The mortgage industry has a history of screwing things up. Maybe the intentions are good but the process couldn't be more confusing. Throw in all the confusing lender jargon like amortization or APR and the borrower gets foggy at the outset.
Mortgage loan officers can have a hard time translating what they know into language the borrower can understand. Try to compare a 30-year loan with 20 percent down to a 20-year loan with 25 percent down. Throw in paying a point on one loan but not the other and you can see why comparing loans leaves many borrowers ready to give up and just do what their loan officer tells them to do.
One borrower was so frustrated with the process of refinancing her home, that she started her own software company two years ago to take the confusion out of purchase loans or refinancing. Based out of New York, Nicole Hamilton founded Tactile Finance to provide loan officers with a patent-pending tool that visually displays mortgage loan choices instead of simply quoting an interest rate. It's a "data visualization meets the mortgage industry" thing and loan officers can use it to explain various mortgage choices for their clients.
From that, a consumer site was born called Tacfi.com, where consumers can log in on their own and enter various financing scenarios to see how their choices affect building equity over time, financing costs and accrued interest. There's even a tool that shows borrowers what they would net out of the sale proceeds should they sell their home at a specific point in the future. That's kind of amazing.
What's even better, it's a lender-free zone. There are no banner ads nor does Tacfi sell borrowers' information. If the borrower does want to speak with a loan officer, they can find one on the site but there's no requirement to do so. The site also contains articles about the lending process as well as a fun-to-read blog written by Realty Times alumnus David Reed.
When a loan officer quotes rates, this comparison is sent to his prospect. You can compare different scenarios and move the "mouse" that appears on the equity screen.
Immediately below, notice the "Share Screen" button. It's a patent pending app that allows a loan officer and multiple borrowers at different locations to share the loan officer's screen as the loan officer walks them through different scenarios. It's similar to "Gotomeeting" but there's no need to download anything, it's all in the email link.
To see the benefit, you should get your hands on the site and get the tactile feel for yourself. You'll find it's very different from going on a lender's site and getting a rate quote or looking at a bar chart that may be far afield of what you can actually expect from the loan.