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Homebuyers Attracted to Faster and Simpler Mortgage Process

On Wednesday, the 2017 Borrower Insights Survey of homeowners and renters conducted by mortgage automation provider Ellie Mae showed that 57 percent of homeowners applied for and completed their latest mortgage completely in person, and 28 percent applied for their most recent mortgage using a combination of online and in-person interaction.

Another 11 percent of homeowners applied for their latest mortgage completely online with no in-person interaction. When asked what factor could have improved the mortgage process, approximately 40 percent of homeowners indicated they would have liked a faster process, with fewer delays.

Twenty percent indicated that a shorter and easier-to-understand application would be have been preferable, while 11 percent asked for more communication with their lender throughout the entire process.

Millennials (age 27-36) were the most likely generation of homebuyers to begin their mortgage application online and finish it with an in-person interaction with their lender (30 percent). Gen X (age 37-51) and Baby Boomer (age 52-61) borrowers were not far behind in using this online and in-person approach.

“There’s no question that technology is playing a larger role in the home buying experience,” said Joe Tyrrell, executive VP of corporate strategy at Ellie Mae. “As we expected, many homeowners are seeking a faster and more streamlined experience. And it’s not just a millennial phenomenon; it’s homebuyers of all ages and both genders.”

The Ellie Mae survey found that today’s homebuyers most value speed, security and simplicity when applying for a home loan. Millennials and women were the most likely to cite security as the most important factor when they applied for a loan. Gen X and Baby Boomer buyers were more likely to value the speed of the process. All three generations equally valued simplicity.



  Millennials Gen X Boomers Women Men
Security 35% 23% 21% 32% 27%
Speed of the Process 23% 34% 36% 29% 30%
Simplicity 20% 22% 22% 19% 21%
Transparency 12% 9% 5% 6% 10%
Ability to Complete Loan at Own Pace 7% 7% 11% 10% 8%
Reduced Data Entry 4% 4% 3% 3% 4%
Other 0% 1% 2% 2% 1%


“But what’s even more telling is that homeowners still want a personal interaction with their lender. They want someone who can answer important questions, and make them feel confident that everything will be handled correctly and on time. While 27 percent of millennials identified the speed of the process as the top area to improve their experience, surprisingly 23 percent cited more face-to-face interaction as the second-greatest opportunity for improvement” Tyrrell said.

Ellie Mae’s study also revealed that, despite the abundance of online marketing by lenders, referrals remain the predominant method consumers use to select a mortgage lender. Sixty-one percent of respondents chose their last lender based on a referral from a friend or family member (23 percent), bank (17 percent), realtor (16 percent), or financial advisor (5 percent). Online search was used by 18 percent of the survey respondents. Looking at behaviors across generations, 25 percent of millennials said they selected their mortgage lender based on an online search.


Ellie Mae surveyed 3,099 individuals between the ages of 18 and 70 using the Qualtrics Insight Platform and a panel of homeowners and renters provided by Qualtrics panel services. The survey was fielded from December 21-30, 2016.

More data on online marketing by lenders from the Ellie Mae 2017 Borrower Insights Survey at www.elliemae.com/borrower-insights

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