Comparing Mortgage Rate Comparison Sites
It’s no surprise that savvy shoppers often take to the internet to search for the best deal. In the age of information, it’s never been easier to shop around, compare prices, read customer reviews, and make an informed decision before taking the plunge on a product. And when it comes to major purchases such as a mortgage, this type of information-rich retail landscape tends to gain even more appeal. As a result, mortgage rate comparison sites have entered into the game, offering mortgage seekers a near-instantaneous and comprehensive view of various mortgage rates in your area.
However, not all comparison sites are created equal. There is a vast deal of information available to prospective mortgage hunters in the online space, and each comparison site tends to organize that data in different ways, which creates a unique user experience. Here is a look at some of the top-ranked Canadian mortgage comparison sites to see what they offer, what you can expect, and how they compare:
RateSpy.com offers a no-frills approach to comparing mortgage rates. The current best rates are clearly listed at the top of the home screen, with an option to search rates nationally or by province. Clicking on any of the current best rates brings you to a mortgage rate calculator, where you can enter the value of your home, required mortgage amount, amortization, and other variables. Once you’ve entered that information, you can view a list of mortgage rates specific to your situation, sorted by interest rate and the projected payment amount.
The rate calculator can also be accessed directly from the home screen, along with the five most popular rates. Other calculators are available in the site menu, in addition to further rate search parameters.
Altogether, RateSpy.com provides a clear, “by the numbers” user experience. This compares data from over 300 Canadian companies, which means that it provides a large range of options. It’s also worth noting that this site is completely dedicated to mortgages, and does not offer information on any other types of financial services.
Ratehub.ca focuses on a more holistic approach to personal finances. The mortgage rate comparison calculator is prominently positioned in the centre of the home screen, however, and there are tabs on the calculator for other types of financial services products as well.
Interestingly, the rate comparison calculator on the home screen includes both “featured” and “sponsored” rates, suggesting that using the calculator may be required to view lower rates. Unlike RateSpy.com, these are the only rates that are immediately visible to site visitors, which means that a user has to engage more with the site in order to get additional information.
Another way in which Ratehub.ca differs from RateSpy.com is that once the information has been inputted into the calculator, the list of mortgages to compare begins with “featured” rates appearing first in the list. According to their about page, Ratehub.ca receives financial compensation when a user engages with a “featured” rate listing. In addition, to bring up further information such as pre-approval requirement and rate hold dates, a user must click on the rate itself.
Overall, Ratehub.ca requires more engagement from users, although its interface is clean and visually appealing. Its focus appears to be less on an intensive number-based approach, and more on being a guide.
The home screen of RateSupermarket.ca provides both an immediately accessible mortgage rate calculator, and a look at the best rates in your location. The calculator requires minimal information to get started, which means getting to the actual comparison screen is relatively quick. From there, you can add additional search parameters to customize the comparison results.
Similar to Ratehub.ca, sponsored rates appear first in the list, and the rest of the results are sorted by interest rate and projected payment. What’s different here is that clicking on any result in the list to view more information automatically redirects you to the relevant financial institution’s website, which means that RateSupermarket.ca effectively functions as a direct referral service.
Both RateSpy.com and Ratehub.ca offer an option to contact the lender directly, however, they also encourage visitors to remain on their own site by offering assistance and information first, rather than simply transferring a visitor after the initial comparison has been made.
This type of functionality may not appeal to a mortgage seeker who is looking for a “one-stop” comparison experience. However, it does offer a chance to visit a range of lender websites, which may also contribute to the decision-making process.
In a world where many things can be done fully online, mortgage rate comparison sites are a useful tool when it comes to research and preparation. However, as convenient as rate comparison sites may be, it is important to remember that there are still benefits to negotiating in person if time permits. Sometimes, the best way to get a mortgage tailored for you is simply to ask a lender, and the advantages that come with conducting that negotiation in person can make it well worth the investment of time. For more tips on how to effectively negotiate a mortgage, visit our blog post How to Negotiate Like a Pro.