Just three weeks out of the hopper, Planwise Connect is forging new territory, as the first and only financial tool that remembers you across sites, and they do this by gathering a consumer’s data in a browser extension. The truth is that homebuyers often get their heart set on a home that isn’t realistic for them, even if it’s close, because the financial parameters being used are based on only a portion of costs it takes to close the deal.
Planwise Connect differs from other financial tools several ways:
- Consumers set their information once, and those settings follow them to Zillow, realtor.com, and so forth, even if they’re not registered on the search sites.
- Mortgage calculators typically focus on PITI or monthly mortgage amount, which is barely half of the costs that should be considered. Planwise Connect considers HOA fees, property taxes, property expenses (like rental income or tax benefits).
- Planwise Connect walks users through their complete current financial situation on a month-to-month basis, including debts, empowering consumers to shop based on their actual financial situation rather than meaningless snippets of teaser information they’re used to using.
The goal is to help homebuyers narrow their search to homes they can actually afford. Further, it helps organize the home search, as the Planwise Connect “heart” button pulls in listings from any site and organizes them into a Pinterest-style board that is shareable. Awesome.
Real estate professionals should be pointing their potential clients to this tool as a means of staying engaged with earned leads rather than generate them. It could help clean up the process tremendously and save everyone a lot of time (thus, money).
Planwise seeks to protect consumers
Planwise CEO, Vincent Turner tells us that the finance decision tool is in response to his previous tech startup which is now used by almost every bank to figure out how to make more money, and make it faster (we’re glossing over the details, but seek to convey how widely adopted the tool is).
But the banks aren’t consumers, and that’s where Turner’s passion is. He left Australia in 2010 and arrived in the U.S. in one of the peak years for foreclosures, driving home his desire to help, as so many of us bought homes we couldn’t afford. “Who’s helping the buyer?” he asked of the industry in regards to consumer finance.
“The people that need help the most can’t afford a financial adviser, and the CFPB [Consumer Finance Protection Bureau] regulates and educates, but consumers need direct help,” Turner opined. This was the nexus of Planwise Connect, focusing on these consumers. Turner seeks to do his part in helping fend off a future housing crash, dreaming of a world where consumers really understand the purchase they’re making. Ambitious.
So what does the future of Planwise Connect hold?
Turner says the feedback has been positive so far, and shares with us the company’s plans for the near future:
- They’ll open up the tool to lenders as it already gathers most of the pre-qualification questions every lender asks; a logical next step. The integration will offer real time pricing quotes, but not in the standard pay-to-play format where only advertisers’ rates are shown.
- Favorites will become a map view to group listings so they can be shared with an agent or spouse for improved collaboration.
The company is tenacious, already experienced and respected in the field, and we’ll be watching their growth and expansion as they add features and hopefully, go mainstream.