Posted on January 25th, 2021
Today we’ll check out “Sage Mortgage,” a digital mortgage lender startup backed by Red Ventures, which refers to itself as a portfolio of internet brands and digital platforms.
You may have heard of some of their companies, such as the popular credit card blog The Points Guy, along with Healthline, NextAdvisor, and Bankrate.
Well, it appears now they’re trying their hand at mortgage lending themselves, as opposed to merely offering advertising on behalf of third-party lenders.
Let’s find out more about them.
Sage Mortgage Fast Facts
- A direct-to-consumer mortgage broker
- Headquartered in Fort Mill, South Carolina
- Appear to only offer mortgage refinances at the moment
- Acquired by Red Ventures in 2020
- Say they can offer a 100% digital mortgage experience
- Licensed to do business in 12 states currently
Sage Mortgage is actually a dba of Forward Mortgage Lending, Inc., which was acquired by Red Ventures in 2020.
It’s unclear when they launched, but it could well have been last year by the looks of it. They certainly look brand new.
They actually operate as a mortgage broker, but on a larger scale than your mom-and-pop variety.
This means they connect borrowers with wholesale mortgage lenders they work with to help them find competitive interest rates.
At the moment, they appear to just offer mortgage refinancing, with no mention of home purchase loans on their website.
So if you’re a current homeowner looking for a lower mortgage rate and/or cash out, they could be of good use.
They are available in 12 states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.
While they are designated as an online mortgage lender, they do have three brick-and-mortar locations in Austin, TX, Fort Mill, SC, and Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
How to Apply with Sage Mortgage
- You can apply for a home loan from any device in minutes
- They offer a fully-digital mortgage application powered by BeSmartee
- You can link financial accounts, scan/upload documents, and eSign disclosures
- Everything can be managed 24/7 via an online borrower loan portal
Sage Mortgage seems to want to make it super easy to apply for a home loan, with what they refer to as a “fully-digital application.”
You can get started from any device – simply visit their website and click on “refinance your home.”
From there, they’ll ask for the property address, property type, and the current value and existing loan amount. They’ll also ask if you want to take cash out of your home.
Once you complete those basic steps, they’ll ask to perform a soft credit check, which won’t affect your credit scores.
My assumption is once you complete that step, you’ll be able to get your hands on some mortgage rates!
Assuming you like what you see, you’ll be able to formally apply from their website via a paperless process.
Their loan application is powered by BeSmartee, one of the leaders in the digital mortgage space.
It allows borrowers to import bank statements, and automatically verify income and employment.
You can eSign disclosures and gain access to real-time mortgage rate pricing, along with accurate third-party fees.
After your loan is submitted, you can check status by signing into their online borrower portal.
They seem to offer a self-serve approach to mortgage lending, similar to some other online mortgage lenders like Better Mortgage or Lower Mortgage, but they’ve also got human loan officers on standby.
All in all, they should make it fast and easy to apply for (and hopefully get approved for) a home loan.
Home Loan Programs Offered by Sage Mortgage
- Mortgage refinance loans
- Rate and term refinance
- Cash out refinance
- Conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Right now, Sage Mortgage appears to be a refinance-only mortgage lender. That means they can assist existing homeowners, but not prospective home buyers.
This is sufficient if you’re simply looking for a lower mortgage rate, or if you want to take advantage of the equity in your home.
It’s unclear if they offer streamline refinances and what types of loans they offer, but I’m going to assume they originate conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are the most common.
Whether they also originate jumbo home loans and government-backed loans, such as FHA loans or VA loans, is another question. I will update once I learn more.
They look like they could be doing a soft rollout, with a small product menu initially that should expand as time goes on.
You can call or email them if you want to check eligibility before beginning the application.
Sage Mortgage Rates
The Sage Mortgage website is pretty light on details, and that includes no mention of mortgage rates.
If you want a rate, you’ll need to begin the loan process by providing property and contact info.
They do not post daily rates online, so it’s unclear where they stand relative to other mortgage lenders out there.
The good news is they are an online-only lender, meaning there’s a good chance they’ll be on the cheaper end of things because they should operate with lower costs.
I did see them listed on Bankrate and their advertised rate was the lowest mortgage rate in the lender table for a 30-year fixed-rate refinance.
As always, take the time to gather additional quotes from other companies and mortgage brokers before you make a decision.
The same goes for lender fees – Sage Mortgage doesn’t explicitly list these fees on their website, so you’ll need to consider both the interest rate and fees (the mortgage APR) when shopping your loan.
Sage Mortgage Reviews
Because they are such a new company, there aren’t many reviews yet. But they do have a few dozen on their affiliated website Bankrate.
At last glance, they have a 4.5-star rating out of 5 from 30 customer reviews, which is obviously favorable.
Many of them indicate that it was both quick and easy to close a loan with Sage Mortgage, and that their rates/fees were low.
I wish there were more reviews to get a better sense of customer satisfaction, but this is all we have to go on at the moment. More will be added over time.
All in all, Sage Mortgage seems like a good fit for an existing homeowner who is happy with a self-service mortgage loan process, and that has a fairly straightforward loan scenario.
If you prefer technology over face-to-face interactions, they could be a good choice assuming their rates and fees are also competitive.
Sage Mortgage Pros and Cons
- Offer a digital mortgage experience powered by BeSmartee
- Can apply for a home loan from any device in minutes
Borrowers can import bank account information and digitally verify income/employment
- Ability to view, track, and close your loan online via their borrower portal
- Say they offer competitive mortgage rates
- Good customer reviews so far
The Maybe Not
- Do not publicize rates or lender fees on their website
- Only licensed in a dozen states currently
- Do not offer home purchase loans
(photo: Isaac Wedin)