Could the Mortgage Process Soon Go Completely Digital?

Could the Mortgage Process Soon Go Completely Digital?

If you’ve ever purchased a home—or thought about it—then you know the mortgage process can get complicated.

You’ve got to round up piles of requisite paperwork and arrange meetings or phone calls with everyone from your real estate agent to your loan officer. By the time you actually secure your new place, you’re exhausted.

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Perhaps that’s why many homebuyers say they’d prefer if the entire mortgage process went digital: A new survey from Discover Home Loans finds that 36% of buyers say it would be easier to get a mortgage or refinance if all phone calls and in-person meetings were eliminated.

To be sure, most homebuyers are still going the traditional route: 94% of respondents said they’d communicated with their lenders by phone, while 67% had met in person.

Yet there are signs that the shift to an online-only process is already underway. More than 70% of homebuyers surveyed submitted lender documents through email, an app or a website, while 47% were pre-qualified for a mortgage through a lender’s website.

Among those who have used digital technology, 92% said it was easy and saved time. And few people seemed bothered by potential security issues—as many as 86% said they felt comfortable sharing personal and financial information with their lenders online.

As the tech-savvy Millennial generation prepares to buy their first homes, some experts say they’ll gravitate toward digital tools. Moreover, recent homebuyers tend to be higher-income and more educated than in the past, meaning they’re likelier to use the internet to shop (and presumably apply) for mortgages.

But at the same time, many consumers are missing opportunities to save money on their mortgages. A recent study found that, in 2010, one-fifth of American households eligible to refinance lost around $11,500 because they neglected to take this step.

Just starting out in the home-buying game? Regardless of your preference for paper versus digital tools, find out the basic steps to getting a mortgage—and snagging your dream home.

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