The launch of MortgageMatch
In December 2010, Move launched MortgageMatch.com as a byproduct of acquiring Cornerstone Mortgage. MortgageMatch came after years of development and 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. The goal of the product was to solve Realtors’ number one complaint- deals falling apart at the last minute.
The fall of MortgageMatch
In July of 2011, the MortgageMatch website featured news and tips, but borrowers could not actually apply for a loan. Some speculate the site was temporarily disabled as the lender became subject of a discrimination suit and a $750,000 penalty from HUD, others speculate the two companies simply weren’t a match. Cornerstone and Move have yet to comment on the reason for the split and it appears they have no intention to.
As of November 3, 2011, the MortgageMatch.com website was a stark, blank page with Cornerstone’s phone number on it and a notice to visitors to call them. Since we reached out to Move for comment, they have since redirected the URL to https://prequalplus.move.com/ which is powered by MetLife and oddly enough features the same color scheme as the former MortgageMatch site (the new site is above, the old site is below).
The rise of
Julie Reynolds, Vice President of Public Relations at Move, Inc., issued the following statement to AGBeat:
MetLife Home Loans is our current mortgage lender for Move’s PreQualPlus decision and pricing engine, and we’re hosting a page for MetLife that can be accessed from:
- The ‘Estimate My Payment’ or ‘Get Mortgage Rates’ links on Realtor.com listing detail page
- The ‘Get Mortgage Rates’ links on the Listing Detail Pages we host for AOL
- The ‘Estimate My Payment’ or ‘Get Mortgage Rates’ links on the Listing Detail Pages we host for MSN
Real Estate brokers with mortgage offerings that are Showcase Enhancement advertisers on Realtor.com can advertise their mortgage offering on the Realtor.com listing detail page, and their ad will be hot linked to their mortgage company’s website. (here’s a good example of a broker on Realtor.com with a mortgage offering https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1771-Seminole-St_Detroit_MI_48214_M33822-19322?source=web
Visitors electing to work with MetLife can:
- Immediately begin the pre-qualification process
- Access their ‘My PreQualPlus’ account
- Return to Realtor.com to search for more homes
- View a toll free customer service number and email address for MetLife Home Loans
The PreQualPlus decision engine remains powered by Move, and is now ‘presented’ by MetLife on a page that focuses primarily on Move’s decision engine. You’ll also find fantastic mortgage related content is now available from the left-hand rail on the MetLife landing page.
More than 1.4 million consumers visited MortgageMatch.com while it was in operation, and an impressive number completed the PreQualPlus feature. Our decision engine remains an unmatched piece of technology. We’re committed to making it available to help folks – especially first time buyers – get the loan they need to purchase a home.
The mystery isn’t exactly solved, it is unclear what happened, but Move retains their proprietary technology and MetLife is their current lending partner.
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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