How does tech support the home buying process?

People are demanding more technology in the home buying process. Mortgage automation provider Ellie Mae recently conducted the 2017 Borrower Insights Survey to gain value industry insight from homeowners and renters. According to the survey, 57 percent of homeowners applied for and finished their mortgage in person, while 28 percent did so through a combination of in-person and online interactions.

An additional 11 percent applied for their mortgage online with no professional, in-person interactions. Other findings from the survey revealed 30 percent of millennials began their mortgage application online and finished with an in-person lender meeting, while 28 percent of Generation X and 20 percent of Baby Boomers did the same. Respondents said they valued speed, security and simplicity during the lending process, which Joe Tyrrell, executive vice president of corporate strategy at Ellie Mae, said providers can achieve by leveraging new technology. 

"There's no question that technology is playing a larger role in the home buying experience," Tyrrell explained. "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."

Here are three specific ways technology can improve or expand the home buying process:

"Potential buyers can find their realtor completely online."

1. Streamlines process to find trusted realtors 
Before the rise of modern technology, homebuyers relied on yard signs, print advertisements and referrals to partner with a real estate agent. Now, potential buyers can find their realtor completely online. With a few clicks of their mouse they can have instant access to agent reviews, feedback and vital information. These online review sites not only give the power back to the buyers, but let highly skilled realtors stand out from the competition. 

2. Makes finding and comparing mortgages easy
Part of the home buying process is finding and comparing various lending options. When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau developed the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule in 2015, the agency designed it to remove some of the confusion surrounding the loan process. This ruling lead to the rise of online comparison tools in an effort to make the mortgage process easier for all homebuyers. For example, the Affordability Calculator from Chase allows buyers to quickly and easily see what kind of home they could afford based on their income, debts and down payment. 

3. Allows buyers to purchase homes from afar
Technology has opened up many new possibilities for potential home buyers who are moving to a new city or state. Most busy professionals don't have ample time to travel to their new city to check out the local real estate, The Washington Post reported. Now, these buyers can set up automated criteria on online real estate listing services to find the exact houses they are looking for. Then, they can set up virtual tours and walkthroughs with real estate agents. Once they have narrowed down their choices, they can either buy sight unseen or make a quick visit to hammer out the details.