In a recent blog post JeffX, the "X Broker" and founder of Realespace.com argues that his proposed solution will return anonymity to the user and give the user access to a wholesale pricing engine. From his blog profile, he intends to build a
"wholesale lender automated Pre-Qualification engine crawler/bot for consumer direct access. Think of Expedia.com, but for correspondent pricing mortgage rate sheets and feeds."
I think he's got half the equation right. Today's internet more than ever is all about the consumer, and is - as David Armano or Joseph Jaffe put it - moreover a conversation with the consumer. The existing model of lead generation needs to evolve, the consumer needs to be given more control and a voice. Allowing for customer anonymous retrieval of consumer pricing information is the right direction.
However, giving consumers access to wholesale pricing information is not the solution.
This will confuse and frustrate the consumer at least, as any such system is inherently tied to the willingness of many commercially interested lenders and brokers to cooperate, introduces a new layer of pricing variables, and does not deliver lockable pricing.
Yet going down the path of lockable pricing online is a path even more perilous that has been lost by greater aspirants (FreddieMac, Microsoft Homeadvisor anyone?).
XBroker is correct in principle, and I believe incorrect in execution. A correct execution is perhaps one that comes directly from the shared wisdom of the consumer, and built off a system that presumes wholesale lenders will co-operate and lenders will understand, and brokers will honor.