An Australian entrepreneur has developed a new software platform that gives mortgage brokers a back-door entry into the property search process of prospective homebuyers.
Planwise is the new technology brainchild of Pisces founder Vincent Turner that bridges the gap between the consumer, the real estate agent and the mortgage broker.
PlanwiseConnect, a branded mortgage calculator, allows those searching for a property to stay connected to their agent when searching on any home search website.
It also allows searchers to connect with that agent’s preferred brokers.
Speaking to Mortgage Business from Silicon Valley, Mr Turner said the tool can be a powerful lead source for companies with in-house mortgage divisions.
“The financial tools and the affordability tools get added on top of that site for the consumer, but it also adds in the agent and broker they want to work with,” Mr Turner said.
“So at the point they want to speak with their agent or broker, they can connect directly to either of those parties to get the ball rolling,” he said.
Agents provide the technology - which is loaded with their broker referral partners - to their clients, who then use it as a financial tool while searching for a home.
However, Mr Turner said his vision for the software goes far beyond showing a rate and clicking through to a lender’s website.
“The future is integrating mortgage brokers into the property search experience,” he said.
“The act of looking for a home includes looking for a mortgage as part of that, which is the vision of what we are building.”
Mr Turner left Australia for California four years ago after stepping way from software platform Pisces (now Infinitive, owned by Rubik Financial).
“I came to the US in 2010, got incorporated in 2011 and basically went around looking for an opportunity in personal finance,” he said.
At that time, 1.4 million homes had been foreclosed in the US.
This led Mr Turner to question whether those who had their homes foreclosed really cared what interest rate they got on their mortgage.
“What we observed was that people who are about to make a financial decision have a large and varied number of highly subjective financial questions relating to the thing they are about to do, not the interest rate and the mortgage related to it,” he said.
“We have polled hundreds of potential homebuyers about what worries them about the financial decision they are about to make.
“It is everything from losing their job to wanting to make renovations to wondering if they can put their kids through school if interest rates change."
Mr Turner argues that these critical questions are being oversimplified when a customer is simply given an interest rate.
“If you want to see what your situation will look like if you lose your job, that’s what Planwise helps you understand,” he said.
Planwise’s investors include Sydney-based wholesale funders Troy Phillips and Brett Hartley, co-founders of MAS Funder and Firstpoint NB.
While investors will be monitoring the success of Planwise in the US, Mr Turner said it has practical applications for Australia.
“We will have to adapt the technology for the Australian market,” he said.
“I wouldn’t want to put a timeframe on it, but [it will be] sooner rather than later.”