Today we’ll deep dive into “InstaMortgage,” formerly known as Arcus Lending, a lender that promises low rates, legendary service, and a mortgage at record speed.
They’re also big on tech (being located just down the road from Silicon Valley) and offer a smartphone app you can use to close your home loan.
What’s unique about them is that they’re minority-owned and immigrant-led, with more than half of their loans going to minorities.
The company is helmed by mortgage industry veteran Shashank Shekhar, who aside from running a mortgage company is also an Amazon #1 best-selling author.
He prides himself on empowering consumers via financial literacy, and if his company can deliver on their promises, they might be worth looking into if you need a home loan. Let’s learn more.
InstaMortgage Fast Facts
- Direct-to-consumer mortgage lender and mortgage broker
- Offers home purchase loans and mortgage refinances
- Founded in 2008, headquartered in San Jose, CA
- Formerly known as Arcus Lending
- Currently licensed to do business in 26 states
- Claim that 80% of their mortgages close 20-70% faster than industry average
- Committed to diversity, inclusion, and minority homeownership
InstaMortgage is a direct-to-consumer mortgage lender (and mortgage broker) located in San Jose, California that offers home purchase financing and mortgage refinances to existing homeowners.
The company was started in 2008 around the time of the Great Recession, which even founder Shekhar admits was the worst year for the economy (and perhaps to start a business).
Bad timing aside, InstaMortgage recently made it onto the Inc. 500 list of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies. And they’ve funded billions in home loans since.
Formerly known as Arcus Lending, the company went through a rebrand in mid-2021 to reflect their dedication to technology and speed.
Their goal is to offer the “fastest, most predictable mortgage experience” in the industry.
To that end, they say about 80% of their mortgages close 20-70% faster than the industry average.
At the moment, they’re licensed in 26 states throughout the nation, a footprint that should increase over time.
Those states include: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington.
One interesting fact about the company is that they created “the mortgage industry’s first digital human,” an AI-powered chatbot that can answer any mortgage questions you may have.
How to Apply with InstaMortgage
To begin, you can either visit their website or call them up directly. Once at their site, you can obtain a rate quote, get pre-approved, or simply schedule a one-on-one consultation.
Those looking for a pre-approval letter can generate one by downloading the Arcus Lending smartphone app and completing an electronic loan application.
You can also view daily mortgage rates on your own and proceed from there if you like what your see with regard to pricing.
The digital loan application powered by SimpleNexus can be filled out via their website or smartphone app.
Once submitted, you’ll receive a to-do list of needed documents and you’ll be able to track your progress from start to finish.
Most tasks can be completed electronically, from the application itself to uploading documents, eSigning disclosures, locking your rate, and more.
They underwrite and process most loans in-house, and say they excel when it comes to turn times, all of which should shave days off your loan closing.
You’ll likely receive more hands-on treatment versus a large bank because they’re a smaller company committed to excellent customer service.
Loan Programs Offered by InstaMortgage
- Home purchase loans
- Refinance loans: rate and term, cash out, streamline
- Home renovation loans
- Construction loans
- Conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
- Jumbo home loans
- FHA loans
- VA loans
- Down payment assistance
- Non-QM loans
- Manufactured home loans
If you’re looking for a unique loan program the other guys don’t have, InstaMortgage might be able to help.
They are a direct lender that offers all the usual stuff like home purchase loans, refinances, and loans backed by Fannie and Freddie.
But they can also broker out hard-to-place loans including jumbos, subprime loans, non-QM loans, and even manufactured home loans.
They also recently partnered with a company called Calque that allows existing homeowners to use the equity in their current property to buy a replacement home via their “Trade-In Mortgage.”
Prospective home buyers can make non-contingent offers that are basically as good as cash offers, boosting their chances in today’s competitive real estate market.
InstaMortgage could also be a good option if you’re a foreign national or self-employed borrower with a more complicated income situation.
In terms of specific loan programs, they offer the traditional fixed-rate options like the 30-year, 15-year, and 20-year fixed.
And a variety of adjustable-rate mortgages, which can be hard to come by these days, including a 5/6, 7/6, and 10/6 ARM.
All in all, you shouldn’t be limited when it comes to loan choice, and even those with very difficult loan scenarios might be able to get their loan closed with InstaMortgage.
One perk to going with InstaMortgage is their transparency when it comes to mortgage rates.
Instead of being left in the dark, simply head over to their website to generate a live quote without signing up or providing personal information.
You can view daily mortgage rates on their website in seconds by inputting some basic information.
If you like what you see, simply click on “Get Started” next to the corresponding rate to begin the formal loan application process.
In terms of lender fees, they appear to charge a $945 loan origination fee and a $495 loan processing fee, both of which are pretty reasonable as far as fees goes.
From what I saw, their mortgage rates were competitive with other online lenders, but do take the time to gather multiple quotes from competing banks and brokers.
On Google, InstaMortgage has a stellar 4.9-star rating out of 5 from over 200 customer reviews.
Company founder Shashank Shekhar also has a 4.9-star rating on Zillow from about 40 customer reviews, where he also refers to himself as a “top 20 loan officer in the country.”
The company has a slightly less impressive 3.7-star rating on Trustpilot from about 50 reviews under their old name Arcus Lending.
While InstaMortgage is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), they do hold an ‘A-’ based on customer complaint history.
To sum things up, if you value speed and convenience, but also want good customer service, they could be a good choice whether buying a home or refinancing an existing mortgage.
Their technology seems to be top-notch and they also have unique loan offerings that other mortgage lenders might not have access to.
Lastly, their focus on financial literacy means you could learn a thing or two about mortgages along the way, which is always a plus.
InstaMortgage Pros and Cons
- Can apply for a home loan online in minutes
- Offer a digital mortgage application and a ‘digital human’ assistant
- Openly publicize their mortgage rates and fees online
- Fast turn times thanks to the use of the latest tech
- Tons of loan programs to choose from
- Free smartphone app
- Mostly excellent reviews
- A- BBB rating
- Free mortgage calculators and educational guides online
- Some staff also speak Hindi
The Maybe Not
- Only licensed in 26 states
- Charge a loan origination fee
(photo: Nicholas Will)