Online Mortgage Service Bypasses Drudgery

SATURDAY, NOV. 22, 1997

If there is one area in which technology has the capacity to reshape the real estate transaction process, it is in the realm of mortgages.

Unlike a house or other property, which must be seen to be properly assessed, a mortgage is a financial instrument that cannot be touched or inspected - its physical manifestation being the mounds and mounds of paperwork that most home buyers could do without anyway.

And while the decisions we make about which homes we choose are subjective and infused with any number of personal intangibles, the choice of a mortgage almost always boils down to what results in the least monthly payout.

Wouldn’t it be easier to do it online, to fill out your financial information just once and your loan preferences just once and then have a computer match your needs and desires to actual loans that are available out there? To give you an easy-tounderstand, side-by-side comparison of actual rates and costs and total out-of-pocket expenses? And to update you constantly, so you can be sure you are getting the most current rates?

Well, that’s exactly the idea behind Intuit Inc.’s QuickenMortgage, a new Web service offering consumers one-stop shopping for mortgages that just debuted at The service is free to consumers and can be accessed directly by users of Quicken 98 software.

The QuickenMortgage Web site takes a big step into the future by linking consumers directly to currently available mortgage products offering.

The lenders upload their daily pricing into the database, as well as all their underwriting guidelines and standards. Consumers are asked for financial and underwriting data, which is then uploaded from their end. An analytical program matches consumer and loan, based on preferences the consumer can tailor.

Although the service was started with just six lenders supplying data to the site, each of those lenders is national in scope and works in almost all parts of the country.

A sample search is likely to turn up at least one or two available mortgages from two or three of the lenders no matter where the consumer is looking to buy.

QuickenMortgage expects to add more lenders, both national and regional, to the site. And with its track record in the personal financial software arena, it shouldn’t have a hard time doing it.

Eventually, Intuit will profit by taking loan applications online and collecting a brokerage fee.

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