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Real Genius

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LAST UPDATED: November 10th, 2022
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ConsumerDirect Mortgage recently changed its name to Real Genius.

As of October 2022, ConsumerDirect Mortgage is now known as Real Genius, but the functions and nature of the company remain the same.

Real Genius, a division of FirstBank and formerly known as ConsumerDirect Mortgage, is a direct lender that provides home loan financing, refinancing, and cash-out home equity services and products. Licensed in all states except Maryland, Real Genius is an equal housing lender and FDIC-insured institution, offering fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages, FHA loans, VA loans, and Jumbo loans. 

Real Genius rates and terms will be dependent on your zip code, loan amount, credit score, and other criteria. Because rates and terms will vary for each borrower, Real Genius advises getting an official loan estimate through its website before choosing a loan.

Jump down to read Real Genius reviews from real customers.

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The Good

Competitive Mortgage Rates 

Real Genius mortgage rates are competitive within the industry and the company makes it is easy for potential customers to quickly estimate their mortgage rate. Simply complete Real Genius' prequalification application and then compare various rates and terms from multiple lenders. You can compare fixed-rate mortgages and variable-rate mortgages, allowing you to see an estimate of what your mortgage monthly payment could be.

Keep in mind that the interest rate you will receive will be dependent on a variety of factors, such as your credit history and debt-to-income ratio (DTI). The lowest advertised rates are typically only available to those with excellent credit and financial health.

Loan Process

Real Genius' online process makes it easy to understand, apply for, and choose a loan option. The steps are: 

  1. Fill out a mortgage pre-qualification letter request application online.
  2. Receive options based on personal criteria and scenario.
  3. Compare mortgage interest rates and terms.
  4. Choose which offer you want to pursue with a mortgage officer.

This easy and transparent process is a plus for first-time homebuyers. Once the online process has been completed, a mortgage officer or lender will work with you in order to figure out the best rate based on the information that you provided.

Multiple Mortgage Loan Types

Real Genius offers a variety of loan types and mortgage rate flexibility to prospective borrowers:

  • Fixed Rate Mortgage — the interest rate and monthly payment never change. Typical loan terms are 10, 15, 20 or 30 years, but the payment term can be adjusted to meet your needs.
  • Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM) — the interest rate changes after a fixed period. ARMs can be set for 5, 7, or 10 years.
  • FHA Loan — designed to help borrowers with low to moderate income get a loan for a down payment as low as 3.5%.
  • VA Loan — service members, veterans, and family members can get a home loan without a down payment.
  • Jumbo Loan — specifically for loan amounts that are over conforming loan limits, and often require an excellent credit score and a large down payment. 

Lender Credit 

This company is unique in that 99 percent of the loans it funds pay a lender credit towards your third-party closing costs, ultimately lowering your closing costs.

The lender credit amount depends on your interest rate and other personal loan qualification factors, but Real Genius could pay anywhere from $400 to $2,000 of your closing costs.

Refinance and Home Equity Options

In addition to mortgages for a home purchase, the company provides traditional rate and term refinancing, as well as cash-out refinancing, which uses the equity in your home to help pay off high-interest debt.

This can be appealing to many who are seeking to pay off their mortgage loan as soon as possible and who are not wanting to be trapped by steep lender fees for a different refinance option.


The Bad

Not Licensed in Maryland

Real Genius is licensed to lend in all 50 states, except for Maryland. However, not all loan products and options will be available in every state in which the company is licensed.

No USDA Loans

While Real Genius does offer FHA loans and VA loans, two popular government-backed loan products, the company doesn't offer USDA loans. If you are buying a rural property, a USDA loan can be a good loan option, providing low down payment options for qualifying homebuyers.

Lack of Financial Tools 

The Real Genius website is lacking in educational resources to improve the customer experience. It does provide the basic mortgage calculator and refinance calculator, but top companies showcase a variety of other financial tools for open access, such as affordability calculators, amortization calculators, debt-to-income ratio calculators and refinance calculators. 

If you are a first-time homebuyer, extra financial tools and educational resources can be beneficial as you navigate buying your first home.

Real Genius Reviews

From the Real Genius reviews on Best Company it is a bit difficult to tell if customers are satisfied with their experience. Most of the Real Genius reviews are very polarizing in sharing both positive and negative experiences. Most of the Real Genius reviews are exclusively five star or one star reviews.

It should be noted that the amount of reviews on Real Genius' company profile is fairly small, however due to the variance in reviews it is recommended to call one of Real Genius' customer service representatives in order to address any concerns that you may have.

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The Bottom Line

Real Genius sets itself apart from the competition with low rates and a unique lender credit that can go towards closing costs. Additionally, the company claims it outperforms peers in efficiency and speed, although it is unclear how that data is calculated. 

It is important to note that Real Genius is licensed in all states except Maryland. Thus, if Maryland is your state of residence, you will need to look elsewhere for your mortgage needs.

There are mixed reviews regarding the company's customer service and handling of appraisals. Make sure to read Real Genius reviews to see if it can meet your mortgage lending needs or reach out to one a Real Genius representative for more information.

Real Genius reviews are currently limited. If you have financed or refinanced a home loan with this company, please tell us about your experience by leaving a review.

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26 Reviews

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Lisa Portelli Hampton, NH

I was pleasantly surprised at how great CDM was to work with. You never know what you’re getting into with an in-line entity. Fear not! I worked with Artie M. and he was excellent. I refinanced to a shorter term fixed rate mortgage. They had the best rates (I shopped around for a week). The process was very transparent and everything can be done on your phone. You can tell CDM put a lot of care into providing a great mobile customer experience. Equally surprising is how great First Bank’s website is (after you have the mortgage). You can run multiple models showing reduction in term based on additional payment one time or monthly. Everything is very intuitive. I can honestly say this was the best refinancing experience I’ve had. No bull.

1 year ago

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Jonathan Lafayette, LA

I've read some of the negative reviews for Consumer Direct and I just have to say my experience was excellent. I was extremely impressed working with them. Perhaps things have changed for this company since the time of these negative reviews? Anyway, I'm fairly experienced with mortgages as I've bought and sold property over the years. I aggressively shopped rates/terms which included a friend of mine who is a local broker, my bank of 22yrs, and several online mortgage companies. Consumer Direct had considerably better rates/terms than all the online lenders I dealt with and way better rates than my local lenders. One would think because of this, customer service might be sketchy but this was not the case at all. I dealt with Mike R and he was absolutely amazing to work with. I'm not kidding you when I say the customer service was as good as dealing with my personal banker at a small town local bank. Mike was highly attentive to any questions or concerns I had, often responding to phone calls or emails within minutes, even after business hours! There were at least two situations where Mike really went above and beyond the call of duty. There is no automated call screening system you have to deal with - you get your brokers direct line and email. The closing process was quick, simple, and easy. I am a real person and this is an authentic review from an actual costumer.

4 years ago

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Dana C. Hamilton Reno, NV

I inquired about a refinance with cash out on December 7th. Almost immediately I was contacted by Todd G. He was assigned as our senior mortgage broker. He was so helpful and positive from the very start. I have some anxiety related to buying/refinancing properties, but Todd was amazing. He was super responsive and even had me call him one evening to clarify what was going on. I was super impressed. We also worked with Nate P. - senior loan processor. He was on top of things from the start. He didn't ask for a lot of unnecessary documentation and was able to move things very quickly. Our last stop was working with Carol A. She helped us move the loan through closing and get us an appointment with a notary. She was super helpful and professional. The whole process was incredibly easy and FAST. We closed on 1/4 and received our money today. From the beginning of the process to cash in hand was 32 days. I wanted to say thanks to the three of you for making the process go by so smoothly. I will refer my friends and family to Consumer Direct Mortgage.

5 years ago

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Lady Mac Springfield, VA

I connected with CDM through the Costco mortgage program and closed November 2020. My loan officer, Michael R. was AMAZING! He was very responsive and patiently answered the MANY questions I asked. Although my closing date was pushed back 2 weeks due to the title co., it likely was due to the volume of refi loans due to low mortgage rates; not because of CDM. I highly recommend CDM and would only work with Michael R again!

2 years ago

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Byllie Ricketts Everett, WA

After feeling the anxiety of talking to five other companies I called Consumer Direct Mortgage and was fortunate enough to talk to Phil B. He was such a refreshing experience. He was so patient with all my questions. He truly went above and beyond to be available. No one could match the loan I got from Consumer Direct. If you're looking for a home loan do yourself a favor and talk to the best PHIL B.

5 years ago

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They did absolutely everything right. Closed early, the staff was awesome and my loan officer even returned messages over the weekend. I did not expect that... The rate was the lowest and it was not even close. Its odd because they are a FHA/VA Direct Lender? Not sure where the information below came from... I know this because my buddy did his VA purchase with them. He is the one that gave me the refferal.

7 years ago

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anthony Cary, NC

Consumer direct for Costco members Their rates and fees for Costco member was great and my loan officer Pat M get 5 star. But!... the process was a bit complicated due to too many out sourcing services, otherwise I would give a full set of 5 stars. To make best of this service I would suggest get your own local closing attorney (or escrow) and your own local title company to avoid misunderstanding and confusion which I had to go through

3 years ago

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Blaine Given Fuquay-Varina, NC

Very frustrating process due to the regulations however the individuals I worked with particularly Patrick D. was amazing. I would highly recommend them. Even though they may be far away, they truly care and do everything possible to make your mortgage dreams a reality.

4 years ago

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Lang Byron Center, MI

I had applied to refinance my condo,it was took almost 2 months to processing week 7 of processing got kind of approved they’re even switching my home insurance to their first bank to ready for closing day ,then suddenly get a decline over phone stated that their mortgage company won’t do loan to property area in developing even my area completely built many years ago ,some other areas still developing until ever(who know) I questioned myself their bank only do loan to older homes 30;50 years or why not to new home ,anyway it’s just aBS ,waste my time. Stay away this consumer direct mortgage !!!!!!!

4 years ago

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Fletcher Manchester, NH

It wasn’t the easiest loan to choir but considering I had a bankruptcy they managed to get the job done we were refinanced within a couple of months I say they were excellent and doing their job

4 years ago

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R Bosss Clarksville, TN

Horrible horrible experience! Avoided them at all costs. We had problems from the beginning. We chose them from the Costco home buying program. Rate changed which was a bit sketch. We were initially dealing with David, whom was unresponsive and incompetent. While on vacation, he pressures us to find our own appraiser. Meanwhile, we are getting threats to terminate contract due to appraiser issue. We found one, again David wasn’t responsive or getting back to us to schedule. After paying triple the cost finally got that done. No accountability taken. We had a new home construction so the closing day changed a few times. Our final close date being 11/08, a Monday. At this point we had to rush from Oregon to Tennessee to make it in time for walk thru. We were now getting emails from three people at Consumer Direct; David, Carly, and Brook. Brook sent an email on the 3rd stating she needed disclosures signed by the 4th to close on time. Also asked specifically for loan document for new car loan. Got everything in to her and didn’t hear anything back. Monday comes and we are waiting in a hotel to close. We are not getting any response from our lender. One person finally responded and stated we have to extend because disclosures were not signed. Sent proof they were, hours went by and they weren’t responding again. Got in touch with Trey, the manager, he said he would work on it. Not really responsive or helpful. Then Brook shows up after saying she’s been on lunch, for the 4 hours we were trying to call her? Odd. Anyway she then stated she was waiting for some document showing I traded a car in. I told her she never asked for it and to explain why she waited until the day we are closing to ask for it? No reply. Sent it. Hours went by, it was clear they made us miss closing and have to stay in a hotel again. Not responsive. Then asked for more documentation about the car loan. I then asked why every time I send something they ask for something else? No reply. No accountability. No explanations. They stated they would work to get us a lender credit for our hotel stay and are bow ignoring our inquiry about it.

1 year ago

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John Yorke Auburn, WA

Started out well but quickly deteriorated. Wanted to Re-Fi my home looking for a VA Loan 30% LTV. Sent copies of past years of professional prepared IRS tax returns Because of unfamiliarity or inability to read Tax Returns the Underwriter said they needed Tax Returns for my non-existent 2nd business. Referred them to the accountant, he re-sent copies but Newday would not talk with him. When I called Newday to check status, no answer, call went to VM. Again and again I tried calling, e-mailing and even faxing with still no response. I could see no reason for not returning my calls. My wife and I, our combined credit scores are mid 700’s. There were no arguments, nor any sharp discussions or any obvious reason why they would not respond. Because Newday had my whole history, personal and financial, I became concerned their Company failed and reported Newday to the Washington State Attorney General. Still no response from Newday...! Leaving me no choice but to use another Lender JHY, Retired Veteran

2 years ago

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Kristina Fort Myers, FL

Very disappointed in my experience with consumer direct mortgage! I was lured in by their agent - Frank W with great rates and initially very quick response time which I was initially impressed with which is why I decided to move forward with this lender vs countless others. After competing a refinance mortgage application, running my credit which was in the 780's I was told that my 1099 income would not be counted and my investment property income would no be sufficient,however, if I can show future employed status income then we may be able to proceed. After providing a copy of a future W-2 income contract for expected earnings higher that required by the loan amount plus my W-2's over the past 2 years the agent I was working with- Frank W, disappeared from the face of the Earth with no responses to my phone calls, emails or texts. Few days later I received a mail notice that my loan request was declined citing reasons that are false, not applicable to my case and never mentioned by agent as points of concern. I find my experience with this lender to be very unprofessional and concerning. It is perfectly ok to decline someone for a mortgage if they don't meet the criteria, but not ok to deceive, provide false information and then disappear!

4 years ago

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M Stratford, CT

Horrible communication. Completely disorganized. No attention to detail. I’ve been repeatedly asked for the same information that was included in attachments and outlined in the bodies of emails that they are replying to. One person dealing with my mortgage quit, and the one who took over had absolutely no access to the documents that I spent hours collecting and outlining. Seems that they don’t keep candidate files in case a situation like this occurs. Do not communicate at all about how far along in the process you are so you have no clue if you are on track to close. Never reply to emails to assure that they’ve received documents that I’ve submitted and if they are the correct things. Overall, I’m pretty nervous that these people have access to such personal and sensitive data as they don’t keep them in secure company locations and don’t look at what they’re being sent. Would not recommend to anyone.

4 years ago Edited September 14, 2021

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Suma V

We had submitted a request on a refinancing website. One senior Mortgage banker from Consumer Direct Mortgage, Mr. Alton H sent an email on feb 14th after collecting our preliminary data that his quote is 2.75% for 15 years Fixed interest rate. After , collecting all confidential information and running credit check, this broker says it was typo and he meant 3.25%. When will the businesses learn to stand behind their quotes and written promises from there SENIOR Brokers who callously take the consumers. Will this Mr.H Alton and Consumer Direct Mortgae just getaway and dupe other consumers , non stop????

6 years ago

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Bai Orlando, FL

After the loan officer got me into the door, he vanished and it is extremely difficult to get hold of anybody. When dealing with them, I was surprised how little they know about the process and how it works - they are supposed to be experts! They got my application mixed with somebody else's and they answer phone calls and emails only when they want to. Two weeks before closing, they requested me to go "fix all the flaws stated on home inspection report" in order to issue the loan! The house was not under my name yet! Am I supposed to break in to a house I don't own yet and have myself arrested?? The loan officer then blame me for sending in the home inspection report : I did exactly what THEY asked me to do - send the home inspection report! We almost lost our dream home because of their incompetence and unprofessional-ism. We finally dumped them and went with another lender - it worked like a breeze and they were able to close for us within three weeks. It has been a nightmare dealing with Consumer Direct; I know they are cheaper, however, buying a home is one of he most important decision in your life, you want to find a lender that is responsive and knowledgeable: shop around and don't be fooled!

7 years ago

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Charity Saint Cloud, FL

I have had mortgages, refinances, home equity loans all before, and I will say that dealing with Consumer Direct has been the absolute worst experience! I began this process almost 2 months ago; the promised closing by date has come and gone. And not because I am a difficult case, not because I have taken too long to get documents - simply because they don't seem to care. And you can't get anyone to explain what the hold up is other than a weak, "we are very busy." I have gotten ALL requested documents turned in within hours of the request. I have even gotten documents that the processor was supposed to get - to help and speed things along. I went with Consumer Direct over another company that offered me the same deal because Consumer Direct promised to close earlier. That, obviously, did not happen. Then, the final straw is that today I get a call from the loan officer saying that we should close tomorrow, and she sends me an email to verify certain information. Well, for some reason the escrow went up significantly from the original paperwork. When I questioned this she simply said it must be because my insurance was due right now. This made no sense so I contacted the Loan Originator and asked for an Itemized Worksheet; when he sent it, it showed that they had raised the property tax amount needed by $1000! I had to send them a copy of my tax bill to prove that this wasn't right, even though the original itemization had the correct information. All I got as a response was that he would send the information to the processor. It has been 6 hours since I have heard from her, and no one called about scheduling the closing so obviously once again we aren't closing tomorrow.... And, shocker! you can't get one person to return an email or phone call! I am refinancing from an FHA to a Conventional Loan, and by their slow timing I will not have to pay additional interest due to laws regarding FHA loans. There is NO REASON for any of this. My refinance was about as easy as they come. Excellent credit scores. Good debt to income ratio. Great Loan to Value Ratio. And the monthly payment isn't even really changing so this should have been so open and shut, but at the VERY LEAST it should have closed on the date promised and guaranteed! And they should care a whole lot more about communicating!

8 years ago

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John Elk Grove Village, IL

In January they reached out to me to refinance my mortgage. Awesome rate. At that time I disclosed we were building a second home on some property we owned. No problem. March comes, and underwriter asks about the loan for second home. I tell her all about and send her paperwork from other bank. Now in April, days before closing, we're told our debt to income is too much. Loan is denied. Our loan officer said we should have never told them about the build. Basically fraud. I emailed the supervisor and no replies.

2 years ago

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paknheat305 Coral Gables, FL

This is by far the worst bank to do business with. They are unprofessional and are a scam artist. It seems like a trend for them to charge $445 for an appraisal fee, but then later come up with an excuse to withdraw your loan and keep the money! Well I'm not having it, I've already called my credit company to dispute the charge. Readers beware of this company, I would not recommend to do business with them at all!!!

7 years ago

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Sorry I didn’t research more Cheshire, CT

They tell you what you want to hear, changing things along the way. Liars and scam artists in my opinion. No one in this company is out for your well being. Only care about their commissions or bonus’. I wish someone warned me previous.

4 years ago

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Jeff Swanson Milwaukee, WI

Beware!! I have a 800+ Credit score and was applying to this company for a Re-Fi on a house with 30% down. Despite having enough cash to pay for the house, I was DECLINED based on this company's Ultra Conservative lending practices. Consumer Direct ordered the appraisal before considering the loan and now I am out $500!!!

7 years ago

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marie h. New Bern, NC

Had a problem with appraisal and they helped me rectify it right away and even refunded the cost.

5 years ago

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Rebecca G Weatherford, OK

Incompetent! Did not order appraisal and did not communicate to us even after multiple emails and calls made from us asking if anything else was needed on our end. Cancelled today and using another lender!

6 years ago

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Dave FL

The company was outstanding and the rates we're better than anyone we could find.

7 years ago

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tim mclaughlin Honolulu, HI

I obtained a loan for 3.25%. of course there is a "snag" . Then they wanted to increase my rate to over 4%. Even though I had been pre approved for 3.25%. Buyer beware

6 years ago

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Nick Werle

staff on vacation when need to contact them, then send emails to pressure you to sign loan.

6 years ago