Today we’ll take a hard look at “Aurora Financial,” a direct mortgage lender that says it’s built for speed.
In fact, they claim it’s possible to close a home purchase loan or refinance in as little as 14 business days, which is well below the average time it takes to get a mortgage.
Typically, you’re looking at 30-45 days during normal market conditions, and even longer if the industry is slammed.
So if you’re in need of a quick close and a low mortgage rate, Aurora Financial could be a winner. Let’s learn more.
Aurora Financial Fast Facts
- Direct-to-consumer mortgage lender
- Offers home purchase loans and mortgage refinances
- Founded in 2003, headquartered in McClean, VA
- Currently licensed to do business in 20 states nationwide
- Funded about half a billion in home loans last year
- Specialize in very fast loan closings
Aurora Financial is a Virginia-based direct-to-consumer mortgage lender that offers home purchase loans and mortgage refinances.
They seem to focus on the latter, with such transactions accounting for around 90% of their total loan volume in 2020.
Speaking of, they closed nearly half a billion in home loans last year, with about half of overall volume originated in their home state of Virginia.
At the moment, they do business in the states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.
While they work all over the country, you’ll likely be applying remotely as they don’t appear to have brick-and-mortar branches.
How to Apply with Aurora Financial
To get started, simply visit their website and click on “Apply Online.” You can also call them up directly before you do to get pricing.
From there, you’ll be prompted to create an account, then you can fill out the actual loan application.
They say it’s a digital process and mostly paperless, with e-signatures for initial disclosures and a secure portal for quick uploads of supporting documents.
Those looking to buy a home can generate a pre-approval in “minutes,” and their big claim is using the latest tech to offer the fastest closings in the industry.
Part of that might be their streamlined business model of focusing mainly on conventional refinance applications for W-2 borrowers.
It also helps that they offer both in-house paperless processing and underwriting.
Apparently, the average refinance closes in just 16 business days, though their rush closings can be even faster.
All in all, it should be easy to complete your application and get to the finish line, assuming you have a simple loan scenario.
Loan Programs Offered by Aurora Financial
- Home purchase loans
- Refinance loans
- Conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
- High-limit and jumbo loans
- FHA loans
- VA loans
I wouldn’t say Aurora Financial has a vast product menu, but they do offer the most common programs that the majority of borrowers are looking for.
This includes home purchase financing, rate and term refinances, and cash out refis.
You can get a conforming loan, high-limit, jumbo, or government-backed option like an FHA or VA loan.
The only major loan type they don’t appear to offer is USDA loans.
It’s also unclear if you can get an adjustable-rate mortgage, not that they’re very popular at the moment.
Aurora Financial Mortgage Rates
One area where the company seems to shine is mortgage rates. Instead of simply telling you they offer super competitive rates, they post them right on their homepage.
You won’t have to dig around or provide your contact info first. Simply head to their website for daily rates.
They also advertise on third-party websites like Zillow, where lenders are often very competitive in the pricing department.
After all, you don’t want to be the most expensive option when listed among dozens of other lenders.
From what I saw, they were offering one of the lowest rates for a 30-year fixed on Zillow for a sample loan scenario I generated.
It was also listed with $1 in lender fees, which is essentially a no cost refinance. That means a low rate and equally low APR.
On top of their seemingly low rates, they also offer a free rate float down if you lock and rates get even better.
It only applies to conforming loans and the rate must drop by 50 basis points for a fixed-rate loan and 62.5 bps for an adjustable-rate mortgage.
As always, put in the time to gather additional quotes with competing lenders to ensure you do your due diligence.
Aurora Financial No Closing Cost Loyalty Program
Another perk to using Aurora Financial is their so-called “No Closing Cost Loyalty Program.”
Simply put, if you get a loan from them and mortgage rates drop enough to make a refinance worth it, they’ll offer one without closing costs.
Not only will they waive their own lender fees, but also third-party costs like the home appraisal, title and escrow.
Borrowers will only be responsible for funding their impound account, if applicable.
To qualify, the loan amount must $200,000 or greater, a conforming loan on a primary or second home, and be at least six months past the previous loan funding date.
This gives you the opportunity to refinance at no cost for the lifetime of your loan with them.
Aurora Financial On-Time Closing Guarantee
Pricing aside, Aurora Financial also offers an on-time closing guarantee to ensure you get your home purchase financing without delay.
This is especially important in a hot real estate market, which we’re currently experiencing.
In short, they’ll close your purchase transaction on time or credit you with $1,000 at the time of closing.
This offer only applies to conforming loans and FHA loans, with jumbo loans ineligible, along with self-employed borrowers.
Ultimately, you need a pretty cut and dry loan scenario to qualify, but the guarantee should apply to most borrowers who happen to file W-2 and have a conforming loan amount.
Aurora Financial Reviews
On Zillow, Aurora Financial enjoys a 4.69-star rating out of 5 from more than 700 customer reviews.
At Bankrate, they have a 4.8-star rating from nearly 300 reviews, with 97% of customers indicating they’d recommend this lender.
They also have a 4.8-star rating on Angi from about 80 verified reviews, with price, punctuality, and responsiveness all receiving high marks.
On Google, a very similar 4.7-star rating from about 125 reviews, and on Yelp a 4.5 rating from about 25 reviews.
The company is also A+ BBB rated, and has been an accredited company with the Better Business Bureau since 2006.
They have a 4.93/5 customer rating on the BBB website and no customer complaints on file.
In summary, Aurora Financial seems like a good pick for a homeowner with a vanilla mortgage (Fannie/Freddie W-2 borrower) that’s looking to refinance.
The combination of low rates and fees, coupled with fast processing and their no-cost loyalty program, separates them from other shops.
Aurora Financial Pros and Cons
- Can apply online via their secure digital mortgage application
- Offer a mostly paperless loan process and in-house processing
- They post their daily mortgage rates online
- Appear to offer low rates and limited/no lender fees
- Free rate float down
- Their loan officers don’t work on commission
- $1,000 on-time closing guarantee
- Can close loans super fast (in as little as 14 days)
- Excellent customer reviews across all ratings sites
- A+ BBB rating
The Perhaps Not
- Only licensed in 20 states at the moment
- May not offer USDA loans or ARMs
- No branch locations
(photo: Eddie Yip)