After years of slogging through a tough market, mortgage lenders can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales rose 12% in December, making 2012 the most successful year for home sales since 2005. This bodes well for 2013. It seems to indicate that not only are previous homeowners getting back in the market, but a new generation of first-time buyers are expected to start applying for home loans.
But who is this new class of home buyers? They are young multi-taskers that grew up around technology and think nothing of using their tablets and smartphones in every aspect of their personal and professional lives.
According to Forrester Research, 41% of Generation Y is likely to apply for a financial product such as a home loan on their mobile device. As the market continues to heat up, mortgage lenders need to understand the impact that mobile technology has on this new market. Ignore this progress, and you will likely miss opportunities and be left behind.
Mobile communications apps can make lenders' lives much easier and more productive, enabling them to meet with clients, file paperwork and supply credit stipulation information while on the go. This paperwork previously required parties to spend significant time in a physical office. That will not fly with today's generation, which is used to doing everything and anything on the go. It is not uncommon to meet new home buyers who expect to secure financing and complete deals on the spot.
Fortunately, Internet faxing applications are designed to manage high-volume paperwork, lengthy contracts and loan applications from a tablet or smartphone. Contracts and applications can be received, electronically signed and faxed back to lending institutions even when you are not in the office. The documents are securely stored in the cloud and can be accessible anytime from anywhere.
At the same time, cloud-based phone systems allow lenders to stay connected to the office while on the road, automatically routing important calls to their mobile phones, screening less important calls, transcribing voicemails and organizing conference calls.
Here are some ways that mortgage lenders can use mobile apps to enhance their origination business.
Keep the paperwork moving. It is no secret that buying a home is all about paperwork. Bids, contracts, lending applications and other documents cross lenders' desks every day – but lenders are often out in the field, working on the next deal and not sitting around at their desks. New electronic fax apps allow lenders to receive, review, sign and send documents from popular mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad or Android. The ability to update and sign paperwork anytime from anywhere keeps the home-buying process moving and interested parties interested.
Stay connected anywhere. Being mobile does not mean having to miss important phone calls. A virtual phone system can provide all the professional communication services that mortgage professionals need – call routing, voice-to-text, personalized messages and call screening – on a smartphone or tablet without being tethered to a desk by wires. That way, lenders can enjoy that coffee shop latte with a prospective client without the nagging feeling of possibly missing new opportunities.
Pay attention to details. As the market heats up, lenders will continue to receive a high volume of calls that makes it difficult to keep track of the details discussed in every communication. When speaking with clients and agents on the go, it is crucial that lenders make sure to remember the specifics. A virtual phone system's ability to record and transcribe calls makes it easy to reference past conversations, allowing lenders to expedite deals and close sales when the moment is right.
Get their head in the cloud. There is not a briefcase large enough to hold all the paperwork that lenders need on a daily basis. Fortunately, cloud computing has them covered. Document storage apps allow lenders to store files in the cloud, where they can be retrieved on any mobile device. Document storage in the cloud helps lenders be prepared for any information request without strapping a file cabinet to the hood of their sedan.
Save time. Voice-over Internet Protocol apps allow lenders to make phone calls over a Wi-Fi connection instead of their carrier's cellular network, thus reducing the number of chargeable minutes on a phone bill. Calls are often better quality and can be made and received in places with low coverage such as a rural neighborhood, a basement or an elevator.
Reduce overhead. Business-class phone systems, fax machines, file cabinets, paper and toner cost money – money that is better earmarked for something else, like entertaining a client at lunch. Hey, isn't technology wonderful?
Mike Pugh is vice president of marketing at j2 Global Inc., a Los Angeles-based provider of cloud-based communications services. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.