EXCLUSIVE: Mortgage Marvel's Rick Allen Chats Business, The Economy And Debt Reduction
Rick Allen is the chief operating officer of Mortgage Marvel, a site that provides competitive mortgage quotes to users so that they can find lenders fast, and without providing much information. He talked with Benzinga about the what the company has been up to, as well as ways for people to reduce mortgages, and his general outlook on the economy.
Visitors to Mortgage Marvel are double what they've been since 2011 on a trending basis. Allen started off by commenting on the mixed housing market's effect on business.
"With interest rates up in the last 30 to 60 days, the level of refinance activity is off quite significantly," said Allen.
"At the same time, as you know, we have seen a pretty significant pickup in the rate of applications for purchases…So the increase isn't enough to offset the decease. There's fewer refinances than there are more purchases."
According to Allen, they provide more detailed fee data than any of their competitors, going through state and local complexities, ranging through differences in cities and counties, amongst other things that clients can utilize when using their database.
He's so sure, that if the closing fees quoted on Mortgage Marvel, "everything else being equal, are more than $50 off of what was charged at closing, we'll refund the difference plus $500," said Allen, going on to say that since they rolled out the guarantee last fall, they haven't had any claims.
He noted that for most consumers, their home is their most valuable asset, and that when property values are high, consumer confidence is better. What Allen is seeing in the housing market reflects an economy that's mostly improving.
"I'm most encouraged by what's going on in the housing market, and the fact that almost across the board we're now seeing increases in property values," said Allen.
From there he went into how homeowners can reduce debt on their mortgages.
Allen started off by saying that there are several reasons, including tax incentives, that homeowners would want to stay at an interest rate in the low 4 percent range for a 30-year-fixed rate.
"Money is cheap right now, so mortgage debt isn't necessarily a bad thing," said Allen.
Paying off the debt in full, however, is still the ultimate goal, he said, which make shorter-term mortgages attractive to some. Allen said that beyond a 30-year-fixed rate, Mortgage Marvel provides great ways to find good rates for 10 and 15 years.
He said doing little things to chip away at the principal when you have the opportunity always help, such as rounding up a monthly payment by $50 when you have the cash, or attempting a bimonthly payment for a period of time.
At the time of this writing, Jason Cunningham had no position in the mentioned equities.
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