There Are No Mortgage Jokes

So said Redfin’s mortgage broker, Warren Cavanaugh. He was joking. For over a year, in semi-stealth mode, Redfin’s been operating a mortgage  practice, primarily for our home-buying customers. The premise is simple: mortgage customers get great service at a better price, like they do when they buy a home with Redfin.

Redfin Mortgage class

Last night we had a mortgage class at the Redfin office in downtown Seattle. About 35 people came to hear about what’s changed in the mortgage market, how to keep you’re credit clean when you’re planning to get a mortgage, and how mortgage brokers get paid (punchline: They always get paid, through rates or fees, even in so called “no-cost” mortgages– so make sure you know what you’re paying.)

How things have changed over the tumultuous last year

  • Borrowing standards are tighter
    • Need a better credit score
    • Need 20% down payment, or PMI
  • But conforming loan limits are higher
    • From $417,000 to $567,500 in most of Seattle
    • Conforming = lower rate
  • Since this weekend’s Fannie/ Freddie rescue, rates dropped- from 6.26% to 5.88%.

You can get the slides here. If we do another one of these, what info would you like to see?

  • brad

    what’s up with the password protected powerpoint?

  • ellie.fields

    uh oh. you ought to be able to view it- that’s just for editing. I’ll try to get another one up there asap.

  • ellie.fields

    just tried it myself- there should be an option to red only. I’m using firefox. let me know if you don’t see it.

  • justin

    I was able to open the protected power point. just select read only.

  • Matti Mero

    Thanks for a good presentation, Warren.
    Where do I find out more about Redfin’s mortgage practice? Matti Mero.

  • Warren

    Hi Matti-

    Thanks for the kind words. You can email us at “” In the meantime I’ll send you some information.

  • brad

    It still will not open in office 2008. Says you must have the password to open this DRM protected file. (and yes I had selected read-only)

  • Ellie at Redfin

    Brad, and anyone else having trouble opening it, sorry for the trouble. Email and we;ll send you the file directly, unprotected.

  • Mario P20uano

    Hi all.

    Was curious what’s so special about the 20% down number rather than 25% or 15% or whatever. You get my drift. Did some study say that 20% was the tipping point indicating who could and could not afford a mortgage? As a single teacher 20% feels like an impossible goal in the short term (5 years or -).


  • Warren

    Hi Mario-

    A 20% down payment is the number required to avoid having to pay Private Mortgage Insurance, not the number required to put down. Purchase programs that require less than that 20% are still available.

  • Ellie at Redfin

    Basically, what Warren said: You don’t have to put down 20%, but you’ll generally get a much cheaper mortgage if you do.

  • JanelleS

    Cheers, Warren. We love you.