. They’re a bunch of swindlers and I would deter anyone from using them.

    • Brandon says:

      My wife and I had the same experience. We were looking to get locked into a 30 year fixed at the same rate as our 5 year ARM…5%. Whenever my wife talked with our rep he made her feel like she wasn’t smart enough to grasp the financials. We wanted a loan with minimal closing costs as we just bought our house 2 years ago and paid closing costs. We were assured that $400 is what we needed to pay and there were no other fees. Turns out that the $400 is for an appraisal but there were still closing costs and fees to be paid…almost $10,000 on a $175,000 loan to be exact and all of a sudden it was 5.25%. So they wanted us to shell out $10,000 plus our rate was .25% higher. Everytime we talked to our rep it sounded more and more like a bait and switch. Our rep also became more and more irritated with us when we wanted to talk about it before jumping into anything. I would not reccomend LendingTree to my worst enemies.

  13. Can't say since they have my info says:

    Totally agree with Kerri above. The rates they offered were very high. Actually helped me decide my broker was honest. Once I was funded then the calls really set in. “What was the rate you got, oh I guess that’s ok, etc etc. I have asked them after every call to remove me from their call list and receive another call from them 2 weeks later.

  14. Rick says:

    On May 27th I went on line and used LENDINGTREE as a source of looking for a mortgage. On the morning of 5/29, two days later, I had 300 SPAM emails from everyone you can think of…. credit cards, auto loans, cash payday loans, health insurance, Free Grants,New Dell computer for FREE, meet large women online, affordable health insurance and the best one…Top Video Game Schools online! Earn a Degree!… Well today is June 3rd at 3pm and so far I have received a total of 700+ SPAM emails.

    I contacted LENDINGTREE, spoke to a customer service rep and they told me the only thing they could do was to change the email, so I gave them an email I haven’t used in 3 years for this very same reason. I explained my situation to him, asked that a manager call me back by 5pm with a soultion as to how this can be stopped. Low and behold at 1pm a manager actually called me and says the following ” we don’t sell or give your email to anyone”, it must have been done by the credit reporting agencys. As of 1pm yesterday my quest to make the world aware of exactly what you get when you deal with LENDINGTREE began. The internet is a wonderful thing, LENDINGTREE can use it to solicit us, and I can use YOUTUBE and FACEBOOK and all the review sites to make the world aware that if you apply thru LENDINGTREE you may as well change your email address before you even give it to them. This is a deceptive company (reviews here aren’t so hot) that you should consider staying away from, unless of course you like SPAM emails!

  15. Kelly says:

    I have had to finance/refinance about a dozen times and have never had such a horrible experience as with Lending Tree. There customer service is horrible, they don’t return your calls, or emails and don’t care about customer service.

    They bait you in with great care and then once you are in, they no longer care.

    Save your time, your money, and your sanity and don’t go with Lending Tree.

  16. Sally Sue says:

    What a nighmare! As a licensed RE agent I always recomend 3 different financial reps. My buyer after consulting w/Lending Tree and receiving ambigous information consulted with my recommendations and received the soid advice that he needed to make the deal. Then lending tree did all they could to discredIT ME as the RE agent + the recommendations of an RE ttorney + mortgage reps (despite the fact that my mtg reps were more accurate than lending tree), including saying they had me on tape that I was NOT representing the best interest of my client and was colluding with my attorney and my buyers chosen mtg rep.

    My client bought it, was fired his attorney and esstuilly closed with lending tree. Despite the fact that he and I had a date and planed to have others, he refuses to respond to me, to which I can only say that he is embarrassed that I was right all time time . .. . Lending tree mislend him and now he is paying the consequences! ;ending tree scrwed him in the end!

    As I had been advised by the listing attorney, stay away from Lending tree “AT ALL COSTS!”

  17. Anonymous says:

    change your phone number!!

  18. Tucker says:

    This guy obviously works for lending tree. When they ask to enter your information and banks compete it’s true. However they sell that lead to multiple lenders who will be blowing up your phone. It’s defiantely a competion, a competition for the banks that bought the leads to get you on the phone and sell you their loan…. I love reading this stuff


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