Survey: Buyers Research Cars, Vacations More than Their Mortgage

Almost three-quarters of prospective homebuyers do not shop around for their mortgage, and most homebuyers spend about as much time researching their next television purchase as they do their mortgage lender, according to a survey by Zillow Home Loans.

A recent study from J.D. Power found lenders face challenges in standing out among their competitors in a “commoditized” mortgage market – a difficulty compounded by sinking demand for home loans.

When asked how long they spent researching large purchases, only 13 percent of survey respondents said they spent at least one month researching mortgage lenders before applying, Zillow Home Loans said in a statement last week, while 12 percent said they spent that much time researching a television purchase.

More respondents – 28 percent – put at least a month into researching their next car purchase, and 23 percent put that much time into researching vacation options before booking.

Most respondents did not shop around for a mortgage lender. Zillow’s survey of homebuyers showed that 72 percent of respondents did not shop around for a mortgage that best suited their financial situation and had no plans to shop around. Of the respondents who had already submitted a mortgage application for pre-approval, 46 percent said they submitted only one application.

The top reason for not shopping around for a mortgage was concern about hurting credit scores, which was cited by 30 percent of respondents.

“While mortgage pre-approval can impact a credit score, buyers can shop and submit multiple applications over 45 days with only one hit to their credit score,” Zillow said.

Other reasons included satisfaction with first lender contacted (24 percent), too much time and effort (19 percent) and all lenders offer the same rate (15 percent).

“Home buyers should take the time necessary to make an educated decision on their mortgage. It’s often the largest financial decision someone makes,” Libby Cooper, vice president of Zillow Home Loans, said in the statement. “Taking time to understand their credit report, repair any issues and consult with a qualified mortgage professional can make a significant difference in a home shopper’s experience. Buyers often don’t understand that a loan officer can be a partner in the home-buying process. They help discuss options and find the right fit for a customer’s personal financial situation.”

Zillow also found that 34 percent of prospective buyers did not spend time preparing before applying for mortgage pre-approval, mortgage pre-qualification or a mortgage, and 49 percent spent less than a year preparing, including taking steps to improve credit scores and saving for a higher down payment.

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