• Rocket Mortgage is designed to pre-approve qualified buyers in as little as eight minutes.
  • It has desktop and mobile functionality. Consumers can generate preapproval letters on the spot if qualified.

After working for more than three years to make the mortgage process simpler and more accessible for potential homebuyers, Quicken Loans has taken the wraps off a new online mortgage application.

The Detroit-based lender’s new Rocket Mortgage — so named because receiving a loan approval takes about eight minutes, or roughly the length of time it takes a space shuttle to reach orbit — is designed to meet the needs a specific group of potential buyers, said product lead Regis Hadiaris.

RM screenshot 5 -Purchase-Step1

“Rocket Mortgage is for those homebuyers who don’t know how much home they qualify for,” Hadiaris said. “We wanted to give people an easy, fast tool to help them figure that out. The way we look at it, if we can make the housing finance system faster, smarter and simpler, we’re going to expand homeownership.”

Simple questions to start the process

The online application, which is accessible via desktop computer, tablet or mobile device, begins by asking users a few simple questions, including their marital status and whether they may qualify for a VA loan program. From there, the application requests information on current employment and income, as well as past employment.

Some of the tool’s functions eliminate the hassle of users needing to gather a pile of documentation and other data. Some users may be able to automatically pull in their employment data due to a partnership that Quicken has with many companies that supply employee information to the lender.

By filling in their birthdate and Social Security number, users can search to see if they are in this network, which will prefill all of their employment information and give them an opportunity to make any corrections if needed.

Next, users are asked about their assets. The application allows them to sign into their bank accounts and pull in that information as well. Users then answer a series of other questions that may affect their application, such as whether they have ever declared bankruptcy, whether they owe child support, whether they have purchased a home in the last three years and how much downpayment they are able to provide.

The application then runs a three-bureau credit report, but examines an individual’s credit history in addition to pulling in a credit score.

On a demo, a fictional user with approximately $80,000 in savings who wanted to relocate from Detroit to Cleveland, Ohio, was pre-approved for a $429,875 mortgage, with $55,824 needed at closing and a monthly payment of $2,727.

RM Screenshot 6 - Purchase results

Once they receive a quote, users can adjust the amount of down payment they plan to make, and those figures will be adjusted in real-time to reflect the changing down payment amounts.

Buyers can also examine additional information on items such as closing costs, homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. Users can then lock in their interest rate and receive an automatic, preapproval letter.

Preapproval at your fingertips

“Imagine being able to get that preapproval letter while you are standing in a house you’re interested in, and giving that to the real estate agent,” Hadiaris said. “We want to empower our clients to have an advantage when making offers on homes, particularly if the home is located in a competitive market.”

Quicken is in the process of launching a full-scale marketing effort aimed at real estate agents, he added.

RM Screenshot 2 -Refi-Solution

Loan documentation and details will be available online. Quicken boasts that “users no longer need to rely on information relayed over the telephone, email, face-to-face or through the mail,” but Hadiaris notes that some buyers with certain circumstances, such as those who wish to buy a home with a non-married co-buyer or who may wish to take advantage of certain borrower assistance programs, will need to speak to a live mortgage banker.

“Our mortgage bankers are available 24-7 if a client chooses to go that route,” he said. “Some people may want to deal with a person, and we’re not abandoning that preference by any stretch of the imagination.

“But for those people who look at the mortgage world like, ‘if I can do everything else on my phone, why can’t I do this, too?’ we want to give them that option. That’s been our goal all along.”

More to come

Quicken has other tools in the works that it expects to release around the first of the new year, Hadiaris said.

Expect news in January about another tool that is designed for “clients who know exactly what they want to get approved for and want to find out if they can,” and third tool aimed at “clients who are already in the process of buying a home and have signed a purchase agreement, and want to get approved for a loan online,” he said.

Email Amy Swinderman.

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