Through the looking glass: Our most recent home buying experience

By: Dan Green for CUInsight

My wife and I recently closed on our eighth (and hopefully last) home purchase. This purchase, combined with the places we’ve rented, brings our total address count to about fourteen in just thirty years. That’s more than enough for a lifetime!

While this may be our last home, it is probably not our final mortgage. Who knows, maybe rates will go silly low again, or maybe there is a reverse mortgage in our future. What I do know is getting a mortgage on our new home was far easier than securing financing on our first home. Far faster, too.

The media constantly talks about how arduous the process is, how much documentation is required, and how much time it will take. The first two are certainly true. Mortgages still require a lot of paperwork. No surprise there, good mortgages always have. The difference today? Most of the paperwork is virtual; neither borrower nor lender have to physically schlep piles of paper to properly document the debt. Sure, all the old documentation is still required, plus some new, but it is mostly all available electronically. Click a button here, virtually sign there, and voila. All required documents land in the lender’s lap electronically. Almost magic, and super quick.

Technology has absolutely made loan origination far easier and more accurate. I cannot say I miss filling out a paper 1003. Both time consuming and tedious, all those little boxes make IRS forms seem almost spacious and simple. We originated this latest loan online while we made dinner. The next morning, our loan officer emailed to let us know what documentation they would need. Our disclosures arrived via email that morning as well, ready for our electronic signatures. I tended to sign on my laptop. My wife preferred her iPad. We even signed a set of documents while out for dinner via our smartphones.

The change between the first time we took out a home loan and this most recent experience is dramatic. We used lots of REAL ink and postage stamps back then. Enough to make almost anyone gasp by today’s standards. The process has greatly simplified over time, though there is still room for improvement.

The closing took place on the exact date we chose. Unfortunately, it was not electronic. Real paper, real pens, and in a real closing office. Absolutely no different than 25 years ago. The fact is that lenders, settlement agents, notaries and borrowers all have access to eSign/eClose tools. Many are simply not leveraging the widely available technology just yet, though there are a few hearty lenders that regularly close electronically. However, they are few and far between.

It’s time to make the last act of the mortgage process as easy as the first. Closing our mortgage the way we opened it – over dinner using our smartphones – would have been the ideal way to potentially end our homebuying career. Looking to differentiate your mortgage offering? Give borrowers the option to eSign and eClose. It’s the next step in making the mortgage process even easier.