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    Real Estate
    Monday, November 28, 2022

    Pros and cons of getting a mortgage online

    The internet has allowed people to complete many once complex processes online, ranging from earning a degree to becoming ordained as a minister. However, these accomplishments are often derided as an inferior substitute to completing a goal the old-fashioned way.

    Does the same hold true for home mortgages? Online services promise prospective buyers a quick, easy way to acquire a loan for their home purchase. While buyers can realize a number of benefits from online mortgage applications, they should also be cautious about the pitfalls these services can create.

    Pros

    The main attraction of online mortgages is their speed and convenience. Jordan Steinberg, writing for the financial services resource ConsumersAdvocate.org, says you can complete all steps of the mortgage application from the comfort of your own home instead of going to see the lender. You can also upload necessary materials such as pay stubs instead of putting together a bundle of documents.

    You can apply for a mortgage online at any time that's convenient to you. Alcova Mortgage, a lender based in Roanoke, Va., says that instead of taking time out of a busy day to meet with a lender, you can fill out the forms at the end of the day or any other time when you have a spare moment.

    Online mortgage services also maintain that they can help streamline the process. Once you provide the necessary documentation, the service can quickly calculate how much you'll be able to borrow.

    Once you see what kind of loans are available, an online service can let you easily compare their terms and rates. Daniel Bortz, writing for Realtor.com, says this can be much simpler than checking in with multiple banks to compare loans.

    Since online lenders have lower overhead costs than conventional lenders, they are often able to offer mortgages with reduced interest rates. Even if the rate is only slightly lower, it can save you a considerable amount of money over the life of the loan.

    You may be able to qualify for a wider selection of mortgages with an online service than if you visit a lender in person. Steinberg says online mortgage providers are often more willing to consider extending a loan to a borrower with a lower credit score, but may tack on more fees and a higher interest rate.

    Cons

    Completing a mortgage application quickly can be convenient, but it might not be the best way to get your home loan. Lisa Prevost, also writing for Realtor.com, says it helps to do some research on the different types of loan programs before you start shopping for a mortgage. While you might still opt for an online mortgage after this process, it's best not to rush the process.

    Online lenders aren't necessarily the best option if you're unfamiliar with the mortgage process, or if you just want some assistance along the way. Meeting with a mortgage professional in person can help walk you through the steps, particularly if you're a first-time buyer.

    Complicated loans typically aren't well-suited for an online application. These services may even have stricter requirements for certain borrowers, such as self-employed people who need to provide extra documentation. Bortz says online lenders may also be unaware of some benefits, such as local incentives to homebuyers.

    Even if you're applying for a more conventional loan, you may get confused by the process. While online lenders provide customer service, they may only be available during certain hours. Steinberg says it can also be difficult to reach a customer service representative, or they may only get back to you after a lengthy delay.

    With a traditional lender, a professional can help you with the application and make sure that all forms are filled out correctly. This guidance is unavailable with online applications, so you may be more likely to make an error. This could jeopardize the application, or lead to higher than expected costs.

    While lower rates can be advantageous, they aren't necessarily guaranteed. Alcova Mortgage says you may be drawn to an online lender because of the extremely low rates they advertise, only to find that you aren't eligible for the deal.

    You'll have to be very careful with online applications, because they're more susceptible to scams. Bortz says the best practice is to be skeptical about an offer if it seems too good to be true. You can also do some online research and check with the Better Business Bureau before you start submitting information to make sure the lender is legit.

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