Today, Move, Inc. announces their newest acquisition, MortgageMatch.com. Retail mortgage banking company, Cornerstone Mortgage in Houston, TX (founded in 1988) is now doing business as (dba) Mortgage Match which is operated by Move, Inc.
After two years in development, according to Julie Reynolds, Vice President of Public Relations at Move, Inc., Mortgage Match uses proprietary technology originally used for student loans, reengineered for the lending company in combination with third party data sources like Closing.com for detailed information down to the county level.
Sue Stewart, Move Inc. Senior Vice President told us that the inspiration for Mortgage Match is not only an educational tool for consumers but a tool to help the timeliness of closings given that nearly 50% of real estate agents and brokers they had spoken to cited their number one challenge being deals falling apart at the eleventh hour because of surprise conditions buyers didn’t meet.
Mortgage Match is aware that they are entering a sea full of competitors but considers itself unique in that they do not participate in lead auctioning or selling user information, and they claim they provide superior accuracy and transparency. Although a different product because they’re addressing wholesale loans, we evaluated RateSpeed in 2008 which found success due to the similar theory of education and transparency.
How it all works
Mortgage Match has three different modules. First, the snapshot where without registering, consumers can define what they can afford and view different loan products. Secondly, when users have outlined what they can or will afford themselves, they can search for a home using Realtor.com listings and get a tangible feel for what X dollars can buy them. Thirdly, users can prequalify with the Prequal Plus option using “out of wallet questions,” as Stewart called them. The last step of prequal only asks for the last four of their social and has users give credit authorization and they consumers can see a two page prequal letter with the second page outlining all of the conditions. Then, they can email the letter to their agent or wherever they need to.
What we like and what we are unclear about
There are some pretty cool things about Mortgage Match that we enjoy starting with the ease of use and really clean and slick user interface to the side by side comparison chart. We also like that when users go to actually apply for a loan (using their True Application feature), the system remembers their information, intuitively saving them a step. Mortgage Match also features a refinance module which we find to be forward thinking along with the “find a Realtor feature” and the integration between Mortgage Match and Realtor.com.
We asked if a full transaction management system like SureClose was in the works for Move, Inc. to make the lending/buying process complete but no clear indication was made by the folks at Move, Inc.
Move, Inc. is a publicly traded company and rarely reveals trade secrets, including this one. So far as we can tell, it does not appear to be ad supported and Stewart and Reynolds both stated that Mortgage Match and Move, Inc. do not collect any commission from consumers. We were invited to join the next earnings call to possibly review how the model makes money, but for now, it simply makes sense that Move, Inc. owns all profit from Cornerstone given the acquisition.
Mortgage Match business model versus Zillow
We believe Mortgage Match is a step in the right direction for the industry and it will be interesting to see what adjustments competitors might make. Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, founded in 2008 is a major competitor as their goals to empower consumers are similar. According to Zillow.com Chief Revenue Officer, Greg Schwartz, the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace (ZMM) gets 300,000 consumer loan requests each month, and has about 1,500 active lenders in a given month, all of which can be rated and reviewed by users. Schwartz notes that borrowers’ identities are anonymous until they choose otherwise. Although the business models between ZMM and Mortgage Match are different, watching their growth will be intriguing as their goals of transparency, anonymity and consumer empowerment are in line with each other.
AG is not affiliated with Zillow, Move, Inc. or Mortgage Match. Realtor.com, operated by Move, Inc. is an advertiser on AG.