Real Genius

Real Genius Reviews

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About Real Genius

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Real Genius (NMLS #2389303), formally ConsumerDirect Mortgage, provides a selection of home purchase loans and refinances that borrowers can apply for online. The company offers conventional, FHA and VA loans to borrowers in 43 states and Washington, D.C. It also provides financing options for second homes.

    Pros & Cons

    • Preapprovals in minutes
    • Loans for investment properties or vacation homes
    • Fully digital application
    • Closing cost estimates included with rate quote
    • No HELOCs
    • No in-person branches


    Real Genius is transparent about the interest rates it offers. You can easily view the rates you may qualify for by visiting the company’s website and answering a few questions about your individual situation. Keep in mind that these rates are just estimates. For a more accurate quote, you’ll need to apply for preapproval. The preapproval process takes into account additional data that would affect your rate, like debt-to-income ratio.

    Real Genius offers both fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM). Most borrowers opt for fixed-rate mortgages because the interest rate won’t change over the life of the loan and affect monthly payments. However, you might consider an ARM when interest rates are currently high but are expected to decline in the near future.

    Application process

    You can apply for preapproval online by visiting the Real Genius website and clicking on “Apply Now.” For both home purchase loans and refinances, be prepared to provide financial information, like asset values and debt balances. You’ll also enter income and employment information. It may be helpful to have certain documents handy as you complete the application (e.g., recent bank statements, pay stubs, etc.)

    If you need assistance or have questions during the process, you can call, text or email the mortgage banker assigned to your account.

    The Real Genius loan application portal allows you to save your progress and pick back up where you left off. After you submit your application, you can view your loan status. The company promises fast preapprovals, so you may receive a decision in as little as 15 minutes.

    Real Genius application features

    Loan types

    Real Genius offers a variety of home loan options, including conventional (with fixed or adjustable rates), FHA and VA loans. The company also provides a jumbo loan option for borrowers looking to purchase homes in high-cost areas.

    In addition, Real Genius offers a selection of specialty mortgages for less typical situations, like purchasing a vacation rental home or a second home. The company may also be able to help borrowers secure financing for other investment properties as well. Keep in mind that interest rates are generally higher for these types of mortgages compared with rates for a primary residence.


    The number of refinancing applications has decreased significantly over the past two years, as mortgage rates have been steadily rising from historic lows. In fact, as of the end of the first quarter in 2023, the dollar volume of refinance applications has plummeted almost 89% since 2020, according to data from Fannie Mae.

    Borrowers typically choose to refinance only if they can secure a lower interest rate. This equates to interest savings over the life of the loan. However, there are other reasons you may still choose to refinance today. For example, you can use a cash-out refinance to pay off high-interest debt. Or, with a refinance, you can extend your loan term to reduce your monthly payment. Either way, compare the overall costs and benefits of the refinance with your current mortgage before you make a decision. Real Genius provides a selection of refinancing options to choose from based on your individual needs, including rate-and-term refinances and cash-out refinances.


    Real Genius does not disclose its borrower requirements. Most lenders have higher credit score requirements on conventional loans compared with government-backed mortgages (like FHA and VA loans). It’s likely you’ll need a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for a conventional loan, but check with the lender for its requirements.

    Also, you generally need to offer at least a 3% down payment on conventional loans. FHA loans have slightly higher down payments  — typically at least 3.5% if you have a 580 or higher credit score. Down payment requirements are higher, at 10%, if you have a score less than 580. VA loans offer 100% financing, so there are no down payment requirements.

    National mortgage requirements by type

    For other loan types, read our guides on USDA loans.

    Costs and fees

    Real Genius does provide an estimate of origination fees when you use the rate calculator on its website. You’ll need to input some preliminary information, like home value and credit score, to receive a closing cost estimate.

    Origination fees (often called lender fees) can include underwriting charges and application fees. Generally speaking, origination fees can total 0.5% to 1% of the loan amount and are included in closing costs. Altogether, closing costs can amount to 2% to 5% of the loan amount.

    Other closing costs can include fees for certain services, like the home appraisal and title search. To better prepare you to pay closing costs, the lender will provide an estimate after you are preapproved. Also, about three days before closing, you’ll also receive the Closing Disclosure, which outlines all of the costs associated with the loan.


    What is Real Genius?

    Real Genius is an online mortgage lender that offers a variety of home loan options, including loans for investment properties or vacation homes. You can apply 100% online by visiting the Real Genius website. Or, if you prefer to apply by phone, you can contact the company directly to speak with a mortgage banker.

    Is Real Genius legit?

    Real Genius is a legitimate lender that has funded over $16 billion in home loans. The company adds a personal touch to the digital application process by matching borrowers with local mortgage bankers in their state to assist.

    Where is Real Genius available?

    Real Genius is licensed in 43 states and Washington, D.C. It does not currently operate in-person branches, but you can apply for a loan online or by calling the company directly.

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    Real Genius Company Information

    Company Name:
    Real Genius
    Formerly Named:
    ConsumerDirect Mortgage