The Homeowners

“They got us the pre-approval in like 10 minutes! They absolutely saved the day.”

Emily and Evan, Peabody MA

Emily Cooper

After years of renting, Emily and Evan decided it was time to put down roots. But when they wanted to make a last-minute offer on their dream home, they couldn’t get a hold of anyone at their mortgage company. Their realtor recommended Own Up, and thanks to our innovative pre-qualification technology (a mortgage industry first), they had the pre-approval letter they needed within the hour.

“Everyone was so kind, so patient, so informative, and really just warm. They gave me so much confidence.” Own Up matched them to a lender at a preferred interest rate, saving them $38,000 over the life of their loan. “Own Up was a champion for us throughout the entire process … I can’t describe what saving that much money means to us!”

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"It’s quite possible that I would not have gotten things together in time without Own Up’s help."

James entered the lottery for an affordable housing unit, and before too long found the perfect place. He was preparing for the closing when an unexpected job change threw a wrench in the process. Own Up worked with James as he navigated what turned into a six-month homebuying journey, and helped him secure a competitive mortgage rate that will save him thousands over the life of his loan.

Here’s his story.

James had just applied for an affordable housing unit in Massachusetts and was thrilled when he won the lottery for a perfect place, just blocks from his rented apartment.

“I was one of the many people who felt like they’re getting priced out of renting in Boston. I decided to submit my application for an affordable housing unit, not knowing if I’d find the right place. But then I won the lottery for a great apartment and, not knowing much about how the process works, decided to take it.”

He decided to move ahead on the apartment and reached out to a number of lenders as well as Own Up to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

“I was so surprised that I won the lottery and found a place that I hadn’t really thought about what came next. I didn’t know much about the process but reached out to a couple of banks, and then on a recommendation of a friend, reached out to Own Up. My experience with the banks I reached out to wasn’t great. One was really flaky and the other kept asking me to submit and re-submit documents without explaining what was going on. But when I spoke with Mike (an Own Up home advisor) he was really helpful. He was incredibly patient in answering a lot of my questions, and was able to tap into their network to find me a lender and get me the pre-approval I needed to move forward.”

In the midst of the process James unexpectedly got laid off and needed to find a new job in his field to remain qualified for the apartment and secure a loan.

“So here I am scrambling to get everything together as fast as possible with Mike’s help, and the week I was ready to sign the P&S my company got sold and I got laid off. I had everything set up but couldn’t get approval for a loan unless I found a job that was similar to the one I had just lost.”

Own Up worked with James to juggle the many moving pieces and explained his situation to the lender so he could get the financing he needed to close on his home.

“It was a huge complication and I was actually at the point of thinking I should give up on everything. But then fortunately after about a month I found a new job, and Mike helped me work with the bank and explain my situation to them so I could move ahead with the approval.”

After a long, six-month process, James recently closed on his apartment and is in the process of moving into his new home. He says he’s unsure he would have been able to do it without Own Up’s help.

“It was really frustrating and nerve-wracking and it’s quite possible that I would not have gotten things together in time without Own Up’s help. They were extremely helpful and I’m so grateful for everything they did for me. I’m still in the process of moving in, but I love my place and am just so happy to be on the other side.”

“We need to be looking at things differently in the digital age and Own Up’s the only one doing that.”

Evan, a recent customer who is set to save more than $17K over the life of his loan thanks to a rate secured by Own Up, says his biggest takeaway from the home buying process is that people need to look at purchasing a mortgage like they look at purchasing anything else in the digital age: “Shop around, shop around, shop around.”

Here’s his story.

Evan and his wife Jia had been renting their apartment in Boston when they thought it might be time to look at purchasing a home.

“I’ve been in Boston since 2012 and was all fine renting but my wife was like ‘we’re paying so much in rent for an apartment so let’s look into buying a house.’ When we actually started looking into buying a home, we realized it was doable. We were married, we lived together, and with our lease coming up we thought ok! Let’s look around. We were looking in the Greater Boston area, Brighton specifically, and nothing too far away from our work.”

Evan found out about Own Up from a faculty member at Harvard Business School who had been serving as an advisor to the company, so he reached out to start the pre-approval process.

“At the very start of the process I had reached out to a different mortgage company that did a super quick call with me, did a hard check on my credit, gave me a rate, and said this is what you can get. Then it was just click, conversation over.

But talking with Patrick was totally different. He took the time to learn more about us, figure out what our finances were, and what we were looking to do. The first conversation with him was maybe 40 minutes or so, and with my wife on the line Patrick gave us really clear and unbiased advice on what we should be looking for, what we could tentatively afford, and where we should be looking. It was really helpful. And of course it’s great that Own Up only does soft inquiries so our credit score wouldn’t be affected.”

Evan and Jia hit a couple of speed bumps in their route to securing a loan. First, Evan and his wife were both students, and his wife was working a new hourly position that made it challenging to quantify her income. Second, after making an offer their condo failed a radon test during their inspection, making it challenging for a lender to move forward with a loan. Patrick served as an advisor throughout the process, helping Evan and Jia find solutions so they could continue moving forward with purchasing their home.

“When we first talked to Patrick, Jia was working a new full-time job, but it wasn’t a salaried position so we couldn’t use her income to qualify for a mortgage. Patrick walked us through the process and helped us figure out what we could afford and which lenders we could work with given our situation.

Then, during the inspection we did a radon test and it came back high. Unfortunately, the seller and the homeowner’s association weren’t interested in mitigating it, so I offered to take care of it after we purchased the home. The problem was that I couldn’t get that agreement in writing so a lender wouldn’t approve the loan without a passed inspection. That was definitely a scary part of the process. Patrick served as a really good sounding board as we juggled all the different parties involved. Eventually I was able to get it in writing and we were able to move ahead.”

Through working with Own Up, Evan was able to secure a mortgage with a rate that saved them approximately $17K over the life of their loan. He says that having a trusted partner to help him through the process was huge.

“All of the options quoted through Own Up were better than what I had been quoted before. I feel like part of that was because Patrick dug in a little bit deeper into potential options and really understood how the whole system operates. He laid out everything really clearly to the point that securing a mortgage was probably the easiest part of the home buying process.

I think people get taken advantage of when they’re under pressure to buy, and “experts” are telling them things like you have to take this rate, or make this offer. Own Up felt like a neutral third party who just laid out our options, showed us the costs and the fees, and said ‘let us know how we can help’. They kind of let the cards fall where they may, whereas it seems like typical mortgage brokers who are trying to get their commission have a more vested interest in pushing things along quickly.”

When it comes to giving advice to other future homebuyers, Evan says that people need to look at the mortgage process as they look at any other big purchases: they need to shop around, and Own Up’s innovative technology makes that possible.

“In the digital age we should automatically be trained to say hey, how can I do this more efficiently? Where can I get the best deal? We Google coupon codes as we’re checking out in stores, we look for the best deals with online retailers, and we ask for help all the time. But when it comes to a big purchase like a mortgage, it’s funny how we how we don’t automatically do the same thing. I happened upon Own Up by chance because I was lucky enough to work with my boss who was familiar with the company. But before that I didn’t know that there was so much flexibility in the rates. What Own Up is doing is really wonderful, and we just need to train people to shop around for a mortgage. The fact that it’s free for anyone to reach out to Own Up and to shop for a rate without it killing your credit is just great. We need to be looking at things differently in the digital age and Own Up’s the only one doing that.”

“It seems too good to be true, but don’t be skeptical. It’s the real deal.”

Allie and Kris were ready to buy their “forever home”, but due to their unique finances were having a hard time finding the 30-year fixed rate loan they had their minds set on. Until, that is, they worked with Own Up.

Here’s their story.

Allie and Kris were preparing to welcome their second child and were looking to buy a home that could work as their family grew. But because of their “complicated” income they weren’t having luck finding a competitive mortgage rate with their local bank.

Allie: “We owned a condo that we had turned into a rental property, and were looking to purchase a home nearby so it would be easy to upkeep it. Because of our income situation – at the time I was (and still am) working seasonally in a restaurant, and the rental property was fairly new – we were told that our income couldn’t be calculated in a way that banks would deem “trustworthy”. We didn’t have 2 years of tax returns for either so the best offer we were getting was a 7/1 ARM. We liked our local bank and had been working with them for years, but when we didn’t get an offer we were comfortable with we decided it was time to shop around.”

They reached out to Own Up after seeing an ad pop up on Facebook and started working with Patrick who analyzed their work history and income and leveraged their lender matching technology to find a lender that would accept their income and offer them the product they were looking for.

Kris: “Patrick helped us find a bank through their network of lenders that worked for our criteria and got us an offer for a 30-year fixed loan that we were thrilled about.”

Allie: “We were a little skeptical when we first reached out to Own Up. It seemed too good to be true. But Patrick was a godsend. He was available morning, noon, and night, at family outings, when he was with his kids! He was very hands-on, very approachable, very welcoming to our situation, and there for us whenever we needed anything. He thought about everything and was an incredible partner to us throughout the process.”

Kris and Allie say that the $17K they saved by the lower rate secured through Own Up was the difference between being able to put an offer in on their dream home and having to pass it up.

Kris: “We knew we were looking for a home we would be in for years so the one we loved was definitely high on our budget. The initial loan we had gotten back from our local bank was just high enough that we wouldn’t have been able to make the finances work to move ahead on an offer. Getting that lower rate through Own Up brought this home back into our budget again. Realistically if we hadn’t gotten the loan rate change we wouldn’t have been able to get this home.”

Allie and Kris closed on their “forever home” – a colonial on 3.5 acres in Easton – in September, and say Own Up made the mortgage process the easiest part of their chaotic homebuying experience.

Allie: “The house ended up being on conservation land and there were lots of obstacles to go through with the actual purchase of the home. We had a 2-year-old and a baby due in January, and at the beginning of the process I had broken my leg so it was ultimate chaos. Having the mortgage approval process go through without a hitch was just amazing. It was one less thing to worry about.”

“Every single person we’ve had the opportunity to plug Own Up to we have. My uncles are buying a house, my cousins are looking to buy, my parents are looking to downsize their house, and everyone we’ve talked to we’ve been like ‘Go to Own Up! It’s not even worth looking anywhere else. It seems too good to be true but don’t be skeptical. It’s the real deal.’”

“If I had a question, Patrick was just a phone call or text away.”

Andrew had been looking for a home after renting for more than two years and had an offer accepted on an affordable housing unit.

“I graduated about two years ago, and after renting a place for so long I thought it was time to buy. I work as a project manager in tech, and was starting to look for a place near my job. The second offer I made was accepted and the next step was to secure a mortgage.”

Unfortunately, the condo came with a bit of a quirk — the building his new was facing a pending lawsuit that made lenders unwilling to offer a competitive rate for a mortgage.

“The challenging aspect about the mortgage for this place was that there was a pending lawsuit … many of the mortgage companies didn’t want to take it on. The selling agent had recommended a lender that would be comfortable with the situation but the rates were ridiculously high, so I decided to look at other options. No one wanted to take the mortgage or the rates were too high.”

Andrew’s realtor recommended he reach out to Own Up.

“I talked to my realtor and one of the mortgage options she recommended was Own Up. I really like the idea of supporting startups, so I reached out. Patrick immediately responded. We went through all the details, and then Patrick shopped my info around and found one that would be willing to supply me with a rate that was very reasonable. Patrick was there every step of the way and once we found a lender he made sure it was smooth sailing from there on.”

Own Up helped Andrew find a competitive rate through our network that saved him approximately $13K over the life of his loan, and served as an advisor as Andrew navigated the rest of the home buying process.

“Patrick was always there throughout the whole process. If I had a question he was just a phone call or text away. He answered any questions I had straight away and really got to the bottom of things. All these old-fashioned processes are slowly being replaced, and I think it’s really beneficial that Own Up is rethinking the mortgage process.”

“I definitely didn’t feel like I was fighting a big corporate system.”

After Todd took a new job and moved to a new town — along with his wife Jayme and their two daughters — it was time to think about a long-term home. Early in their search Todd started shopping around for a mortgage, and an ad for Own Up caught his eye.

“We had originally started working with a conventional mortgage company and received an initial offer, but when I saw that Own Up was saying they could save me on my interest rate I thought I’d run the numbers. And I wasn’t disappointed.”

Not only did Todd score the best rate through a lender in our network — .75% lower than what he had been offered at his original mortgage company! — but he stayed in close touch with one of our home advisors throughout the entire process.

“Tyler was very personable, and the way he laid out our options made us feel like he was looking out for us rather than just doing his job and closing the deal. He advised us throughout our search, gave us good feedback on specific questions, and showed us the affordability calculator tool where we were able to plug in variables and get back a pretty close range of where we would be. It was super helpful.”

Todd and Jayme ended up purchasing a home that after two months of renovations they’re finally moving into this month. They’re already feeling the impact of the $37K they saved by getting a lower rate.

“Over the life of a loan saving $30,000 plus is huge — it breaks down to significant savings each month for us. We’ve been doing a lot of renovations in the house and in a few years here we have a daughter going off to college. It’s nice to be able to save money monthly.”

“There was a human touch … it felt like a concierge.”

Michael and his wife were living and working in the Greater Boston area when they started to think about buying a home. They were trying to navigate the process as first-time homebuyers when they happened upon a seminar led by Own Up.

“We were looking for ways to become more educated about the home buying process and serendipitously the building I was working in had advertisements for a first time homebuyers course held by Own Up. My wife joined me for the seminar with Mike. We had learned a lot on our own but it was super helpful to have a seasoned expert calmly explaining different pieces of the process to us, answering our questions, and confirming the information we had found.”

A year later, they were ready to jump into the process by getting pre-approved for a loan and reached out to Own Up.

“I kept a business card from the presentation somewhere near my desk and fished it out when we were ready to do a pre-approval. Initially I pulled up Own Up’s website and used the online tool to apply for a pre-approval. It was really easy to use and I hadn’t realized that we could use the pre-approval process as a way to figure out how much we could afford. With the online tools we didn’t have to just bust the numbers on our own.”

Michael and Marina knew they wanted to work with a local bank and an Own Up home advisor worked with them to find a competitive loan in New England.

“All of the rates Mike pulled for us were much better than what we had expected based on the publicly available tools. And not only that, but he was able to restrict our search to local lenders which was really important to us.”

Beyond finding them a number of competitive rates with local lenders, Mike helped Michael and Mariana understand the various mortgage options out on the market and continued to advise them throughout their home search.

“There are so many players out there in the industry – so many attorneys, so many agents – it’s bewildering to find the right place or person to start with. With RateGravity there was this human touch there and it almost felt like a concierge at times. Our work with them went as well as we could have hoped. It felt like we were getting way more than our value’s worth.”

“They got us pre-approval in like 10 minutes!”

After years of renting an apartment in the North Shore of Boston, Emily and Evan decided it was time to put down some roots and buy their first home.

“We spent so many years living in apartments together, going from place to place. We were eager to start growing that family experience for ourselves and begin building new memories in a new home.”

Despite their realtor’s advice to work with a local lender, Emily and Evan initially started working with a “big box” mortgage brand, assuming that the company’s size would mean they’d have access to the lowest rates and quickest response time.

“We found a home we wanted to make an offer on, but when we really needed a last minute pre-approval letter we couldn’t get a hold of anybody! Our realtor at the time recommended we reach out to Own Up, so I called them and immediately got someone on the phone. They had a quick conversation with me and were so kind, so patient, so informative, and really just warm. They gave me so much confidence that even though this was last minute, and even though we didn’t know them well, it would be ok. They got us the pre-approval in like 10 minutes. It was insane! I couldn’t believe it. They absolutely saved the day.”

“We went into this whole process pretty ignorant on the mechanisms of it all, and what we loved so much about Own Up was how well they explained things to us without making us feel like complete dopes. They made all this new terminology and crazy process feel accessible, doable, and approachable.”

And when it finally came time to make an offer on their dream home, our lender matching technology was able to present them with loan offers from the top rated local lenders. Own Up matched them to a lender that closed their loan on-time, and they were able to secure a preferred interest rate that will save them $38,000 over the lifetime of their loan.

“They had been a champion for us throughout the entire process, and in the end they came through and secured us an amazing rate. I can’t describe to you what saving that much money means to us on a daily basis.”

“The offer that I got was dramatically better than my original.”

Max and his fiancé started their home buying process by making what they thought was a non-competitive offer on a home. Four hours later (and much to their surprise), their offer was accepted and they were suddenly left scrambling for a lender, coordinating their search from two different states and time zones.

“This was the first house we put an offer on, and to be honest it wasn’t all that competitive considering the market and where we were looking. But our offer was accepted within four hours and things went in motion way faster than we anticipated. We didn’t expect that it would even be considered.”

The following weeks were filled with busy work schedules and a crash course in home buying. Max’s real estate agent recommended that he work with her preferred mortgage lender — a common occurrence for new homebuyers. After receiving the initial rate from the lender, market changes caused the rate to jump up, and Max was concerned he might not be getting the best deal. A co-worker suggested reaching out to Own Up.

“The rates had gone up before I was able to lock them in. I was a little bit surprised by how much they went up — about a quarter of a percent.”

Max worked with Mike, a Home Advisor at Own Up, and was able to find a loan that was a half a percent better than his original lender’s offer. Max’s new rate equated to more than $43,000 in savings! 

“Talking with Mike was a game changer. My main concerns weren’t only that I would be saving money but that I would get the customer service that I needed. Having that conversation with Mike at the outset was the reason we could go down that path because I was able to tell my agent ‘listen you can talk to these people, it’s going to be fine, I know you’re concerned it’s a broker and you haven’t worked with them before but they’re great.’ The offer that I got was dramatically better than my original.”

With a significantly better offer in hand, Max went back to his original lender with the leverage he needed to negotiate better financial terms. In order to keep Max as a customer, the lender lowered their interest rate and decreased their closing costs.

“I was compelled to go back to my original lender and say ‘look guys, this isn’t going to cut it, a half a percent is a lot of money over the life of a loan. My agent is comfortable with you and you have great customer service, but something has got to give here. If it weren’t for Own Up, I wouldn’t have had the leverage to say you need to work with me or I’m going somewhere else.”

In an industry that is confusing and murky on its best days, we were able to tilt the balance of power to favor the homebuyer. We’re thrilled that we helped him save thousands of dollars and we’re confident that we have a customer for life.

“We were so impressed by their response time and transparency”

Cody and Erica were looking for a home in the North Shore of Boston and found a house that they were ready to move on. They had been working with a mortgage company and were nearing their closing when they received a quote that made them question if they were really getting the best rate.

“We had gotten in touch with a “sales guy” for a mortgage company, but he was not pitched to us that way. We didn’t recognize until we were quite late into the process that he wasn’t a broker in the sense that he was talking to other institutions to get us the best rate. He was just like ‘here’s our list of mortgage products, now pick one’.”

“When he came back to us with a rate that was much higher than we were expecting we realized all of a sudden that we needed to start shopping around. We didn’t realize that wasn’t what we had been doing with this other person. The lack of research on our part and lack of transparency in our experience with this person made us ask ‘what’s really going on here’?”

As they started to explore other lender options, what they really wanted was a company they could trust that could shop their application around to multiple banks to find them the best deal.

“We started shopping around with two specific mortgage companies, and at the same time did some research to see if there were any organizations out there that could blast out our application to a number of banks. That’s how we found Own Up. Own Up was the only company we found through our extensive online searches that looked trustworthy and could get our info out to a bunch of different banks. They were exactly what we needed.” 

“Our first conversation was with Mike and he blew us away. The sense we got from him was reliability and transparency. We had been hesitant to just dive right in with someone new, but everything Mike said and did, the extent to which he was consistent with follow up and always transparent, made us feel confident in moving through each step with Own Up.”

Own Up found a local bank for Cody and Erica and was able to work with them to secure an interest rate that beat the offer from their original mortgage company — saving them approximately $17K over the life of their loan.

“We were so impressed by their response time and transparency throughout the process. We never felt like Mike was trying to sell us on something, or explain why we needed someone like him. It was just that we had this need, and Mike took care of it. We’re really so happy and grateful.”

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