It’s no surprise that consumers said understanding the mortgage process is the most difficult step in getting a mortgage in a recent MortgageMatch.com survey. What is surprising – and troubling – is that many people are just pointing mortgage shoppers to websites where they are left to educate themselves on the process.
Given that most of us do not have the time, energy or expertise to wade through complex financial jargon, it’s time we moved passed the web 1.0 paradigm that empowers the individual with increased access to information. The next generation of the web is built on personal connections, and it is time we recognized the value of trusted service providers and leveraged our new technology to help consumers connect with them for their most important purchasing decisions.
Consider this story the New York Times reported last week that many mortgage sites are trying to dumb down their content for confused consumers.
“We shoot for a ninth-grade reading level for everything we put on the Web,” Arturo Perez, a home loans marketing executive at Bank of America said in the story.
But would you trust a ninth grader to choose between a fixed and floating interest rate? Of course not.
Removing jargon and writing clearly should be applauded, but let’s not pretend we can take an incredibly complex topic and make it easily digestible for a braces clad audience struggling with multiplication tables.
The same New York Times story reported that:
A poll of more than 1,300 homeowners conducted by Harris Interactive, a market research firm, for LendingTree, and published in December, found that while 96 percent of Americans comparison-shopped for “anything,” only 61 percent said they did so for mortgages. The remaining 39 percent took out home loans based on just one quote — even though 9 in 10 of those buyers said they knew that rates varied among lenders.
Consumers clearly have instincts for comparison shopping, and they don’t dissipate when they start shopping for a mortgage, but they often just don’t know where to look.
This is why we need service providers that we can trust – to decode the complexities of the process and explain it to us with our best interest at heart. At Stik.com we’re helping consumers find multiple mortgage bankers, brokers and realtors who can do that by searching the shopper’s social graph. We encourage consumers to do comparison shopping but to start with people you can trust.
It’s about time someone started championing the service professionals and their value, instead of working to eliminate them with half-baked information-based solutions designed for seasoned practitioners and not everyday people.