DIY Mortgage Loans

A lot of people ask us why they should bother with using a real estate broker as opposed to using an app like Redfin Mortgage that launched last fall. They see that there seems to be a discount for using a simple DIY app, and they aren’t wrong — but there are a few things missing from that equation.

Redfin Mortgage and apps like it shovel a good amount of the actual work of getting a property onto your shoulders. While this may be fine for tech-savvy people with real estate and financial backgrounds, this method could leave you flapping in the wind with zero guidance if there is the slightest bit of complexity involved in your circumstance.

“Don’t worry, the AI will take care of everything!”

Not.

But Redfin Mortgage does do many exciting things and can act as a Real Estate Google of sorts for those who like to do a lot of research independently. You can even look at a lot of properties on your own without too much trouble. So as far as getting a good snapshot as to what properties are available at the moment in a given area, we have no difficulty saying Redfin works for researching properties on some level.

Trends Matter

However, what about what happened a year ago? What might be happening in a year or so from now in the area? In ten years? Only a licensed professional with their finger on the pulse of a particular neighborhood can have the authority and insight to see the big picture. Not to mention the fact that through MLS (the Multiple Listing Service) RE Agents have more listings and data than a publicly searchable app has and can find you properties that you most certainly will miss on your solo adventures!

The Thing Is, Money.

Cost cutting. Cost cutting is vital these days. Everywhere you look people are trying to save money. Even going to the grocery store, you see these new lanes with those self-service scanner things. Well, these scanner things are great, for the store, for their bottom line. The store saves money!

If you’ve read my walkthrough on About Mortage Loans, you’ve heard what we say about the hazards of loan shopping online. And our article on How the Loan Process Works explains the sad reality, that the motivation of mortgage underwriters is to help the banks make money, not to help you get the best loan.

Avocados vs. Mortgages

Have you ever been there standing at the self-checkout machine when something goes sideways? Or when you don’t know what button to push to scan your organic avocado? No one is there for you and your avocado. You stand there holding your 79-cent produce contemplating the void. Of course, you’d rather go down the regular aisle and talk to Cashier Sally and let her deal with that complicated avocado. And maybe tell you the latest gossip about the store’s goings on!

The Redfin Mortgage Rabbithole

Well, people, buying your home, and especially your first home, is a little bit bigger than buying an avocado. When you jump down the “Redfin Rabbithole,” you are set adrift in a world of impersonal contacts and bare-bones information. From day to day you will get redfin agents that don’t know you, the neighborhood, or frankly, standard real estate rules and procedures. They don’t understand that you want something particular, significant to you. Likely as not you have scrimped and saved, sacrificed and planned for this moment for a long time.

Find an Ally

You will want a human being who is dedicated to you, that is your agent bound by law to look out for your fiduciary interests. On your side day by day, finding you places to see, and learning your tastes. Someone that you can text or call at 9 PM on a Sunday night and talk all about the school you heard about in this one town 3 miles away and what are the chances of getting into that school? Stuff like that. It’s called the human touch, yeah that thing. Don’t scan your own avocado.

That’s why we recommend finding a competent agent who is willing to add a personal touch. Each seller is different and requires a unique strategy and up to date knowledge of today’s environment. What a Redfin agent may not be able to help with, your own agent certainly can. A good agent understands the landscape and how your specific set of circumstances can be leveraged to get you the best deal.

For first time home buyers especially, do you really want to wing it on one of the most important financial decision of your life?

With 23 years in mortgage and as a licensed agent for 21 years, Vic Joshi has a
network of experienced, top-flight realtors that we can refer to you. People that we have worked with over the years and seen change peoples lives again and again. People that we know can find you your dream home. Investment property or even your first home, taking that first step towards your future.

Vic’s Advice: Research But Trust Experience

Our advice would then be to look at all the Redfins and other apps available and use them to find out everything you can. Learn as about areas you are interested in, cross reference school zones, comparable properties, etc.

But before you buy, first get pre-approved for your loan. Then go to a licensed professional real estate agent who will get to know you and be there as you move from your first home to your forever home and even help you find investment properties for your retirement.

You’ll see this sentiment echoed by experienced economists like Jim Wang: Buying a Home with Redfin vs. a Full-Service Agent.

Good luck and happy hunting!