Safe and sold: Buying and financing a home from home
We’re doing everything from home these days—working from home, socializing from home (hello FaceTime and Zoom chats1), working out in your living room—but what about buying and financing a home from home?
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate and mortgage industries are quickly implementing technology that makes it possible to adhere to social-distancing practices and still safely and securely buy or refinance a home.
At Guaranteed Rate, most of these practices were already in place prior to the pandemic, with technology originally created for convenience and efficiency suddenly reaching new levels of significance given social distancing. With an entirely digital process, your mortgage experience can be 100% free of physical human contact, even through closing. So, how does this all work?
View by way of virtual tour
Agents are adapting by setting up virtual showings—providing video footage from inside a home and walking buyers through a virtual tour. This is isn’t a video of still shots of a home that you may be used to. By implementing live video-chat home touring systems, agents are able to take you from room to room—testing out utilities and even pointing out flaws—to ensure you can see every inch and crevice of your potential home.
New technology also allows for 3D virtual tours, so you can go back on your own and zoom in on certain areas, similarly to Google Maps.1 And if you happen to have a VR headset, the technology has the capability to make you feel like you’re really moving inside a home, walking up the stairs, opening closet doors or stepping out into the backyard.
Some agents are even accepting offers with contingency stipulations of eventually seeing the home in person once the crisis passes. And while traditional open houses are on hold across the nation, agents have the ability to show homes in person while still practicing social distancing and keeping a safe distance from clients.
The digital mortgage experience
Through Guaranteed Rate’s Digital Mortgage, you can check real-time rates, pull credit and receive a pre-approval in 15 minutes or less.2 Never underestimate the power of a pre-approval! Now more than ever, a pre-approval makes you a more competitive buyer and also shows agents you’re serious about buying a home.
When it’s time to verify your information, this can all be done digitally. Through Transfersafe, our secure document imaging system, you can upload all your documents and financial statements, and ensure they’re collected in one, safe, easy-to-access place. Our automation tools then allow for digital verification of data with automated bank statement, income, and tax return gathering. No collecting paystubs or digging up old files.
A contact-free close
Our FlashClose SM 3 platform enables both full e-closings and hybrid options. Originally developed to expedite the closing process, it’s been a huge success, with over 23,000 loans closed through FlashCloseSM in 2019 alone.
The FlashCloseSM hybrid option allows borrowers to review and e-sign the majority of documents ahead of time and complete the notarization process in person. But in-person can be—and has recently been—accomplished while practicing social distancing. A notary is able to drop off documents and stand at an appropriate distance while documents are signed. And just like that, your loan is closed, while still maintaining safety guidelines to keep you, and all parties involved, safe.
Where applicable, our FlashCloseSM eClose 4 allows borrowers to complete the entire closing process from the safety of their own home. With use of a webcam, documents are e-signed, and a licensed remote notary is able to complete the notarization.
A new virtual reality
During this unprecedented time, Guaranteed Rate, and the industry as a whole, continues to adapt in an effort to help you take advantage of the current low rates. With the use of innovative technology, buying a home from your home is now a possibility.
1 Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, and Google Maps are registered trademarks and are not associated, affiliated or endorsed by Guaranteed Rate, Inc.
2 “Pre-approval” means an automated underwriting system approval based upon credit information supplied by applicant and subject to Guaranteed Rate’s review of loan documents. Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply, contact Guaranteed Rate for current rates and for more information.
3 Not eligible for all loan types or investors. Conventional loans only. Eligible for primary, 2nd home and investment properties. Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Title company restrictions may apply, contact Guaranteed Rate for current rates and for more information. Beware of cyber-fraud: Before wiring any funds, call the intended recipient at a number you know is valid to confirm the instructions - and be very wary of any request to change wire instructions you already received. A Guaranteed Rate employee will never provide nor confirm wire instructions.
4Full eClose is not currently eligible in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and West Virginia.