The mortgage process is steeped in mystery, and for new home buyers there's a surplus of information and options and few resources to help consumers make informed decisions. Enter 1871-based MortgageHippo - a service that seeks to give customers personalized assistance through each stage of the information gathering, application and loan approval process.
“Many home buyers, especially first-timers, aren’t quite sure where to start or what questions to ask while shopping for loans," co-founder and CEO Valentin Saportas said. "There’s a significant amount of information asymmetry in the industry, and that’s what we look for our technology to solve."
MortgageHippo, previously known as Hippoteq, was founded in 2013, joining residential mortgage company Guaranteed Rate
in easing frustration within the mortgage industry right here from Chicago. The company launched out of beta in May with a new name and updated features.
Describing itself as "the TurboTax of mortgages," the revamped MortgageHippo offers customized rate suggestions based on customer information gathered from an online-based Q & A process. The interview process is designed to be "very similar to the conversation they would have on the phone with a mortgage loan originator, but without the pushy sales tactics and lack of anonymity," said Product Developer Jamal Afridi. The company's proprietary loan scoring process, called HippoScore, then matches borrowers with loans based on factors including personal risk tolerance, affordability, and loan stability. Customers get personalized information including interest rates and estimated monthly payment costs.
"Instead of starting with a sales-centric approach, we’ve put all of our efforts into providing the resources a home buyer needs to make the best mortgage decision," said Afridi.
MortgageHippo's goal is not only to educate customers but to make the home loan process more streamlined and efficient for both loan offers and customers alike. When the customer is ready to buy, they're guided through the application process with MortgageHippo's personalized dashboard tool. The dashboard helps users organize application information and offers live access to licensed mortgage professionals to help answer questions.
"Our ultimate vision is to not only reduce the dependence on paper driven, labor intensive processes, but to actually improve the end result – get people a mortgage they can be more confident is really the best one for them," said COO and co-founder Michael Salichs.