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The Age of Misinformation on the Internet

When perusing the wealth of information that runs rampant across and throughout the Internet, one is inundated with a plethora of information about topics that range far and wide, but how does one decipher the mountainous terrain and a million blog posts from people all qualifying themselves as professionals? In the mortgage industry, fraud has amuck in recent years as the housing crisis deepened and homeowners began more desperate.

I was struck in amazement the other day when surfing the Internet for basic information about mortgage-backed securities and refinancing options. What I came across more often than not was not information but mis-information all disguised as truth and fact. I found myself, a seasoned veteran of the mortgage and real estate profession, actually becoming confused from all of the statements of fact and ideas that are filtering through the search engines and blogs and articles.

So I began to ask myself, ‘If I can be confused by it all, how does a homeowner or someone looking to buy a home even begin to make sense of it all?’ It became my mission for that day, and for as long as it might take, to find some answer to this seemingly unsolvable riddle. For now, I will put the question out to my colleagues in the business. What is the best way to steer clients and potential customers in the right direction and away from the poor or deceptive information that waits out there on the ‘Information Superhighway?’

The answer, I believe, is not one that is readily acted upon nor is it a single fixed solution but rather an evolving, growing concept that requires the entire industry to take hold of and shape and help grow. That answer is one of top-down education.

Mortgage refinancing options are some of the top results in the search engines when you seek out information on mortgages. Add the word ‘information’ or ‘article’ to the search and you will immediately be directed to any number of unregulated sites that will post whatever someone wants to write about. Reading through some of these articles and a homeowner could very well become fearful of making the wrong decision, worried that taking their time will cost them not only their home but also their good credit rating.


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