Serial Web entrepreneur Mark H. Goldstein has been the founder of such sites as Kmart’s BlueLight and Impulse Buy. More recently, he invested in green ecology-based ventures, but he grew bored and came back to ecommerce with Loyalty Lab and Home-Account.com, which matched homeowners with mortgage brokers, competing with the likes of LendingTree , Bankrate.com and Zillow’s Mortgage Marketplace (whose free to the consumer model is similar).
Today, Goldstein launched a sister site, Refinance.com, which is using the same engine as Home-Account to match refinance prospects with the lowest “TrueCost” loan over time. Both services rely on a matching system developed with Jack M. Guttenberg, better known as “The Mortgage Professor.” They also collect recommendations and reviews, marrying social networking with leads.
Goldstein contends that the free matching service is far superior to lead generation sites such as Lending Tree, which provide consumers with lists of five or six brokers. That doesn’t help consumers much, he argues. They’re almost as poorly informed as when they started.
“We’re getting rid of the ‘last mile human being’ and pinpointing exactly the right product,” says Goldstein, noting that consumers will still have an option to self-select their brokers. “They don’t have to take the first one, the second or third.”
The site is currently launching local and regional lenders, with hundreds of lenders ready to sign on. Goldstein’s timing, however, would appear to be shaky, with many banks still very conservative in their lending practices, post TARP mode.
But Goldstein contends “they do want to lend,” and notes that real estate has been in recovery for the past six months. Lending Tree has been doing good business, for example. And Bankrate.com was just taken private in October for $700 million.
“There are very specific people they want to lend to,” says Goldstein. “What we do is make you look as good as possible before the lender picks up the phone. “