Breezeful Wants to Make Your Mortgage More Affordable
Point of Interest
The new digital mortgage broker Breezeful negotiates with more than 30 lenders to find your best possible mortgage rate.
If you’ve ever been approved for a mortgage, or even so much as looked at a house with the idea of buying it, you know how complicated the homebuying process can be.
“Getting a mortgage is like applying to a top school,” says Ade Labinjo, CEO and co-founder of Breezeful, a new mortgage startup. To own a home, he explains, you need a strong credit history, a large down payment, and an income to support that mortgage — a difficulty for people with non-traditional backgrounds who are otherwise fiscally responsible.
There’s also the matter of time. Many people do not have the time to negotiate interest rates between five different banks, but that’s frequently what’s needed in order to get the best rate. Even though mortgage rates are currently at historic lows (see the chart below), the rate you receive still varies from lender to lender, meaning homebuyers often miss out on their best possible rate.
Breezeful, a digital broker that launched in January, is looking to change that. Instead of going back and forth between Wells Fargo, Bank of America, or other physical banks, Breezeful will do all of that for you online. Buyers and refinancers would simply need to fill out an application (the site promises it only takes five minutes), then they would get matched with a mortgage expert who will negotiate on your behalf with more than 30 lenders to find the most competitive rate for your future home.
Best of all: the service is free. You won’t have to pay a dime as a customer, because brokers are paid by the lender. You just need to offer info about your income and living situation, undergo a single credit check, then you’re off to the races.
A big source of frustration for people looking to get a mortgage is the lack of transparency. Labinjo says that oftentimes, you have “no idea what stage your mortgage is in” from the time you submit your application. That process can take 30 to 60 days, and that’s just with one bank.
“We walk you through the whole process from start to finish. We provide as little or as much help as the customer needs.”
Labinjo also wants to make sure that people who have non-traditional backgrounds (e.g., self-employment, recently immigrated or relocated) or are pursuing “alternative pathways to homeownership” are eligible for homeownership. This includes those who want to “rent-to-own” a home or purchase through co-equity and all-cash deals.
Breezeful is fully operational in Canada and expects to launch in the United States with 100 vendors in April, with a particular focus on California customers. Since January, it’s attracted the attention of top tech investors. Breezeful has begun working with Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley business accelerator that offers $150,000 and expertise to up-and-coming startups, whose alumni include Airbnb, Dropbox, and DoorDash. Labinjo is also in talks with venture capitalists to scale the company.
In the future, Labinjo says he would love to incorporate instant mortgage pre-approvals into his systems, so potential buyers can start their real estate searches with realtors earlier. Because ultimately, he says, “we want to make home-buying simple.”
Data source for chart: Freddie Mac, 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Average in the United States [MORTGAGE30US], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MORTGAGE30US, March 30, 2020.