Enables Celebrity Home Loans to easily deliver HomeBinder’s home management platform and enhance their “client for life” experience
Burlington, MA – April 8, 2021 – HomeBinder, a leading home management platform provider that reduces the complexity of home ownership and maximizes home value, announces an exciting new partnership with Celebrity Home Loans, whereby Celebrity will be rolling out the HomeBinder service to their borrowers.
For businesses serving residential homeowners that want to deliver added value to their clients, HomeBinder is a platform that improves peace of mind for homeowners and assists them in maintaining and increasing the value of their largest asset throughout the ownership of the home.
The partnership will enable Celebrity Home Loan lenders to automatically provide a HomeBinder to their clients with all of the mortgage closing documentation; lenders who offer HomeBinder as a digital closing gift to their clients find that it increases client retention post-close and leads to new and increased referrals.
According to David Robnett, Chairman and CEO of Celebrity Homes LLC,“Celebrity immediately recognized that HomeBinder enables our borrowers to enhance their lives through financial education and literacy, thereby enhancing our ‘client for life’ experience. As an innovative and technology-forward business, we have implemented multiple fintech platforms to deliver a streamlined experience through closing, but what happens post-close?”
Robnett goes on to say “We see an immediate and highly complementary fit with HomeBinder to educate today’s homeowner, remain top of mind with our clients, and enhance our relationships with real estate agents. HomeBinder’s new API integration with Encompass enables us to implement their service within hours and days vs. weeks and months. We are eager to launch this Spring.”
This announcement comes on the heels of HomeBinder getting approved on March 26, 2021 as an official API integration partner of ICE Mortgage Technologies Encompass platform.
HomeBinder is a home management platform that reduces the complexity of home management and enables businesses serving residential homeowners to improve client retention, build trusted relationships and generate referrals. HomeBinder is available exclusively through businesses across the residential ecosystem including lenders, inspectors, real estate professionals, insurers, property managers and home service providers. HomeBinder was founded in 2012, currently serves all fifty States and Canada, and is based in Burlington, MA. For more information, visit www.homebinder.com.
As we exit 2020 (likely eagerly for most) and think about the coming year, we at HomeBinder are thinking about the ways that homeownership is evolving in centralized ways for both the benefit of the homeowner and the businesses that serve them.
The core theme of HomeBinder is CENTRALIZE as displayed front and center on our website. Our belief is that centralizing home information, actions, and people brings improved ability for homeowners to manage (and ultimately sell) their home. Further, it brings a greater connection between the homeowner and the businesses that support their ownership.
We are not alone in this effort. Many tech enabled businesses are also rowing in this direction. The reasons are twofold. First, we have a generation of homebuyers and owners that expect things to be much simpler than they are today to get things done whether it is finding a plumber, getting insurance, refinancing a loan or replacing a product (e.g. air or water filter) in their home. Centralizing information supports these efforts. Second, the advancement of technology and connectivity (mobile tech, AI, payment systems, API availability, image processing) are allowing that to happen in ways that previously would have taken people an extensive amount of time.
Here are five ways in which we’ll see more of this centralization take place in 2021:
Increased Home Device Adoption – Devices for the home (Google Home, Amazon Echo, Facebook Portal, Apple HomePod) have already been adopted by millions of homeowners and today people are getting devices bundled in with other items they may be purchasing for their home such as security systems. Although there are concerns of data privacy, most homeowners are accepting the tradeoff of their concerns for the convenience of having something that is more and more connected to the lights, heating system, information, and shopping for their home.
Home Insurance Evolution – There are a number of companies such as Young Alfred and Branch that are transforming the way people find and purchase home insurance by using cutting edge user experiences, selling direct, bundling, and data feeds. A myriad of home IoT devices that are promoted by insurance carriers such as water shut-off devices bring unified protection. And finally, conversations are happening about how the telematics for the car (Progressive Snapshot, Drive Safe and Save) can be brought in a similar way to the pricing of insurance policies for the home (though don’t expect this anytime in the next several years).
Faster Home Loan Borrowing Experiences – The dominant player in the mortgage space, Quicken has elevated the bar in the last couple of years with RocketMortgage. They have been able to put an extraordinary amount of technology into the loan application process making it seamless and ‘magical’ for the consumer. The broader market is turning to companies like SimpleNexus and Blend to bring cutting edge mobile tech to the mortgage processing process. This is achieved by centralizing loan data and documents in a way that benefits both the borrower and the loan officer creating less work and a faster close time.
Home Management – There are more and more tools and services available to help manage a home. In 2020 Setter was acquired by Thumbtack and companies such as Super or House Happy continue to advance the outsourcing of home management and centralizing information into a platform to help make ownership a bit easier. HomeBinder is in this category as well, as we see the need for a common place for all home information, regardless of origin to get recorded for current and future use. Bringing all aspects of ownership under a single hood gives value and peace of mind to homeowners and imprinting of businesses to homes and specific projects and maintenance that they may be associated.
Improvements in Home Valuation Tools – Ever since Zillow launched its Zestimate® tool in 2006, it remains one of the more publicly known Automated Valuation Models (AVMs). Despite national accuracy hovering around 8% (that’s off by $40K on $500K house) it continues to draw the attention of homeowners, sellers and buyers alike. What is missing here is both more data and better “in-home” data as often comparable (“comp”) data tells only a piece of the value of a home. Merging datasets are beginning to come together to better inform buyers, lenders, insurers, retailers, and marketers.
We’ve seen a lot of these trends happen in other markets where information comes together to benefit consumers and businesses alike. Automotive, healthcare, financial products, and commodities. The residential housing market is definitely behind, but in terms of size is as formidable as all of the above given the sum total of residential housing in the US is north of $34 trillion dollars and so a lot is at stake. Of course, it won’t all happen in 2021 as it is a big ship to turn, but the foundational elements are there to chart a course where all of homeownership is at your fingertips in a centralized way.
Lenders, here is a stat that I ran across that is so scary it’s hard to believe:
“In the midst of record-breaking refinance volume, retention woes persist for mortgage servicers, with the report showing just 18% of all refinancing borrowers being retained post-refinance…” – Black Knight’s July 2020 Mortgage Monitor
Read differently, 82% of homeowners will choose a new person to run their next financing. Wow.
At HomeBinder, we feel the best way to stay connected post-close is a centralized home management platform like HomeBinder. Lenders can give HomeBinder as a gift to clients, which allows them to stay connected when they go for their next financing. With our integrations and new Encompass partnerships, it’s easier than ever to create binders.
Bankrate, a personal finance company that guides people through pivotal steps of their financial journey, recently published an article highlighting six key trends in the housing market and mortgage industry for the third quarter of 2020.
This convergence of trends is fueling the mortgage industry and the lenders who support it are very busy with new loans and refinancing business. But lenders cannot take this for granted or assume that their future business is protected.
Technology has an impact on how buyers shop for homes, the mortgage process and closings, and millennials have an expectation for processes to be online and streamlined. To stay competitive and relevant, to gain new clients, and secure repeat business with existing clients, lenders must deliver better technology and services to their clients.
HomeBinder for Lenders
HomeBinder is a centralized home management software platform that facilitates homeownership and maximizes property value. HomeBinder is delivered solely through businesses that service the residential market, whereby we help you retain client relationships, increase referrals, and stay top of mind. Through our partnership with Ellie Mae, lenders automatically create and deliver digital binders to their borrowers as a value-added gift, and through the intelligent nature of the platform deliver ongoing value to the homeowner and to the agents and service professionals that work with your clients.
HomeBinder as a Gift to Differentiate Lender Services
Businesses that serve homeowners have found HomeBinder to be a unique competitive differentiator to help them not only improve client relationships and increase referrals but if introduced early in the pre-sales cycle as a gift to be provided at closing, it helps to solidify the relationship early on. Each HomeBinder that is gifted can be branded by the lender so that they stay top of mind with their client. Post close, once it’s time for a refinance or home equity line, it’s more likely that they will secure the repeat business.
“ALCOVA’s passion is to serve our clients. The customer experience is paramount in all we do. Discussing HomeBinder proactively early in the selling process has enabled us to differentiate ourselves and demonstrate that we understand that managing their most valuable asset can be challenging but can be made easy and effortless with HomeBinder. Gifting HomeBinder to our clients at the closing establishes simplified home management from the start and keeps us top of mind with our clients to secure repeat and future business.” – Kim Bratic, VP of Marketing, ALCOVA Mortgage
Staying Competitive: From Transactions to Relationships
Lenders should consider HomeBinder as a new technology tool to help not only as a differentiator to help close new clients but as a retention tool to stay connected to their clients as a value added partner around their most important asset: their home. Introducing HomeBinder early in the process sets them apart and helps to reassure home buyers that they are in it with them for the long haul, not just the closing. HomeBinder enables an easy to use, cost effective digital connection with the people that they serve.
With spring and summer just around the corner, homeowners may want to spruce up their home. It is common for homeowners to make changes to their houses to increase the comfort level and make their homes look better. These changes may be based on personal taste or they may be to make their home life more convenient. In many cases, these improvements add value to the home. Smart homeowners make their upgrades based on these value-added changes. They prioritize how they are going to improve their homes based on the changes that will make their home worth more. One of the main ways to determine if a change will add value is to consider what room you are improving. Carrying out some home improvements to your home not only increase the functionality and usability of your home, if the right improvements are carried out then you can also add value to your home. Whether you want to add value to your home to sell it or just to update your home for your own pleasure, here are easy ideas you can do to add value to your home:
Do a Paint Job
Without a doubt, the easiest and quickest way to update the look of your home is to paint it. Painting the exterior and interior of your home can make it look newer, cleaner, and more stylish. Pay attention to the latest design trends to see which colors are hottest right now. A fresh coat of paint attracts buyers and adds value to your home. It may seem simple, but if you are selling a property, you initially have to get buyers through the front door. This means that the outside of the property should look smart and as attractive as possible
Create a New Kitchen Feel
This is perhaps one of the simplest ways to recreate a room. The kitchen is generally seen as the focal point in any house, and small improvements can make a big difference. Most people do not realize the major bang for the buck that swapping out hardware can create. Do a kitchen make over, you can do re-tiling or add cabinets. Nothing attracts people more than a modernized kitchen with attractive drawers and a big spotless sink. Changing the handles on your cabinets can bring an outdated kitchen back into the right decade. Equally, cabinets should be cleaned up wherever possible, or replaced if beyond repair. There are now options to simply replace the fascia above cabinets, rather than install a brand new kitchen, so this may be worth considering. Before viewings, ensure that any personal clutter is removed, allowing visitors to gage the space accurately.
Curb Appeal is Key
The truth is that the curb appeal of your home is probably one of the most influential factors in its value, as the curb appeal will increase its perceived value – thereby increasing its actual value. If you want to raise the value of your home, fixing it up and making it look nice is one of the best ways to make it more valuable and appealing to those that are going to buy it. While fixing up the inside and outside of the house is important, the property itself will also go a long way towards the sale of the house. Do landscaping and if possible, plant trees. If you have a yard with walkways, beautifully cared for grass, flowers and gardens, trees, and all the other beautiful landscaping elements, your attention would no doubt be divided between the house and the outside. Even if the house isn’t perfect, most people will be interested in the home due to the beautiful landscape.
Improve the Inside
Consider improving the wall, floor, and window insulation. You do not have to resort to super expensive solutions. Cork wall tiles and insulating curtains can do a good job. Making your heating system more energy efficient is highly recommended.
Change the Windows
The windows should match the house as it is now, and should be in keeping with the age and style your home. Don’t be tempted to install brand new white PVC windows in an older-style property; it can actually be detrimental to the value of the house. Generally speaking, if the windows are in good condition, concentrate on cleaning up the paintwork on the windowsills and surrounds.
Improve Your Lighting
Instead of using basic lamps, add accent lighting to your home. Track lights or spotlights can be purchased and installed at budget-friendly prices while adding visual appeal to your space.
Make Use of Every Available Space
There are several ways to make use of available spaces in your home. The available space under your stairs can be useful by turning it into a closet where you can put extra books, papers or cleaning equipment. Home buyers will be glad to have a place to store extra household items. You can readily use these rooms traditionally meant for storage to create functional areas in the home. The attic can be turned into a spacious family room, TV room, kids’ room or a playroom. The basement can be modified into a functional study.
Change or Make New Flooring
Installing a new floor or giving some TLC to the one you already have can significantly increase your home’s value. It’s easy to overlook your floors. You use them every day without a second thought. However, the flooring can play a huge role in the overall functionality, look, and value of your home. If you feel like your house is looking a little worn around the edges, or if you want to increase its value, redoing your floors is a great choice.
Add Additional Bathroom
If you have only one bathroom, adding one or two is a very good idea. If you only have one bathroom in your home, the installation of a second one is definitely going to pay dividends. Although bathroom additions tend to be expensive, the money you put into the project can be almost entirely recouped when it comes time to sell. Before getting started, you would need to find a good spot for it. You can start looking at any room that has no designated purpose, like a spare bedroom. The space under the stairs is usually unused and left to go to waste. You need 18 square feet for a bathtub, as a minimum, but the more space you have the better. You need to look carefully to make sure the space you want to use is going to give you the bathroom that you want. If you have several bedrooms, then it is necessary to add enough bathrooms to cater to the needs of the occupants. It is not necessary to build an extension; simply using available space in your home will do the trick.