Option One Mortgage Corporation
Option One is a frequently searched for company for mortgages. Option One is the mortgage-lending arm of H&R Block. You might be familiar with H&R Block because of their income tax services.
On the Option One website, it states: "Option One was founded in 1992 to provide fair credit to millions of Americans who were not being served by traditional banks. We were one of the first companies to specialize in non-prime lending and now are a part of the family of H&R Block companies providing financial services throughout the nation.
In the past 11 years, we've funded over $68 billion in residential mortgages and helped 505,000 Americans achieve their dreams."
In our opinion, the Option One website is not as user friendly as some other mortgage oriented websites. The headings on the site are not intuitive, and that makes it harder for the first time user to find information that is useful. However, if you go to the "my mortgage" page, you will be able to find some information about payment options, and other topics of interest to individuals new to Option One and mortgages. In addition, they have sections with frequently asked questions, which can help you if you have specific questions about mortgages or refinancing. Their FAQ section does take a bit of work to find, but it could have the information you are looking for.
They do have some information on the site about identity theft. This is a topic that every homeowner should know more about. Identity theft is becoming an increasing problem and it normally results in some abuse of either your credit rating or your assets. In many cases, identity scams work on putting new mortgages on your home! So, if you are in the market for a mortgage, you'll want to know how to protect your home.
The Option One site lists a number of ways to protect your personal information and your identity:
- Never respond to unsolicited requests for your Social Security number or financial data
- Before discarding, shred credit cards, ATM receipts and any pre-approved credit offers you receive but will not use
- Check all credit card and bank statements for accuracy
- Avoid simple access and personal ID (PIN) codes (i.e., your birthday, your maiden name, etc.)
- Obtain a copy of your credit report annually and check it for accuracy
- Use only secure pages when making online purchases - secure pages begin with 'https'
- Safeguard your Social Security Number, and check earnings and benefit statements annually for fraudulent use
We didn't come across a lot of consumer complaints against Option One. However, your best predictor of how you will be treated is the track record of your local branch. Check with your area's Better Business Bureau or other consumer groups to find out if your local Option One branch has a good track record.
Option One is another financially stable lender. However, the interest rate that they offer you may or may not be competitive, given your financial situation and credit rating. Even if your credit is less than perfect, be sure to spend some time checking out whether you might qualify for a better interest rate. We can't stress it enough: your mortgage is a REALLY big loan. You will be paying it off for a long time - usually 30 years or so. Every or of a percent that you save in interest charges translates into thousands of dollars over the life of a mortgage. It's well worth your time to shop around.