Mortgages are going from handshakes to webcams. Here are 12 terms that are defining industry change.

This month, we’ll talk to mortgage leaders about where the market is headed and how products are evolving digitally to suit buyers’ needs now. We’ll also explore emerging alternative financing options that are changing the game for buyers and sellers. Join us for Mortgage and Alternative Financing Month.

Even with all the change that 2020 brought to the industry, we’re only scratching the surface of what technology will do to the real estate transaction.

Zillow is aiming for “one-click nirvana,” and CoStar has entered the game like a late-inning closer in Game 7. Acquisitions are being announced weekly, and consumers are only becoming more informed.

Meanwhile, innovators in the escrow and mortgage categories are introducing new ways to flatten the deal, from lead generation to e-recording. It’s a wave yet to crest, and we should all be paddling for it. You don’t want to be in the wrong spot when it hits shore.

The following list is a brief — but sure to lengthen — list of terms in the eClosing world with which agents should become familiar.

1. eClosing 

A fully electronic home closing, in which all parties sign all required documents with secure digital signatures.

2. eNote

A digital promissory note or mortgage.

3. eRecording

The secure digital recording of title information. It’s legal nationwide.

4. eVault

A secure clearinghouse required to house eNotes and related data.

5. Hybrid closing

A closing that uses a mix of hard-copy and electronic documentation. Documents not needing notarization will likely be digital. In-person notarization is typical.

6. KBA (knowledge-based authentication)

A form of identity verification that requires the individual to provide private information known only to that person. Common to the digital mortgage process.

7. MERS (mortgage electronic registry system)

A mortgage-industry-created, national electronic registry system that records eNotes (electronic mortgages) and tracks ownership changes.

8. MERS eRegistry

System of record for identifying the controller (holder) and location (custodian) of the authoritative copy of an eNote.

9. MISMO (mortgage industry standards maintenance organization)

A standards establishment and maintenance board.


The digital document format in which eNotes must be created, transferred and recorded.

11. Multifactor authentication

A form of identity verification that uses two or more methods to ensure a person’s authenticity, such as government-issued ID, randomized personal questions or fingerprints.

12. RON (remote online notarization)

Conducting a document notarization over the internet, commonly over an authenticated connection and video chat.

That closes it for now.

What did we miss? Please share in the comments section below. 

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

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