Zillow has created a new mortgage marketplace. It’s lead-gen for lenders, but without the lead-gen fees. Zillow will serve ads against the page views and may offer other ad opportunities to lenders as well. (See my discussion at SEL.)
At a high level, here’s what’s interesting in my opinion:
- No fees to lenders for lead-gen
- Apparently very high lender demand already for the product: “Hundreds of lenders have already signed up and we haven’t even disclosed product; we have hundreds of lenders registered and confirmed at launch even without product details.”
- Consumer anonymity and the ability to rate lenders publicly (TripAdvisor or Yelp for mortgage lenders)
I would assume that this will be a successful product on both sides, assuming consumers discover the “Mortgage Marketplace.”
Here are some general facts provided by Zillow as part of the PR around the launch:
- 5 million unique visitors come to Zillow every month; 90% of Zillow users currently own a home
- More than two-thirds of Zillow users currently in the market to buy or sell a home or soon will be
- More than one-third of lenders in the U.S. (125,000) already visit Zillow each month (total 365,000 mortgage brokers and bankers as of 1/08, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
- Data on nearly all homes in U.S. (80 million); 70 million Zestimate values, or 3 out of 4 homes
comScore says 2 million uniques (massive discrepancy there).
Reportedly banks and other lending institutions spent $13.4 billion in 2007 on marketing, so there’s lots of money out there for Zillow to tap. Financial services was the second largest online ad category last year according to the IAB.
Related: Pete Flint of Trulia does a fairly extensive analysis of the decline in newspaper RE advertising and the shift to online.