This may be a tough argument to win considering many new homebuyers grew up with the internet, but I’m giving it a shot regardless.
We all know that information is available to us with the click of a mouse, and while information can be powerful, that’s only the case if it’s accurate and pertinent. For example, how many of you are guilty of searching online for answers regarding symptoms only to find they may also be a sign of something serious? Instead of feeling like you’ve successfully self-diagnosed your illness, you’ve nervously journeyed down a rabbit hole of symptoms. Your anxiety only rises as you search for answers, and eventually, you pull yourself out of the vicious internet search cycle to seek out the advice of a professional.
The same applies to online mortgages. Getting a mortgage loan approved via online channels can be a dangerous game to play.
I recall seeing advertisements about push-button mortgages years ago and thinking “that’s dangerous and poor timing.” The market was still recovering from one of the worst financial collapses in history and here are advertisements touting the opportunity to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars with the click of a button. It was, to say the least, a crazy proposition at the time.
To clarify – I’m not suggesting people stay offline completely for their mortgages. I think there are some very reputable sites offering factual information aimed at educating consumers. Generally, those types of sites are not the same as those displaying rate tables, however. The vast majority of sites with rate tables are earning revenue from banks paying for placement on the tables displayed. Rates displayed are commoditized rates without the full disclosure of fees and other fine print data important for consumers to otherwise be aware of. These advertisements can lead to false expectations, and eventually wind up potentially costing consumers time and money.
The mortgage and real estate markets are hot right now despite low housing inventory, and people can benefit from moving fast to capitalize on opportunities. But you don’t need to be online to gain speed. Any reputable and experienced loan officer should be available just as quickly when you need them. Fortunately for consumers, many loan officers are willing to work around the clock and on weekends, and that’s part of what makes them reputable. The housing market doesn’t rest after a typical workday ends or on weekends and neither do good loan officers.
Spend 30 to 60 minutes on an introductory call with one and you’ll gain efficiency unmatched by any online mortgage process. The mortgage industry is not black and white, however. Every borrower is different and online services simply can’t ask the right questions needed to ensure a smooth underwriting process every time. As ancient as actual phone conversations may seem, they’re an investment that can save headaches, thousands of dollars, and possible heartache if a loan doesn’t close on time. At the end of the day, working with a local brick and mortar company can help you win a contract if your buying competition is using an online-based company.