CFPB releases new toolkit for prospective homebuyers

January 13, 2015

WASHINGTON (1/14/15)--On the heels of a report declaring that nearly half of mortgage borrowers do not shop around, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) unveiled a toolkit designed to help potential homebuyers assess mortgage options. The "Owning a Home" toolkit contains resources about understanding loan options, a portal to check interest rates and more.

"'Owning a Home' has great new tools to help consumers throughout the home buying experience, from the very start of the process all the way to the closing table," said Richard Cordray, CFPB director, as he announced the toolkit. He added that  in addition to the tools helping consumers decide how much they can borrow, get a grasp on new mortgage disclosure forms and other information, the bureau plans to add additional tools over the course of this year.

One feature Cordray highlighted while speaking at the Brookings Institution Tuesday is the Rate Checker. It  incorporates information from lenders' internal rate sheets, which is used to calculate available interest rates for specific consumers.

"Borrowers looking to buy a single-family home can use the Rate Checker to input their own information and find out what interest rates they are likely to be offered from lenders in their area," he said. "By plugging in their credit score, their location, and information about the loan they are seeking, they can see the rates that lenders are offering to borrowers like them."

The CFPB report, "Consumers' mortgage shopping experience," features data from the 2013 National Survey of Mortgage Borrowers, an initiative from the CFPB and Federal Housing Finance Agency to better understand mortgage markets. The survey results come from more than 5,000 respondents who answered approximately 100 questions pertaining to the entire mortgage process.

The report found:

  • Almost half (47%) of consumers who take out a mortgage only seriously consider a single lender or mortgage broker. This tendency is somewhat higher among first-time homebuyers;

  • The primary source of information for borrowers is a lender or broker, followed by a real estate agent;

  • A sizable share of borrowers report that outside factors, such as a lender or broker's reputation and geographic proximity, are very important in their decision makers. These borrowers are much less likely to shop around; and

  • Borrowers who prioritize the terms of the loan over the characteristics of the lender and who are more confident in their knowledge about the mortgage process are more likely to shop around.