I don't have time for any salesmen, I have a war to fight. Yes, it's another freaking post about Zillow.

This cartoon is a scan of a copy, of a copy, of who knows what. I apologize for it’s condition, but it’s one of my favorites, and a model for how I’ve lead my career.


The caption, I’ve long since lost, said something to the effect of, “I don’t have time for any salesmen, I have a war to fight.” My first sales manager gave it to me to use for a flier I was putting together to cold call real estate agents. My first three purchase deals came from referral business initiated by this cartoon.

I blogged about Zillow.com on the day they launched. I had a very minority opinion of the product among real estate and mortgage bloggers. I liked it. I didn’t care if their AVM was as accurate as a real appraisal. That wasn’t the point. It was a tool that began tip the scales to the advantage of the consumer. I like tools like these because empowered consumers are better at weeding out less capable salesman. Less capable real estate agents or mortgage brokers in this case.

From day one, lenderama has always been about building more capable loan originators. So I embrace these tools. I seek ways to leverage them. If they turn out to be garbage, I’ll abandon ship, but not on day one.

It’s been interesting to watch history repeat itself in the last 24 hours. When Zillow.com launched, real estate agents with blogs were less than positive. Today, those same agents have written mostly positive appraisals of Zillow’s Mortgage Marketplace. But now it’s the originator’s turn.

As posted here, Wade says it’s not for him and Trace thinks it’s seriously flawed. I disagree with Trace, but at least he looked at it.

Yesterday, I solicited the opinions of the loan officers who participate at Broker Outpost, an Internet forum for loan originators. The responses that followed varied from vague familiarity, to complete ignorance, to flat out fantasy. If you’re a member, you can read it hear.

The whole ordeal reminds me of the cartoon.

I was quoted in Business Week, telling them that I hoped Zillow Mortgage would be a success. I also predict it will be. No matter how bothered LO’s are about giving Zillow $25.00 and a SS number. No matter how unfair they think the rating system is. No matter what they think about Zillow’s valuation tools, or the that there’s not enough accurate information in the quoting process. None of it matters, because a ton of consumers are going to like this, and LO’s can either figure out how to leverage it, or take their ball and go home.

It’s not for everyone, but I think it has the potential to be that machine gun for many great loan officer’s, looking for a better way to fight the war.