If you’re not familiar with Lendingtree.com, it’s a website where you fill out an application for a loan and then receive offers from several different lenders – assuming you qualify. In other words, Lendingtree.com doesn’t offer loans itself. It gathers your personal and financial information and submits it to its member banks and credit card providers.
Easy to Navigate with Helpful Tools
The pros of Lendingtree.com are that the site is fairly easy to navigate and offers some helpful tools, including a table of current mortgage rates for 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
Mortgage Loans and Refis
Lendingtree.com has information on both refinance loans and mortgage loans. There are calculators for both types. If you already have a loan offer, there’s a tool that will get you a second opinion called “FREE Look Before You Lock.” There is also a home affordability calculator and a Get My Score tool that you can use to get a free credit score but do note that you will have to sign up with freecreditscore.com to get the free score.
Personal Loans, Too
You can get personal loans on Lending Tree, including home equity loans, mortgages, auto loans, student loans, debt consolidation loans and personal loans for no specific reason. Lendingtree.com can help you find low-interest credit cards. Plus, if you own a small business, lending tree.com can help you find an installment loan, a mortgage, a business credit card and receivables financing.
One of the best things about Lending Tree is that it doesn’t cost anything to use its basic services. You can create an account at no cost if you wish. But you can access most of its links without doing so. If you use some of its advanced services or if you accept an offer for a loan, then there will be a charge.
LendingTree’s Associate Companies
Lending Tree is associated with most of the big names in the business, such as Bank One®, Citibank®, MBNA America®, Bank of America® and other of the big financial institutions. In addition, it is affiliated with 650 plus real estate companies and more than 6500 realtors.
Unfortunately for Lendingtree.com many of its reviews are very negative. One reviewer wrote, “don’t use lending tree loans.” Others wrote, “lendingtree is dead at the roots,” “nothing but spam e-mails followed quotes,” “avoid like the plague.”
Some Good Experiences Reported
On a more positive note, some Lending Tree customers have reported good experiences with the company. For example, one customer said the site was very easy to get through while another reported it had good lenders from which to choose and a fast response time. And one reviewer said, “Lendingtree.com saved us a bundle!”
Overall, people who reviewed Lendingtree.com scored it an average of just two stars out of four. However, it’s important to remember that people who have had a bad experience with a company are much more likely to go online and leave a review than those who had a pleasant experience.
Taking a Closer Look
Delving deeper into the world of borrowing, Lending Tree is a loan broker as opposed to a direct lender. Though some prefer the latter when searching for a loan, the former certainly offers ample benefits in its own right.
- Choices: With a direct lender, you’ll have one loan offer accompanied by a single set of terms and conditions, all of which are products of the lender itself. Getting multiple options means going to numerous direct lenders, taking notes and weeding through the confusion. Brokers bring together a wide range of lenders in a single location, making the comparison process a great deal faster and simpler. As far as networks go, Lendingtree.com has one of the largest and most diverse in the industry, so the company gives you an opportunity to truly broaden your horizons.
- Streamlined Application Process: Seeking loans from several different direct lenders separately entails filling out one application after another. Answering monotonous questions and providing repetitive details about yourself, your employment status, financial circumstances and other aspects takes a great deal of time and effort, and one minor mistake could leave you starting all over again from the beginning. With Lending Tree, you fill out a single, all-inclusive application, and it’s forwarded to all the direct lenders through which you might qualify for a loan.
- More Straightforward Prescreening: Each lender has specific prerequisites set aside for its borrowers, and you’d be hard-pressed to find two whose eligibility requirements are the same. Wasting time and energy filling out countless applications only to be continually rejected is disheartening to say the least. Brokers like Lending Tree distribute your application among lenders most likely to approve you, but even if you’re rejected by some, you still only had to go through the prescreening process once.
- Greater Chances of Approval: Some lenders work specifically with borrowers who’ve experienced credit issues while others only cater to those on the higher end of the scoreboard. Since brokers have a long list of possible lenders in their networks, at least one of them is bound to be able to help regardless of the circumstances. For those with little or no credit, plenty can be said for Lending Tree’s capacity to improve the chances of being approved.
Turning to a broker for assistance has its fair share of advantages, but it’s not without a few downfalls. Lending Tree’s support team can give you a basic rundown of some of its lenders, but they can’t provide specific details or further explain the terms of each company in the network. Learning more requires speaking with lenders you’re interested in and qualified for on an individual basis.
For some, the idea of not having the same representative by their side for the duration of the loan process is reason enough to shy away from brokers. Going through with a loan acquisition from a network lender may also leave you vulnerable to some unexpected fees and expenses. This issue isn’t exclusive to LendingTree.com; it’s true of all brokers.
Where Home Loans are Concerned
Aside from the conventional fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages available to homebuyers, government loans are growing in popularity and accessibility. Choices falling into this category include:
- FHA Loans: Geared toward first-time buyers and those with little or no credit, these government-backed mortgage alternatives offer lower down payments than their counterparts. Eligible applicants may also qualify for additional assistance with down payments among other benefits.
- VA Loans: Members of the United States military are served through loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA home loans come with possible 100 percent financing and no requirements for private mortgage insurance as well as certain other cost-saving advantages.
- USDA Loans: According to recent reports, more than 95 percent of the nation’s citizens qualify for loans courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture. Reduced mortgage insurance fees and potential waiver of down payments are a couple of the helpful gains available with these loans.
- FHA 203(k) Rehab Loans: Fixer-uppers can typically be purchased at much lower prices than other homes on the market, but for some, acquiring a loan for these types of properties is a challenge. FHA 203(k) rehab loans help bridge this gap and cover necessary repairs. Though they come with low down payments, eligibility requirements are a bit more stringent than those of some other loans.
Lending Tree delves into all these loan options and more with lenders operating in each sector of the market. Although numerous brokers can boast diversity, this one could arguably be the most distinct of them all.
What to Expect during the Application Process
Lending Tree’s loan applications start off on a very basic level. You’ll begin by viewing a clearly marked list of loan types. Simply click the one you’re interested in whether it be a personal loan, home refinance or other alternative. Here’s where the process becomes a bit more diversified.
Should you choose a personal loan, for example, you’ll be asked what purpose it will serve. On the other hand, clicking home loans prompts an array of questions regarding current location, home ownership status and home search efforts. From there, you’ll need to enter further details, including:
- Amount to be borrowed
- Your age
- Credit standing
- Your current address
Then, you’ll be instructed to create an account using your email and a unique password, so you can receive personalized quotes. This is where some people begin backing away. Many recoil over having to provide personal contact information so early in the process. Representatives of Lendingtree.com point out the questions provided aren’t meant to be overly invasive; they’re simply designed be as thorough as possible from the beginning to provide the most accurate information to you as well as their lenders.
Following the account creation phase, you’ll need to provide more in-depth details, like your employment status, income and so forth. Each one draws you further into the loan acquisition process. These vary based on type of loan, but all are geared toward the ultimate end goal of finding loans best suited to customers’ unique needs.
It’s only fair to mention this is the same interrogative process you’d be subjected to through any legitimate loan company. Keep in mind, you’ll be asked these same questions repeatedly when going through multiple direct lenders.
After the Fact
As some previous customers noted, emails do ensue after creating an account. Some of them will be relevant to your loan search efforts while others won’t. In our current digital age, this has come to be expected from virtually all companies in any industry. One exception might be direct lenders with whom you apply in person rather than online.
Loan offers from Lending Tree’s network are fairly plentiful once the application process is completed. This is true even for those with lower credit scores since lenders are available for people in a variety of circumstances. Choosing one is a simple matter of weeding out the highest interest rates and following up with each potential lender.
Numerous Resources for Users
As alluded to earlier, Lendingtree.com offers a number of tools and helpful resources for those who turn to the company for loan assistance. One such option is its free credit score analysis. Further opportunities in this realm include information about aspects going into a credit score, tips for improving your current status and advice for moving forward.
Numerous mortgage loan calculators are available for hopeful homeowners and those considering refinancing. Among the website’s most noteworthy tools is its ongoing mortgage rate feed for various lenders in specific areas. You can also look up reviews and ratings for lenders in the company’s network for further reassurance before making any final decisions regarding a loan.
Additional information and links to outside resources are likewise provided for those who wish to dig deeper. Though the company focuses on loan comparisons, it also offers other opportunities. One option available through Lendingtree.com is credit card comparisons. Users can sort through terms, conditions and rates from multiple card issuers. Types of cards, rewards programs and other features may be weighed against one another as well.
Insurance comparisons have also been made available to consumers via Lendingtree.com. Benefits and downfalls of various home, automobile and life insurance products on the market are provided along with assessments of bundles offered through policy providers. Tips and advice are posted regarding determining how much coverage users may need, finding discounts and ways to maximize coverage while minimizing cost among other elements.
Additional Features and Options
On top of Lending Tree’s rate comparisons and far-reaching resources, the company recently implemented a few new features into its website. Going forward, users will be able to find in-depth information on debt relief alternatives. Comparisons will be provided for each solution as well as companies offering these options.
Customers are giving the opportunity to enter information about their income, total debt, credit scores and other pertinent aspects. After these details have been provided, personalized breakdowns of the most suitable debt relief methods are generated. Topics covered include bankruptcy, debt settlement and management and consolidation loans to name a few. This feature can be found on the company website under its Menu tab.
About the Company Itself
Lendingtree.com and other sources indicate the company was founded in 1996 by accountant and entrepreneur, Doug Lebda. The idea for a loan comparison site was born of his own negative and time-consuming experiences in searching for a mortgage loan. Two years after its launch, the company went national.
Lending Tree holds an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau. This consumer awareness organization bases its ratings on a long list of factors, some of which are:
- Business Size
- Type of Business
- Complaint Volume
- Complain Resolution Efforts
- Response Time to Complaints
- Business Practice Transparency
All these elements come together to create individual ratings for companies appearing on the BBB’s radar. As mentioned, some customers have shed a negative light on Lending Tree; however, the majority of reviews made available through the BBB’s website are positive ones. While ratings tend to vary by review site, Lending Tree is currently rated 3.96 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau website.
Only two customer complaints have gone unresolved during the company’s 21 years in business, making for a track record comparable to other companies of its size and age. Most of us are well aware it’s impossible to please everyone all the time. For the most part, these grievances revolve around influxes of emails after creating an account with the company.
Lending Tree has experienced steady growth and change since its inception more than two decades ago. Earlier this year, the company made headlines when its small business marketplace reached the $1 billion mark in loan volume. Beyond that, Lendingtree.com recently expanded its line of student loan offerings. Several independent loan providers in various sectors have also been brought into the Lending Tree fold over the last few years. These developments could be said to speak to the continual evolution of the company.
In a Nutshell
America’s financial sector continues to grow with new loan products becoming available all the time. Choosing the right one can be an intimidating venture, and filtering through the endless array of different rates, terms and eligibility requirements makes it even more challenging. Loan brokers act as a go-between for consumers and lenders, giving those on both ends of the spectrum a broader range of options.
Despite their benefits can have certain downsides. For most people, though, more plentiful choices, simpler application processes and more favorable odds of being approved for a loan eclipse the disadvantages of brokers by far.
Numerous brokerages are vying for public attention these days. Lending Tree stands out in the continually swelling crowd for several reasons. It’s a well-established company capable of placing an ever-expanding network of lenders at the public’s disposal.
Branching out a bit further, Lendingtree.com’s services to its users go well beyond loan comparisons. They encompass insurance and credit card comparisons, in-depth information on topics of public interest and credit outreach to name a few.
Though the company has received its fair share of negative reviews over the years, positive ones steadily make the cut as well. Being bombarded by loan-related emails seems to be the primary complaint among dissatisfied customers. Overall, more success stories appear to have emerged over the years than failures, making Lendingtree.com one of the nation’s most highly touted companies in its industry.