Today Redfin announced the launch of Redfin Mortgage, the next-generation mortgage lender where the real estate agent, lender and title company are linked on the same system. We decided to create Redfin Mortgage to loan money to Redfin customers buying homes.
By integrating a lending operation with Redfin’s existing brokerage and title businesses, the company’s ultimate goal is an entirely digital process, with better service, a faster closing and lower fees. Redfin Mortgage plans to begin issuing loans in the first half of 2017, initially serving customers in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio markets.
“Redfin Mortgage will put the customer first through a combination of technology and personal service,” said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. “This approach to mortgage is the same that has made us successful serving more than 75,000 customers buying and selling homes. We’ll meet customers through digital channels to lower customer acquisition costs.
We’ll hire our own mortgage advisers with incentives that reward service, not just sales, so customers get advice they can trust. We’ll track every aspect of the closing in a single system used by mortgage advisers, real estate agents, title experts and the customer so everyone works together on an on-time closing.”
We’ve hired Jason Bateman, formerly executive vice president of mortgage operations at BBVA Compass, to lead the effort. Jason has more than 15 years of experience in the mortgage industry. He will run Redfin’s mortgage operation out of a new Dallas-based office. The software engineers supporting the mortgage business are based in Seattle.
“When your real estate agent, title professional and lender work together, you win,” said Bateman. “Lenders should spend their time determining which loan is right for a customer, not looking for new customers. If an appraisal comes in low or an inspection turns up a problem, everyone should learn about it at the same time, without relying on telephone calls and email messages hours after the fact. Automating tasks that were once performed manually should not only lower costs, but reduce the possibility of errors that create lending risk. Our vision is the way I’d always imagined home lending should be.”
Redfin’s real estate agents will continue our partnerships with lenders of all stripes, encouraging customers to work with the lender that offers the best combination of service and rates. There will be no incentives for Redfin real estate agents to recommend a Redfin loan. Because Redfin’s mortgage service depends on integration with its brokerage operation, the company does not initially plan to support refinancings or loans to consumers who buy a home without using a Redfin agent.
Please stay tuned to the Redfin blog for updates on Redfin Mortgage!