FEATURE — Technology is changing our lives in general, how we communicate, work and shop and that includes how we buy a home.
Because of technology, consumers are much more educated and so are their expectations. As a whole, consumers expect more transparent, accurate and rapid transactions in every area of life. And this translates to the homebuying process in two major areas: The experience on the consumer side, and the benefits to the lending and closing procedures.
On the consumer side, we have seen changes in how we search for homes, communicate with our realtor and lender and sign documents. We utilize digital signatures when making offers, completing forms with the realtor and in some cases with the lenders to get the mortgage secured. We search for homes via interactive websites that allow us to find a lot more information than was available in the past. Security has been optimized, and we are now able to benefit from the convenience and accuracy that these programs provide.
The benefits to the lending and closing procedures has been even greater. The ability to sign electronically has enabled faster closings, and dashboards have provided a way for realtors and lenders to streamline their processes. This makes it possible to have the same document available to several parties in the transaction at once, without a loss of integrity. We no longer have to wait for documents to be overnighted if our clients are on vacation or work remotely. And multiple requests for the same docs are no longer needed.
Both sides have seen a benefit in transparency. Buyers are able to get information on schools, plat maps, tax records, soil reports and much more with a click of the mouse.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been requesting lenders use software that allows them to securely verify information on buyers, both from their employers and the IRS. This provides a lot less hassle on the part of the buyer, and a lot less work on the part of the lender. Lost W-2 forms and paystubs are no longer an issue and gathering information has gone from a three-week process to a three-hour process.
You can expect to see more availability of information and a shorter homebuying process moving forward.
Dashboards are allowing realtors and lenders to integrate all the services, show us exactly who is holding up the process, schedule showings and inspections, modify and upload documents, sign electronically and verify information seamlessly. As we move forward, look for this to be available to the homebuyer and seller as well.
Although the national average is still 45 days to close a home loan, expect to see this reduced as we incorporate technology into every real estate transaction.
The digital economy has made great strides and real estate has and will see many benefits as we move forward. Keep an eye out and start asking for the services and information from your realtors, lenders and other service providers.
Written by Jessica Elgin for St. George Heath and Wellness magazine and St. George News.
Jessica Elgin entered the real estate market in 2000 as an investor. After teaching classes to investors at a title company, she became a licensed agent and quickly obtained the illusive Double Grand Centurion Award for selling over 170 homes in one year. She has been coaching and training agents for several years and has recently started utilizing her license to sell homes again in the St. George and Las Vegas markets.
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