- Aug. 6, 2014
-- Home ownership is arguably one of the central components of the American Dream. For decades, Americans have pursued and realized the goal of owning their own homes. And while the practice of buying a home remains largely unchanged, the advent of modern technology has made the entire process less cumbersome. The digital age is defining the modern era of the mortgage process.
Stepping back through the years, the process of obtaining a mortgage used to be heavily laden with paperwork and meetings. First, a prospective home buyer walked into a bank or lending institution, met with a loan officer, and gave an overview of his or her financial picture. The loan officer responded with an overview of the application and approval process, some general guesswork about what the borrower might be able to afford in terms of a loan amount, and perhaps a suggestion or two about the types of mortgage loans for which the buyer might qualify. This was followed by the filing of a paper loan application. And then the pursuit of documents ensued.
Borrowers who had no experience or idea of what to expect at their first loan meeting likely walked into the bank without any paperwork to support an application. And so began a lengthy paper chase in order to provide all the financial documentation necessary to accompany the application. This may have meant multiple visits with the loan officer in the pre-digital era in which everything was submitted on paper rather than electronically. The loan officer aggregated all of these documents, ran a credit check of the buyer, and turned all the necessary information over to the institution’
s underwriting department. In the past, the boards of directors at most banks met only periodically to approve loans, so even buyers whose loans had met with approval during underwriting may have had to wait to hear about their final approval.
While the financial information necessary to obtain a mortgage remains largely the same as in the past, technology has streamlined the entire process. Obtaining a loan pre-approval is easier than ever. Online loan calculators and preliminary rate quotes are ubiquitous and many times, the mortgage application itself can be filled out and submitted online. Proof of employment and other types of financial verifications can often be carried out via phone and loan officers are instantly accessible by phone and email when borrowers have questions or wish to find out where they stand in the approval process. In short, there is much more transparency for the borrower.
Technology has also streamlined the mortgage process for lenders, who now spend less money on couriers, document delivery, and burdensome paperwork and can therefore offer lower rates. The decrease in paperwork also allows lenders to concentrate on their clients’ concerns and questions rather than slogging through unwieldy files of hard copies that used to accompany each mortgage application.
Sure, the mortgage process still requires borrowers to provide a lot of financial and clerical information – but it is now much more efficient than it was in the past. It’s easier than ever to navigate the loan process and head down the path to home ownership. You can start right now with the click of a button!