• The fourth annual TD Bank Mortgage Service Index poll surveyed 1,300 homeowners who bought a house within the past 10 years.
  • More than 70 percent of participants reported a "very good" or "excellent" homebuying process. Finding a good Realtor, securing the right lender and getting approved for a mortgage were on the list of positive factors.
  • Many homebuyers are turning to unconventional lending and creative financing to get the property they want, and more than half wish there were more educational resources available online.

Despite today’s time-consuming lending process, more than 70 percent of the 1,300 homeowners surveyed in this year’s fourth annual TD Bank Mortgage Service Index rated their most recent buying experience as “very good” or “excellent,” an increase of nearly 10 percent over the past two years.

Finding a good Realtor, securing the right lender and getting approved for a mortgage were on the list of positive factors. The number of Americans who reported an “excellent” experience with their lender increased from 28 percent in 2015 to 32 percent this year, though over a third of respondents indicated a “very to extremely stressful” home purchase.

The survey included those property owners who had purchased a home within the past 10 years.

Trends in digital and creative funding

Unconventional lending strategies were important to a large portion of homebuyers, more than a third of whom found financing through a mortgage affordability program.

This option appears to be even more common for the younger generation, with 56 percent of millennials surveyed turning to affordable financing options this year and 42 percent sharing a mortgage with someone other than a spouse.

Over a quarter of total homebuyers opted to buy a house with their significant other before marriage.

Further debunking hard-and-fast down-payment misperceptions, more than half of the survey participants reported putting less than 20 percent down on their first home.

Areas for improvement

The survey report pointed to the top three opportunities for improvement in the mortgage lending space:

  • Providing more detailed online resources (nearly 70 percent of millennials said that this was the best way that banks could offer more education, and more than half of all homeowners made this request)
  • Training frontline staff
  • Holding seminars or workshops in home financing

The digital information available on industry professionals continues to gain weight and popularity, with the number of homebuyers researching their lenders on social media doubling in two years, reaching a total of 14 percent in 2016.

“Our data demonstrates that homebuying sentiment is improving, but lenders still need to adopt a more omnichannel approach to providing financial guidance and expertise,” said Kevin Gillen, senior vice president of Mortgage at TD Bank, in a press release.

Email Caroline Feeney

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