Guaranteed Rate: 2022 Home Equity Review

This Chicago-based lender has a low minimum credit score requirement, which is ideal for homeowners with less-than-stellar credit.

Headquartered in Chicago, Guaranteed Rate is a relatively new mortgage lender that was founded in 2000. Since then, it's grown to become one of the largest retail mortgage lenders in the country and consistently earns awards in industry rankings. 

Guaranteed Rate logo
Guaranteed Rate

Although Guaranteed Rate doesn't offer home equity loans, it offers a fixed-rate home equity line of credit, or HELOC. Homeowners with lower credit scores who are looking for a speedy approval process will benefit from a Guaranteed Rate home loan, as the online application only takes five to 10 minutes and its credit minimum is just 640. The retail lender offers HELOCs in most states except for Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

Guaranteed Rate: At a glance

Type of loan offered HELOC
APR range Starting at 5.8%
Loan amount $20,000 to $400,000; $25,001 minimum in Alaska
Credit score minimum 640
Repayment terms Two- to five-year draw period. 5-, 10-, 15- or 30-year repayment period
Average time for approval Five to 10 days

Homeowners who don't have stellar credit, but who need fast access to cash, are best suited for Guaranteed Rate's HELOC. The application process is simple because it's 100% digital and won't require an in-person appraisal of your property. The Midwest lender says it only takes five to 10 days to receive your funds, which is faster than the typical 30 to 45 days it takes with most HELOCs.

You can use a Guaranteed Rate HELOC for primary residences as well as second homes and investment properties.

What we like

  • Fixed-rate: A fixed-rate HELOC is beneficial in a rising interest rate environment because you don't have to worry about your rate increasing regardless of what's happening with the economy.
  • Quick access to funds: You can get your loan disbursement in as little as five to 10 days, which is faster than most lenders.
  • Low minimum credit score: For people who don't have great credit, Guaranteed Rate's HELOC is still an option because the minimum score requirement is only 640, a score not every lender will accept. 

What we don't like

  • Limited flexibility: Guaranteed Rate only has a fixed-rate HELOC and offers no variable-rate option, which is the type of interest rate most traditional HELOCs have.
  • Limited availability: If you live in Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Utah or West Virginia, you can't access a Guaranteed Rate HELOC.
  • Full loan drawn at origination: You must take out your whole loan as a lump sum at the beginning of your loan term, which means you'll be paying interest on the entire amount for the lifetime of your loan, paying costly additional interest in the process. 

Home equity loan options

Guaranteed Rate only offers a fixed-rate HELOC, and no variable rate HELOC options or home equity loans, though the Midwest lender also provides mortgages and refinancing. 


You'll have to pay an origination fee for your loan with Guaranteed Rate, but you'll receive a discount on your interest rate. You can also receive a discount on your rate if you sign up for auto-pay. The lender says that any other fees are rolled into the loan, so you don't have additional upfront costs. 

How to qualify 

You'll need to have a minimum credit score of 640, a debt-to-income ratio of no more than 50% and your home's loan-to-value, or LTV, ratio must be no higher than 85%. Your LTV ratio is simply a calculation of how much you still owe on your house compared with the current appraised value of the property. Keep in mind, however, that although you can be approved with a lower credit score, the higher your score, the better the rates that will be offered to you by lenders.

Getting started 

A HELOC is a second mortgage on your home, so the application process is much the same as with your first mortgage. You'll need to gather your financial and personal paperwork for the lender to review. Expect to provide proof of sufficient income and secure employment through such items as pay stubs and tax returns, as well as documentation of your existing mortgage and payment history. With Guaranteed Rate, the application process is 100% digital and should only take about five to 10 minutes. 

Customer service

You can reach a HELOC account specialist over the phone at 888-527-1950 or by email at For general inquiries, people can call 866-934-7283. (Note: Guaranteed Rate doesn't list its customer service hours on its website.)