What is Transparency?? Best Mortgage Rates/Online services/Real Estate Services - (Part 1 of 2)

Mortgage and Lending with Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc


Transparency in the Real Estate world… what does it truly mean?




How many of you in the last few years kept hearing real estate and mortgage professionals talk about transparency? Before we start, let's define a few types of transparency.

Transparency - as used in the humanities and in a social context more generally, implies openness, communication, and accountability.

The secondary meaning of transparency are - procedures that include open meetings, financial disclosure statements, the freedom of information legislation, budgetary review, audits, etc.

(These definitions come from Wikipedia)




questioning transparency

Here is my major frustration about the word transparency. So many loan officers are now telling clients that you need to know what you are being charged, and that is to include the back end. When I say back-end, I am talking about Yield Spread Premium. (YSP) This argument seems to be more from those that just sell, but those who don't educate the consumer. I am seeing this all throughout real estate, even with realtors. In all honesty, who cares what my YSP is if my rate and fees are less than the person selling you YSP, who might be the same or a tad higher.

To me, my opinion, this is smoke and mirrors. I am seeing many sales people turn the word transparency upside down. Putting a totally different spin around it. Sorry people, any loan officer can quote a rate. Any realtor can throw out a price of your home to you. But what about the fundamentals?  How about truth, honesty, openness, and communication?

So what do we do from here?  How does a consumer know the real meaning?  Keep in mind, many relate to transparency when you buy a car. It is now common practice to actually see the invoice, showing how much the dealership bought the car for. Sorry people, cars are built on an assembly line. Shopping for a mortgage or a house, or listing your house, is different for each and every person. Not one is the same.

Important to share this point - Please read - I want the same deal that my friend got !!!



lies - being honest & sincere


The real transparency should not be about obtaining the best mortgage rate. Or getting the best or highest price for your home. Or the cheapest home. Yes, we all want the best deal. But what might seem like the best, could be the worst. Just because I tell you that I am an upfront mortgage broker, that I get you the best deals, can this bite you in the arse?  If I don't iinterview you properly, the best mortgage rate might not mean much, if I give you the wrong mortgage program. Please read : What does your professional designation truly mean.

What ever happened to being upfront? Honest? Integrity? Knowledgeable? Things to think about....




Summary - So how do we get around this issue, trying to get around being an educated consumer? Some ideas....

  • We can research online, on the internet. But be careful, just because it sounds good, doesn't mean that it is or that it's true.
  • Get referrals from friends, family, or related professionals. But again, be careful, not all seem to be out for your best interest or know what they are doing. Just because the referral comes from someone that you trust.




  • How about going back to the person that you had a good experience with before?  What happened to loyalty? If you truly trusted that person and felt really comfortable with them, why do you listen to others making new and or better promises?  Please, question yourself about this.
  • Interview those that interview you. Interview your loan officer. Interview your realtor. Hey, a good realtor or loan officer should be interviewing you. Why not do the same. I will be talking about this in detail in my part 2 section.



Reminders - this is based on my opinion of over 17 years of mortgage experience and from talking to other like-minded mortgage professionals.


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Copyright © 2010 by Jeff Belonger of Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc

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Copyright © 2011 by Jeff Belonger of Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc


Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. John Occhi 01/17/2010 07:31 AM
  2. Gabe Sanders 01/17/2010 10:30 PM
  3. Bridget Cella 01/18/2010 06:48 AM
  4. Kent Simpson 01/19/2010 07:20 AM
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Realtors Needing the services of the Lending Powers
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Show All Comments
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

Jeff - Transparency is definitely the buzzword of 2009 and will continue to be one of the main buzzwords for 2010 for sure.  I think at the end of the day it means that people understand what they are getting from the beginning, it is understood, simple and clear.  In the mortgage industry it relates to the whole "bait and switch" telling a consumer something in the beginning and then they receive something quite different come settlement time.  Same thing in any industry really is that there is constant communication along the way which prevents those disturbing surprises.  Great thought provoking post.  ~ Chris

Jan 17, 2010 03:46 AM #1
David Saks
(retired) - Memphis, TN

Definitely not the "invisible man" kind of transparency, Jeff. It's the integrity loaded kind of transparency. Nice post.

Jan 17, 2010 03:46 AM #2
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth
Jeff, the right solution is MORE than one single number. There is much more behind the numbers and also understanding a client's individual needs.
Jan 17, 2010 04:40 AM #3
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans


CHRISTOPHER.... .  I remember one specific person pushing this word on AR back in early 2007.  It drove me nuts, because of what he was attacking and what he was pushing.  But you are correct in saying that this has become even a larger buzz word in 2009. Sure, it deals some with the bait and switch. But more so, those talking about fees, rates, and YSP.. When in reality, if I had the best rate for you, but didn't properly interview you about your goals, I might have given you the wrong loan program. I see this happen more than it should.  Thanks for the compliment at the end.

DAVID.... . thanks.. I think that is what so many of us forget, that it should be loaded with integrity, honesty, being upfront, and communication... and not just what is behind the numbers or the product.  Thanks for the compliment.

GARY.... . I agree... hence why I wrote this post. We just need to keep preaching this, because there are so many traps to fall for.  thanks


Jan 17, 2010 04:48 AM #4
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan NY - Manhattan, NY

I'm learning more and more about mortgages, real-estate and so on.  I feel what you have discussed in this post can almost relate to any kind of business.  Unfortunately you are correct, there are companies or business owners who will do just about anything to get ahead, even if that means lie, cheat and steal :/  but then their are individuals like your self who, care and want to educate others about what is really going on. That is very extremely valuable.

Jan 17, 2010 05:34 AM #5
John Occhi
Mason Real Estate - Temecula, CA
SRES,CPRES.ePRO - Temecula-Murrieta CA Real Estate


It's funny, I didn't realize this was such a buzz word, but I know I have been using it a lot more in my own business - with ethics behind the use trying to be what the word is suppose to mean.

In any even I liked it so much I re-blogged


Jan 17, 2010 07:34 AM #6
Tim Bradford
Cleveland, OH
NMLS 250013

Jeff,  As always a very thought provoking post.  I like your reference to "upfront? Honest? Integrity? Knowledgeable?"  Dispite all of the governmet regulations there is no way they can regulate these and they are the most important. 

With reference to the sale of a car, I have always heard that the Invoice is not the actual amount the dealer pays for the car.   I believe there are rebates and premiums given to the deal no reflected in the invoices.  If that is true, is that transparent?

Jan 17, 2010 08:13 AM #7
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans


LAURA... .  sure, this can relate to almost any type of business. But where I hear about the word transparency the most is in real estate, mortgages, and with the government.  And in many cases, people put a bad spin on the word, giving it a new meaning, when we need to get back to the fundamentals. Again, that is my opinion. And sure, I know people will do many things to earn a buck, to make the consumer feel comfortable... but at to what extent and do we sell out integrity doing it.  thanks

JOHN.... . I truly do think that it loses it's real meaning in business and not what it should be about. Especially in regards to one person that use to be in mortgages, and tried to start his own online rate shopping system, telling people that you need transparency behind the rates and such.  And I just don't believe in that and that he is using the word transparency to sell his product.  But it comes back down to so many things that is behind the real rate. Thanks for reblogging this...


TIM.... . no, there is no way of regulating all of this, yet the gov't steps in trying to, but with my detailed forms. That still doesn't keep people from not being ethical... and especially communicating the more important things.

In regards to the car reference, I am sure that we could dig deeper and get more detailed on this. I was just trying to make a basic point of what so many assume. But you do bring up some more points.  thanks and thanks for the kind words.


Jan 17, 2010 09:05 AM #8
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Terrific post Jeff, definitely worth a re-blog.   Thanks.

Jan 17, 2010 10:29 PM #9
Larry Bettag
Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001 - Saint Charles, IL
Vice-President of National Production

Jeff...this huge.  I have people that refer their friends to me all the time.  The problem is that a doctor can't say here take aspirin when the other person is being provided bipass surgery, you know?  No...some folks have great credit.  Others carry a lot of debt.  Some have tons of equity in their home and good job history.  Like a doc doing the H&P (history and physical), the loan officer must do the financial H&P before they can offer a prescription (rate).  Transparency?  How bout who's going to serve me while looking out for my best interests.  That's why I like doing business by referral. 

Jan 18, 2010 05:57 AM #10
Bridget Cella
Re/Max Connection - Sewell, NJ
e-Pro, Realtor

Each person/situation is different - an interview some times can be a working interview - you speak to them (mortgage rep/Realtor/client) a few times before you/they make the decison to commit.


Jan 18, 2010 06:47 AM #11
Paul McFadden
Responsive Pest Control - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Jeff: Being transparent is often a faith-based term. It's about being real. In most cases, that benefits us who operate our businesses that way. For those of us who don't, I personally have little or no sympathy. Thanks for the post and congratulations on being named the top blogger here on AR! Take care.

Jan 18, 2010 08:14 AM #12
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans


GABE.... . my pleasure and thanks for the polite compliment and for reblogging this.

LARRY.... . that is a very good part of transparency that I think so many forget and overlook, and that is the service part. So many look for that best deal, but lose site of the things that should matter more.. at least in my opinion.. thanks

BRIDGET.... . sure, it can be like a working interview.  But the main point is for the consumer to even take a pro-active part and to make sure they are dealing with someone that does more than say... best rate or I can do this. Feel that person out.. get to know them. Basically the same thing that I do with my clients when speaking to them.

PAUL.... . a very good point, which might mean that there isn't much good faith amongst so many professionals?  lol  Seriously though, it is about being real. But I can't tell you how many local loan offices that I met that had one agenda, who were real.  And ps.. thanks for that awesome compliment again.. thanks


Jan 19, 2010 02:39 AM #13
Joyce (manager), Guaranteed Flat Rates No Junk Fees, Serving all of Southern Ca
Arrowhead Escrow - Riverside, CA

Jeff, JP Lowry said we should subscribe to your blog and we are glad we did.

"Shopping for a mortgage or a house, or listing your house, is different for each and every person. Not one is the same."

You are so right on there with that statement. Its so true. As an escrow company we see people get different deals all the time (thank God its not our job to explain why), and people should be informed that every person's loan will have different qualifying factors and have different risks that can affect not only what rate you get but what program you can and cannot qualify for. Great Post!


Jan 19, 2010 08:33 AM #14
Jay-Paul Lowry
Riverside, CA


I like the new high quality low quantity posting.  You have been putting up some great stuff as of late.



Jan 19, 2010 10:22 AM #15
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