Zillow, the online real estate company, is getting into the mortgage market, announcing Monday (August 6) that it is acquiring Mortgage Lenders of America, a national mortgage lender headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas.
In a press release, Zillow said the deal, which is subject to closing conditions including getting the nod from regulators, is expected to close during the fourth quarter of this year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
According to Zillow, by acquiring Mortgage Lenders of America, Zillow will be able to shorten the home buying process for those that purchase a home via Zillow Offers. At the same time, Zillow said Mortgage Lenders of America will continue to operate its current mortgage business, offering mortgages to consumers as well as those participating in Zillow’s mortgage marketplace. It said that by owning a mortgage lender it can create new tools and ink new partnerships such as with real estate brokers’ within-house mortgage operations as well as mortgage affiliates. The online real estate company noted its current advertising products for lenders remains an important part of the business, and that the company intends to support and grow that marketplace even after acquiring the mortgage company. In 2017, consumers submitted 23 million loan information requests through Zillow Group’s consumer brands, it said, noting that its lender advertising partners are vital to fulfilling the needs of those consumers going forward. Mortgage Lenders of America already advertises with Zillow and last year originated 4,400 mortgage loans. That leaves lots of opportunities for independent lenders to continue to advertise and build their businesses on the Zillow Group platform, the company said in the press release.
“Getting a mortgage can be the toughest, most painstaking and time-consuming part of the home-buying process,” said Greg Schwartz, president of media and marketplaces at Zillow Group, in the prepared statement. “Now that we are buying and selling homes through Zillow Offers, we believe that having our own mortgage origination service as an option for consumers will allow us to streamline the process for people who buy a Zillow-owned home. Over time, we expect the work we do in conjunction with this new line of business will help us expand our offerings to our partners — including real estate brokers with existing in-house mortgage operations and third-party lenders who co-market with Premier Agents.”