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, now it appears 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.
After playing around on their website, they appear to offer both rate and term refinances and cash out refinances.
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)
We are in the process to do refinance with Sage. I start looking for the reviews because we have a hard time with them. I am not sure how competent they are because they have problem to read documents that they requested. And they make changes in our home insurance without our consent.
Super high fees and not transparent at all. They’re pushy and very salesy. I’d avoid!
Comments for Sagemortgage.com,
-Very high fees for closing when comparing with others.
– you won’t be able to close on time. They promised 25 days closing on my house but I waited 90 days and still couldn’t close the house.
-not transparent and no response to your calls or email.
– no ECD for closing the house. They keep extending your closing and I couldn’t close the house.
– you have to pay to extend lock rates.
– There is a week or 2 review cycle for UW. If UW requests your documents this week, you won’t be able to hear from them again until next week.
-I highly recommended not to use Sage Mortgage if you don’t want headache and frustration.
– They keep promise the closing and don’t deliver it.
– Avoid them at all cost!!!!
-Bad doing business with Sage Mortgage.
This company is terrible. They are incompetent, charge way too high of fees, leave lots of information undisclosed. They start avoiding you if you have problems or want to discuss the loan and they change the numbers and hope you don’t notice. Very immoral company with no real competence. Matt Connolly and Roddell are the two points of contact my wife and I had with them.
Sage Mortgage owns Bankrate, so do you really think that theose reviews are real? Almost every mortgage company is digital today so this is nothing special. Sage is a call center with about 95% of their loan originators being new to the mortgage industry and just having a few months experience.
Buyer beware, do your homework
Sage mortgage is a Dba of forward lending. Look up forward lending on BBB and read the horrible reviews. 99% of loan officers are brand new to the industry. You can look for yourself on the NMLS website where all licensed loan officers are registered. Also they claim to be 100% digital but that is incorrect, you do basic application thru Bankrate (which is owned by same company that owns Sage) then loan officer has to call you to lock your rate and then your file is handed off to a processor. Note: Why don’t they have reviews on Google? Why are they only on a platform owned by sister company?
Personally, I would never use this company. If you go to the Better Business Bureau they are listed under another name which is Forward Lending. Because the reviews there are awful too, one can only assume that they are hiding behind that name instead of Sage which is what they do their business under. Additionally, the same company that owns them owns Bankrate.com – which is where they direct you for reviews. Hmmmmmm. You can look up any mortgage company by going here https://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/ but you WILL NOT find them under Sage Mortgage. Search Forward Mortgage Lending Inc. After you pull up the page with Forward Mortgage, click on the company name and scroll all the way down and you will see that they got in trouble in 2020 with the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks. It is NEVER, EVER a good thing to have any type of regulatory action against a company. It’s public record, look it up. They are owned by a company called RedVentures and it appears that Jason Davin is the owner of Forward lending based on incorporation docs. but RedVentures claim they own it. https://www.redventures.com/careers/brands/sage-mortgage
There are plenty of mortgage companies in the country. If you find any of the above suspicious then find another lender.
The BBB is an extortionist organization. They don’t actually rate business based on anything other than how much they’ve been paid, giving high ratings to businesses that are under Federal investigation and so forth. Someone with a low rating probably has just chosen not to work with them, so they just list all of the “complaints” as unresolved, because you have to pay them to resolve. You can Google how terrible the BBB is. I refinanced through Sage and it was seamless, I would totally recommend them.