Thanks to various apps, you can catch a ride, hire someone to clean your apartment, and order a pizza, all without picking up the phone. It’s glorious. Thanks to Quicken Loans, you can get a similar human-interaction-free experience while refinancing or getting a home loan with its new website Rocket Mortgage. You should get approved in about eight minutes, the company says, which is different from a preapproval, because of the data the system imports and verifies thanks to its direct link to government underwriting engines.
While there are lots of mortgage calculators out there, they use generalized information to give you a general idea of what you’ll get. With Rocket Mortgage, you answer some questions, then let the system fill out other information for you. If you want to refinance, for example, you input your home’s address, and it will populate fields for whether it’s a single-family home, its original purchase price, and when it was built. It uses public records and Quicken’s data to get the information.
“We’ve been lending in all 50 states and 3,000 counties for a while, so we have a lot of internal data, so we said let’s start putting that to use for people and make this easier,” Regis Hadiaris, Rocket Mortgage product lead, tells Digital Trends. You can let it access your tax information, for example, so it knows your employment history, including how much you make. Give the system access to your bank accounts, and it will have information about your assets. It makes both the inputting process faster and removes the “burden of proof” later down the line, with users having to submit W-2s, pay stubs, and bank statements. “We don’t have to wait for people to find pieces of paper and take pictures of them and send them to us,” says Hadiaris. “This is not a calculator at all. This is an exact mortgage quote based on all that information I entered.”
Once you get your rate, you can customize it further with slider bars. If you don’t want to pay closing costs, you slide the tab over. Switching from a 30-year mortgage to a 24-year one will instantly change the numbers, instead of waiting for a loan officer and his or her calculator.
In addition to getting the approval process down to eight minutes (getting a rate for a new home took me about 13), Hadiaris says pulling Rocket Mortgage has reduced the time it takes to close the loan from 30 days to three weeks. During that time, Quicken will verify all your information, and you’ll schedule a home appraisal visit.
At the end of clicking through the process, the system had asked to access my tax records and bank accounts and showed me my credit score — basically all information that I want extra protected. Quicken says it uses bank-level encryption and round-the-clock monitoring, and even though Hadiaris says Rocket Mortgage was designed to be done in line at Starbucks, you obviously don’t want to do it over your coffee shop’s public Wi-Fi.
Updated 12/9/2015: Updated to explain how Rocket Mortage’s approval is different from preapproval.