Fake reviews: Is this mortgage broker legit?

21 Replies

I found a mortgage broker online (on lending411) as I was annoyed with my national bank (which I found is being sued by the govt!) for giving me the run around and pretty much taking so long on my application.

I looked up the mortgage broker on the NMLS, and he is listed as licensed with an MLO, and his business is licensed as Mortgage Broker. No actions against license.

The business is on BBB with A+ but it is NOT accredited.


What got me suspicious is that I took a closer look at the online reviews, I realized he/the company wrote their own reviews! All the reviewers pretty much said the same thing, and the reviewers only have one review in their history. In fact, one review the username was HIS name, passing off as another person.

My question is, should I be alarmed? Should I run away and just stick with my bank, although poor customer service, is nationally recognized?

Or is this broker legit because he is licensed on NMLS, and perhaps just wants to get his name out there on the net by writing fake reviews?

The broker didn't ask for anything out of the ordinary/suspicious, except to tell me that I would need to pay for the appraisal when it occurs (rather than at closing) bc it's done by a third party.

Please advise! I am looking to close end of next month and need to get a move on things.

Just my opinion. Writing reviews on yourself is dishonest. I wont do business with dishonest people. Lack of integrity. 

Run away, prefer to deal with a face, so I try to do business with smaller banks, allows me all kinds of bennies: quick notary, proof of funds, unlimited free bank checks, and many more to include a free line of credit on my account...

@Jennie Shin  and @Benjamin Timmins  

I will have to agree with Benjamin on this one, if a company is writing their own reviews BE UBER CAREFUL!

My last job was extremely shady, in more ways than one, but in regards to this the owners would have their HR staff write reviews on glassdoor in an attempt to improve their ratings. Where are they now you ask, well their doors are now closed, and for good reasons!

Hi Jennie,

You haven't mentioned what type of loan you are trying to get??

" Respect isn't demanded it's commanded"

So what that means to me is you earn respect through your actions and history. Someone creating false write ups shows no integrity.

Medium allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty | [email protected] | 678‑779‑2798 | http://www.AWcommercial.com | Podcast Guest on Show #47

Hi Everyone -

Thanks for your sensible responses. I should have trusted my gut when I felt something wasn't right, I was so desperate to find a quick/responsive lender that I got carried away.

Update: Received GFE from the broker which request "Prepaid Items/Reserves" of $2.8k!! This includes processing fee, daily interest charge, credit report fee and appraisal. Do mortgage brokers charge up front fees like this?

Obviously, I will not move forward with the broker. Since they already ran my credit report, do I owe them the credit report fee of $30???? Other lenders did not charge to run my credit.

Should I be worried that I've provided my SSN (can they do anything malicious)? I am signed up for ID protection to protect against ID theft etc. Maybe I am over thinking.

Updated over 3 years ago

Edit - The broker clarified these Prepaid Finance Charges are not due until closing.

If a third party does the appraisal, they want their money regards whether the deal closed or not. If you gave the broker permission to run your credit, you owe the broker.


Joe Gore



Originally posted by @Joe Gore:
If a third party does the appraisal, they want their money regards whether the deal closed or not. If you gave the broker permission to run your credit, you owe the broker.


Joe Gore

The appraisal hasn't been done, I haven't signed anything other than did a preliminary pre-approval. I will pay the credit report fee if that's what I owe. However, I wish this was disclosed to me before running my credit, I wasn't told that they would need to charge for this.

Everyone runs a credit report before they extend credit that is nothing new. $30 is only coffee money, and next time ask questions and get answers.


Joe Gore

@Jennie Shin  They are asking for prepaid, which means they want money before they do anything. Tell them you aren't interested, and you owe them nothing.

In all fairness most national banks are being sued or fined by the government, it's called a shakedown.

@Jennie Shin   You do not owe them for a credit report unless you entered into an agreement with them.  A contract is based upon an exchange of promises with consideration given.  If you have not entered into a promise of doing business with them you do not owe them anything.  As to them having your personal information, oh well.  You cannot undo that, but going ahead with a deal because you are afraid they will retaliate is dumber than running now.  If they truly are shady appeasing them now will not make them honest.  Cut your ties and run.  If they do anything to you make sure you post your rating of them.   Clearly it is better for them to have you walk away than to have you flame them on a rating.

I have only worked with a few mortgage brokers, but overall I have had bad experiences.  They are not making you a loan, they are finding someone to loan you money and charging you for it.  I have never seen favorable rates, they seem to help folks with bad credit the most, but those loans have huge rates, and are what caused the Dodd/Frank Act. 

Talk to multiple small banks and get your own loans, it will work out better in the long run.

When you look for advice on the forums, look at the poster and calculate how many votes they have compared to how many posts they have.  You give a vote to someone who actually seems to know the subject and provides useful information.  The higher the vote percentage usually the more others think they know what they are talking about.  Some free advice is worth less than what you pay for it.  Good luck.

Most borrowers will run to a broker for help because they have bad credit and limit income.

Joe Gore

Thanks everyone for your feedback, and Jerry W, thanks so much I appreciate the edification and detailed advice. Thankfully I have not entered into an agreement.

My 3 credit scores are in the 800s, never late on a payment and have a stable government job. I ran into a problem because I needed to prove my debt to income DTI ratio met the guidelines.

My husband and I are tenants, with rent of $2k, which is paid by my husband from his separate checking account. I had to furnish docs to prove the rent isn't part of my debt to income ratio, bc that would put me over the limit of DTI ratio. The original bank stated she doesn't see this as an issue, however underwriting needs to provide final approval.

I applied at my credit union, but was flat out denied, reasoning is that even though I am not on the lease, bc we are married, should my husband default then I am responsible for that rent.

On another note:

On my GFE I saw "Prepaid Finance Charge" or "Prepaid Items/Reserves" - but the broker said these are not paid until closing.

Why label them as "Prepaid"? That is confusing. I looked this up on the net and saw Prepaid Finance Charge are common fees that is paid during Closing costs. Maybe I am missing something.

Hello Jennie,

In regards to your credit report you're not required to pay this.

In regards to pre paids this isn't an upfront fee ( The only thing you can as for upfront is the credit report fee and appraisal fee.  That's it ) it's most likely 2-6 months of your taxes and insurance being escrowed or impounded which depending on the type of loan you're applying for may be required.

In regards to multiple postings by the same person that is really shaddy. 

In conclusion are you buying a rental property  or primary residence or doing a refinance.  If you can give me some more information I can give you my opinion on how to move forward.

I hope this helps and good luck Jennie. 

Shaun Weekes, Innovation Lending Solutions | [email protected] | 949‑610‑3126 | https://www.facebook.com/Innovation-Lending-Solutions-Inc-261955880814516/ | CA Agent # 0L51686

Originally posted by @Shaun Weekes :
Hello Jennie,

In regards to your credit report you're not required to pay this.

In regards to pre paids this isn't an upfront fee ( The only thing you can as for upfront is the credit report fee and appraisal fee. That's it ) it's most likely 2-6 months of your taxes and insurance being escrowed or impounded which depending on the type of loan you're applying for may be required.

In regards to multiple postings by the same person that is really shaddy.

In conclusion are you buying a rental property or primary residence or doing a refinance. If you can give me some more information I can give you my opinion on how to move forward.

I hope this helps and good luck Jennie.

Ahhhh, thank you so much for clarifying the Prepaid items, so this is really aka Escrow. This is going to be my vacation home, but I don't want to be limited to being able to rent it out as I have already committed to allowing the seller to be a tenant until she finds a place, and also if I am ever tight, renting it out will be helpful. I am a renter at my primary residence, and have one investment property in GA free and clear.

Originally posted by @Joel Owens :
Hi Jennie,
You haven't mentioned what type of loan you are trying to get??

" Respect isn't demanded it's commanded"

So what that means to me is you earn respect through your actions and history. Someone creating false write ups shows no integrity.

Hi Joel! Sorry, I must have missed that detail lol. I am trying to get a conventional 30yr fixed loan, putting 20% down. My credit is great and all, I ran into problem with trying to prove my DTI ratio met guidelines. I want to avoid being days away from closing, and my bank tells me underwriting denied my application, which is why seeked a broker.

But I think I will just stick with a bank, since they can arrange all the closing costs/parties/etc and I just need to show up.

If I am approved, great. If not, then the money spent so far is a lost cause, and I will have to walk away from my dream vacation home!

Jennie, prepaid items represent money paid in advance of the when it is due. Typical items that fall into that category include"

Mortgage interest that accrues between closing date and month-end

Real estate taxes paid into an escrow account

They are typically paid at closing and rolled into your final loan amount.

Ok that makes sense.  So I"m gathering that you're looking to put down 10% as opposed to 20-25% because this will be labled as a second home?

If you can afford to put down 20-25% depending on what type of property it is you'll be able to write a lease agreement for the person that is going to be staying there anyway and use that rental income right away. 

This seems do able you just need to have someone structure it properly. 

Shaun Weekes, Innovation Lending Solutions | [email protected] | 949‑610‑3126 | https://www.facebook.com/Innovation-Lending-Solutions-Inc-261955880814516/ | CA Agent # 0L51686

NMLS only means that they are licensed through the federal system.. its not an endorsement of any kind...  Just FYI...

I am a licensed NMLS mortgage banker ( in active) so are hundreds of thousands of others. Its what you need to work in the Mortgage bizz. you would be more concerned if they were NMLS licensed

Medium ksqoekox 400x400Jay Hinrichs, TurnKey-Reviews.com | Podcast Guest on Show #222

If he is licensed, then he is legit. This industry is regulated by the government very tightly. He would not be nationally or state licensed if he wasn't legit. The commissioner of banks for that state would revoke his license. Most importantly, have him send you a truth-in-lending and a good faith estimate. That gives you the best answer if you want to do business with the broker. 

I'm going to take a devil's advocate position here.

NMLS licensed broker probably thought the advantages of posting endorsements, hence some sort of search rankings (or ?) outweighed the downside of the % of prospects catching it. Marketing has changed so dramatically in recent years and many legitimate business people, in absolute desperation, turn to all sorts of measures attempting to generate leads, hence new business.

If you picked up on this up front and it bothered you (understandably) something inside of you override your instinctive mind, defying logic.

As for your expectations, Jenni, paying for hard costs up front is customary. As a broker, a prospective borrower who balked at paying for the appraisal up front (to the appraiser) is probably not a good prospect. I sought to determine whether they just didn't want to pay or couldn't afford it.

If they just couldn't afford it, I would try and help if they were experiencing a financial crisis (foreclosure, etc.) but obtain a voluntary lien to protect me. If they were just cheap, I explained (once) that I don't get paid until and unless the loan is funded and I was not motivated to work for free, let alone advance their hard costs.

Frankly, besides the questionable marketing, this broker may not be doing a bad job otherwise. Just because your expectations were not met does not mean that he should have to pay for something that is your expense. If it were me I would have ended our PreQual conversation quickly and focused on someone who truly wanted my expertise and help.

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