When I saw this news today I had no other words but: “This is going to be big!” It is a bargain hunters paradise for everyone in a market looking for a loan to buy a new house or refinance an existing one. Let me explain why.
Zillow is a service that offers real estate valuation estimates (Zestimates) neatly mashed up with maps, satellite and aerial images. The usage is extremely simple, go to Zillow.com, type in your home address and you will see how much Zillow thinks your house is worth along with Zestimates for all of your neighbors.
This is how the team started in 2005. These days Zillow is much more than just real estated valuations. They has amassed a number of other free and useful tools that help home owners and home buyers alike.
One recent addition is called “Make me Move”. It is a brilliant idea which evolves around the popular expression “everything has a price”. Let’s say you don’t want to sell your house but you would if the price was right? Name it and anonymously assign to your property at Zillow. This is a sort of opportunistic real estate bargain hunting, just for sellers.
Back to the Mortgage Marketplace. Zillow already has a real estate marketplace that helps connect sellers and buyers. With this new addition the team is expanding their reach into the lenders/borrowers niche. They are far not the first to offer these services (LendingTree is another example), however with their open approach they are the first who I think have done it right.
Here is how it works:
- You anonymously submit a request for a loan with such details as your credit, amount needed, value of property, etc.
- Certified lenders give estimates based on this information so you can compare rates.
- Now here is the winner - Lenders don’t contact you, you contact the lender you want to work with
- When the transaction is over you can leave comments and rate the lenders based on your experience
From my mortgage related experience, assessing the agent’s credibility is what has always been a huge problem when shopping for a loan. What Zillow offers is very much like what Yelp is doing with the restaurants and TripAdvisor with hotels, both are successful and free services that became essential part of my “dining out” and “vacation” planning. I am giving Zillow a big “thumbs up” for the effort. See you guys when my loan is up for renewal!