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?