Launched in 1998, LendingTree Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE) offers a convenient way to get multiple quotes for home loans from various mortgage providers.

What LendingTree Is

LendingTree's founder, Doug Lebda, an accountant, found the process of buying his first home in 1996 frustrating, so he launched an online site to aggregate quotes. LendingTree is a mortgage service that connects consumers with multiple mortgage originators to provide the best deal possible. LendingTree acts as a point of reference in the research stage for consumers looking for mortgages, providing an easy way to manage the process and get multiple quotes online. LendingTree has a national network of loan providers, including national, regional and local providers, offering consumers competitive rates on mortgage loans. The mortgage originators bid on each customer's home loan, securing the best rate among those in the bidding process.

LendingTree offers quoting services for more than just mortgages. It has sister sites that offer quoting services on autos, home renovation pros and online education courses. LendingTree claims to have facilitated 55 million loans worth $251 billion in closed mortgage transactions. LendingTree does not service the loans it facilitates.

Mortgages Products Offered

LendingTree does not truly have any mortgage products itself, as it matches consumers with lenders. However, through its wide network of lenders, it does offer virtually every home loan product available in the United States. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, for those with lower incomes or poorer credit, benefit from a government-backed and insured housing loan. LendingTree users can also choose a conforming loan that must meet guidelines from Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) (OTC: FNMA) or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) (OTC: FMCC). Generally, a conforming loan is less expensive than an FHA loan. A conventional mortgage is one with at least 20% of the value of the home as a down payment. LendingTree also makes Veterans Affairs (VA) loans available to veterans.

LendingTree also offers a number of home-based loans, such as reverse mortgages, home lines of credit, refinance and home equity loans. LendingTree also has one of the most extensive online educational resource websites available on the internet for the home buying process. Site visitors can find information on how to qualify for loans, improve their credit scores and navigate the loan process.

Mortgage Rates

One of the best features of LendingTree is the ability to get instant mortgage interest rate quotes online in one of two ways. The first is to provide all your relevant information and have lenders servicing your local area send you email quotes. This process provides a more accurate and detailed interest rate quote specific to your situation.

The second method is to use the LoanExplorer function to specify a few variables, such as location, mortgage and down payment amounts, to get current mortgage rates from actual lenders in your area. This convenient feature is not available from most mortgage companies.

What Consumers Are Saying

LendingTree pays for accreditation from Consumer Affairs, a private organization that provides consumers with an outlet to review and rate companies. Consumer Affairs does not allow companies to pay for ratings, although all reviews are vetted before included on its website. With 462 reviews of LendingTree as of May 2016, it has a 78% approval rating, including three-star or higher ratings and an overall four-star rating, and only 12% with one- or two-star ratings. Consumers described their interactions with LendingTree as flawless, great experiences and fast service.

LendingTree, although not a mortgage originator or servicer, can provide a comprehensive way to conduct interest rate research and provide you with education on buying a home. The company does not include every lender; get more comparison quotes before making a final decision.

NVR Mortgage Overview (NVR)

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