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One of the main goals of the FREEandCLEAR Mortgage Survey is to understand what borrowers think about the mortgage process. With over four decades of mortgage industry experience, our hypothesis prior to conducting the survey was that borrowers find the mortgage process challenging, confusing and perhaps even overwhelming.
When asked to compare the mortgage process to a range of pleasant to not-so-pleasant options, a combined 75% of survey respondents said their mortgage experience was most similar to an annual physical or going to the dentist, reflecting borrowers’ discomfort with the process .
The results of this question reveal that most borrowers put the mortgage process in the “unpleasant but necessary” category. People usually do not look forward to their annual physical and most people certainly do not enjoy going to the dentist but we all should do these things regularly despite how uncomfortable they are.
I think we can take some comfort that the annual physical choice came in slightly ahead of going to the dentist but both options reinforce that getting a mortgage is not something people enjoy or look forward to. Survey respondents pointed to mountains of paperwork, challenging qualification requirements and confusing terminology as reasons for their dissatisfaction with the mortgage process.
On a more positive note, 22% of borrowers indicated that the mortgage process was most similar to doing business with a good friend which is what both borrowers and lenders hope for. Not surprisingly, only 3% of respondents compared the mortgage process to a nice meal while 1% of respondents enjoyed the process enough to compare it to a spa day — wouldn’t that be nice!!! Unfortunately the stresses, challenges and complexities of getting a mortgage remind significantly more people of getting their annual check-up, or worse, getting a cavity drilled.
Based on the survey results, streamlining paperwork and enhancing borrower education are steps the industry could take to to improve the mortgage experience for borrowers. With more lenders embracing technology solution as well as the continued evolution of regulations, the opportunity exists to make the mortgage process much more borrower-friendly in the future. We hope that in version 2.0 of the FREEandCLEAR Mortgage Survey, when borrowers are asked to compare their mortgage experience, “doing business with a friend” becomes the top response. While dentists are great for oral hygiene, when it comes to mortgages I think we would all rather work with a friend.
We will continue to provide a detailed analysis of each survey question on our blog in the coming weeks and you can review the full results from the FREEandCLEAR Mortgage Survey to better understand how borrowers think about and experience the mortgage process.