Doorsteps, an online tool used by realtors to educate prospective home buyers (and gather sales leads), has widened its scope to be of use to bank loan officers.

Until now, Doorsteps sold software subscriptions to real estate agents and allowed consumers to use its website as a resource for navigating the home purchasing labyrinth.

"We found there was a gap in the market for a loan officer tool to incubate buyers," Michele Serro, chief executive officer and founder, tells BTN.

The Doorsteps interface guides users through six processes required of those looking to make the large and emotional investment in a home, including visualizing home ownership, assessing buying power, house hunting, making an offer and negotiating, preparing for closing, the closing itself, and moving in. The site is designed to educate consumers into becoming more informed buyers and less risky borrowers. Lender subscribers could benefit by getting leads for individuals primed to take out mortgages.

"There are so many factors that go into deciding what to buy and what not to buy," Serro says. To that end, the system asks a prospect how long he wishes to live in the house, his credit score, what environment he is looking for (e.g. "an adventure" or "to simplify my life") and other related questions.

Serro says current Doorstep users are geographically scattered, though denser populations are coming from urban areas.

Some banks, such as JPMorgan Chase, USAA and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, have created their own home-related research apps. Other startups, including SmartAsset, provide software aimed at helping customers become more informed about home purchases.