The search engine giant, which first ventured into the mortgage realm in 2015 via the creation of an online mortgage calculator feature, has teamed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on this search feature. Google noted that this feature comes in response to the top mortgage-related questions from U.S. users during the past year, which included “What is a mortgage?”, “What is PMI?”, “Should I refinance?”, “What is APR?” and “What is escrow?”
“When you search for ‘mortgage’ on your phone, you’ll find a feature that breaks down the complex mortgage process into easy-to-follow steps to help guide you, wherever you may be in the process,” said Limor Yoeli, Google’s Product Manager for Search, in a posting on the company’s blog.
Yoeli noted the CFPB has provided the new search feature with “a list of relevant documents and helpful tips” related to homebuying. Also new to the site is a “mortgage rates” section that compiles the current average mortgage rates along with a graph that provides daily granularity on rates activity.
“You can also compare up to five selected fixed-rate and ARM mortgage plans to understand the options you may have at a variety of rates,” Yoeli added. “This can also be filtered by your location, down payment, credit score and more.”
The new feature is also focused on existing homeowners seeking to refinance and households that have been impacted by the economic turmoil from the coronavirus pandemic. Yoeli noted the CFBP offered information on both refinancing and mortgage relief options during this time, and Google has compiled links to web-based articles on these subjects.
The Google mortgage calculator has been incorporated into this new offering, which also includes news updates on the mortgage market, videos detailing the mortgage origination process, and a feature on the history of mortgages.