Zillow Launches On-Line Mortgage Rate Quotes

Earlier this month I wrote about Zillow stepping into the mortgage rate quote arena…well tonight’s the big night. They are scheduled to launch at 9 p.m. PST. I’m honored to have been included as one the mortgage professionals to review their product and it will be interesting to see how it develops.

Zillow is not creating a mortgage company; they are attempting to create an online tool consumers can use to shop lenders. Once I get past my first objection of rate shopping, here are some of the two features I like the most:

The consumers privacy is protected while shopping–the Loan Originator will not see their names and they do not provide their social security number. This is unlike other online rate-comparison tools where a consumers private information is resold to calling centers all over the world.

Consumers will have the ability to shop lenders by rate, cost and the Loan Originator’s Zillow reputation. Zillow has a rating system from 1 (bad) to 5 (great) that consumers can use to grade the LO. So let’s say LO Sally has an incredible rate and low costs but she’s rated a 1 vs. LO Joe who has a competitive rate and cost with a 5 rating: the consumer can make a choice between the two (or however many LO’s have submitted a rate quote). The consumer will be able to review the LOs lined up in an easy to read column format with this information easily viewed.

My only real concern, as I’ve voiced many times is that shopping for rate will not always land you the correct mortgage. The wrong mortgage with what appears to be a low rate/payment may be a very expensive mistake. Especially in this volatile market where mortgage rates can change 3-5 times per day. Any rate quote may be invalid the moment it’s sent to the consumer if the rate is not locked…this is true with Good Faith Estimates as well. Speaking of GFE’s, Zillow Mortgage quotes are not the same as a GFE–I do recommend that consumers who are seriously considering working with any of the Loan Originators participating on Zillow Mortgage obtain a Good Faith Estimate with the Federal Truth in Lending.

I’ll still stick to my guns and say that referrals from the people you trust and respect are the best way to select a Mortgage Professional…however for those of you that have a need to shop rates on line, Zillow’s mortgage tool could be the ticket.

Catching Z-Z-Z's Zillow on Mortgage

No…Zillow with mortgage is NOT boring…quite from it. I’m just a bit worn out after the historic day we’ve all gone through in the mortgage industry today and I’m ready to call it a night. However, just when I’m going to unplug my laptop…Zillow finally provides the public with some more clues on how Zillow will integrate mortgages on their site.

I’m lucky to have been included as one of the Mortgage Professionals getting a scoop before the release. And this has all ready been covered very well at Lenderama, Blown Mortgage and Bloodhound Blog to name a few. What I like the most about this concept (which not all the details have been revealed) is the fact that Zillow is doing background checks by an independent third party before they will accept a Loan Originator to be a part of this feature.

From Zillow’s blog:

While we’re not sharing more details right now, we can say that we’ve built our product around Zillow’s model of openness and transparency that is increasingly important in today’s home lending environment. And, consistent with our information-based model, we have no intention of being part of the transaction. After speaking extensively to both consumers and mortgage professionals about the product, we’re confident that all parties will ultimately benefit from Zillow’s unique approach to home lending that is unlike any other in the market today.

This is the phase for interested loan originators to apply. More zetails to follow…time for me to catch my real z-z-z-z’s.