Agora Lending Review 2021: Fully Digital Loan Process Except the Rate Quote and Fees

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Agora Lending Review 2021
Agora Lending Review 2021
Editor’s Score: (3.1/5)
Agora Lending Review 2021
Editor’s Score: (3.1/5)
  • Minimum Credit Score:
    620 conventional; 740 jumbo
  • Minimum Down Payment:
    3% to 5% conventional; 15% jumbo
  • Can Apply Online:
    Yes
  • Operates In:
    26 States

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Available in 26 states
  • Fully digital loan application process
  • Advertises daily mortgage rates on its website
Cons
  • Not available in Washington, D.C., and 24 states
  • No in-person branches
  • Doesn’t list credit score and down payment requirements on website
  • Borrowers will need to speak with a loan officer to get a rate quote
  • Doesn’t offer USDA loans, home equity products, renovation loans, construction loans, and reverse mortgages
The Bottom Line

Agora Lending is worth a look 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 between a fixed or adjustable rate. Potential borrowers can complete the application process entirely online, but a phone call must take place with a loan officer to understand credit requirements and get a customized rate quote. Once you see what you qualify for, it’s always a good idea to compare it to what you might get elsewhere.

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our mortgage lender reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships. For more information about our scoring methodology, click here.

Agora Lending Full Review

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 digitized loan process where borrowers can apply for a mortgage, upload documents, and close on the loan all online. But you’ll still need to call to get a customized rate quote and to understand its qualifying requirements such as credit score or downpayment. 

Here’s what else to know about the lender before applying. 

Agora Lending: Mortgage Loan Types and Products

Agora Lending has options for people looking to buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage. Here’s what the lender is offering right now:

When shopping for a purchase or refinance home loan, borrowers have a choice between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. With a fixed-rate mortgage, the rate never changes and your principal-and-interest payment will be predictable throughout the loan term. 

An adjustable-rate mortgage only has a fixed rate for a certain amount of time. After the fixed period ends, the rate may go up or down periodically based 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 instance, the rate is fixed for the first three years, then adjusts once a year for the rest of the loan term. 

However, this lender doesn’t offer mortgages backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA loans) and specialty products such as renovation loans, reverse mortgages, construction loans, and home equity products.

Agora Lending Transparency

Agora Lending’s website includes information about mortgage types and a few homebuying guides, but nothing about what it takes to qualify for one of its home loans, customized rate quotes, and lender fees you might pay. There’s also little in the way of borrower resources such as mortgage calculators and a blog on homebuying topics. 

So to get more information, you’ll 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 customized rate quote, create a preapproval, or process your loan application — depending on where you are in the loan process.  

Agora Lending: Mortgage Rates and Fees 

Agora Lending advertises daily purchase and refinance rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate home loans. The rates may change daily and are based on an applicant who is buying a single-family home as a primary residence and has a 40% down payment and excellent credit. So everyone won’t be able to qualify for the lowest advertised rates. 

You’ll need to call the lender to customize the quote based on your own credit score, loan amount, and down payment. There’s no hard credit pull required for a rate quote, which is important if you’re doing quick research and don’t want it to impact your credit score. But some borrowers might not want to provide their email address and phone number to a lender before having an idea of the rate they might qualify for.

If you get a rate quote, check for discount points, which is an optional upfront fee you can pay to lower your interest rate. Agora can either give you a lender credit toward closing costs or charge you a fee to buy discount points. Because the points will lower your interest rate, this option might offer more long-term savings if you know you’ll be in the home for several years. 

While Agora doesn’t charge origination fees, you may need to save for other costs that you’ll pay at closing. These vary with each lender but usually amount to 2% to 5% of the home’s purchase price. Some of these costs may include:

Agora has no prepayment penalties for any of its loans, so you can pay off your mortgage early without incurring extra fees. 

The minimum credit score and down payment required by Agora Lending varies depending on the type of loan you want to take out. Borrowers need a credit score of at least 620 and a down payment of 3% to 5% of the home price to qualify for a conventional loan. Jumbo loans have stricter requirements because you’re borrowing more money, so you’ll need a credit score of at least 740 and a minimum down payment of 15%.  

You can lock in your interest rate for 30, 45, or 60 days for free, but you may pay a fee to extend the rate lock. From start to finish, the closing process on a purchase or refinance loan may take 30 days.

Refinancing With Agora Lending

Agora’s website offers little information about the lender’s refinance process, so you’ll need to get in touch with an agent to ask questions before applying. Ask how long the closing process usually takes, any fees you’ll pay, and whether you can take advantage of special discounts. Here are the two refinance options you’ll have with Agora:

  • Cash-out refinance, which allows you to take out a home loan for more than your existing mortgage. You can keep the extra cash and use it for any expense. Then, you’ll repay the larger home loan over time. This will result in higher monthly payments and  a longer payoff timeline.
  • Rate-and-term refinance, where you swap out your mortgage with a new home loan. Homeowners may 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 Compared to Other Mortgage Lenders

Agora LendingAlly Home MortgageFairway Independent Mortgage Corp.
Minimum credit score620 for conventional; 740 for jumbo620 for conforming; 700 for jumbo620 for conventional; 660 for jumbo; 600 for FHA; 600 for VA
Minimum down payment3% to 5% for conventional; 15% for jumbo3% for conventional; 5% for conforming; up to 20% for jumbo loans0% to 5%
Where does the lender operate?26 states37 states and Washington, D.C.All 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Major loan typesConventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, cash-out refinanceConventional, jumbo, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, cash-out refinanceConventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, various renovation loans, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, cash-out refinance, reverse mortgages, home equity loans, home equity lines of credit

How to Shop Around to Get the Best Mortgage Rate

Most homebuyers kick off their home search by getting a mortgage pre-approval. During this process, a lender pulls your credit, checks your financial standing, and tells you how much you might be able to borrow. This can help you define your budget, and you can use this letter when you start making offers on homes. 

But you’re not locked in with the lender that provided the preapproval. Once your home offer is accepted and you’re ready to apply for a mortgage, you can get Loan Estimates from other loan providers. 

The simple step of comparing offers from multiple lenders may help you save $300 a year or more, according to research by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Even a small change in the rate quote can make a big difference in your monthly payment. 

An online mortgage calculator to help you estimate those savings. For instance, take a look at one example: Let’s say you receive two mortgage rate quotes on a home worth $250,000 with a 15% down payment and 30-year term.

Interest rateMonthly principal and interest paymentTotal interest paid over 30 yearsInterest saved
3.5%$954$131,080
3.0%$895$110,229$59 a month or $20,851 over the loan term

With a 3.5% interest rate, the monthly principal and interest payment comes out to $954. But with a 3.0% interest rate, you save $59 a month on interest costs. That adds up to $20,851 in savings over 30 years. 

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our mortgage lender reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships. For more information about our scoring methodology, click here.