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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   March 2018

Technology and Transparency

To compete today, originators need to master the two T’s

r_2018-03_egenhoefer_spot.jpgIn a recent survey, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that three of the top concerns of modern homebuyers are the following: understanding the homebuying process, completing the paperwork and getting a mortgage. In particular, millennials — compared to other generations — were the most likely group to struggle with understanding the homebuying process and mortgage paperwork.

When it comes to the future of the homebuying and mortgage processes, two predictions are clear:

  • The need for innovative technology solutions will become even more imperative; and 
  • The mortgage process needs to become more transparent, understandable and efficient.

Considering that millennial homebuyers are currently the dominant generation in the housing market, it becomes particularly vital for mortgage originators to find technology and communication solutions that cater to the needs of young borrowers and exceed their expectations. Originators who focus on these facts will ultimately experience the most success in the industry.

The time for cutting-edge technology is now. It’s an essential part of the lending business. Mortgage companies and originators that focus on developing, adopting, and implementing current technology are more likely to appeal to future generations of homebuyers — not to mention, the homebuyers who are already active in the market now.

A few of the tools lenders should have in place, or be ready to implement as soon as possible, include online applications, mobile technologies, automatic asset verification, pre-approval technology, eSign solutions and digital mortgages.

Online and mobile

It goes without saying, but an online application is indispensable. Filling out “paperwork” should no longer be associated with physical paper. It’s also important to make sure that your online application is as clear and simple as possible.

Out-of-date, formal terminology that is difficult to decipher won’t make your applicants feel at ease. Instead, interview-style applications that include conversational, clear language are becoming the norm.

In addition, originators should be able to easily connect with borrowers and Realtor
partners seamlessly via a mobile app. One of the best ways to connect with homebuyers — and millennial homebuyers, specifically — is to provide multiple ways to contact you. Whether texting, calling, or e-mailing is their personal preference, a mobile app should give homebuyers the platform they need to use these methods.

An exceptional mobile app also will allow homebuyers to upload loan documentation seamlessly by simply taking photos of documents with their mobile devices. Using this method, homebuyers can easily and securely send confidential W2 forms, paystubs and much more to their originator.

Asset verification and pre-approvals

Along the same line as documentation uploads, originators should give their borrowers the ability to use automatic-asset verification resources. By giving lenders safe and secure access to their financial records — such as online bank accounts — homebuyers greatly reduce the amount of time they must spend gathering, scanning and faxing physical documentation.

Automatic verification also presents a more secure method for obtaining and analyzing financial documentation that has no room for human error or manipulation. By using algorithmic analysis, systems such as these can instantly identify deposits, nonsufficient funds and much more.

Providing efficient pre-approval technology, on the other hand, is all about giving
borrowers a competitive advantage. In a tight real estate market, a traditional offer is not always strong enough to win over a seller. By allowing homebuyers to get pre-approved online in a timely manner, originators can help their homebuyers make compelling offers, which gives those originators a competitive edge over their competition as well.

Customizable pre-approval letters, which can be updated with the unique property address and the offer amount, also should be made readily available for homebuyers. The ability to quickly create and print these
letters — without requiring the assistance of a loan originator — is imperative.

If, for instance, a homebuying couple finds a perfect property on a Saturday afternoon, but is unable to get in touch with their loan originator, they need the capability and freedom to move forward with creating the pre-approval letter and making their offer immediately. Time is precious in today’s real estate market, and every minute counts.

eSign and digital mortgages

Giving borrowers the ability to electronically sign documentation is a technology solution that has been slowly making its way into the mortgage industry. Although some documentation still legally requires a wet, or ink, signature, many of the signatures needed for a mortgage application can be done remotely via a computer or other mobile device.

The challenge arises, then, when lenders and mortgage companies decide to make the leap to a completely digital mortgage process. For many originators, the thought of changing over systems and developing new processes may seem overwhelming — and perhaps not even worth the effort. The fact remains, however, that a move away from paper and toward paperless is necessary for every originator who wants to succeed in the coming digital future.

As the industry moves toward digital mortgages, originators should stay informed, investigate technologies that will benefit this cause, and help their companies take the needed initiative. Not only are digital mortgages more convenient for borrowers, but they also bring a whole new level of transparency and efficiency to the process — and this benefits everyone involved.


Although technology provides the method for making a mortgage transaction a seamless process, transparency and effective communication between the originator and the borrower is the foundation of trust that is needed to make the experience a positive one.

Think of it this way: technology will generally make processes and procedures more streamlined and efficient. But every mortgage transaction also involves a level of trust and support that can only be provided through human interaction. In other words, transparency and trustworthiness should be the basis of every originator’s business model. Technology is simply the vehicle needed to take that honest and open reputation to the next level.

Today’s homebuyers have high expectations when it comes to communicating with their mortgage originator. Timely responses to customer requests (whether via phone call, e-mail or text) are the bare minimum that buyers will expect when interacting with you. Enabling your borrowers to find information themselves — by providing real-time loan status updates on a mobile app, for example — is even better.

Any unforeseen “surprises” in the loan process will not be received favorably by homebuyers, so it’s best to offer transparent, honest communication throughout the entire process.

The good news is that if you are able to offer a streamlined and positive experience for your borrowers, they are likely to return the favor. More than half of millennial homebuyers recommended their real estate agent to a friend or family member, according to a Zillow report, and more than one-quarter left their agent a positive online review. In all likelihood, satisfied millennial borrowers also would be inclined to do the same for a loan originator who provides a seamless loan experience.

•  •  •

Overall, a perfect blend of innovative technology, forward-thinking insight, consistent communication and transparency will create the efficient loan experience that today’s homebuyers are seeking. Bringing these elements together will help you grow your business quickly and exponentially.

As we move into a new era for the mortgage industry, it’s imperative that we address the concerns of modern homebuyers and eliminate any confusion that could mar an otherwise positive loan experience. When originators do this, they not only build up their own businesses, but also create lasting connections with satisfied borrowers.


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