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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.

8 months 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.

3 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.

4 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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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.

3 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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marie h. New Bern, NC

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

4 years ago

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Dave FL

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

6 years ago