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Guaranteed Rate Mortgage Review: Helping More Borrowers Get a Home Loan

Review Updated
Kimberly Rotter, AFC®
By: Kimberly Rotter, AFC®

Our Mortgages Expert

Eric McWhinnie
Check IconFact Checked Eric McWhinnie
Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

Guaranteed Rate is a nationwide mortgage lender with an easy-to-use website and competitive rates on home loans. Guaranteed Rate helps remove some of the obstacles to homeownership by offering flexible loan programs designed to accommodate people with less-than-perfect credit, and those who need to make a smaller down payment. Also, Guaranteed Rate's mortgage application technology is robust and user-friendly, which makes it easy to apply and manage your application all the way through to closing.

Check out our full Guaranteed Rate Mortgage review to decide whether this is the right mortgage lender for your next home loan.

Guaranteed Rate Mortgage

Best for: Down payment assistance

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4.0/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Bottom Line

Guaranteed Rate does a great job with ease of usability, offering comprehensive loan information during your research phase, plus the option to securely upload and digitally sign loan documents when you're ready to apply. The lender publishes its rates for different loans online, making it easy to compare options.

Min. Credit Score 550 VA 560 FHA 620 Conventional 660 Jumbo

  • 550-660

Min. Down Payment

  • 0%-3%

Key Features

  • Customer-friendly website
  • Technology to ease the process
  • Neighborhood data

Loan Types

  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • Jumbo
  • Interest Only

Fixed Rate Terms

  • 30y, 15y

Adjustable Rate Terms

  • 5/6, 7/6, 10/6

Top Mortgage Lenders

It's important to compare mortgage lenders so you understand all your options. Here are a few of our favorite lenders, listed side by side so you can see how they each stack up against their competition:

Lender Min. Down Payment Credit Score Next Steps
  • 3%
  • 580
Circle with letter I in it. 580 FHA 620 Conventional 680 Jumbo
  • 0% - 3%
Circle with letter I in it. 0%-3.5% (FHA & VA loans) 3% (conventional loans)
  • 580 - 680
Circle with letter I in it. 580 FHA 620 other mortgage products

Full Guaranteed Rate Mortgage review

This lender is a good fit for: Rate shoppers doing preliminary research before talking with a loan officer. Guaranteed Rate also helps you research neighborhoods, an unusual feature for mortgage lender websites. It's also a great lender for borrowers looking into down payment assistance programs.


  • Excellent online rate tool
  • Digital mortgage application
  • Down payment assistance programs
  • Special low rate program for highly qualified borrowers


  • Credit check fee

Top perks


Guaranteed Rate's website is extremely customer-friendly -- it's easy to navigate and find information. In very few clicks, you can find out which loans and terms are available, what loan might be right for you, and what today's mortgage rates are.

Guaranteed Rate offers a helpful feature that not all mortgage lenders provide. On its mortgage rates page, you can see how much your loan will cost with zero discount points versus one or two discount points. A mortgage discount point is prepaid interest. You pay a fee upfront and the lender lowers the interest rate. A point usually costs 1% of your loan amount, and the discount is typically one-eighth to one-quarter of one percent off your mortgage rate. The discount lasts for the life of the loan on a fixed-rate mortgage, or until the first rate adjustment on an adjustable-rate mortgage. If you don't keep the loan for at least a few years, paying for mortgage discount points might not make sense.


Guaranteed Rate Mortgage offers robust digital mortgage technology that can make the loan process easier and faster. Most loan documents can be signed online, and you can arrange to provide any required ink signatures in the location of your choice. Because so much can be completed in advance, the actual loan closing can be as brief as a few minutes.

Guaranteed Rate is also the Editors' Choice for Best Mortgage Lender App in 2022, an award issued by The Motley Fool's editorial team.

Down payment assistance programs

Guaranteed Rate participates in several low down payment programs designed to help borrowers get a home loan even if they can't make a 20% down payment. Those programs include:

  • HomeReady®
  • HomePossible®
  • Fannie Mae 97%
  • Freddie Mac HomeOne®

Home loans for lower credit scores

If you're otherwise ready for homeownership, don't assume that a lower credit score will necessarily prevent it. Guaranteed Rate offers VA loans (for service members, veterans, and some surviving spouses) that require a minimum credit score as low as 550. The lender also offers FHA loans (for anyone) with a minimum credit score of 560.

Neighborhood data

Guaranteed Rate can help you learn more about the neighborhoods you're interested in. Click "Housing market research" from the dropdown menu on Guaranteed Rate's website to go to the "Know your neighborhood" page. Enter a ZIP code or city name to find out what letter grade the area earns. The website returns detailed results, including market trends, population trends, and school data that can help inform your home search.

Construction loans

If you buy a new-build home before it's built, you'll need to make two housing payments -- one for the new home and one for the place where you'll live during construction. A common solution for this is a construction-to-permanent loan, which Guaranteed Rate offers. During construction, you only have to make interest payments, and only on the amount that has been disbursed to the builder. When the home is complete, Guaranteed Rate converts the loan to a traditional mortgage, and then you will begin making full payments.

Low-rate loan division

Guaranteed Rate has a division called Owning that offers extra low rates to qualified borrowers. If your credit score is at least 640, you're not self-employed, and you're not applying for a jumbo loan, you might be eligible for a streamlined mortgage with an interest rate that's 0.25% to 0.50% below the competition's rate.

What could be improved

Guaranteed Rate has many selling points and very few shortcomings. But these are two potential drawbacks we came across.

Not all loan options are listed 

Guaranteed Rate has more options than are listed on its website. What this means is that (1) you might skip Guaranteed Rate, incorrectly thinking it doesn't offer what you want, and (2) you may have to talk to a loan officer to get all the information you seek. Doing that is virtually guaranteed to put you on a marketing list.

The last time we checked, Guaranteed Rate wasn't offering the USDA loan. But some of its brokers advertise it, so if you're looking for this program, it's best to call and ask.

Hard credit check fee

While most borrowers can get pre-approved with a soft credit pull, Guaranteed Rate may require some borrowers to undergo a hard credit check. In those cases, borrowers are responsible for the fee.

How to qualify

You need a 620 FICO® Score for a conventional loan at Guaranteed Rate Mortgage. For a jumbo loan, your credit score must be at least 660. You may qualify for a VA loan with a 550 credit score, or an FHA loan with a 560.

Like most mortgage lenders, Guaranteed Rate charges higher interest rates to people with lower credit scores. On a $250,000 loan, a rate of 7% versus 7.5% saves you more than $30,500 over the life of a 30-year loan. Follow our tips to improve your credit score before applying to help you qualify for a lower interest rate.

RELATED: How Does Your Credit Score Affect Your Mortgage Rates?

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) should be no higher than 43% for most loans, but if it is higher, Guaranteed Rate Mortgage may have an alternative loan that's appropriate for you.

To calculate your DTI, divide your monthly debt obligations (such as credit card payments and car payments) by your monthly pretax income, then multiply by 100. If the number you get is over 43, you might need to pay off some debt or look at alternative loans.

How are Guaranteed Rate Mortgage's refinance rates?

Guaranteed Rate's refinance mortgage rates are competitive and are about the same as the national average. When we checked, Guaranteed Rate's refinance mortgage rate was a little lower than the purchase rate.

How are Guaranteed Rate Mortgage's rates compared to the national average?

Guaranteed Rate's mortgage rates are not terribly different from the national average, sometimes a little higher, sometimes a little lower.  If you are willing to pay for mortgage discount points, you could get an even lower rate. Points are prepaid interest. If you plan to keep the home for at least several years, you could save money by buying a lower interest rate. To purchase a home, FHA loans and VA loans have slightly lower interest rates than conventional mortgages.  

Guaranteed Rate Mortgage is right for you if:

You want digital convenience: Guaranteed Rate Mortgage is a great choice for borrowers who want to conduct financial business online, including on mobile, from anywhere. Guaranteed Rate was an early pioneer in digital mortgage technology and remains at the front of the pack. The convenience factor is very high. And if you want the option to talk to someone in person, Guaranteed Rate has branches in most states and Washington, D.C.


  • Guaranteed Rate offers rates similar to the national average.

  • Yes. Guaranteed Rate has tools in place to help you get a mortgage, with pricing that compares well to other options.

  • Yes, Guaranteed Rate's rate for refinance loans is about the same as the national average.

  • You'll need a 620 credit score for a conventional loan and a higher score for a jumbo loan. If your score is lower, you might qualify for an FHA loan. If you're struggling to come up with a down payment, you can apply for financial assistance and a special loan program designed to help you become a homeowner.

  • Guaranteed Rate offers many types of mortgage loans, including:

    • Conventional
    • FHA loan
    • VA loan
    • Jumbo loan
    • Construction loan
    • Fixed-rate mortgage
    • Adjustable-rate mortgage
    • Interest-only mortgage
    • Low down payment mortgage
    • FHA 203(k) renovation loan
    • Fannie Mae HomeStyle renovation loan

Our Mortgages Experts