Is this the easiest way to attract new clients?

JP Morgan Chase product takes would-be homeowners on a virtual path

Is this the easiest way to attract new clients?

The housing market may continue to show signs of cooling, but that doesn’t mean buyers have stopped trying to secure their dream home. Given the slowdown, however, a growing number of lenders are pulling out all the stops in attracting clients.

It takes bells and whistles. The venerable JPMorgan Chase & Co. is among those offering a full virtual experience for would-be homeowners in keeping with the tactics of a digital age. Its product, Chase MyHome, is an interactive, all-in-one offering that enables customers to embark on the full breadth of the home-buying process – conducting property searches, initiating the application process, reviewing loan options all while exploring their home’s current value, scanning mortgage details and peeking at equity levels.

The product is already a hit. Company officials said that as of January 2022, 31% of all home lending leads were from customers who had visited Chase MyHome. 

Read more: How mortgage brokers can use tech to their advantage

“Buying a home can be overwhelming,” Nina Gidwaney (pictured), managing director, product owner, mortgage banking transformation at JPMorgan Chase & Co., told Mortgage Professional America in a recent interview. “Technologies like Chase MyHome make it easier for consumers to become homeowners and apply for a mortgage right from their phone or computer.”

One needn’t change out of one’s pajamas to embark on the virtual journey, it’s tacitly suggested.

“The platform enables customers to view personalized offers, access loan options including product and pricing, search for properties and more,” Gidwaney said. “The benefit of technology like this is that customers receive personalized insights that help them meet their home lending needs, as well as access to resources and information that help them make smarter decisions across their home lending journey.”

Read next: Start-up Welcome Homes poised to revolutionize homebuilding

It’s life in the digital world that has brought such options to the fore. An untold number of pundits have noted the technology push was furthered during the height of the pandemic that triggered physical distancing provisions to tame the scourge. While we’re not out of the COVID woods quite yet, manifestations of that technology continue to sprout up – and not just in the banking industry.

“Consumers are doing more digitally than ever before – from shopping, doctors’ appointments, banking, and even buying a home completely online,” Gidwaney noted. “The homebuying process can be complex, but technology can help people get one step closer to achieving their homeownership goals. Technologies that allow customers to access the information and resources they need to successfully apply for a mortgage are critical. Chase MyHome helps address the growing consumer demand for digital home lending solutions.”

While Chase is a household name, lesser-known firms are getting into the virtual act in a quest to lure clients. Upstart Welcome Homes recently told MPA of its quest to revolutionize the homebuilding process – beginning in the tri-state area comprising New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to start. Would-be homeowners are able to utilize the company’s platform to customize their dream homes - the company boasts of having pre-approved properties in the tri-state area with additional areas available soon.

Part of the revolution is based on the short time it takes the company to actually build its homes and the pre-cleared nature of the land on which customers are able to build, Benjie Burford, vice president of sales at Welcome Homes, told MPA. “Custom homes are out of the reach of most people,” he said. “They’re very expensive to do. You have to make a lot of sunk cost investment upfront on design and engineering review of land and, quite frankly, sometimes that goes nowhere. You can spend $10,000, $15,000 evaluating a piece of land and find out you can’t build a house on top of it. So, we’ve removed that uncertainty.”

Read more: Compass rolls out homebuying and selling service

Welcome Homes also boasts of the relatively short time it takes to build: “Another thing is we shortened the time period,” Burford said. “Doing a custom build easily takes 24 months. We can build a house within seven months of getting a permit. If you can afford a house in the million-dollar range, at least in the Northeast, you might not be able to afford the time to do that. We really help them from a time investment standpoint.”