In today’s increasingly digitized world, technology is rapidly changing the way we do business. This is especially true with the home-buying process. In the early days of the internet, real estate companies began posting their listings online. This gave buyers the ability to find and compare several properties from their computer, so they could identify the homes that fit their criteria before seeing them in person.
This technology has evolved over the years, with many listings now including detailed information, dozens of photos, and virtual tours. Today, over 90% of buyers go online to compare real estate listings as the starting point in their search for a new home.
The mortgage experience has also changed dramatically since the dawning of the internet. Traditionally, obtaining a mortgage has been a slow moving and paperwork-driven process. Technological changes have transformed the industry and provided a far more pleasant experience for home buyers looking to obtain a mortgage.
There are several ways that technology is changing the mortgage experience, here are some of the most significant:
Borrowers have More Choices
In the old days, there were very few options for obtaining a mortgage when someone wanted to buy a home. Usually, borrowers would go down to their community bank to apply. Today, the options are nearly endless. In addition to the banks, there are numerous mortgage brokers you can go to. Brokers typically work with multiple lenders, so they can shop around to find the right lender for their client. There are also countless internet-based lenders you can go to. All these choices have vastly increased competition, which is highly beneficial to consumers.
The Process is More Streamlined
Obtaining a mortgage is a complex process with mountains of paperwork and documents that need to be reviewed. Not to mention credit checks, employment verifications, and numerous other tasks. It used to take several weeks or longer to get a mortgage approved. With many of these tasks now done electronically, the process is much more efficient and streamlined. Today, borrowers can often get approved for a mortgage in a matter of days, allowing them to close on their purchase much sooner. Borrowers can also get preapproved. This gives buyers and sellers the assurance that, once an offer is accepted and everything else checks out, the buyer will have the financing to complete the purchase.
The Streamlined Process Reduces Costs
More than two-thirds of the mortgage process is now automated. This not only makes the process faster and more efficient, it reduces the costs associated with completing these tasks manually. Lenders can pass these savings along to borrowers in the form of lower closing costs.
Borrowers have more Convenient Signing Options
Traditionally, closings have occurred at the office of the title company, and many are still done this way. However, with the advent of electronic signings and remote notarization technology, signings can now be done wherever is most convenient for the borrower. This also makes it easier for borrowers and their attorneys to review the documents before signing them to help ensure that everything is in order.
Reduced Errors and Greater Transparency throughout the Process
The combination of humans and mountains of paper documents creates numerous opportunities for missed signatures and other errors during the mortgage process. Electronic files are far easier to track, audit, and record. This makes it easier to check for missing files, missing signatures, and other mistakes. It also makes it easier to locate and review documents to make sure they haven’t been altered or tampered with in any way. These electronic files can be checked and reviewed at any time, providing far greater transparency during the entire process.
The Role of a Real Estate Attorney in the Mortgage Process
In Alabama, a licensed real estate attorney drafts and prepares all legal documents for a real estate transaction. If you are purchasing a home in Alabama and your offer is accepted by the seller, a real estate lawyer will handle all the closing documentation. In some states, closing paperwork can be handled by settlement agents or escrow agents. In Alabama, however, the law requires that this process be handled by a real estate closing attorney.