There are numerous online resources and mobile apps on the market for consumers. Given how connected so many of us are these days, this is no big surprise. How are mortgage-seekers benefiting from these apps, and how does the process differ when going through online channels?
When it comes down to it, the process of obtaining a mortgage isn’t all that different today. You still have to be a qualified applicant, you still have to submit documents to review, and if so desired, you still get to benefit from expert advice. But in this world where most first-time buyers are young professionals who are busy trying to build their careers while balancing a budding family life, convenience is king. And how much more convenient is it to tap and swipe your way to a mortgage rather than sitting on the phone for half an hour to determine whether or not you’re even a good candidate for a loan, much less deciding which loan product you want?
The breadth of information online has the potential to give more power to the consumer. Even for such a traditional space like the mortgage industry, it’s become apparent that it needs to provide information in the way prospective homebuyers want and need to access it. According to a 2016 CMHC survey, 72% of mortgage consumers went online when gathering information about mortgage options and features, and there was a 10% increase from 2015 in the number of mortgage consumers who access information through their mobile device. Although the sheer volume of information out there can make mortgage consumers feel that it’s more necessary than ever to speak with a mortgage professional, it can also help them to be much more prepared for that conversation.
“There are very, very few customers—including first-time homebuyers—who will come in with absolutely no knowledge at all,” says Toronto mortgage broker Paul Meredith. “These days, I see very, very, few people who don’t have at least a basic understanding of mortgages.”
Perhaps the biggest change for consumers is the ability to submit documents online, or through a mobile app or widget. The CIBC app even allows clients to take a photo of documents for submission. And rather than using default rates that are advertised online on rate comparison sites, some mobile apps have up-to-date rate information, which enhance the usefulness of online mortgage calculators.
For mortgage professionals and prospective buyers alike, time is precious, and technology can help all parties involved make the best use of their time by streamlining the process and level of interaction required to get a mortgage. But Anne Brill, principal owner and broker of CENTUM MetroCapp Wealth Solutions Inc., cautions buyers that if all you do is click, as opposed to really looking at your expected timeline and goals, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
“It’s not about the best five-year rate…I really try to provide the best solution to increase your net worth at the end of the day, to make life make more sense,” she says. “If people don’t take the time to have proper conversations with someone, people lose that aspect.”
Flickr: Alexandra E Rust