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Ellie Mae recently surveyed more than 3,000 Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers who both own homes and rent to understand their preferences and expectations about getting a home loan. The second annual Ellie Mae Borrower Insights Survey provides deep insights into what consumers are looking for, what drives their homebuying decisions, what is keeping renters from pursuing homeownership and more.

Ellie Mae was particularly interested in these topics as they relate to a digital mortgage experience. This year, we found that consumers across all generations are expecting digital options to be part of their loan process, but would still like the capability and flexibility of speaking to a lender, when needed.

  • Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of respondents expected to be able to apply for and complete a mortgage application fully online
  • Millennials were most likely to apply for their mortgage using a combination of online and in-person interactions
  • Seventy percent of Millennials used an online application process for all or some of their last mortgage, as did 55 percent of Gen-Xers and 43 percent of Baby Boomers
  • 37 percent of homeowners said the convenience of applying online and completing their loan at their own pace/time of day was most important when selecting how to apply for a loan
  • Homeowners who used an online application overwhelmingly felt it improved their experience (93 percent)

Although many consumers want the flexibility and convenience that comes with completing a mortgage application online, the survey found that many others are looking for more human touch. In fact, 57 percent of respondents said they would prefer to communicate with their lender by phone or in-person during the mortgage process. Additionally, despite interest in a faster process (24 percent), 37 percent of Millennials said that more face-to-face time with a lender and more communication would have made their mortgage experience better.

Additional highlights from the survey include:

  • 29 percent of homeowners said their decision to buy was driven by a change in family dynamic
  • 31 percent of homeowners located their most recent mortgage lender via a referral from a friend or family member
  • Millennials were most likely to choose a lender because they knew of the company from a trusted source (38 percent), while 49 percent of Boomers said they chose their lender based on a realtor or acquaintance referral
  • If renters were to purchase a home, 53 percent would most be interested in buying in the suburbs rather than an urban area

What do these findings tell us? That consumers today have a desire for high tech, human touch mortgage experiences. While many lenders have embraced this approach, there is still tremendous opportunity to use technology and data to better inform and facilitate interactions with borrowers and ultimately help them on their homeownership journey.

To view the full report, click here.

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