If you have watched TV or listened to the radio over the past year or so, you have probably seen or heard commercials about Rocket Mortgage. These commercials appear to be advertising “loan approval in minutes,” but can it really be that easy? In this post and the next one, we will take a look at the Rocket Mortgage website. Rocket Mortgage offers the opportunity to apply for a refinance or a new mortgage to buy a home. Today’s post will focus on the process for applying for a new loan. In the next post, we will take a look at their refinance process. Hopefully these posts will give Ventura County residents a clearer understanding of the Rocket Mortgage process.
Applying For a New Rocket Mortgage Loan
The first step in the home buying option is to create an account. This “getting started” page states that you will first input your financial information, get an “approval” in minutes, and then you can adjust your down payment to find the financing option that works best for you and your situation.
After clicking the “let’s begin” button, the next page takes you to a form where you need to enter your first name, last name, email address, username, and a password. You also have to check a box to prove that you are not a robot and then click the “create account” button.
The website then takes you to a series of 8 different steps.
Step 1: Living Situation
The first step asks you if you are a current homeowner, if you are renting, or if your status is ”other.” For the purposes of this exercise, I clicked the “I am currently renting” option.
Step 2: Home Situation
For this step, you are asked to fill in your current address, city, state, zip code, monthly rent, and the date you started living at that address. I assume this would be similar if you chose either of the other options in the previous step.
Step 3: Desired Location
This step simply asks if you already have a home picked out. For the purposes of this exercise, I chose “no.” Once I chose “no,” two more questions appeared asking if I knew how much I wanted to spend on the home purchase and where I was most interested in buying a house.
Step 4: Who’s on The Loan
This step asks your marriage status and if you are interested/eligible for a VA/military loan. If you state that you are married, additional information will be asked about your spouse.
Step 5: My Money
This step asks you to enter information about your income. At first glance, it appears that the Rocket Mortgage website is trying to force you to use their automatic “income search” tool where you enter your birth date and Social Security Number (SSN). As I am not one to give away my SSN lightly, I skipped this section and only entered my employment history below the automatic income search section. As the website allowed me to continue on with the questionnaire, my guess is that you can either use the automatic tool or manually enter your employment history.
Once this is done, step 5 continues and asks about your assets. Again, it gives you the option of using an automatic tool to find any accounts you own or to enter the information manually. Again, I chose the manual method to enter my information.
Step 6: Government questions
The following questions are asked during this step:
- Are there any outstanding judgments against you?
- Have you been declared bankrupt within the past 7 years?
- Have you had property foreclosed upon or given title or deed in lieu thereof in the last 7 years?
- Are you a party to a lawsuit?
- Have you directly or indirectly been obligated on any loan which resulted in foreclosure, transfer of title in lieu of foreclosure, or judgment?
- Are you presently delinquent or in default on any Federal debt or any other loan, mortgage, financial obligation, bond or loan guarantee?
- Is any part of the down payment borrowed?
- Are you a co-maker or endorser on a note?
- Are you a US citizen?
- Do you intend to occupy the property as your primary residence?
- Are you obligated to pay alimony, child support or separate maintenance?
- Have you had an ownership interest in a property in the last three years?
The following questions are optional and are not required to move on to the next step:
Step 7: My credit
This step asks you to enter your birth date, SSN, and phone number in order to see your results. Unfortunately, you cannot proceed without entering a valid SSN. This would make sense if you are actually getting approved for a loan, as this is something that all major lenders will require eventually.
Step 8: My Solution
Now that you have reached step 8 in the automated process, you are now shown the home price you entered earlier and your loan options where you can select the term length of your mortgage and see how the monthly payment, interest rate, and cash needed to close change accordingly. Although you would think step “8 out of 8” would mean you are done, there is actually one more step. You must now click the “see if I’m approved” button to see if you will actually get a loan approval or not. Although the Rocket Mortgage website does not explicitly state this, my guess is that step 8 is more of a pre-qualification whereas clicking the “see if I’m approved” button leads to a pre-approval (for more information about the differences between pre-approval and pre-qualification, see our blog post entitled 5 First Time Home Buyer Tips for Ventura County residents).
If your loan is approved, you can lock in your interest rate and start shopping for a home. If your loan is denied, you then have the chance to either chat or speak to a representative to determine why it was denied.