How your next mortgage will be different

June 13, 2016

Getting a mortgage has long been one of the most frustrating products and experiences that most consumer eventually has to endure. However, there are lots of indications that that’s all about to change.

The most obvious indication of this inevitable shift is the Rocket Loan. A mortgage that is powered by all of the simplicity of technology and big data that other industries have been using as a matter of course for years. Launched (pun certainly intended) with one of the most pervasive advertising campaigns by a mortgage company since the cataclysmic 2007ish mortgage meltdown–including a controversial Super Bowl commercial. Rocket Loan is just the first lender to adopt what will ultimately become the new normal.

Let’s take a look at what your next mortgage will be like. Hopefully, it will be as pleasant, convenient, and uneventful as any other online financial transaction.

You will start (and probably) end online

The mortgage business, like other financial services, is steeped in a tradition of one-on-one, face-to-face service. There was a day when setting up a bank account, getting insurance, financial advice, buying or selling a home, and getting a mortgage requires a trip to each respective agents’ branch or office. All of those transactions have transitioned to the web and most don’t even require a phone conversation unless that’s your preference.

The mortgage is seemingly the last in this genre to fully submit to the customer’s affinity for an online, self-service experience. But, that is rapidly changing.

There is a very good chance that your next mortgage will evolve a process that looks a lot like this one:

  1. Visit the lender’s website
  2. Review real-time products and rates (that are actually available)
  3. Ask questions via live chat
  4. Fill out your loan application
  5. Take pictures of and upload any required documentation
  6. Review your loan approval, lock your rate, and discuss conditions via video chat
  7. eSign your documents and close your new mortgage

There’s a very high likelihood that most, if not all, of your mortgage process, will be entirely digital and self-directed.

You may not talk to anyone on the phone

One of the biggest changes you might notice in the process outlined above or from the last time you applied for a home loan is the lack of phone calls. Getting a mortgage has traditionally involved loads of phone calls between loan officers and their customers. From initial consultation through a variety of coordinating, requesting, and status update calls you’re likely to talk to you loan officer more than your spouse or significant other during the 20-30 days it takes to get your mortgage closed.

To most folks’ delight, the days of the ever interrupting and often inconvenient phone calls are fading.

When you apply for your next mortgage, you’re likely to have a variety of less intrusive ways to engage with your lender. More and more lenders are allowing the borrower to communicate in whatever way they feel most comfortable and convenient, including email, live chat, text message, and even video chat.

No more annoying phone calls at work and during precious family time.

You will (really, no kidding) be in charge

Online enterprises have discovered that it is best to cede control to the customer. More so than any other retail channel, online customers seem to enjoy and expect an experience that allows them to shop without a pesky salesperson hovering.

What’s more, research shows that most of these browsing visitors will eventually become customers. Especially, if you empower them with an intuitive path to buying when they’re ready.

This is exactly philosophy the savviest of lenders are beginning to adopt. You are starting to see features like the ability to complete online applications, snapshot and upload your documents, and dialogue back an forth with your loan officer and processors via live chat or instant messaging system. You can review the status of your loan at anytime and ask questions to respond to requests whenever it is convenient.

Also, a lot of lenders are going to process that allows the customer to schedule an appointment for when it is most convenient for them to have a call or review something.

You get to control the urgency and speed of your lending experience.

You won’t need to find a fax machine

This is likely to be most mortgage customers’ favorite evolution. The fax machine was revolutionary in speeding the delivery of documents you have, and your lender needs to get final approval on your mortgage. But, who has a fax machine handy or can get that damn multi-function printer to really act like a fax machine?

Most mortgage customers had to endure the maddening experience faxing documents to their lender.

Typically, this involved sneaking to the office fax machine or hunting down the nearest FedEx, Office Depot, or UPS store to pay a fortune to fax a mountain of documents. Once you’ve secured a working fax machine and achieve a successful send, rarely a first-time thing, you have a sense of accomplishment on a hard job completed. Not so fast. The inevitable next call from your loan processor (assuming they even let you know) is that they didn’t get all the pages, you faxed the wrong document(s), or there are more and different documents required.

And the faxing documents process seemingly endlessly loops through the same maddest again and again.

Good news. The camera on your smartphone is now your best friend for scanning and delivering picture perfect documents with the ease of taking another selfie.

You will probably get a daily update

Daily phone calls are as annoying to customers as they are difficult for the lender. However, it’s very unnerving for customers to go very long without hearing some update on their loan. Even if that means we’re waiting on something, everything is moving along, so there isn’t anything to report.

Again, technology comes to the rescue. Most lenders are using online user portals to provide real-time statuses and messaging to customers. Giving them instant access to daily updates on how the process is progressing them to their closing. Also, these updates are being alerted to the borrower through a variety of email, app, and text message notifications (based on the customer’s preferences).

This means you can get updated on your mortgage process anytime, 24/7 by checking your account or checking your messages.

This is not your parent’s mortgage

Technology has finally hit and is beginning to stick in the mortgage market. Your next mortgage will hopefully be more like buying something on Amazon.com than getting pitched in a smoke-filled room on MadMen.

Questions?

  1. In your experience, what has been the most frustrating part of getting a mortgage?
  2. What is the one thing other online retailers do that you wonder why lenders don’t?
  3. What is the coolest experience or thing that a lender has done for you?

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