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Discover Home Loans Poll: Homebuyers Report Technology Improved the Home-Financing Process

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With interest rates still comparatively low and the 2015 homebuying season about to begin, many buyers are turning to technology to make the homebuying process easier. A poll commissioned by Discover Home Loans found that nine out of 10 survey respondents used some sort of online technology to help them with the home financing process. Eighty-one percent said that technology made it easier to share financial information with their lender and 69 percent said it helped them keep track of important financial documents.

Communication Between Homebuyer and Mortgage Banker Evolves

Thirty-six percent of homebuyers said that completing the entire financing process online with no phone calls or in-person meetings would make the process easier. However, the majority still prefer to have a relationship with their mortgage banker:

  • Nearly all homebuyers surveyed communicated with their lenders by phone, 94 percent, or email, 88 percent, while 67 percent of respondents met in person
  • Among those who used electronic communications, 68 percent felt it made it easier to work with their lenders
  • More than half, 54 percent, filled out their mortgage application online

“As technology continues to become an integral part of our daily lives, it’s only natural that buyers also use it to make the home financing process easier,” said TJ Freeborn, senior manager of customer experience at Discover Home Loans. “Not only are homebuyers using the internet to look at homes and neighborhoods, they’re also using it to submit documents and complete applications online.”

Technology Streamlines the Mortgage Process

Four out of five homebuyers submitted documents electronically to a lender, realtor or at closing. Of those, nine out of 10 say it was easy to do and saved time. Also, recent homebuyers felt secure submitting documents virtually. Eighty-six percent felt comfortable sharing personal and financial information electronically with their lenders.

Homebuyers who used online tools to submit documents said it saved time (92 percent), helped them stay organized (83 percent), and cut down on paperwork (68 percent).

  • More than 70 percent of homebuyers submitted lender documents through email, an app or a website
  • Almost half, 47 percent, were pre-qualified for a mortgage through a lender’s website
  • Four in 10 read online lender reviews to help them choose a lender

Online Financing Should Continue to Change

When thinking back about the lending process, homebuyers believe online improvements would have made it easier to work with their lender, including:

  • Secure ways to submit electronic documents, 77 percent
  • Easy-to-use online applications, 72 percent
  • 24-hour support, 52 percent

The national survey of 1,003 recent homebuyers was commissioned by Discover Home Loans and conducted by Versta Research, an independent survey research firm (www.verstaresearch.com), Sept. 5 to Sept. 17, 2014. The sample was carefully balanced and weighted using American Housing Survey and National Association of Realtors data to ensure an accurate representation of homebuyers by region, age, marital status and first-time versus repeat homebuyer status.

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America’s cash rewards pioneer, and offers home loans, private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit www.discover.com/company.

1. How would you rate your experience with just the financing process?

unweighted (n) 1003
NET POSITIVE 81%
Very positive 19%

Positive

62%

NET NEGATIVE 19%
Negative 15%
Very negative 4%

2. Did it feel easy or difficult?

unweighted (n) 1003

NET EASY

67%

Very easy

14%

Easy

52%

NET DIFFICULT

33%

Difficult

28%

Very difficult

5%

3. Did it feel like the financing process was clear or was it confusing?

unweighted (n) 1003

NET CLEAR

69%

Very clear

15%

Clear

54%

NET CONFUSING

31%

Confusing

27%

Very confusing

5%

4. When you were getting a mortgage or home loan, did you:

RANDOMIZE ROWS. KEEP A/B TOGETHER, IN THAT ORDER.

unweighted (n) = 1003 Yes No
a. Fill out an online application for a mortgage or home loan? 54% 46%
b. Get pre-qualified for a mortgage through a lender’s website? 47% 53%
c. Read reviews of lenders online? 39% 61%

d.

Submit documents to your lender through e-mail, apps or a website?

71%

29%

5. [IF NON-TECH USER, SKIP AND PUNCH ALL AS ‘NO’] And finally, did you: RANDOMIZE ROWS. KEEP A/B TOGETHER, IN THAT ORDER.

unweighted (n) = 1003

Yes

No

a. Read profiles of real estate agents online? 37% 63%
b. Submit documents to a real estate agent through e-mail, apps or a website? 68% 32%
c. Scan in and submit closing documents electronically after signing them at home? 50% 50%
d. Set up an appointment with a home inspector through e-mail, apps or a website? 42% 58%
e. Use a cell phone to take pictures or videos of a home to show family or friends? 67% 33%
f. Visit a website you got from a newspaper, flyer or yard sign? 35% 65%

6. Which of these, if any, were among the reasons you didn’t use technology very much to help you find and buy your home?

RANDOMIZE ROWS.

unweighted (n) = 118 Yes No
a. I don’t trust a lot of the information online. 39% 61%
b. I felt overwhelmed by the amount of information online. 25% 75%
c. I just prefer a more hands-on experience. 81% 19%
d. I was worried about security. 31% 69%
e. It was too hard to find helpful resources. 17% 83%

7. [IF ONLINE APPLICATION] Was it easy or difficult to apply for a mortgage or home loan online?

unweighted (n) 527

NET EASY

81%

Very easy

15%

Easy

66%

NET DIFFICULT

19%

Difficult

16%

Very difficult

3%

8. [IF NOT SUBMITTED ANY DOCUMENTS USING TECH] [HIDE FIRST SENTENCE IF Q11=NO] You said you didn’t submit any documents electronically via e-mail, apps or a website.

Did you have the option to submit any documents electronically?

unweighted (n) 217

Yes

42%

No

58%

9. [IF NO] If you’d been given the option to submit documents electronically, would you have done it?

unweighted (n) 124

Yes

29%

No

21%

I’m not sure

49%

10. How much do you agree or disagree that using technology made the financing process easier?

unweighted (n) 885

NET AGREE

85%

Strongly agree

21%

Agree

64%

NET DISAGREE

10%

Disagree

8%

Strongly disagree

1%

Don’t know

6%

11. Do you think using technology made it easier or harder to:

SHOW GRID. DO NOT RANDOMIZE ROWS.
a. Learn about the financing process?

unweighted (n)

852

Easier

51%

Neither harder nor easier

45%

Harder

4%

DOESN’T APPLY TO ME

32

b. Find the right lender for your mortgage or home loan?

unweighted (n)

750

Easier

48%

Neither harder nor easier

50%

Harder

2%

DOESN’T APPLY TO ME

130

c. Fill out mortgage or home loan applications?

unweighted (n)

811

Easier

65%

Neither harder nor easier

32%

Harder

3%

DOESN’T APPLY TO ME

70

d. Keep track of important financial documents?

unweighted (n)

847

Easier

69%

Neither harder nor easier

28%

Harder

2%

DOESN’T APPLY TO ME

35

e. Share financial information with your lender?

unweighted (n)

843

Easier

81%

Neither harder nor easier

17%

Harder

2%

DOESN’T APPLY TO ME

41

12. How did you communicate with your lender?

DO NOT RANDOMIZE ROWS.

unweighted (n) = 1003 Yes No
a. In person 67% 33%
b. Postal mail 33% 67%
c. Phone calls 94% 6%
d. Text messages (SMS) 28% 72%
e. E-mail 88% 12%
f. Instant messages or online chat 8% 92%
g. Social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) 6% 94%

13. [IF YES TO D-G] Did communicating with your lender electronically make it easier or harder to work with them?

unweighted (n) 909

Easier

68%

Neither harder nor easier

30%

Harder

2%

14. How comfortable [were you//would you have been] sharing your personal and financial information with your lender electronically?

unweighted (n) 1003

NET COMFORTABLE

86%

Very comfortable

26%

Comfortable

60%

NET NOT COMFORTABLE

11%

Not comfortable

9%

Not at all comfortable

2%

Don’t know

3%

15. Thinking back on it now, would any of these have made it easier to work with your lender?

RANDOMIZE ROWS.

unweighted (n) = 1003

Yes No
a.

24-hour support

52% 48%
b. A secure way to submit documents electronically 77% 23%
c. An easy-to-use online application 72% 28%
d. More information on their website 49% 51%
e. Doing everything online, with no phone calls or meetings [ANCHOR ROW] 36% 64%

16. Do you think using technology helped you:

SHOW GRID. RANDOMIZE ROWS.
unweighted (n) = 885 Yes No Don’t know
a. Be a more confident homebuyer? 69% 22% 9%
b. Be a smarter homebuyer? 76% 13% 11%
c. Cut back on paperwork? 68% 26% 6%
d. Save money? 47% 35% 17%
e. Save you time? 92% 6% 2%
f. Stay organized? 83% 12% 5%

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