I have personal experience working with mortgage leads from a multitude of vendors from the largest to the smallest. From what I can tell each has their own take on how to generate and how to distribute the leads that they sell.
The one thing they all have in common is that they are in the business of making money for themselves (which I understand to a point) and are not so interested in helping their clients make money. This is important but you can still make money by getting leads through these vendors. Before you do there are a series of issues that I would focus on if I were to go out today and start looking to buy mortgage leads:
Sites like Lendingtree offer a series of filters and parameters that you can narrow or widen depending on your needs. This is the tried and true method of most mortgage lead vendors because it doesn’t require them to show you anything regarding amount of leads available or what types of leads they have. I use Lendingtree which is the largest company online that most people know. They are not the worst or the best, they are only an example. I don’t know of any company that lets you see the mortgage leads except for Qazzoo which allows you to see the entire amount of information that the consumer has provided before buying the lead. (not a plug, just a fact)
When I tried to buy a lead from Lendingtree.com it took me two weeks to find out exactly nothing. Through numerous emails and phone calls I was constantly offered a larger package which required a larger financial commitment. Yet through the two weeks of their up-selling me I was not able to see even an example lead. This was too frustrating for me so I moved on to others but had similar dead end experiences. The Lendingtree concept is that the narrower your criteria the higher the price of the lead. This makes sense but is confusing because you have no frame of reference.
Sticking with Lendingtree as our example we need only think about the recent change to the television advertising. They no longer say “Up to four loan officers will negotiate with you…” Now the dialogue has been changed to say “A number of loan officers will negotiate with you…” which is code for “We are selling the same lead to more than four loan officers now, but we don’t want to say it!”
I for one want to know how many loan officers have contacted a particular consumer that I am paying for.
The last major concern for me is how the mortgage lead was generated. This is far more concerning than anything else. Never seeing the mortgage lead and the possibility of it being sold to 50 other loan officers is not as important to me as how the mortgage lead was generated. Imagine if the consumer was enticed to fill out an online form to enter a contest to win the newest electronic gadget? Yes they may be somewhat interested in getting a mortgage but their other interest in the iPhone has clouded the scenario with a variable that you have nothing to do with. In short…never buy leads from a source that incentivizes the consumer!