Technology

3 ways technology is changing the closing process

Technology adoption can be intimidating but it is improving the closing process for all parties
  • TRID is fueling an increase in eClosings.
  • Technology is helping agents inform their homebuyers on estimated costs along the way so there are no surprises at the closing table.
  • Technology is allowing the closing process to be done almost entirely electronically.

In what seems like a short time, consumers have come to rely on their phones, tablets and other devices as the go-to place for information.

Few industries have been impacted by this fact as significantly as real estate, where searching for a home online has become commonplace. But technology, like progress, cannot be stopped, and its impact has more recently extended to the closing process.

Here are just three ways home closings look very differently today:

TRID requires that all forms are generated and filed online

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) “Know Before You Owe” rule, commonly referred to as TRID, implemented requirements that have changed home closings in significant ways. Perhaps most notable is the fact that the loan estimate and closing disclosure forms must be generated and completed electronically.

Although in most cases, these forms will be printed for the actual closing, the technology behind it has greatly streamlined the process of generating and storing this information.

Homebuyers don’t want any surprises

It’s no longer sufficient for prospective buyers to just get an estimate on the mortgage and tax expense for a home they’re considering for purchase.

Just as TRID aims to prevent unexpected surprises at the closing table, the Proper Agent app strives to provide estimates on every cost the consumer will incur, including closing fees.

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In addition to providing the figures that comprise the estimated monthly cost, as most home-search apps do, Proper Agent also calculates estimates for the closing fees for conventional, FHA and VA loans. The app also provides estimates on deadlines for closing documents, so homebuyers know not just what to expect, but when to expect it.

eClosings are gaining traction

While much of the closing process is now electronic, thanks to TRID, there’s been a gradual, albeit slow, adoption of eClosings that is likely to become more the norm over time.

Like any process where you’re moving from paper to an electronic platform, it will require both the ability – and will – for providers and consumers alike to fully embrace the new systems.

But we might be on the road to consumer approval, since the eClosing pilot program conducted by the CFPB last year found a 17 percent increase in scores for borrowers using eClosings compared to borrowers using paper documents.

Perhaps the best thing about technology is not just how it improves our lives by keeping us connected and expanding access to information, but also the fact that it’s always looking forward. If we, as an industry, are able to keep our focus on how to continually leverage technology for our clients and our business, everybody wins.

Ben Niernberg is the executive vice president of business development and operations at Northbrook, Illinois-based Proper Title, LLC, a full-service title insurance agency.