What’s New at HomeBinder – December 2021

We’ve partnered with Thumbtack to expand homeowners’ access to home service professionals
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We are excited to announce a new integration with Thumbtack. The integration expands upon the more than 23,000 recommended service providers already listed in HomeBinder to provide consumers with access to hundreds of thousands of home service professionals across every county in the U.S. Partners can populate the ‘Home Service Provider’ tab with a personalized list of recommended home service professionals, strengthening their relationships with those referral partners while providing a valuable service to homeowners. We hope most of you have done this considering how valuable your vetted network is to homeowners. To date we have thousands of home professionals across the country added by our community of partners and real estate agents, however, there are instances where homeowners are requesting additional options for service professionals beyond what exists in the directory. Partnering with Thumbtack enhances HomeBinder’s ability to connect homeowners with local handymen, electricians, painters, and more — and each time homeowners are helped by their HomeBinder, they are reminded of the home inspector, mortgage lender, insurance provider, real estate agent, or other authorized professionals who gifted it to them.  

If you would like to learn more and see a demo, please contact sales@homebinder.com.  
Real Estate Agent Survey According to our latest real estate agent survey, 60% say their top priority for 2022 is to utilize technology to improve the homeowner experience. Recognizing the value of HomeBinder to build asset value and provide peace of mind for clients throughout the life of homeownership, 40% of agents on HomeBinder have referred one or more clients this year to a business that has co-branded with them. Given that businesses are increasingly prioritizing home purchasers to drum up business heading into 2022, HomeBinder fosters referrals from real estate agents by improving the homeowner experience, creating rapid ROI!

If you would like to learn more and see a demo, please contact sales@homebinder.com
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January 24-27 Nashville, TN
MBA IMB

MBA’s Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference 2022 (IMB22) is the epicenter for IMBs of all sizes and models and their leadership teams. We’re excited to hear new solutions, actionable advice, and the data and analytics needed to improve the bottom line. To schedule some time in person please email meg@homebinder.com. See you there! 
Tips & Tricks/Training Home Value Estimate + Mortgage Coach
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Through the integration of our adaptive home valuation tool with Mortgage Coach, we enable homeowners to consistently re-engage their lenders throughout the life of the loan. Borrowers on HomeBinder that view their home value can now, with one-click, leverage the trusted insight and accuracy of Mortgage Coach’s Total Cost Analysis (TCA) to compare how their current mortgage would perform against a standard or a cash-out refinance. Our integration allows lenders utilizing Mortgage Coach to provide automated mortgage reviews on a semi-annual basis, and also empower their borrowers on HomeBinder with an interactive financial modeling experience. For instance, homeowners can adjust variables to see how applying additional money toward their monthly principal would shorten the length of their mortgage and save money on interest. This creates a unique opportunity to build lasting relationships with borrowers and drive repeat business! 

Check out a few more in-depth guides here:
Home Value Estimate One-Pager
Mortgage Coach + HomeBinder One-Pager 

If you would like to learn more and see a demo, please contact sales@homebinder.com.  
   
In the News 

Mortgage Coach and HomeBinder partner to engage homeowners in actively managing home financing across the homeownership lifecycle →  Read more here

Pete on the Lykken on Lending Podcast →  Listen in here!  

If you missed it! Check out the recording of our presentation with Mortgage Coach for The Mortgage Collaborative’s 12 Days of TMC Keynote Series. Watch here → How to Squash Revenue Fears by Thinking Beyond the Transaction – featuring Danny Horanyi from Celebrity Home Loans. 

Jack Huntress of HomeBinder on Improving Borrower Retention →  Read Q&A here!
… and finally, Happy Holidays! 🎄
We look forward to working with you in 2022! 
Be sure to catch up on past newsletters by visiting our newsletter archive here

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
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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! 
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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

Key Considerations When Planning a Home Remodel

After being at home for the last year or so, you may have become tired of the color of the walls in your living room, noticed that warmer lights would be a better choice for your dining area, or speculated that your home would be less cramped if your kitchen didn’t have those hanging cupboards. And the truth of the matter is that you’re not alone. The pandemic has caused a huge surge in home renovation projects in the US, with Americans spending a collective total of $420 billion on them. This upward trend is only expected to continue.

To this end, if you’re planning to remodel, these key considerations can help you get started.

What’s your end goal?


Do you have a basement you want to polish up for everyday use? Make major structural changes like taking out a wall? Or do you want to expand upward with an extra floor or outward into your backyard? Either way, decide on a concrete objective to build on (no pun intended).

This makes your goal realistic, worthwhile, and detailed enough to be easily communicable to the designers and contractors you may hire. This will also ensure that you’ll be satisfied with the end result. Otherwise, you may find yourself done remodeling but still feel that your house is missing something.

What’s your budget?



Remodeling is a great step for any homeowner: It can increase both the sentimental value of your home, as well as its actual value on the market. Still, this means that you need to have the money to make the home improvements now. Fortunately, homeowners have several financing options that can help them out.

A home equity loan, for instance, gives you access to a considerable sum of cash by letting you borrow against the current value of your house. The interest rate is generally lower than those on credit cards, too. However, failure to pay back the loan gives the lender the right to foreclose on your home, so you need to have sufficient equity and the ability to pay the loan back over time to avail of it.

Newer homeowners can’t apply for home equity loans just yet, however. Thankfully, personal loans can give you anywhere from $3,500 to $40,000 upfront, and allow you to pay the amount back in equal installments over time. Just be sure to read the fine print and look for loans with rewards and no fees.

Whichever method you choose, make sure it’s a realistic way to finance your remodeling plans. And be prepared for anything: Set aside 10% of your money as a contingency fund, and have the entire budget ready at least three months to half a year in advance.

What does your homeowner association say?


When drafting your project, keep in mind the requirements of the neighborhood you live in. If you reside in an area full of historic homes, for instance, your options may be limited. If ever, ask for permission if you’re planning to make changes visible from the outside.

Moreover, remember to look over your local building code’s rules and regulations and apply for any permits you may need.

Should you get a contractor or DIY it?


In 2020, many cited the risk of COVID exposure as one reason why they preferred DIY to contractors. And with the Delta variant making its way across the country, you might want to do the same. If you’re going DIY, a wealth of online resources, like This Old House, can help you out.

However, it’s still best to hire a contractor for the biggest jobs on your list, especially the ones you’re not confident doing on your own (like flooring). If this is the case, interview multiple contractors and compare bids, so you can choose one that gives you the best deal.

Is now the right time?


Think about how the project will affect your daily routines. Consider, realistically, how long it will take to get the project done. If you start now, is there any possibility that the project will continue into the winter? If you’re expecting a baby, will the project be finished before the due date? Ask yourself these questions, and if you’re unsure about anything, rescheduling may be a good idea.

Wrapping it up


Once you’ve answered all these questions, embarking on your own unique home remodeling journey should be much easier.

Be sure to login to your HomeBinder account to utilize the “Add details” and “Add projects” tabs to keep track of paint colors by room, tile styles, the brand of flooring, etc. Also, be sure to take advantage of HomeBinder’s Home Valuation Tool to determine how certain projects can improve your home’s value!

Article written by Ruth Joyce
Exclusively for homebinder.com

Easy Ways to Add Value to Your Home

With the arrival of summer, 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, backyard structures such as a gazebo, 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.