At the start of lockdown, most property professionals would not have thought that the real estate market would recover the way it did. There were almost no sales, very few bond registrations, and a lot of uncertainty.
However, the real estate market has proven to be resilient, mainly due to low-interest rates and a shift from renting to buying. We have seen unprecedented numbers and an increase in ‘first time’ buyers entering the market.
The industry is however evolving, and we are seeing a shift from the more traditional processes. Over the last few years, there has been a move towards more innovation for the real estate industry. The buzzword has been “Proptech”, and it has been received with mixed reviews. Proptech is aimed at changing the way parties engage with one another through digital transformation and is not just limited to buying but encompasses all aspects such as research, renting, commercial property transactions, etc.
Where do home loans fit into all of this? Unlike other countries, South Africa has not seen much change in the home loan application process, but the reality is that this process is long, tedious, and in many aspects archaic. The home loan process is very admin intense and for the first-time buyer who accounts for almost 70% of the home buying market, this can be a very overwhelming experience. Yes, there are digital home loan applications and self-help tools all aimed at alleviating some of the pain points but are these making a significant difference in the home loan process? Are these solutions providing buyers with more efficiency, convenience, and control of their home loan application?
I believe, customers are more empowered and connected than ever before and expect a more seamless experience when applying for a home loan. We have seen the Amazon effect in the retail space but there has also been a shift in the financial services sector, as more customers want the ability to self-service.
Therefore it is imperative for us to have an in-depth understanding of all future buyer’s needs and expectations and implement solutions that are tailored to these. We need to understand what our customers expect and identify where the growth opportunities are.
The home buying journey is not a linear process, it entails a lot of research, comparing different options, and engagement with various parties.
So how do you align a rather complex home loan application process, to the needs of the customer? We know that automating all aspects of the home loan journey is not possible, as buying a home is an emotional purchase and there will always be some sort of human element and engagement, but I do feel that by leveraging technology, we can close the gaps and provide a more streamlined process with a customer-centric view.
At Comcorp Mortgages we are focused on providing innovative home loan solutions for the property industry. Our home loan solutions not only encompass the use of technology, but we work closely with all our partners to ensure we are catering for their digital transformation journeys and aligning with the needs of their customers. The way I see it, the impact of technology in the home loan space is still in its infancy and these changes will take time, but transformation and disruption are inevitable.
I look forward to experiencing this change with you and see how the market’s digital transformation enhances the home loan application process.
by: Nicole Oliver, General Manager Comcorp Mortgage Software