Mortgage resource provider FREEandCLEAR just released the results of its latest mortgage survey, which gives an in-depth look into the mindset of borrowers and, most importantly, into the way they feel about us and the entire loan process. This kind of data is invaluable as we hone our skills, tighten our procedures and provide the easiest, most straight-forward application process possible.
The survey touched on a barrage of topics, including lender trust and satisfaction, mortgage lender selection and how to improve the mortgage process. The company selected a random, nationwide sample of 22- to 49-year-old mortgage borrowers to determine what we, as an industry, are doing right – and what we can improve upon. Each question received a minimum of 421 responses, though the actual mortgage lenders were not named.
Take a minute to internalize and act upon these results, as this information is straight from the horse’s mouth. I know I have.
First, the bad news. The majority of survey respondents still seem to find the mortgage application process tedious and confusing. A solid 75 percent of borrowers surveyed likened their mortgage experience to an annual physical exam or trip to the dentist. The most draining part of this process was, you guessed it, the exhaustive paperwork. FREEandCLEAR noted that “borrowers are overwhelmed by the volume of paperwork involved in the mortgage process” and that “sometimes too much information, or documentation in this case, can be overwhelming” to them.
The survey also noted that a majority (67 percent) of respondents gave the mortgage process a difficulty rating of five or higher on a scale from one to 10, with 10 being the most challenging. A full 10 percent of participants rated this process a nine or 10! That is far too high of a number, in my opinion and our industry has to do better to make this process easier on our clients!
Now, for some good news. On that same scale from one (lowest) to 10 (highest), nearly 60 percent of respondents said their mortgage banker earned an eight or above in terms of trust. More than 75 percent also gave their mortgage banker a rating of eight or above on their level of knowledge. This high level of trust and confidence in their mortgage bankers also led survey respondents to note they generally had a very positive experience when dealing with their individual officers.
In fact, 65 percent gave a rating of eight or above when asked how satisfied they were overall with their mortgage bankers.
While there are certain necessary evils – paperwork included – that are hard to avoid, this survey shines a light on where we can improve.
With these results in mind, you should make it a point to perform a pre-mortem that will allow you to:
- Make the application process as quick and painless as possible
- Anticipate any questions or confusion – and arm yourself with answers
- Avoid unclear industry jargon and complex concepts that can bog down the average borrower in favor of simple, straight-forward terms most can understand
- Condense paperwork and the number of interactions you must have with borrowers. While it is important we keep the lines of communication open so the process can remain transparent, we do not need to ping our clients every six seconds with menial requests or questions. If you remain organized, you can facilitate a smooth process
- Return calls and emails in a timely manner
- Ask the borrower if they understand the paperwork in front of them, or whether they have any questions
- Look for ways you can improve and, when in doubt, ask how you can make this an easier process for your clients