Homebuyers want online mortgage resources, but still prefer a personal touch

Here’s what real estate professionals need to do to stay competitive

Although homebuyers are relying more and more on online resources to get information, a new study from Fannie Mae shows they still place more faith in real estate professionals and other personal interactions.

With the market moving more toward fully digital mortgages, it may appear as though consumers would like more digital interaction and less person-to-person.

A new report from the Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research Group shows buyers do, indeed want more online resources during their mortgage-shopping experience. A survey showed respondents want to use mobile devices nearly twice as often in the future.

However, that does not mean they place less value on real estate professionals and other person-to-person interactions, the survey showed.

The ESR Group surveyed 1,202 recent mortgage borrowers about their experiences with real estate agents, mortgage lenders, friends and family, and online resources such as mobile apps, websites, and social media. The survey sample was constructed from borrowers with purchase mortgages in the Fannie Mae book of business that were originated in 2016.

The findings showed borrowers said lenders and real estate agents were more influential in their mortgage-shopping experience than online sources.

Even Millennials, those ages 22 to about 37 and known for their higher demand for technology, reported using both online and person-to-person resources with similar frequency when shopping for a mortgage. However, they said personal interactions, not online resources, were the most influential.

Mortgage lenders, real estate agents and even family and friends were all seen as more trustworthy and credible than online sources, as the chart below shows.

Click to Enlarge


(Source: Fannie Mae)

While they saw more reliability in their personal interactions, a large number of borrowers still sought out information online. The survey showed 77% sought out information from their real estate agent, 75% asked mortgage lenders and 69% looked up online sources.

Due to this large demand for online resources, to remain competitive in today’s market, Fannie Mae explained real estate professionals still need to include an online element. They must evolve their digital offerings in order to provide an experience where consumers to move easily between online and personal interactions.

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