Based in Tempe, Arizona, Agora Lending is an online mortgage lender available in 26 states. It was launched in 2013 and is now a division of ResiCentral, LLC.
The lender offers most loan products and a digital lending process where borrowers can apply for a mortgage, upload documents, and complete the loan online. But you will still need to call for a personalized quote and to understand its eligibility requirements such as credit score or down payment.
Here’s what you need to know about the lender before you apply.
Advantages and disadvantages of the Agora loan
Not available in Washington, DC and 24 states
No in-person branches
Does not list credit score and down payment requirements on website
Borrowers will need to speak to a loan officer to get a quote
Does not offer USDA loans, home equity products, home improvement loans, construction loans, and reverse mortgages
Agora Lending: Types and Products of Mortgages
Agora Lending provides options for people who want to buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage. Here’s what the lender is currently offering:
When buying or refinancing a home loan, borrowers have a choice between a fixed rate mortgage and an adjustable rate mortgage. With a fixed rate mortgage, the rate never changes and your principal and interest payment will be predictable throughout the life of the loan.
A variable rate mortgage has only a fixed rate for a period of time. After the fixed period ends, the rate may rise or fall periodically depending on market conditions. Agora Lending offers ARMs with terms of 3/1, 5/1, 7/1 or 10/1. So, on a 3/1 ARM for example, the rate is fixed for the first three years, then adjusts once a year for the remainder of the loan term.
However, this lender does not offer mortgages guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA loans) or specialty products such as home improvement loans, reverse mortgages, construction loans, and products on home equity.
Transparency of Agora loans
Agora Lending’s website includes information on mortgage types and a few home buying guides, but nothing on what it takes to qualify for one of its home loans, personalized quotes and lender fees you might pay. There are also few resources for borrowers, such as mortgage calculators and a blog on topics related to buying a home.
So, to get more information, you will need to call the lender or fill out an online contact form to schedule a phone call. A loan officer will follow up quickly and can answer your questions, send you a personalized quote, create a pre-approval or process your loan application, depending on where you are in the loan process.
Agora Lending: mortgage rates and fees
Agora Lending announces daily buy and refinance rates for 30 and 15 year fixed rate home loans. Rates can change daily and are based on an applicant who purchases a single family home as their primary residence and has a 40% down payment and excellent credit. Thus, not everyone will be able to benefit from the lowest advertised rates.
You will need to call the lender to customize the quote based on your own credit rating, loan amount, and down payment. No credit application is required for a rate quote, which is important if you are doing some quick research and don’t want it to impact your credit score. But some borrowers may not want to provide their email address and phone number to a lender until they have an idea of what rate they might be entitled to.
If you get a quote, check out the discount points, which are optional upfront fees you can pay to lower your interest rate. Agora can either grant you a lender credit for closing costs or charge you a fee to purchase discount points. Since the points will lower your interest rate, this option could offer you more savings in the long run if you know you will be staying in the house for several years.
Although Agora does not charge an origination fee, you may need to save for other costs that you will pay on closing. These vary with each lender, but typically amount to 2% to 5% of the purchase price of the home. Some of these costs may include:
Agora has no prepayment penalties on any of its loans, so you can prepay your mortgage without incurring additional charges.
The minimum credit score and down payment required by Agora Lending vary depending on the type of loan you wish to take out. Borrowers need a credit score of at least 620 and a down payment of 3% to 5% of the price of the house to qualify for a conventional loan. Jumbo loans have more stringent requirements because you are borrowing more money, so you will need a credit score of at least 740 and a minimum down payment of 15%.
You can lock in your interest rate for free for 30, 45, or 60 days, but you can pay a fee to extend the rate lock. From start to finish, the process of closing a purchase or refinance loan can take 30 days.
Refinancing with Agora Lending
Agora’s website offers little information on the lender’s refinancing process, so you will need to contact an agent to ask questions before you apply. Ask how long the closing process usually takes, what fees you will need to pay, and if you can take advantage of any special discounts. Here are the two refinancing options you will have with Agora:
- Refinancing of collection, which allows you to take out a home loan for an amount greater than your existing mortgage. You can keep the extra money and use it for any expense. Then you will pay off the largest home loan over time. This will result in higher monthly payments and a longer repayment period.
- Refinancing at rate and duration, where you swap your mortgage for a new home loan. Homeowners can do this to save money on interest (by getting a lower interest rate), switch to a fixed rate loan, change the loan term, or get rid of private mortgage insurance.
Agora Lending vs. Other Mortgage Lenders
|Agora loans||Ally Residential Mortgage||Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation.|
|Minimum credit score||620 for conventional; 740 for jumbo||620 to comply; 700 for jumbo||620 for conventional; 660 for jumbo; 600 for the FHA; 600 for VA|
|Minimum deposit||3% to 5% for conventional; 15% for large||3% for conventional; 5% for compliance; up to 20% for jumbo loans||0% to 5%|
|Where does the lender operate?||26 states||37 states and Washington, DC||All 50 states and Washington, DC|
|Main types of loans||Conventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, variable rate, fixed rate, refinancing, cash-out refinancing||Conventional, jumbo, adjustable rate, fixed rate, refinancing, cash-out refinancing||Conventional, Jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, Various Home Improvement Loans, Variable Rate, Fixed Rate, Refinance, Refinance With Withdrawal, Reverse Mortgages, Home Equity Loans, Home Equity Lines of Credit|
How To Shop For The Best Mortgage Rate
Most homebuyers start their home search with a mortgage pre-approval. During this process, a lender withdraws your credit, checks your financial situation, and tells you how much you could borrow. It can help you set your budget, and you can use this letter when starting to bid on homes.
But you are not tied to the lender who provided the pre-approval. Once your housing offer is accepted and you are ready to apply for a mortgage, you can get loan estimates from other loan providers.
The simple step of comparing offers from multiple lenders can help you save $ 300 per year or more, depending on research by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Even a small change in the quote can make a big difference in your monthly payment.
An online mortgage calculator to help you estimate these savings. For example, let’s take an example: let’s say you receive two mortgage rate quotes for a home valued at $ 250,000 with a down payment of 15% and a term of 30 years.
|Interest rate||Monthly payment of principal and interest||Total interest paid over 30 years||Registered interest|
|3.5%||$ 954||$ 131,080||–|
|3.0%||$ 895||$ 110,229||$ 59 per month or $ 20,851 over the term of the loan|
With an interest rate of 3.5%, the monthly principal and interest payment is $ 954. But with an interest rate of 3.0%, you save $ 59 per month on interest charges. This represents savings of $ 20,851 over 30 years.
The bottom line
Agora Lending is worth a visit if you need a mortgage in one of the states where the lender operates. They offer several options including conventional loans, jumbo loans, two government sponsored loans, and a choice of a fixed or adjustable rate. Prospective borrowers can complete the application process entirely online, but a phone call should be made with a loan officer to understand credit requirements and get a personalized quote. Once you see what you qualify for, it’s always a good idea to compare it to what you might get elsewhere.