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Guest blog: Digitising the house buying process – could technology make a 20 minute house sale a reality?

Guest blog by Arman Tahmassebi, Chief Operating Officer, LendInvest. First published in Society Matters magazine.

In the ever-evolving landscape of real estate, technological advancements are reshaping traditional processes. The digitisation of the mortgage process holds the promise of revolutionising the industry, potentially leading to a remarkably swift and efficient 20-minute house sale.

By harnessing the power of technology, innovative platforms and solutions are emerging, simplifying and streamlining the once laborious and time-consuming aspects of purchasing a property. From virtual tours and online document signing to block chain-based smart contracts, these advancements aim to expedite transactions, minimise paperwork, and enhance transparency.

Collaboration is key

The mortgage industry, despite its advancements in various areas, continues to struggle with lengthy  processes that can take up to 12 weeks. One of the underlying issues is the fragmented nature of the  industry itself, with different areas progressing in silos. Lenders, appraisers, underwriters, and legal  professionals often operate independently, leading to a lack of seamless integration and collaboration. This disjointed approach hampers the overall customer experience and prevents the realisation of a streamlined mortgage process. By fostering greater cooperation, standardising processes, and leveraging technology these different components can be connected.
 
A prevailing issue is the proliferation of lenders and technology providers who have predominantly  focused on niche products and solutions. The true leaders in the industry will be those who  demonstrate the ability to unify and integrate all aspects, encompassing both front and back-end  perspectives. A holistic approach not only streamlines the customer experience but also enhances  operational efficiency, transparency, and collaboration across the mortgage value chain. Ultimately, the leaders who successfully bridge these gaps will redefine the industry and set new standards for excellence. 

Open banking and the opportunity in progressive technology 

Lenders hold a crucial responsibility in enhancing the customer experience by embracing change, fostering collaboration, and embracing digitisation. Initiatives like Open Banking, digital signatures and information sharing techniques such as online KYC verification contribute to both speed and transparency, a vital element in building trust. When lenders and high street banks support such advancements collectively, it bolsters customer confidence. By leveraging these tools and technologies, lenders can provide customers with greater visibility into their financial options, streamline processes, and offer personalised solutions. 

Fragmented property data remains a roadblock 

The pain of fragmented and incomplete property data in the UK is a persistent challenge that hinders progress within the industry. Existing property data is often inadequate, recorded on outdated systems, and lacks cohesion. While efforts are being made to improve the situation, particularly with initiatives undertaken by the Land Registry, there remains substantial work ahead. The task of consolidating and organising this vast amount of data in a cohesive and user-friendly manner poses significant difficulties. This limitation acts as a bottleneck, impeding the industry’s ability to advance and innovate. 

Drawing inspiration from Europe and further afar 

In countries like Sweden and Finland, digital mortgage processes are prevalent. They leverage electronic identification systems, digital signing, and centralised databases, resulting in efficient and secure transactions. The Australian mortgage market has seen significant advancements in electronic conveyancing. Platforms like Property Exchange Australia (PEXA) enable seamless and paperless property transactions, reducing processing times and enhancing transparency. Singapore’s mortgage market is known for its technology-driven solutions. The country’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), launched the MyInfo platform, which allows seamless sharing of verified personal data between banks and government agencies, expediting mortgage applications. 

By studying and adopting successful elements from these examples and other innovative practices worldwide, the mortgage industry can explore ways to enhance speed, transparency, collaboration and customer satisfaction, ultimately moving closer to the realisation of a 20-minute mortgage experience.

For more information see LendInvest’s website www.lendinvest.com