Fri10242014

Business & Real Estate

Mortgage shopping easy on the Internet

Business Profile

There are many online resources designed to help mortgage-seekers locate both an agent and a mortgage. And with some you may be able to customize a mortgage to suit your needs.

One good place to start is Online Capital at http://www.onlinecap.com.

Online Capital, in San Jose, designed its site to make it easy to get all the information you need about home loans. The site has banners that tell you what the firm offers, how to get a loan, and answers many other questions.

Of interest is a banner that allows you to find out how much your home is worth. Insert the city, street name, house number and zip code, and data will come up on the screen including a map of your area, the value of homes recently sold there and the number of listings.

When you plug in the word "mortgage" on the Internet, a browser can call up as many as 10,000 sites for loan agents and banks.

One local mortgage site is Fair Oaks Financial Services in Palo Alto at http://fofs.com. The owner, Mark Leaver, started the mortgage Web site in 1994, long before the Internet became a household word.

"I aim to keep the site as simple and useful as possible. The mortgage process is confusing to many homeowners and its a procedure they encounter only a few times in their lifetime," Leaver said. "My Web site contains daily mortgage rates, commentary and advice, and a variety of calculators pertaining to monthly payments."

Leaver's Web site traffic has been steadily growing. It receives approximately 20,000 hits in a week. The most popular area of the site is the point-and-check mortgage payment calculator.

"I designed, and programmed the entire Web site myself and early in the site's development I learned that consumers want and need a personal touch as mortgages are very personal transactions," Leaver said. "It's not like buying or selling a share of stock."

Leaver's mortgage information is available 24 hours a day - more flexible than bankers hours. Most homeowners are busy during working hours and not able to research mortgage information.

Leaver's site is accessed heavily after 5 p.m. and it is common for homeowners to transmit their applications in the evening and weekend hours.

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