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Zortgages From the Big Z



zillow mortgage

Zillow debuts

Zillow made it’s entry into the Zortgage sphere this week with a new tool to provide a more transparent mortgage loan search process to consumers. On Zillow, a consumer can provide their personal financial information and remain anonymous to lenders who respond and provide quotes. Jonathan Dalton provides full coverage right here on Agent Genius.

Zillow takes this transparency to a new level. Lenders are ranked by consumers based on their experience and everyone can see the quotes that have been given. Yes, competitors will be able to look over each other’s offerings openly. Sounds kinda cool, huh?

So I gave it a whirl

I thought it did, so I gave it a whirl. It’s been about 40 hours since I submitted a proposal for a refi. I got one response. Just in case you are thinking it might be because nobody wants to lend me money, that is not the case. So the first thing Zillow needs to do is achieve some sort of critical mass of mortgage lenders offering services. With nothing to compare my proposal to from Zillow, I don’t feel like I got the information I was hoping for. Of course, the product is new, so I am sure they will fill this gap quickly.

Filling out the Zillow questionnaire was easy, but there was one question I wasn’t quite sure I answered correctly. I used to be a commercial loan officer in a bank way back in the neolithic era before credit scoring, so I am more educated than the average consumer, but still far from an expert on mortgage loans. I also had questions about the quote that I received, so I would definitely have to contact the lender to get clarification. I had said I would be interested in information about 3 different products (5 year arms, interest only and 30 year fixed) but the quote only contained one of these options.

To get a quote from Zillow, you need to know your credit score, and you have the benefit of not having a lot of different lenders pulling your credit and potentially pushing it down a bit because of the inquiries. That is a nice benefit.

What I’m going to do

For now, I will be going the old fashioned route with my refi. I will use a local, trusted broker who works just down the street. I won’t worry that his friends have signed on and given him all 3 of his high ranking scores because I already know him. A year from now, when Zillow’s site is more populated, I imagine I will have a completely different experience.

I think it will be interesting to watch in the coming months to see how consumers and mortgage originators embrace this new system. Critical mass is key. That should come with time. What remains to be seen is if consumers will be left feeling confused or empowered after they get their quotes.

Final little after thought rambling around in my head: Will Zillow do something similar with Realtors? Will some of us chose to place our CMA’s and Marketing Plans out there for prospective sellers? Will our competitors then be able to see our proposals? Would that be a good thing?

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  1. David G from

    April 4, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Hi Maureen,

    Thanks for kicking the tires! Who’d a thunk we’d get 5,000 loan requests in the first 2 days! Our lender count has trippled and there are more lenders in the queue for confirmation right now than there are quoting loans on the site. Applications will be processed through the weekend. Good news is that quotes are finally catching requests. Lots of opportunity for LO’s right now; I was just forwarded an e-mail from a broker that locked rates on two Zillow loans today. It’ll be interesting to see how the Marketplace has balanced out by this time next week.

  2. Benn Rosales

    April 4, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Benn from =]

    David, congrats on the kickoff.

    Maureen- outstanding article and thanks for being so constructive.

  3. Maureen Francis

    April 5, 2008 at 7:01 am

    David G – I will give it another chance in a week or two. Glad to see you are getting a good response.

    Benn 🙂

    and thanks to the person who made my post look good.

  4. Bill Lublin

    April 5, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Maureen – Thanks for standing on the watchtower 🙂
    I guess we need to wait and see, but I really don’t see methods of reaching the consumer through the disintermediation of service professionals as automatically the best thing. For many years I explained to buyers that the lowest offering doesn’t always equate to the best mortgage or the best real estate experience. But I guess we need to wait and see what the consumer thinks of the process and if the process proves succesful on its own merits.

  5. Maureen Francis

    April 5, 2008 at 10:18 am

    You are right Bill. I know I need more than I got from my first Zillow mortgage experience. Some of that is the newness of the offering. But I think far more of it is the service and expert advice I need about my own unique financial situation. I am inclined to think that the average consumer will find the information they receive a bit overwhelming and challenging to determine the best option.

  6. John Lauber

    April 5, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    I think for things like this, you just need to talk to someone face to face. Thanks for taking a front line view of the process. We definitely need to keep an eye on how this develops.

  7. Robert D. Ashby

    April 12, 2008 at 11:55 am


    A quick look at ZMortgage makes it seem like a great thing. While I will say they took a step in the right direction, there are still many ways that ZMortgage is flawed. First, it fuels the “lowest rate and fees” game and that can actually cost borrowers more over time in reality. It also pushes the “lowballing” and “bait and switching” tactics.

    I will likely do my own review of Zillow’s new tool once I have had a chance to truly play with it and even post some quotes to see what happens, but I can see it has a long way to go to be a truly beneficial platform in my opinion.

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Economic News

Boomers retirement may be the true reason behind the labor shortage

(ECONOMY) Millennials and Gen Z were quick to be blamed for the labor shortage, citing lazy work ethic- the cause could actually be Boomers retirement.



Older man pictured in cafe with laptop nearby representing boomers retirement discrimination.

In July, we reported on the Great Resignation. With record numbers of resignations, there’s a huge labor shortage in the United States. Although there were many speculations about the reasons why, from “lazy” millennials to the number of deaths from Covid. Just recently, CNN reported that in November another 3.6 million Americans left the labor force. It’s been suggested that the younger generations don’t want to work but retiring Boomers might be the bigger culprit.

Why Boomers are leaving the labor force

CNN Business reports that 90% of the Americans who left the workplace were over 55 years old. It’s now being suggested that many of the people who have left the labor force since the beginning of the pandemic were older Americans, not Millennials or Gen Z, as we originally thought. Here are the reasons why:

  • Boomers are more concerned about catching COVID-19 than their younger counterparts, so they aren’t returning to work. Boomers are less willing to risk their health.
  • The robust real estate market has benefitted Boomers, who have more equity in their homes. Boomers have more options on the table than just returning to work.
  • Employers aren’t creating or posting jobs that lure people out of retirement or those near retirement age.

As Boomers retire, how does this impact the overall labor economy?

According to CNN Business, there are signs that the labor shortage is abating. Employers are starting to see record number of applicants to most posted jobs. FedEx, for example, just got 111,000 applications in one week, the highest it has ever recorded. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the pandemic-induced increase in retirement is only temporary. People who retired due to the risk of the pandemic will return to work as new strategies emerge to reduce the risk to their health. With new varients popping up, we will have to keep an eye on how the trend ultimately plays out.

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Economic News

Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?



NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination

When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”

At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?

The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.

In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…

>>>>>Click to continue reading…<<<<<


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Economic News

Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement

The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.



young executives

job openings

Job openings hit a high point

To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.

The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.

Good news, bad news, depending on your profession

That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.

Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.

What’s next

If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.

If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.

Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.


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