Lending Tree is a military-friendly service provider offering a range of financial marketplace services to vets and non-military people alike.
A small percentage of companies including military credit unions and military-specific financial service companies either restrict their products to military and military-affiliated people; Lending Tree is not that–this company welcomes veterans, military members, dependents, and civilians alike.
Lending Tree: Not A Lender Or A Bank, But A Marketplace
Lending Tree was founded in 1996 with the idea that competition among lenders could serve to lower prices for the consumer. Lending Tree is not a bank or a financial institution. Instead, it functions as a marketplace where a borrower can describe the type of financial service needed (including VA mortgages, other government-backed mortgages, conventional loans, and more) and review options from a variety of companies.
The official site describes Lending Tree as “an online loan marketplace for various financial borrowing needs.” The range of services includes:
- Home Refinance
- Home Mortgage
- Personal Loans
- Business Loans
- Home Equity
- Auto Loans
- Student Loans
- Debt Consolidation
As you can see, this company offers military borrowers a variety of options you might not get from a single lender or bank. Veterans, military members, and dependents all have a range of needs that can be addressed in the marketplace.
What You Need To Know About Lending Tree
- Lending Tree is not a lender, but a third-party service pairing applicants with lenders
- Lending Tree asks for the borrower’s information to send to multiple companies, bankers and/or mortgage brokers
- You will be contacted by these companies individually after having submitted an application via Lending Tree
A Lending Tree application will include the following information:
- Borrower lending needs (home loan, auto loan, etc.)
- Type of property or vehicle to be purchased (or other relevant information)
- Whether the home (for VA or other government backed loans) to be purchased is a primary or secondary residence
- Estimated purchase price of the property or vehicle (where applicable)
- The borrower’s estimation of their own credit score
- How much down payment you will make
- How soon you plan to buy
How It Works
Applicants go to the official site and choose the basic type of loan they want. Under Home Loans, you have options for refinance, home equity loans, new purchase loans, etc. You can also use a search tool on the site to find a specific type of mortgage such as a VA loan.
When you submit your application, you give permission to Lending Tree to pull your FICO scores and other financial qualifications. Lending Tree will submit your application to the marketplace based on the availability of companies willing to work with the borrower’s credit score range, and these lenders will reach out to the applicant.
Lending Tree itself does not approve or deny your application. That’s an important factor to keep in mind. Some applicants are sensitive to multiple credit checks and worry about having a credit score negatively affected by multiple lenders pulling your score. If that describes you, it may be worth exploring your credit improvement options before you apply.
That’s something you don’t have to pay anyone else to do–shore up your credit and improve your chances for loan approval by taking more time to reduce your debt ratio, lower credit card balances, and establish a 100% on-time payment history for 12 months or more.
Things To Remember About Using An Online Marketplace
Lending Tree’s design makes it easier for borrowers to compare lenders, but in some cases a borrower may find one lender they want to use but continue to field calls and emails from other lenders. Anticipating this helps. It can be quite annoying for some, but it’s part of the game when you are trying to save money on a VA mortgage loan or other transactions.
One very important thing to keep in mind about this type of online marketplace service? VA loans are NOT available for non-mortgage lending. You cannot apply for a VA loan to purchase a car, for example, even if that vehicle is an RV or a houseboat.
VA Loans Are For Homes
No VA loan can be approved for a home that won’t be permanently fixed to an approved foundation. You also can’t apply for a VA loan to go to school, consolidate loans, or start a business.
That is NOT to say veterans don’t have vet-friendly options or active duty-friendly options with a different type of loan that may have perks for veterans but is not affiliated with the VA.
In short, you can definitely apply for a VA home loan using Lending Tree. But there are no non-mortgage VA loans to be had; there are Small Business Administration Loans for those who seek small business funding, auto loans issued by conventional lenders who may have a military-friendly option, etc.
It’s also good to remember that school-related lending is also not affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs, but you may be able to apply for such funding as a veteran or still-serving military member if you need to do so.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News
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