In-Person Interactions During the Mortgage Process Drive Trust and Customer Satisfaction in a Digitally Dependent World

Solidifi Releases Results from its 2021 Consumer Mortgage Experience Survey(1)

The third annual Consumer Mortgage Experience Survey(1) commissioned by Solidifi U.S. Inc. (“Solidifi”) revealed that 81% of borrowers prefer an in-person closing as it instills a greater level of trust and because buying a home is one of the single largest investments in their life. In a digitally dependent society, homeowners continue to want in-person interactions when purchasing and refinancing their home.

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“Our survey reiterated that the caliber of the appraiser and closing agent continues to be a key determinant of customer satisfaction – and that Solidifi outperforms competitors on customer satisfaction”

Yet, the preference for using digital tools in the real estate transaction continues to increase, especially for reviewing documents prior to or during the residential real estate closing process. More than half of the borrowers surveyed wanted to review documents digitally prior to their closing.

“As the consumer mortgage experience becomes more digital and we continue to see generational shifts, investments in technology coupled with customer service-oriented, in-person touch points like the appraisal and closing will play a crucial role in transforming the real estate experience and ultimately determining customer satisfaction with a lender,” said Solidifi President Loren Cooke. “In fact, borrowers who had an exceptional experience with their lender are more than twice as likely to recommend their lender, and 94% are likely to use the lender again.”

The Solidifi 2021 Consumer Mortgage Experience Survey surveyed 1,000+ residential borrowers 18 years of age or older in the United States who have refinanced or purchased a home within the last two years, to assess the two most critical touchpoints in the mortgage transaction, the appraisal and the closing experience. The survey took an expansive look inside the borrower’s experience during the valuation and closing processes, uncovering insights about what ultimately drives consumer preferences and expectations. This year’s results reaffirmed findings of the past two years and uncovered interesting, new generational differences that will shift how our industry can better serve consumers in the future.

Homeownership continues to represent the American dream, according to survey respondents. Regardless of age, borrowers believe owning a home represents an investment in their future, stability, a place for children to grow and thrive, and it represents the most significant financial transaction in their life. Interestingly, Millennials are more likely to see home ownership as fulfilling needs related to family and community, while Boomers see it as a significant financial transaction and providing stability.

“With our on-demand economy, the “convenience factor” continues to morph consumer preferences in real estate as with so many other retail services,” said Cooke. “Our survey revealed that convenience drives consumer preferences when it comes to closings, and the majority of borrowers prefer to close in an office or at their home versus online. This year, 62% of borrowers indicated that they would like mobile notaries to facilitate their closing, including 71% of Millennials, who were the largest age cohort to prefer a mobile notary.”

Borrowers also revealed that appraisals are very valuable to them. They continue to value interactions with appraisers and confirmed that those who interacted with appraisers had a better overall experience. In fact, 2 in 3 borrowers indicated that having a full interior evaluation increased their trust in their lender.

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“Our survey reiterated that the caliber of the appraiser and closing agent continues to be a key determinant of customer satisfaction – and that Solidifi outperforms competitors on customer satisfaction,” concluded Cooke. “Appraiser and closing agent professionalism, meaningful interactions and communication make or break the consumer experience – that’s why we focus on creating an extraordinary customer experience and delivering proven performance that our customers can depend on, every time.”

Market Street Research surveyed 1,000+ residential borrowers 18 years of age or older in the United States who have refinanced or purchased a home within the last two years, including an equal mix of those who have purchased a home or refinanced a mortgage in the last year and a mix of those who closed between one or two years ago. The survey was fielded using Snap Surveys, and the panel was sourced from Dynata. Fielding was executed in July 2021.