Survey Results - Impact of Technology on the Home Financing Process

Real Estate Tech Tools
Real Estate Tech Tools. © iStockPhoto

 Discover Home Loans has released the results of a survey of consumers and how they use and value technology in the mortgage process.  This shouldn't just be of interest to mortgage brokers, as real estate professionals are finding a lot of consumer use of technology in their business as well.

When real estate professionals refer clients to mortgage brokers or lenders, they should consider the technological expertise of the company in their referral process.

 Consumers are spending more time on their smart phones, and they want to be able to do as many tasks as possible on them in the home buying and financing process.

Key Survey Findings

An overview of the key points in the survey tells us that:

  • 9 out of 10 home buyers used some sort of online technology to help them with the home financing process
  • More than one third of buyers said completing the entire financing process online would be better
  • 81% of buyers feel technology made it easier to share financial information with their lender
  • 86% of buyers felt comfortable sharing personal and financial information electronically with their lenders
  • 68% of buyers felt electronic communications made it easier to work with lenders
  • 69% say it helped them keep track of key financial documents
  • 92% of buyers who used online tools to submit documents said it saved time, while 83% said it helped them stay organized
  • 70% of buyers submitted lender documents through email, an app or a website

More than a third of home buyers would prefer to complete the entire mortgage process online.  They don't like the in-person meetings and the time consumed.  More than half of buyers would prefer 24-hour online support as well.

Not all Roses

When asked if the mortgage process seemed easy or difficult, 33% of respondents found it difficult or very difficult.  31% found the process confusing.  Applying for a mortgage and verifying information for the approval is complex, so not everyone will be happy about the requirements.  However, if technology can be used to help them avoid minor inconvenience, they may find the whole process a little less stressful.

Of course, some things can't be improved on by technology, such as the gathering of documents to show income and expenses, but mortgage professionals should always be looking for ways to make the process easier and less confusing.

This is particularly true if you work in a higher priced home market.  Many of your buyers are likely to be self-employed.  They will have more complex financial structures and they will be required to produce more documentation for income and expenses.  They are also usually busy and very aware of the value of their time.  Any efficiency they can get via technology is going to be welcome.  However, they will normally be concerned with the security of their data and their privacy as well.

What They Did With Technology

Of those who responded that they did use technology in the home buying and mortgage process, they were asked if they did the following, and here are the YES responses (YES or NO choice):

  • 37% read real estate agent profiles online.
  • 68% submitted documents to a real estate agent through email, apps, or a website.
  • 50% scanned and submitted closing documents electronically after signing them at home.
  • 42% set up an appointment with a home inspector through email, apps, or a website.
  • 67% used a cell phone to take pictures or videos of a home to show family or friends.
  • 35% visited a website they got from a newspaper, flyer or yard sign.

Consumers are relying on technology to make their lives easier in many ways.  The more complex a process, the more likely they will want more relief through technology.  They want to save time and avoid meetings if they can do things a different way.  Real estate professionals should seek to work with vendors and associated professionals who embrace technology and streamline their customers' processes.