How Do You Leverage the CFPB to Retain Homebuyers?

First-time buyers currently represent nearly a third of the homeownership market. As the market is evolving, so are borrower expectations, necessitating a fresh look at consumer engagement and the resources that are available to help meet current needs.

No one can argue that today’s homebuyer market is shifting.  Limited housing inventory, record low interest rates, and the pandemic impact on forbearance, foreclosure and bankruptcy, have all contributed to a change in servicer portfolio composition. Spurred on by super low interest rates, many borrowers have refinanced to a different servicer, or have a new servicer due to a home purchase. First-time buyers currently represent nearly a third of the homeownership market and will be interacting with a mortgage servicer for the very first time. Additionally, the overall face of homebuyers is changing as a rising percentage of millennial buyers have entered the homebuying market and now comprise a greater segment of homeownership, closing in on Gen Xers.  

As the market is evolving, so are borrower expectations, necessitating a fresh look at consumer engagement and the resources that are available to help meet current needs.  In this environment, do not overlook how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) can contribute to the endeavor.  This is an opportune moment to gain a better understanding of what the CFPB communicates to homebuyers, as well as identify how using this educational guidance can help improve lender credibility within respective borrower communities.

Mortgage servicers, striving to embrace new and changing borrower profiles, can access extensive content, corresponding industry weblinks, and basic mortgage tools that are available on the CFPB website. This information can be incorporated directly or indirectly into borrower communications, added to borrower and servicer educational materials, integrated into servicing scripts, or made a part of borrower self-serve mechanisms. Concerned about directing your borrowers to the same site that houses the infamous CFPB complaint portal? Consider that it is better to have homeowners understand the role of the CFPB through a collaborative and educational lens, as opposed to having them reach out under duress.  

The Mortgages section of the CFPB website offers answers to a myriad of questions, from what is an escrow account, to what if I can’t pay my mortgage.  At a high level, the core areas designed to assist homeowners include:

  • Basics of a mortgage
  • Key mortgage terms
  • Common issues for borrowers
  • Understanding borrower interests
  • How-to guides

A variety of resources are available under these categories, many of which are extremely helpful for difficult to explain scenarios, such as forced-placed insurance, handling property damage, reverse mortgages, monthly payment calculations, removing private mortgage insurance, and not to be overlooked… pandemic relief options.  These topics correlate to inquiries that would normally come into a servicing call center, so servicers can actually save time and money when they leverage CFPB web content and resources.  

Considering a more open and direct link to the CFPB may necessitate a bit of a paradigm shift in your organizational approach to borrower engagement. However, as the mortgage industry grapples with the next phase of the pandemic, amidst a wave of technological innovation and an evolving homeowner profile, ensuring borrower retention is becoming even more difficult. 

At HomeBinder, we believe retaining client relationships under these circumstances is best realized by putting the homeowner in the driver’s seat.  This is not the customer-centric proposition of the past decade, but a genuine, proven “Client for Life” methodology that we have incorporated into our centralized management platform. HomeBinder creates valued relationships with the professionals that interact with homebuyers, from realtors to lenders to home inspectors to insurance providers.  We leverage this collaboration and education to deliver homeowners a valuable support system that extends throughout the homeownership lifecycle, not solely the life of the loan. 

Sound different? It is…. Connect with us today to find out more about this revolutionary approach to homeowner engagement and retention. Visit us at www.homebinder.com, or contact us directly at 800.377.6915.  HomeBinder ● Expected by Homeowners ● Driven by Lenders

HomeBinder Announces Partnership with Celebrity Home Loans

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.

About HomeBinder

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.

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Contact: Peter Paglia
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Phone (978) 618-0835
www.homebinder.com

Top 5 Predictions for Centralized Homeownership in 2021

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

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Jack Huntress
CEO and Founder, HomeBinder

The Pending Retention Challenge for Lenders

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.

If interested in learning more book a demo with us.

Looking forward to connecting with you,

Alec

Lets book a meeting to discuss:

Growing and Protecting Your Future Business with HomeBinder

Busy Times for Lenders Despite the Pandemic

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.

Trend 1: Home prices are holding up

Trend 2: Americans are migrating to the suburbs — at least for now

Trend 3: Record-low rates are here to stay

Trend 4: Home shopping is going virtual

Trend 5: The mortgage process is going paperless

Trend 6: Millennials are entering their prime home-buying years

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.