Zillow Mortgage Marketplace: Making Mortgages Easy

It’s no secret the mortgage process is confusing and complicated. It’s filled with jargon that’s hard to understand and because it’s probably the most expensive transaction of your life, it’s also pretty scary. No wonder people spend more time researching a car purchase (10 hours) than they do their home loan (five hours) — despite the fact that a home loan costs five times more than the average car.

Now the government is stepping in. A new federal agency, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,  is attempting to simplify the mortgage process by improving the disclosure forms lenders give to borrowers. The hope is that the improved forms will help borrowers better understand their loan terms and allow them to more easily compare loans from different lenders.

Simplifying the mortgage process is something we here at Zillow have been focused on for a long time. We knew getting a mortgage was frustrating and people felt like they had no control. We knew there had to be a better way. So, we launched Zillow Mortgage Marketplace in April 2008 to help borrowers find home loans and connect with reputable lenders in a whole new way. Zillow Mortgage Marketplace gives borrowers control, makes it easy for them to compare loans, and provides resources to help them through the process. Here’s how:

Borrower Control - Borrowers provide lenders with enough financial information to generate accurate rates, but do not provide their name, phone number, address, email or Social Security number. Borrowers contact the lenders, not the other way around. That means borrowers do not need to dodge phone calls from lenders trying to win your business. The borrower is in control.

More Choice - After submitting a loan request, borrowers receive quotes from lenders at national, regional and local banks, plus from brokers.There is no limit to how many quotes a borrower can receive. Nor is choice limited to quotes from a few preferred lenders as they are on other sites. The marketplace is open to all reputable lenders (new ones are signing up every day) and the borrower can decide who has the best quotes.

Easy-to-Compare Quotes - All quotes are standardized and broken out by APR, rate, lender fees, monthly payment, total spent (interest+fees, over time) and lender ratings so borrowers can easily compare quotes on an apples-to-apples basis, fees included, and choose the loan that’s best for them.

More Competition - Zillow Mortgage Marketplace is an open and transparent marketplace that allows lenders to see what other lenders are quoting, which means they can adjust their rates and fee levels to be more competitive. At the same time, borrowers can see which lenders are offering the best rates and fees. This open competition enables borrowers to get the best available rates and terms.

Lender Accountability – Lenders are reviewed and rated so that borrowers can choose the lender with the best customer service levels to other borrowers.

While we’ve worked hard to build a marketplace to empower and educate people through this confusing process, we also applaud the government’s efforts to bring more clarity to the lending arena. What do you think? What part of the mortgage process did you find the most confusing or do you think needs an overhaul? We’d love to hear your thoughts.