Zillow Mortgage’s major flaws

Despite benefits, borrower anonymity comes at a price

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Zillow, the popular real estate site, now has a complementary mortgage site. It is also complimentary (with an "i") because neither participating lenders nor borrowers pay for the service. Prospective borrowers fill out a long questionnaire, similar to a mortgage application, except that the borrower's identity is not disclosed. The questionnaire is made available to all participating loan providers (LPs), who are defined as individual loan officers or brokers rather than firms. Any LP may submit price quotes along with information about themselves. Borrowers also have access to ratings other borrowers have given the LPs. The borrower's identity is revealed only when he contacts an LP, and only to that LP. The anonymity of the process allowed me to kick the tires by submitting a loan request. I received quotes from six loan providers on my fictitious house purchase in Valley Forge, Pa. This site has some features I really like. One is placing the initiative t...