I recently refinanced my home with a loan from Better.com and I am sharing the details of this experience here.
[Editor’s Note: This article shares my own personal experience in refinancing my home. Better had no idea who I was or that I would be writing about this experience.]
I have been thinking about refinancing a mortgage for a while. Although I already had a low rate, this year there were historically low mortgage rates. So, one day in May, I made a small purchase of a mortgage when I read that interest rates were falling and close to their historic lows. My current mortgage, obtained in 2016, was issued to one of four major banks, and going through the process was a complete nightmare. So, this time I decided to consider only fintech companies. After a little research, I settled on It is better… They had the best rates, were very responsive and had a great online portal.
I decided to carefully record my experience to share with the fintech community. I fixed the rate at 2.625% for a 30 year fixed loan, a rate that I thought was fantastic. It could have been lower, but I decided not to bring the money to the close, so that there would be nothing out of my pocket for this transaction.
Below is a graph of this transaction. The whole process took about five weeks, but it could have been a week faster if we weren’t in the city on the dates they originally suggested closing.
May 18 – Completed loan application
May 18 – Talked to a representative and fixed the rate: 2.625%, fixed for 30 years. The tariff is blocked until July 2.
May 19 – Completed 28 tasks, loaded PDFs with typical financial information.
May 20 – The loan switched to underwriting
May 20 – examination ordered
May 21 – Conditionally Approved for Loan
May 22 – Expertise was carried out.
May 31 – Expertise received
June 1-10 – Various requests for documents.
June 11 – Full approval
June 23 – house closure – 35 minutes.
June 28 – Funds paid to old lender, small discount on my bank account
At the core of Better.com’s experience is a to-do list managed through their online portal. There is always a lot of information when applying for a mortgage and Better has handled it. I could always view previous tasks, see which documents I had already uploaded, and keep track of my current tasks.
They sent reminders when my next tasks were ready and gently nudged me if I didn’t respond. PDFs were always good and when a wet signature was required they accepted my scanned documents. I have probably completed about 100 tasks, but my situation is a little more difficult than most because my main source of income is my company, which requires a huge amount of additional documents.
What was good about the best
I loved the technocentric experience that revolved around the portal on their website. I did almost everything on my desktop or laptop, where I had easy access to most of my documents. Here’s what I find to be positive:
- The interest rate was the cheapest I found.
- The online portal was great – all my tasks were stored in one place, but they organized it in a way that never looked cluttered.
- They were very sociable – I was immediately appointed as “Home Counselor” and he met with me regularly. He always answered when I called him.
- They were transparent about the numbers – they kept me informed as we approached the close, when the amounts changed for whatever reason.
- No faxes – I had a friend who recently took out a bank loan and had to fax some information.
- Speed - the whole process took four weeks and could have been even faster if I had been more responsive to their requests.
- Closing at my house – their mobile closing service was so convenient. I liked not sitting in the conference room with the title company.
Where better could be better
To be honest, I have very few complaints. But in this process there were several unpleasant moments:
- They’ve really promoted their Better Cover home insurance product. They sent six emails touting this, too many to refinance.
- I ignored some of the tasks they asked because I felt they were completely irrelevant. These tasks ended up dropping off my to-do list, so they shouldn’t have been requested at all.
- Digital closure is still a long way off – dozens of pieces of paper had to be signed at closing. After a 100% digital experience with the refinancing process, this was a bit of a disappointment.
It works better with a number of different banks that buy their loans, they don’t keep them on their balance sheet. At this point, I don’t know who ultimately purchased my loan, but I will make my first payment to The Money Source, Better’s preferred loan provider.
Better in progress become a public company through SPAC mergers because they were huge success during the real estate boom in the last 18 months. I interviewed CEO Vishal Garg on my podcast a year ago, since they really started to grow. He gave a clear indication that he believes Better will go public in the near future, saying that he thinks your customers’ involvement in your company’s success is good.
I think Better changed the mortgage finance experience for the better (no pun intended). They made a very complex transaction easy for the user to navigate and I would use them again in no time.