With interest rates still comparatively low and the 2015 homebuying season about to begin, many buyers are turning to technology to make the homebuying process easier. A poll commissioned by Discover Home Loans found that nine out of 10 survey respondents used some sort of online technology to help them with the home financing process. Eighty-one percent said that technology made it easier to share financial information with their lender and 69 percent said it helped them keep track of important financial documents.
Thirty-six percent of homebuyers said that completing the entire financing process online with no phone calls or in-person meetings would make the process easier. However, the majority still prefer to have a relationship with their mortgage banker:
►Nearly all homebuyers surveyed communicated with their lenders by phone, 94 percent, or email, 88 percent, while 67 percent of respondents met in person.
►Among those who used electronic communications, 68 percent felt it made it easier to work with their lenders.
►More than half, 54 percent, filled out their mortgage application online.
“As technology continues to become an integral part of our daily lives, it’s only natural that buyers also use it to make the home financing process easier,” said TJ Freeborn, senior manager of customer experience at Discover Home Loans. “Not only are homebuyers using the Internet to look at homes and neighborhoods, they’re also using it to submit documents and complete applications online.”
Four out of five homebuyers submitted documents electronically to a lender, real estate agent or at closing. Of those, nine out of 10 say it was easy to do and saved time. Also, recent homebuyers felt secure submitting documents virtually. Eighty-six percent felt comfortable sharing personal and financial information electronically with their lenders.
Homebuyers who used online tools to submit documents said it saved time (92 percent), helped them stay organized (83 percent), and cut down on paperwork (68 percent).
►More than 70 percent of homebuyers submitted lender documents through email, an app or a Web site.
►Almost half, 47 percent, were pre-qualified for a mortgage through a lender’s site.
►Four in 10 read online lender reviews to help them choose a lender
When thinking back about the lending process, homebuyers believe online improvements would have made it easier to work with their lender, including:
►Secure ways to submit electronic documents, 77 percent.
►Easy-to-use online applications, 72 percent.
►24-hour support, 52 percent.
The national survey of 1,003 recent homebuyers was commissioned by Discover Home Loans and conducted by Versta Research, an independent survey research firm. The sample was carefully balanced and weighted using American Housing Survey and National Association of Realtors (NAR) data to ensure an accurate representation of homebuyers by region, age, marital status and first-time versus repeat homebuyer status.