How can fintech improve the homebuying experience?

by Steve Randall10 Feb 2020

Real estate and mortgage professionals are keen to adopt technology solutions to help expediate the homebuying process.

“Millennials, the largest group of prospective home buyers, expect greater efficiency and convenience in their home-buying experience. In the strong sellers’ market of 2019, the demand for greater efficiency accelerated as more home buyers felt pressure to settle deals quickly before opportunities fade away,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American.

As part of the biannual First American Real Estate Sentiment Index for the fourth quarter of 2019, the survey asked title insurance agents and real estate professionals across the nation for their perspective on how fintech can improve the home-buying process.

“One of the major trends affecting the real estate industry may explain why the 2018 and 2019 survey findings were consistent – the rise in wire fraud,” said Fleming. “Survey respondents indicated that buyers would benefit greatly from a secure platform that allows them to correspond with lenders, real estate agents, escrow officers, and other parties involved with the real estate transaction.”

eClosings and remote notarization
The speed of transactions remains a key focus and is driving interest in hybrid eClosing.

“Since many documents need to be signed in a real estate transaction, a hybrid eClosing means that many documents may be reviewed and eSigned in advance of the closing, while some documents must be wet signed in person. The benefits? A faster and more streamlined closing experience, and reduced risk of manual errors, just to name a few,” said Fleming.

Remote online notarization is also seen as having a large impact in helping home buyers close their transactions faster and more efficiently.

“Remote online notarization allows a notary to notarize documents remotely over the internet via tamper-evident digital tools, the latest fraud prevention technologies, and live audio-video conferencing. This technology already exists and has been accepted as an alternative to traditional in-person notarization in several states,” added Fleming.

Just 8.5% of respondents believe that iBuyers will be the most important innovation that drives transactional efficiency for consumers.

“While the growth of iBuyers certainly offers a new way for people to buy and sell homes, the model represents a small share of the market compared to traditional brokerages,” said Fleming. “It may not be the technology to have the most impact on the housing market in the near term, but it is growing quickly and gaining importance in today’s sellers’ market.”

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