Inman

Is new lender better.com a better way to qualify leads?

By March 20, 2017 No Comments

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

Better.com is a web-based mortgage pre-approval and origination resource.

Platforms: Browser-based; mobile-optimized
Ideal For: Tech-savvy, progressive agents. Independent/boutique firms that work with younger, first-time buyers.

Top selling points

  • Fast, simple pre-approval process
  • Easier for clients
  • Can quickly help qualify leads

Top concerns

  • Online mortgage processes won’t appeal to more traditional buyers or agents.

What you should know

A good deal of leads are ignored if they aren’t pre-qualified for a mortgage. The process to do so has never helped real estate agents much, either.

Consumers today are increasingly wary of entering a bank to hand over private information in order to be judged by a stranger in a bad suit.

That process is even more cumbersome if its only purpose is to “qualify” them to see a home.

Better.com is an established direct lender that consolidates the entire mortgage pre-approval process into a smart question-and-answer process that takes a mere three minutes.

Agents can feel confident referring leads to the website because actual people oversee the process.

The website walks users through a digital survey that inquires about home goals, budget, down payment amount, location, current income and other basic parameters that contribute to pre-approval.

Agents can feel confident referring leads to the website

Better returns a list of potential loan types and asks the consumer to choose. It lists rates and payment estimates and lets the user adjust payment limits.

The next step is to choose a loan type and begin the actual income and asset verification process. This part is naturally a bit longer, but still considerably less cumbersome an endeavor than what physical banks require.

Having been walked through the process, I find the user experience delicately balances the formality of the lending process with the convenient arm’s-length approach of a well-designed digital interface.

The company formally launched as better.com in 2016. Its team is made up of tech pros from places like Uber, Spotify, Doubleclick and Google. Finance industry experience is culled from employees who once worked at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Citibank, Blackrock and other investment and finance organizations.

The company’s most recent round of funding netted them $30 million. It has originated well over 1,000 loans since launching, totaling approximately $500 million.

This is not Rocket Mortgage; better.com isn’t pushing the mantra that everyone deserves a mortgage or that traditional lending is dead. This is about making the process easier and less intimidating for home shoppers.

Better.com can help real estate agents …

  • Improve lead quality
  • Remove any risk of lender referral bias
  • Demonstrate awareness of today’s consumer trends
  • Step away from the lending process
  • Connect with more first-time and millennial buyers

The company is active in a number of west and east coast markets, including, California, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Oregon and Washington. This year will see it begin operations in Texas, Arizona, Colorado and New York.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

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