Just in case you completely missed it, Zillow Mortgage Marketplace launched on April 2nd 2008 at 9:00 PM Pacific Time. I was there. ZMM offered to bring transparency to the system of borrowing. Right from the start I was a supporter. However, since that day, certain issues have reared their ugly head.
- I quickly realized that Zillow can't ask the right questions. It's just not possible. While they may ask most of the important questions, sometimes the answer to that question leads to the necessity of a deeper question. As guidelines change so must the questions. Because of this, Zillow Quotes can often be "Liar Quotes".
- A guy named Brent almost brought ZMM down. Not really, but he was "gaming" the system. Just by luck he happened to quote someone within my 10 mile area (he's in Oklahoma) and just by luck I happened to read his quote. Just by luck I decided to use his quote as an example in post I wrote exposing the problem. In 2 days he had already quoted 150 people and completed 1 loan!
- An "uneducated borrower" slammed me (and 5 others) with a negative feedback rating (and he hadn't even contacted me) He was wrong, and although I could and did post a rebuttal, my rating was tarnished. Zillow does offer the ability for the lender to post a rebuttal and I used that - however, I know full well consumers don't take the time to dig deep. Instead they'll look solely at my "Rating Graphic" (there it is) ======>
You can see Zillow fixed my Negative Rating after I exposed the problem so now I'm back to ZERO. This latest issue started a lively discussion on "#1 Reason I'll QUIT Zillow Mortgage" that was picked up by one of the great thinkers in the industry Brian Brady who posted "Zillow Mortgage Must Verify Consumers To Become A Marketplace" over at Bloodhound Blog. That post garnered an even livelier discussion.
Over and over again I see unethical, dishonest rate quoting "factories" doing their best to bait the hook so they can switch the poor borrower later. Did you know some Lenders actually hire people to quote for them? ZMM is a hotbed of misinformation and outright lies. They don't actively police the forum, instead they want us to report any improprieties to them. Unsuspecting borrowers line up in droves and place requests for quotes seemingly unaware of the above listed problems.
So why, given all the bad and the ugly, would I want to even dip a toe, let alone swim in these dark and murky waters?
Zillow's proactive approach. Specifically, David G. Write a post about Zillow Mortgage and David G will show up (usually in minutes). Make no mistake, he's there to protect the brand. He's employed by Zillow, and he's a company man through and through, and he's always Zillow's biggest cheerleader. But he's also straight forward and honest and not afraid to enter the fray of a highly charged conversation. If the same thing happened on eBay - would anyone notice? Would Meg call me? David did.
I don't look at ZMM as a great place for free leads. This is what Zillow is "selling to the loan officer's". If you are a borrower you might not know that some lenders will actually pay $500 to misquote you! (see "The Truth About Lending Tree")
I don't care about free leads, I have a different view than most other loan officers. This may seem strange but I look at it as just another place for additional exposure. Just like blogging adds exposure, so does my involvement with ZMM. Simple as that.
- I'm only going to complete quote requests close to home. We don't have to meet face to face, but if at all possible, wouldn't you want to look in the eyes of the person who was lending you hundreds of thousands of dollars? I would. Although I could quote someone thousands of miles away - I'll stick to my neighborhood.
- In my quote I'm going to suggest you take a minute to read a special landing page I designed just for Zillow. Take the time to read that and you'll have a better understanding of the pitfalls before you. Skip it and you'll probably get what you deserve.
- I'll base my rate quote on real lockable rates. Not rates from a week ago, but rates that are real and available at that time. I'll also base those rates on a 30 day rate lock.
- Respond to my Rate Quote via email or by phone and I'll offer to send you a Real GFE. That Zillow quote didn't include many of the fees I know you'll have to have. Items like Title Policy and Escrow Fees.
- Attached to that GFE will be a .pdf of my loan application. Fill that out, send it back with the required documentation, and I'll be able to find you the best possible program at the best possible rate and fees that best meet your particular needs. Don't want to fill out the application? I'm ok with that. For me, I've lost 15 minutes of my valuable time. You may lose something even more valuable, Thousands of Dollars.
Why will I do all this knowing full well the pitfalls of Zillow Mortgage?
I'm a dreamer. That's all. I would like to believe that Zillow found a way to ask all the right questions. I would like to believe that all loan quotes given were accurate. I would like to believe that I was truly competing for your business on a level playing field with transparency and justice for all. I would like to believe that all borrowers took the time to make informed educated decisions and didn't shop by misleading rates and fees.
I know full well that 99 and 44/100ths of the borrowers won't do any of the above. They certainly could, but I know they won't. On the highly unlikely occasion that someone does though - I'll be there. I'll earn a new client, make a new friend, they'll get a great loan and all will be well in the world.
See, I told you I was a Dreamer!
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