Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Economic News

Zillow One-Ups Lending Tree With Mortgage Marketplace

zillow one ups lending tree

Lending Tree is fond of advertising “when bank competes, you win.”

Zillow took that model for its Mortgage Marketplace, which debuted yesterday, and took the next step – lenders are competing for business, but consumers aren’t forced to surrender their personal information to receive the quotes.

No name. No e-mail address. No Social Security Numbers. No names of your dearest pets.

You fill out a form to request a rate quote and the rates are posted back to you. There are few gimmicks to be had as lenders can see each other’s quotes. And for those who tend to quote the impossible rate (not that such things ever happen), there’s also a consumer review process to hold lenders’ feet to the fire.

Rich Barton, Zillow’s CEO, said the Mortgage Marketplace comes in response to research the company conducted on how borrowers shop (or, to the point, don’t shop) for their home loans:

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Borrowers have told us via focus groups and surveys that they spend woefully little time shopping for the mortgage they have – 5 hours. About the same amount of time they spent buying their last computer and nearly half the time they spent shopping for their last car. They also tell us that they want their personal contact information to remain private and that they want to see real rates that are accessible to them, not “teaser” rates that don’t reflect reality.

Todd Carpenter at Lenderama has a pretty good flowchart of the process.

Cost to the lenders is minimal – a $25 setup/background check fee.

There’s the definite possibility of lenders doing much work without possible reward. As an agent who one worked with Lending Tree leads, especially on the home valuation side, a large number of the folks making the request simply want to see what the rates may be just as many just wanted to see what their homes were worth.

But not all are just lookieloos. Last January I sold a listing for someone who had come to me through the Lending Tree system. It was the first (and to my knowledge) only client to convert through the Lending Tree CMAs, but the commission check was paid in American dollars and cleared the bank. That’s what counted.

Response to Zillow’s launch has been fairly positive, though Joel Burslem asks whether the information the consumer receives may be too overwhelming (which just may be fitting in this RE 2.0 world):

OK, so I submit a RFQ and the lenders can jump in and respond to me… but I get the sense there’s a lot of hungry lenders out there right now though. And I’m not sure I want to wade through the umpteen dozen responses I may possibly get; part of me is still wedded to the idea that I only want work with the best, most fair, most reputable lenders (is that naive?) – if I have to do too much work trying to figure out who that, is I might bail.

In that respect, could the Zillow marketplace suffer from some of the same issues as Trulia Voices – a location where many speak up, and some actually know what they’re saying?

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

(photo credit)

Written By

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.



  1. Vicki Moore

    April 3, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    “In that respect, could the Zillow marketplace suffer from some of the same issues as Trulia Voices – a location where many speak up, and some actually know what they’re saying?”

    That’s an interesting point. I worked with a mortgage broker from Lending Tree for the first and last time. It was an awful experience. If a buyer wants to work with them, I suggest they not or find another realtor – it was that bad.

  2. Kris Berg

    April 3, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    JD – Bravo!!! Hat tip, thumbs up, and all that.

    >In that respect, could the Zillow marketplace suffer from some of the same issues as Trulia Voices – a location where many speak up, and some actually know what they’re saying?

    You said what has been rattling around in my brain all day. I’m skeptical, but it’s early in the 1st quarter. We’ll see.

  3. Chris Butterworth

    April 4, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Am I too much the optimist? I love the idea!

    Lenders who are lazy, expensive, &/or demand immediate results will fall by the wayside, leaving a marketplace filled with lenders who understand what they have – a low cost opportunity to find low margin business. Not something I’d want to build my business around, but not a bad 3rd or 4th marketing stream..

  4. Hi! I'm Rudy from Trulia. Weird...

    April 4, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Hi JD!

    No online community is perfect but we’re seeing some great things happen on Voices.

    Social Media Guru at Trulia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.



Social Media

(MEDIA) We’ve warned of this for years, the industry funded it, and Zillow Homes brokerage has launched, and there are serious questions at hand.

Real Estate Corporate

(REAL ESTATE) Zillow has long been a data powerhouse, but a lawsuit about a $150M listing offers a look into listings claims.

Business News

(BUSINESS NEWS) Real estate giant Zillow is being sued by a California photographer who intimates that the company has scraped the images without anyone's...

Business News

(BUSINESS NEWS) Zillow being sued for Zestimates is nothing new, but they're now being accused of concealing Zestimates on "Co-Conspirator Broker" listings, violating federal...


The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.