Eric Egenhoefer is president and CEO of Waterstone
Mortgage Corp., which he founded in 2000. He is dedicated
to finding innovative mortgage technology solutions, and
seeks to bring about positive change in the mortgage
industry to better serve homebuyers. Egenhoefer is a
member of the Freddie Mac, Ellie Mae and XINNIX advisory
boards. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technology and Transparency
To compete today, originators need to master the two T’s
By Eric Egenhoefer
In a recent survey, the National Association of Real- tors (NAR) found that three of the top concerns of modern homebuyers are the following: under- standing 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
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 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
should 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Out-of-date, formal terminology that is difficult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, non-sufficient
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
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.
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