What’s New at HomeBinder – October 2021

What’s New

New HomeBinder Homeowner Experience Has Launched!

We are excited to announce that our enhanced homeowner UI/UX is now live! This new HomeBinder platform includes the following exciting features:

– Improved navigation and workflows with an optimized user interface for desktop and mobile devices
– A brand new, curated “To-Do” section that better organizes tasks, and alerts homeowners about essential maintenance items and best practices to maintain a healthy home
– An updated home valuation tool that incorporates the homeowner’s loan information as well as appreciation for investments made, such as home improvements, maintenance items and appliances 
– Business card branding that highlights all the partners supporting the homeowner

If you would like to learn more and see a demo, please contact sales@homebinder.com
Amazing Mortgage Co. (1)
Homeowner Survey 

We’re always looking to ensure homeowners and partners receive maximum value from HomeBinder. Recently, we surveyed our homeowner users to gain feedback on their most valued HomeBinder features, and to help validate/prioritize our new/planned features. Take a look at the results and what they had to say! 
Click the link below to see the results!
View the Results
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#TMCReunited2021 

As a new Preferred Partner within The Mortgage Collaborative, we had a great time meeting a some of you in person at #TMCReunited2021!  It was a week filled with building deeper relationships with our mortgage lender partners, meeting with industry thought leaders, and taking deeper dives into the mortgage industry. We’re so glad to bring collaboration and innovation to the TMC network.

If you are a TMC member, click here to learn more.   
Tips & Tricks/Training:

Marketing Kit


Effective marketing and homeowner engagement is about using multiple touchpoints to reach your key audience. Here are three key points where you can enhance the messaging to your clients, and which have proven to drive very high acceptance rates. 

PRIOR TO THE CLOSING OF THE TRANSACTION

Post an explanation on your website and Facebook/social page of the differentiated value you’re delivering that includes HomeBinder. That will also help you market your mortgage services to potential clients and real estate agents. 

AT THE CLOSING OF THE TRANSACTION

Verbally explain to the client that “HomeBinder allows you to organize and save all related home information in one convenient online app. From centrally storing documents, receiving actionable maintenance reminders, and tracking projects, appliance recalls, and home value, HomeBinder will support you in all aspects of homeownership. HomeBinder is always private to the homeowner, is only available through an Authorized Partner, and is complimentary for the lifetime of your homeownership, as a thank you for your business.” 

AFTER THE CLOSING OF THE TRANSACTION

Email the client, thanking them and reiterating the value of their HomeBinder subscription.   

We have a variety of different marketing resources for you to use including videos, flyers, email scripts, and social media posts. You can locate your Marketing Kit, which includes branded flyers in your account, under the resources tab. We recommend taking advantage of all the materials in your Marketing Kit in order to educate and engage your homeowners to best support them in their homeownership journey. 

If you need assistance, contact support@homebinder.com.
HomeBinder for Homeowners
In the News: 

Announcing NJ Lenders

Here we grow again! NJ Lenders Corp has partnered with HomeBinder as our newest #lender provider. With the majority of its #loans derived from previous customer referrals, NJ Lenders Corp is a prime example of the “client for life” culture that HomeBinder offers. Learn more about this latest partnership here.  

Meet Us at MBA Annual

The HomeBinder team will be participating in the Mortgage Bankers Association’s MBA Annual event, Oct 17-20!  We are eager to connect with industry peers and attend these thoughtfully curated educational sessions. Click here to learn more about HomeBinder or email meg@homebinder.com to schedule a time to meet in person. See you there! 
Copy of MBA Annual (Instagram Post)

So You’ve Closed on Your Home — Now What?

Closing on a new home is a complex process that can involve a number of different steps and formalities.

In addition to making your own decisions and holding negotiations with a real estate agent and/or the existing homeowner, you may well need to have a lawyer present for the closing. This is generally recommended because it’s a good way of ensuring that all of the details are ironed out as expected. In some states, however, it is even required for a qualified legal professional to be present in a real estate transaction of this nature. This is essentially why there are expert legal professionals in the real estate space in the first place. People in this profession help to make sure the closing goes according to plan — which is useful and necessary, even if it can feel tedious in the moment.

These days, you may also need someone on hand who understands software, programming, and blockchain technology. Fortunately, while these skills used to be largely dedicated to specific roles and career paths, there are a lot more contracted software experts out there today. Constant growth in demand for relevant work has led to this being one of the main areas of study in part-time and online education, with the result that it’s not uncommon to find workers with online master’s degrees in software development and versatile skillsets to handle the work. The reason you may need just such an expert for a home closing is that these events are increasingly being driven by digital transactions and blockchain contracts. Those are broad topics for another day, but suffice to say the need may arise to design a blockchain contact and navigate some intricate digital dealings. If this is the case, a neutral software agent can be as helpful as a lawyer to have on hand.

These needs and processes can make the actual act of finally closing on a new home somewhat exhausting. Once it’s done, you’ll feel relief, a sense of accomplishment, and a need to take a break. At the same time though, there are some things you should go ahead and address soon after closing (aside from just moving in!). Consider the following to begin with.


File Away Documents

First and foremost — on the very day you close on your home — make sure you have any and all relevant documents clearly labeled and stored where you’ll always know where to find them. This will be a fairly easy process if you’ve taken advantage of HomeBinder’s home management platform, which exists in part to simplify the documentation of the home buying process. Through HomeBinder, you can add relevant documents associated with homeownership, including:

  • Mortgage, Financial, Title and insurance records
  • Home inspection reports
  • Appliance information
  • Warranties
  • Project and repairs
  • Paint colors by room
  • Other capital investments
  • Actionable and property specific maintenance reminders
  • Trusted network of home professionals
  • Document storage and so much more!

The hope is that no urgent need for documentation ever arises. However, you never know when they might come up, even if it’s not until you look to re-sell the home yourself. Just remember that it’s easy to lose track of home-related documents if they’re not properly stored right away, and save yourself the trouble!


Change the Locks

It may sound a little odd, or even somewhat melodramatic, but it’s common advice to change the locks once you buy and close on a new home. When you think about it, there are a lot of people who have access to your new property if you don’t! The outgoing homeowners will have their own keys, and may have given extras to friends, family, or neighbors. Additionally, the real estate agent and any involved attorneys may have been issued spares. In all likelihood you can trust these people, but it’s best to be safe and change the locks early on. Plus, there’s just something about this step that makes it feel even more like the home is really yours.


Update Your Address

This is more about making things convenient for yourself. But there’s something to be said for simply sitting down at your computer and updating your address everywhere you can think of. When you think about it, you probably have your (now prior) address saved in all kinds of places: with your bank, on random website accounts, on Amazon, and so on. If you set aside some time early on to make the update wherever you think to do so, you’ll be saving yourself some hassles down the road.


Review Insurance & Utility Costs

These are factors you’ll have considered during the negotiating and buying processes. Still, once you’ve closed on the home, it’s a good idea to review your home insurance policy, as well as what the utility bills look like in your new property. Make any necessary updates you may need to in terms of adjusting policies and setting up payments, and start off your time in your new home with all of these pesky details taken care of.


Consider Renovations

It’s also time after your closing to consider potential renovations or upgrades you may want to make to the property. Sure, you’ll have just wrapped up a long and arduous process, and home upgrades are a lot to take on. But if you do intend to make any renovations to your new property, it’s worth planning them right away. Use the “Projects” tab in your HomeBinder to keep track of your remodeling plans and the “Home Pros” section to plan and manage who will be working on them with you! This will make it easier for you to budget projects, arrange your home, and so on — all so that eventual renovations can happen as smoothly and seamlessly as possible.

Take on these early steps after closing on a new home, and you’ll be well on your way to making the transition.

Article written by Ruth Joyce

Exclusively for homebinder.com

#TMCReunited Recap

Michael Kuentz Trinity Oaks Mortgage, Casey Hughes-Wade SLK Global Solutions, Kris (Miller) Willoughby Cypress Mortgage Capital

As the sun began to rise over the waves crashing upon the cove in picturesque Terranea, California, what was a morning kayak adventure, gracefully transformed into a meditation session. It was clear that being able to pivot to and from action to stillness is crucial to survival in both business and personal life.

Depth PR (Leslie Colley, Kerri Milam), Arvest Bank (Matt Kendall), Simple Nexus (Ben Miller), ActiveComply (Melissa Thomas), Social Coach (Joe Wilson)

Our time at #TMCReunited2021 was filled with remarkable moments like this that remind us to set our intentions to show up authentically for each day. The beautiful venue not only provided the break from busy office life and the distraction-filled day-to-day when working from home, but it fostered an environment for mindfulness and thoughtful engagement with industry leaders. After more than a year of remote living and working, the shared excitement could be felt across each session as we reunited in person.

“If Covid has taught me anything… It’s helped to teach me self-awareness. What’s my WHY: making connections that are impactful and helping others. I’ve recognized a new appreciation post covid; the connection, gift of travel, and being in the present.”

Meg Bennett

Sales Boomerang (Alex Kutsishin, Reem Thanir), Mortgage Coach (Joe Puthur), LBA ware (Chris Gassel)

The week was filled with insightful conversation, connection to friends and colleagues new and old, and educational exchange among The Mortgage Collaborative’s network members/participants. While taking deep dives into the ever-changing mortgage industry, we were reminded how our industry continues to evolve. 

We learned how a lender’s tech stack will continue to play an important role moving into 2022. As we think of how lenders can stay competitive in the evolving market, we tend to think of how our business can be complementary to the tech stack. With more and more new ancillary services and tools available, the lender plays the role of the master architect, curating the best and brightest amongst the multitude of services and tools available for homeowners.

HomeBinder’s solution is an option that is sophisticated and innovative. It creates an engaging and personalized experience, one that is expected by today’s homeowners, while establishing the best scenario for differentiating a lender from their competitors. Given our Encompass integration and fast implementation process, HomeBinder becomes a plug-and-play solution. We felt proud to stand out as a complementary platform to any savvy lender’s tech stack.

US Mortgage Steven & Scott Milner / Jack & Pete

As we continue to look towards the future, creating a client for life experience continues to be the direction that most lenders and servicers are striving to achieve. 

Many TMC members have solutions in place, or are looking to implement the technology necessary to help improve the borrower experience and build clients for life, however finding the time and resources in this fast-changing environment can be a challenge. While it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide differentiated lending services, a customer-centric service approach can make a strong impact and is oftentimes the deciding factor in market distinction. Changing the mindset to focus on relationships versus transactions ultimately leads to increased retention, referrals, brand loyalty, and revenue. 

We believe in providing tools and resources that educate and empower homeowners. We think about the entire homeownership journey, and the support today’s homeowners need after the loan has closed that can create opportunities for lasting, impactful relationships between borrowers and their lenders.  

Collaboration and innovation were two words that aligned for us, creating an overarching theme of our time spent together that week. Meg offered three main takeaways from our time at TMCReunited:

  1. Listen, really lean into the conversation, ask great questions
  2. Be in the present, focus on what you can control
  3. Authenticity is key

We really enjoyed our time at #TMCReunited where we focused on building stronger relationships, meeting with industry thought leaders, and taking deeper dives into the mortgage industry. TMC’s unique culture is priceless we’re extremely excited to be a part of the team!

Turning Pandemic Satisfaction into a Long-term Win

Sounding a bit like an oxymoron, mortgage servicers actually improved customer service scores under COVID-19, according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study,SM.  Last year’s survey exemplified gaps in customer service, with both call center activities and online access highlighted as challenges for mortgage servicers. This year’s study again called out latent digital capabilities but focused more on shifting experiences between bank and non-bank servicers. The primary takeaway stemming from this year’s data is that the pandemic has definitely given mortgage servicers a boost in satisfaction sentiments as customers seeking relief have relied on their servicer to navigate forbearance and foreclosure avoidance.

In the corresponding press release, J.D. Power commented that improved satisfaction gains were predominantly motivated by at-risk borrowers in forbearance.  Their director of consumer lending intelligence, Jim Houston, added, “However, as we look at post-pandemic customer behaviors and responses of low-risk customers, we see that lift in satisfaction may be short-lived. In fact, despite the attention on relief programs, nearly one-fifth of current mortgage customers have had no interaction with their servicer during the past year. Mortgage servicers will really need to up their customer engagement games as the marketplace stabilizes.”  So where does this leave mortgage servicers going forward? 

Solidifying ongoing borrower satisfaction can start with a look at current customer perspectives. The basis for J.D. Power’s annual survey evaluates customer satisfaction in terms of customer interaction, communications, billing and payment processing, escrow account administration, and new customer orientation.  Pulling responses from over 8,000 borrowers that either refinanced or originated a new loan within the past 12 months, this year’s study highlighted the following findings:

  • Non-bank servicers saw a considerable gain in overall satisfaction.  With scores that increased by 17 points, non-bank servicers are gaining on their bank-affiliated competitors who only saw a four-point rise in overall satisfaction. 
  • Borrowers in forbearance gave the highest scores for satisfaction.  A trend that is not likely to continue, at-risk customer satisfaction increased 15 points, with low-risk borrower satisfaction declining by one point. 
  • Satisfaction scores for bank-affiliated servicers were inflated by non-mortgage services.  Customers with bank products had overall mortgage servicing satisfaction scores that were 55 points higher than mortgage-only customers.
  • Cumbersome digital experiences and lagging self-service capabilities drop scores. Barely more than a third of borrowers surveyed found the information they needed within two webpages. Visiting more than two pages dropped overall satisfaction scores by 55 points! 

As servicers continue to address the impact of COVID-19 relief provisions, maintaining borrower satisfaction and engagement could prove to be a challenge. Surveyed borrowers that felt compelled to leave their current servicer cited several top reasons for a departure, including access to improved customer service and enhanced self-serve capabilities.  This supports the need for servicers to expand digital functionality and self-serve access to processes and products, subsequently ensuring satisfaction through innovative engagement and education.

Taking the lead in providing engagement and education in a digital self-serve format, HomeBinder delivers a unique borrower experience that extends beyond a basic servicing relationship. Providing a centralized home management platform, HomeBinder collaborates with the lender or servicer to offer a distinctive branded binder that can be given to the homeowner at the time of closing, servicing transfer, forbearance exit, or even upon approval of a loss mitigation plan. The advantage to the servicer is that engagement is ongoing throughout the life of the property, requiring little to no intervention from your staff. The benefits to the homeowner are extensive, including a digital maintenance plan with regular reminders, educational information on how to manage and care for their home, electronic storage of all related household documents, and so much more.  Each time the homeowner accesses the HomeBinder platform, they are reminded of their valued relationship with their lender/servicer.  HomeBinder is a genuine business differentiator, delivering a personalized “gift” that will improve borrower satisfaction, increase engagement, foster repeat business, and inherently generate referrals.

To find out how your organization can leverage pandemic customer satisfaction and create a “Client for Life” experience, visit www.homebinder.com, contact us directly at 800.377.6915, or Book a Demo today! 

HomeBinder ● Expected by Homeowners ● Driven by Lenders

How to Infiltrate and Retain the Millennial Market

The volume of millennials entering the homeownership market continues to grow.  With lower interest rates and increasing capacity to look at homes and apply for loans online, the industry has finally captured this demographics’ attention.  The question is now twofold…. How do you gain more of the millennial market share and more importantly, how do you hold onto this new generation of customers?

Millennials are unquestionably entering the world of homeownership later in life

To a lesser degree than any other demographic, they are likewise entering marriage and starting households at an older age. The Pew Research Center’s study from last year highlighted that only three out of every ten millennials between the ages of 23 and 38 lived with a spouse and child; the study’s definition of a family unit. The marriage rates for millennials averaged 44 percent, nearly 10 percent less than any other demographic for this age group, including Gen Xers. And although millennials are still of child-bearing age, the study noted that only 55 percent of millennial women have had children, compared to 62 percent of Gen Xers and 64 percent of Boomers of similar age.

Despite this latent desire to form households, millennials now make up a growing percentage of the mortgage market.  Millennials are reflected as the largest borrower segment in Freddie Mac’s recent article, “Homebuying: A Generational Snapshot.”  Closed purchase volume alone, as recorded on the Encompass platform, has increased for the past three consecutive months for millennial applicants between the ages of 22 and 41.  The average age of millennial borrowers has remained relatively unchanged. When targeting this generation the note that the average age for millennial borrowers was reported as 32.9, with May and April both reflecting an average borrower age of 32.4 years old.

The Freddie Mac Homebuyer Generational Snapshot highlighted that although they are the most educated generation, millennials have a lower financial awareness as compared to other demographics.  In general, millennials have a fairly optimistic outlook on life.  One of the primary contributors to millennial behavior is that they were raised for the most part during an economic boom.  This has contributed to a lack of financial wherewithal as they tend to focus on the purchasing experience versus monetary value. 

As lenders seek to attract and retain this generation, it is important to understand millennial values, which include transparency, accountability, persistence, and personal responsibility. Here are the HomeBinder TOP 5 traits to leverage when engaging millennials:

  1. Embrace personal responsibility – Millennials want to be good homeowners but often lack the experience and tools needed to address homeownership maintenance and repairs.
  2. Want a digital experience – For millennials that are typically not inclined to manage or retain paper documents, there is no replacement for ease of digital access to key information and documents with HomeBinder.
  3. Stress about personal financial status – Gaining understanding, organization and a homeownership game plan helps create and build confidence in overall financial health.
  4. Place trust in businesses – Let HomeBinder help you give millennials another reason to trust your company for the long haul, building rapport and engagement.
  5. Demand a meaningful customer experience – Millennials will even pay to expand service… Give them more than they’re asking for with a personal HomeBinder for their new or just refinanced home.

What’s important? 

Lenders should anticipate the needs of their millennial borrowers, instill confidence, give them control, provide alternative approaches to doing business, and incorporate digital innovation. HomeBinder is an innovative business differentiator that is uniquely positioned to help lenders capture the attention of millennial borrowers, establish rapport, and create long-term relationship value. Millennial borrowers appreciate an orchestrated, thoughtful, and personalized experience.  HomeBinder delivers a digital homeownership platform that embodies what’s important to millennials, offering relevant homeowner data, actions, education, and document access through a partnership branded binder. HomeBinder is relevant today, actionable tomorrow, and adds value throughout the life of the property.  To find out more about the HomeBinder revolutionary approach to millennial homeowner engagement and the “Client for Life” opportunity, visit us at www.homebinder.com, contact us directly at 800.377.6915, or Book a Demo today! 

HomeBinder ● Expected by Homeowners ● Driven by Lenders