Industry News

Real estate services bundle up

Industry debates whether bundling will help or hurt consumers

Here's a typical story: An excited couple looking to purchase a new home seems eager to work with a real estate salesperson, sign the paperwork and begin the closing process. But what stops the deal is the confusing unpredictable mortgage closing process, the add-ons, fluctuating fees and general bafflement that consumers sometimes feel is synonymous with the home-buying process. "We've found in every survey we've done that customers dislike uncertainty and surprises, and many have the fear that they'll be taken advantage of during the mortgage closing process," said Garth Graham, SVP of e-commerce at ABN AMRO. To combat this perception, an increasing number of lenders and financial companies are bundling together mortgage packages for buyers. Supporters of bundling say it's akin to buying a car. Do you purchase an automobile for one price or do you buy a car with unknown extras like tax, title and that mysterious undercoating fee? Opponents of bundling say the process has pitfa...