Pros / Can be a one-stop-shop for researching some of your best, and perhaps most competitive lending options, and for more than just reverse mortgages.
Cons / Requires a good deal of personal information to get meaningful results in its comparison-shopping model.
Verdict / This online tool can be a handy and useful way to gauge your possible loan options, particularly if you don’t mind sharing your personal financial information to do so.
While LendingTree.com is set up as your one-stop shopping site for a reverse mortgage (or a variety of other loans), you don't have to use it as such. It is a pretty convenient way of getting a bunch of potential lenders to come to you, rather than pursuing them individually. All you have to do is enter your address, estimated home value, phone number, and email address, and voila, you've got quotes. Just don't be alarmed: Your phone will probably ring within 30 seconds with a call from a very eager loan officer.
This is a great place to begin your search, but it does not necessarily have to be where you end it, especially if you prefer the idea of meeting your loan originator in person. None of these quotes are obligations for you — after all, you could just make up those home values off the top of your head. What they are is a way to set your expectations realistically. While you can find ads touting the current interest rates for forward mortgages all over the place, it's much more difficult to find a single word about what the going rates are for reverse mortgages, also known as home equity conversion mortgages (HECM). The adjustable-rate loans are based on the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) plus a margin set by the lender. That margin and the various fees and loan origination charges are where you'll find variety from lender to lender.
If you don't like giving up your personal info to strangers, this is not the site for you, as very little of it is readily available until after you've handed over your own stats. Doing so also gives lenders permission to contact you, so again, expect that phone to ring. If that is okay with you, and you know your credit score and estimated home value (you can find estimates on real estate sites like Zillow.com), then you'll be rewarded with a list of potential reverse mortgage lenders. You can compare not just their interest rates but also the customer reviews from other LendingTree.com users.
One thing to note is not all mortgage lenders use LendingTree.com, so this is a limited sample. After you get quotes, you can do your research with those other lenders to see how they match up. Also, just as you're not obligated to borrow from anyone who gives you a quote, they may also change the rates they offer you once you begin the actual application process.
While you're still shopping, you can use LendingTree's various articles about reverse mortgages for reference. Use this link, and you won't have to tell them anything about yourself.