Customer Experience is Critical to Winning Future Business in Today’s Mortgage Market

The fourth annual national survey(1) commissioned by Solidifi U.S. Inc. (“Solidifi”) reaffirmed that the customer experience and in-person interactions will drive future business for the mortgage industry. However, rising interest rates and concerns of home affordability have given borrowers pause for concern on their future plans as the mortgage industry continues to slow.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221025006016/en/

Borrowers open up about the mortgage experience in the Solidifi 2022 Consumer Mortgage Experience Survey. (Graphic: Business Wire)

“The customer experience is critical to winning future business, and the mortgage process can be a gateway for lenders to build customer loyalty,” said Solidifi President Loren Cooke. “In fact, 96% of very satisfied borrowers were very likely to use their lender again, and 72% were likely to recommend their lender. In the current market, good experiences and relationships were four times more likely than interest rates to drive repeat business with a lender. The results showcased that good relationships and experiences build not only trust but also loyalty towards lenders – equating to future business.”

The new Solidifi 2022 Future Plans of Homeowners Survey(2) revealed that the majority of homeowners intend to purchase, refinance, or take out a home equity line of credit (“HELOC”) in the next three to five years. And more than half of all survey respondents want to invest in their future by buying an investment property or vacation home. But there are headwinds to their plans as interest rates are at or near the ceiling for most consumers in America. “Our survey showed that the current rate environment has put pressure on homeowners’ impending plans. However, the survey revealed that life events like caring for an aging relative, education expenses and getting married will continue to drive mortgage decisions,” added Cooke.

Home improvements are also driving borrowing decisions. Nearly half of homeowners would refinance to pay for home improvements, and a resounding 75% of those surveyed cited home improvements as the #1 reason for getting a home equity loan or line of credit. The survey revealed that homeowners are most likely to borrow for major investments that add significant value to their home: 81% want to renovate a kitchen or bathroom, 38% want to add living space or a home office, and 21% want a pool.

The Solidifi 2022 Consumer Mortgage Experience Survey polled over 1,000 residential borrowers 18 years of age or older in the United States who have refinanced or purchased a home within the last two years to assess two of the most critical touchpoints in the mortgage transaction: the appraisal and closing experiences. The survey took a comprehensive look at the borrower’s experience from what drives their decision-making to how their satisfaction results in future business. The results reaffirmed findings of the past three years and uncovered interesting synergies across all transaction types on how our industry can better serve consumers and win business in the future.

“This year’s survey results reaffirmed that borrowers continue to value in-person interactions for both appraisals and closings. People have a better experience when they interact with the appraiser and closing agent. While digital is increasingly becoming part of the closing experience, the process itself is becoming more – not less – personal,” said Cooke.

Borrowers continue to want in-person closings for better communication and increased trust. In fact, 81% said that face-to-face is the ideal way to close with 60% preferring a paper process, 15% preferring in-person with fully electronic documents (“in-person electronic notary” or “IPEN”), and 25% preferring an in-person hybrid process of both paper and electronic documents. The results continued to reveal that most borrowers use and prefer digital tools prior to closing for the review of documents, with Millennials preferring an in-person digitally enabled closing. In line with past results, face-to-face interactions were also preferred for home equity loan and HELOC closings. While most borrowers closed their purchase transactions in the title agent’s office, 71% indicated they preferred a mobile notary for their refinance transaction, and more than half for purchase transactions.

“Consumers want more closing options and flexibility, and as an industry we still have work to do to educate consumers on the options available to them,” said Cooke. “But regardless of how the closing is conducted, the experience has to be flawless.”

“Our survey confirmed that good communication and trusted agents are the key to a great closing experience,” concluded Cooke. “Borrowers rely on trusted partners to guide them through the transaction process – that’s why we continue to focus on creating an extraordinary experience through our network of trusted appraisers and notaries who meet and exceed consumer expectations, every time. In fact, 95% of those who used Solidifi were satisfied with the appraisal process, and those who closed with Solidifi were unanimously satisfied with the closing process.”

To download the full survey results, visit: go.solidifi.com/2022mortgageexperiencesurvey.

[1] In the Solidifi 2022 Consumer Mortgage Experience Survey, Market Street Research surveyed more than 1,000 residential borrowers 18 years of age or older in the United States who refinanced or purchased a home within the last two years. Panelists included an equal mix of those who purchased a home or refinanced a mortgage in the last year and a mix of those who closed between one or two years ago.

[2] In the Solidifi 2022 Future Plans of Homeowners Survey, Market Street Research surveyed more than 500 residential borrowers 18 years of age or older in the United States who closed on a new mortgage, refinanced an existing property, borrowed against their home via a home equity loan or HELOC with a representative mix of those who closed within the past year, between one or two years ago and those having closed more than two years ago.

Both surveys were fielded using Snap Surveys, and the panels were sourced from Dynata. Fielding was executed in July 2022.

About Solidifi Solidifi is a leading network management services provider for the residential lending industry. Our platform combines proprietary technology and network management capabilities with tens of thousands of independent qualified field professionals to create an efficient marketplace for the provision of mortgage lending services. We are a leading independent provider of residential real estate appraisals and title services. Our clients include top 100 mortgage lenders in the U.S. Solidifi is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Real Matters Inc. (TSX: REAL). Visit www.solidifi.com for more information and stay connected with our latest news on LinkedIn.

Solidifi and the Solidifi logo are trademarks of Real Matters Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Jennie Craig Vice President, Marketing jlcraig@solidifi.com 832.236.3392

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