Not Your Mother’s Mortgage—What?! The Digital Impact

The homebuying experience continues to evolve, making life easier for buyers, sellers and real estate professionals. Let’s take a look at how it’s changed!


The Way You’ll Shop

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), people rely on real estate agents and websites at similar rates. While 88% of house-hunters find their homes online and 87% say they find properties with their real estate agent, 44% of homebuyers indicate that they hit the internet first.
And how do they access online resources? Although it’s still popular to use a browser for websites like Zillow, Trulia and MLS (Multiple Listing Service), 50% of shoppers use a mobile app to research homes and communities. When visiting real estate sites or using apps, the following features are most helpful to potential homebuyers:

  • Photos (the more, the better)—83%

  • Detailed Property Information—79%

  • Interactive Maps—41%

  • Virtual Tours (live or pre-recorded)—40%

  • Neighborhood Data—37%

Of course, social media plays an increasingly-important role in homebuying and selling. In addition to paid, strategic social media use by real estate professionals, individuals are sharing information with their friends and family.
In recent years, only 48% of buyers found their dream homes based on a yard sign. In today’s busy world, this makes perfect sense—why drive around when you can “visit” potential homes sitting on the couch in your pajamas or while lying on the beach? Also, some homebuyers in the past may have used newspaper ads to look up properties, but that source is now nearly extinct.

The People You’ll Meet

Although the home-buying process is becoming increasingly digital, buyers still place a high value on the relationship they have with their real estate professional. NAR found that 88% worked with a Realtor® in 2016. These relationships are often initiated through online sources, including organic social media, paid social media posts, real estate websites, blogs and personal referrals—but now, a lot of those friends-and-family referrals are the result of social networks and other digital avenues.
In addition to the evolution of how Realtors® and buyers are first connected, relationships are being nurtured with real-time, digital communication. Texting, instant messaging, social media, video chats and email are used more often than snail mail and phone calls. The most beautiful thing about buying a home in the digital age is that your real estate professional typically has all the tools needed to communicate in whatever way that works best for you, whether that’s with traditional methods or on-the-go messaging.
Your Realtor® isn’t the only professional who is going digital. Some leading-edge lenders (including Stearns) are paving the way for a super-sweet digital mortgage process. If you’ve ever applied for a home loan before, you’ll be amazed at how smooth the financing process is today. It’s wise to choose a Mortgage Loan Originator and company that supports your digital desires.

The Process You’ll Love

There are two things many homebuyers dread—the mountain of paperwork and the agony of waiting for approval. We’ve virtually removed those hurdles with Stearns Digital.
First and foremost, our borrowers love, love, love the fact that you no longer have to track down paystubs, W2s, 1099s, bank statements and other asset verification. With just a few clicks in Stearns Digital (for Apple, Android or online), this powerful financing platform will electronically verify income, employment and assets within minutes.1
Answer a few more questions in our app’s easy-to-use format and we’ll have what we need to issue a pre-approval within minutes, rather than days or weeks. Using secure data transfer, we’re able to safely fast-track your mortgage application.
We also know that our customers have busy days and crazy schedules, which is why our app includes many features that deliver superior convenience:
• 24/7 access to real-time status updates
• Push notifications at critical benchmarks
• No need to copy, mail or deliver paperwork; snap a pic and upload
• Instant messaging with your mortgage loan originator and underwriter
• Integrated features that keep your Realtor® in the loop
From start to finish, digital technologies are changing the way we find, finance and savor homeownership.

1 Actual approval times vary based on numerous factors, including those that are out of our control.
2 Links provided to various companies in The Joy You’ll Share are for general information purposes and do not signify an endorsement of such companies or products.

- By Lauren Howey, Jan 01, 2018