House hunting has been growing strong in the virtual space over the last few years, with more search engines and mobile applications to aid prospective homebuyers -- and now Zillow wants to seamlessly incorporate mortgage hunting into that process.
Now when users find a dream home on the application they can utilize the payment calculator to estimate what monthly payments would likely be, or find their attainable price range by using the affordability calculator.
The application upgrade will also include a shopping tool that allows the user to request and receive loan quotes from different lenders and begin the approval process with a few clicks.
According to Zilliow, 2.5 million homes are viewed daily on mobile devices with its current application (which equates to nearly 28 homes per second.)
The company told VatorNews that it monetizes its mobile service "exactly the same way [it does] on the website -- via advertising, Zillow Mortgage Marketplace participation from lenders and local subscriptions to real estate agents."
Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff said in a statement that "real estate is inherently mobile, and our goal is to provide people with information about homes – and home financing – whenever and wherever they need it."
The Zillow Mortgage Marketplace will also be available as a separate application from the Zillow Real Estate application -- both of which are free across the various application stores.
The real estate search engine and data aggregation sites have been growing in popularity since the 2008 crash with several top services becoming real estate giants, including Realestate.com, Trulia and Movoto.
Each of these online services, and several other aggregators, have made the once exclusive Multiple Listing Service (available only for the use of brokers and real estate agents) and disseminating the real-time data of homes across the country.
Those familiar with the real estate market such as Henry Shao, the founder and CEO of Movoto.com, attribute the consumer interest in having more data and empowering themselves in the house-hunting process (rather than relying primarily on a real estate agent) is because so much distrust has surrounded the industry in the resent past and transparency could "help revitalize positive consumer feelings."
Zillow's service allows users to not only attain data on a particular home, but also find out the appraised or estimated value of most homes in the area, recent similar sales and neighborhood accessibility data.
Some of these sites, including Zillow, base their business on the data and search side of real estate and make money in the specialized advertising , while others such as Movoto offer those services and act as a brokerage (gaining a referral fee when a property is successfully sold.)
One of these real estate search engines made news two weeks back when Market Leader Inc., acquired RealEstate.com for $8.25 million.
The acquisition included patents, trademarks and an estimated "400 domain names" that included RealEstate.com (a clearly valuable domain in industry.)
Zillow's stock opened on Thursday at 25.40.
Image Source -- Zillow.com