I never owned a house before. Truth is I never really thought I would. I had thought about it but after living in areas where housing prices were through the roof I figured I would always rent. Then life changed and I relocated to a more affordable area. The housing prices made home ownership a possibility and after being on the job a few years, I started to search for my first house.
I still had some reservations and wondered if I even really wanted to own a house. I liked freedom, but the one thing I did want was a garage. I could imagine doing all kinds of weekend projects and building things that I just couldn't do in a rental. So I decided I would put my feet in the water, tentatively, and began searching for a house. I did make the decision that I wasn't going to buy one just to buy one. I would only make the commitment if it was what I wanted.
I found a house that was in my budget and went to see it. I liked it and wanted to make an offer. I contacted an agent who said she could get me qualified for a loan. We spent about an hour on the phone, things sounded positive and she said she would call me back in a few days to let me know the next steps. Fast forward a week and I called her to find out she was leaving for her vacation but she would have her assistant "follow up". I did get the prequalification I needed...but the house I wanted had sold. That's how I ended up at Quicken Loans.
I did one of those online searches for "home loans" and as a result I was getting all kinds of ads when I visited websites, coming from many different lenders. One that popped up repeatedly was Quicken Loans. Then I got some junk mail from them. I had seen a couple of their television commercials. One night after work when I was about to give up on buying a house, I said screw it and went to their website.
Quicken has an option to "chat with an agent now" so I clicked the box and spoke to someone named Dan. He took some information and prequalified me for a loan. I was impressed. I had the prequalification in my email within minutes. Three weeks with my last agent left me empty handed, so Dan and Quicken made a great first impression.
There was one other house that was on my radar, but was out of my budget. Since I was feeling confident, with a fresh Quicken Loans pre-qualification in hand, I called the listing agent and asked to go see it. It was what I wanted AND it had a garage! So I called the agent back the next day and said lets make an offer.
Things went downhill from here. Dan called me a few days later and got some of the documents he needed from me. He let me know what else he needed an always set a time and date to call me back to "touch base". But things became...weird...after that. I told Dan that I couldn't talk during the day, my job didn't allow cell phones to be out during our shift for security reasons. I guess Dan was not listening or didn't care, because he began calling during these forbidden times - often two or three times a day. When I would talk to him it was like our last conversation never happened: one issue was he needed proof of the 401k withdrawal I was making for proof of assets. I couldn't get him the statement he needed and asked what other documentation would suffice. The next time we would talk he would then ask for the same document and I would yet again state I can't get THAT document, what else would work? This back and forth went on to days before close.
Another issue was what I call dishonesty or shadiness. I've worked sales and know about getting the deal done, but Dan at Quicken Loans seemed to just lie. In our second conversation he said he needed an amount for the home appraisal. He withdrew that from my checking account. Later when I received my loan paperwork, that exact amount was listed as an application fee. Now I have been told that an application fee is common, but it was not disclosed as such. Furthermore, my appraisal fee was later to be double the amount quoted. It definitely felt like Dan fudged the numbers and lied to me to get me to sign.
My realtor also ran into a lot of issues. Her words were "Quicken Loans is ridiculous! I have never seen such a mess". That's because Dan was no longer working my loan, I guess he was just the door man. My loan process was handed off to six or eight other people. At least that's the amount of people that left the realtor and me messages. One agent from Quicken called and when I called her back the next day, she had already "transitioned into a new role". Now some other guy was handling it. But his English was hard to understand and I could never get him on the phone. In fact I could never get anyone from Quicken Loans on the phone when I returned their calls. It was always the "please enter an extension" system, and I never knew an extension or who I was even dealing with today.
Throughout the deal, the costs rose. Significantly. I budgeted for one amount. Every time I signed onto my account the costs had risen. Sometimes daily. Now I know that closing costs are a ballpark, but who ever works at Quicken Loans doing their loans estimates should be fired.
As the closing day approached, I was scrambling to come up with roughly double the estimate. Then two days before as things became more concrete, suddenly the cash needed to close dropped by $1000. I breathed a sigh of relief. It was going to be ok. I confirmed that the figure was correct and a Quicken rep said yes, this is our finalized figure as we head to signing on Wednesday. We scheduled an attorney visit to sign my closing docs.
The day before closing, Tuesday, I received a phone call from my realtor. They had miscalculated. I actually did need that $1000. Making matters worse was that I was on a lunch break and could not leave work early. I scrambled to the bank for another grand. On this same day before closing, they still called to tell me that they needed my proof of assets. So I went to their website, downloaded the pay stubs I had uploaded already, highlighted my bank balance, and resubmitted the same statement. Now everything was good to go, apparently no one had ever bothered to look at the document uploads that had been there for weeks.
All said and done, I bought my house. But I must say that every possible moment of feel good "I am buying my first house!" feeling was drained out of it by Quicken Loans. Every possible estimate of costs, for everything from the appraisal to the even documentation fees, ended up be much higher than they ever quoted. Once they knew I was getting a small seller assist in the deal, the cost of my loan rose by that much. Throughout the loan process, Quicken Loans reps continued to contact me at times I explicitly said I could not talk. So many people called that both my realtor and myself never knew who was in charge of the loan or who to call. It felt like a complete run around. Very unprofessional.
Would I recommend Quicken Loans? Hell no. They are just a loan processor, qualifying you for the same loans that any other mortgage broker can get you. I was just so invested in the process that I felt like there was no turning back. But I did consider it. At one point I sent them an online message telling them these exact words "get my loan funded today or I am finding a new lender and initiating legal action against Quicken Loans". An hour later my realtor received a phone call saying that everything was good to go! I guess they didn't have the nerve to call me.
After the loan was completed, I received a customer survey which I filled out and mentioned much of what I wrote here. I received the following response from Kelly Bedard: