A new mortgage lead generation report from Google + Chase Bank brings clarity to homebuyer searches and helps lenders better understand what buyers want and need AND how to capitalize on search trends for mortgage marketing.
If you are a loan originator, how do you get in the mind of the homebuyer when they’re looking for a home and a mortgage? How do you improve your mortgage marketing?
- What do they want to know about the home buying process?
- What is driving their action?
- What are they searching for?
Tapping into the homebuyers’ mind and motive would be a mortgage lead generation dream come true for lenders, and now thanks to a unique new report from Chase Home Lending, which recently partnered with Google, that’s entirely possible.
The mortgage marketing lead generation report is based on actual Google search data for the past several years.
According to the report, one of the top homebuyer concerns is affordability, i.e. how much house will they be able to afford. In fact, consumers made 34% more searches around home affordability in 2016 than the year before. In fact, the top three-mortgage related questions asked in Google are all related to affordability:
- How much mortgage can I afford?
- How much mortgage can I qualify for?
- What mortgage can I afford?
The report also sheds light on the fact that more millennials and first time homebuyers are increasing their mortgage-related Google searches, and mortgage affordability is a chief concern among them. This indicates that younger buyers are preparing to (and actually) buy homes. The existing data for 2017 shows that search activity for first-time buyer mortgages is at an all-time high.
So far in 2017, first-time homebuyers represent 44% of Google searches in the mortgage category, up 11% from last year.
Chase said that this uptick in mortgage-related searches corresponds to an increase mortgage originations, as customers under age 35 made up 36% of Chase’s new mortgages in 2016, which is up 16% from 2015.
In fact, most real estate agents do not require a buyer to be pre-approved before making an offer on a home.
A study completed at the Keller Center for Research at Baylor University found that prospective home buyers often make emotional and ill-informed decisions about mortgage products once they have actively engaged in purchasing a home. The study says that the buyer is often overwhelmed by the home selection process, which leads to less attention to financing detail after a contract is signed and increases the likelihood of a future home delinquency.
The study, authored by Vanessa Perry, launched the theory of ‘cognitive resource depletion.’ In essence, it shows that buyers make poor decisions regarding the mortgage that best suits their financial situation and needs. According to the National Association of Realtors, a homebuyer will search for a property for an average of 12 weeks before writing a contract, long enough to be confused/indecisive about their home choice to miss key financial details.
Further studies recommend that homebuyers get a formal mortgage pre-approval before starting the search process. This further supports reasons for lenders and agents to use RatePlug’s interactive affordability technology that helps home buyers assess whether or not they can afford (and thus qualify) for a property at the beginning of a house hunt.
Other Key Findings from the Chase Report
These findings are good news for lenders as homebuyers are now searching for affordability information before they begin the home search. The report includes these other interesting findings:
Mobile-first home searches are exploding: Mobile searches for mortgage-related information and home equity lines of credit increased between 30-50% every year from 2013-2016. The report showed that more and more people are turning to their phones to help in their search for a mortgage.
The South is getting the most attention: The South is responsible for 37% of the mortgage searches, compared to 26% for the western part of the country, 19% for the Northeast, and 18% in the Midwest. Florida, in particular, saw a higher rate of searches for fixed-rate mortgage—30% more in 2016 than in 2015, compared to increases of 18% in New York, 9% in Illinois, and 6% in California in the same time period.
Yurts and other non-traditional homes are gaining popularity: Rental property searches still remain strong, but people are taking more of an interest in unique home types. According to the report, the top five home style searches are mansions, yurts, bungalow, brownstones, and minkas.
RatePlug is the nation’s leading mortgage marketing and lead generation platform – that is directly integrated with more than 70 MLS networks. A powerful new mortgage affordability tool through the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) – the platform reveals total monthly housing payments for every property listed for sale, including current mortgage rates, taxes, assessments, and homeowner’s insurance information. Included for agents as part of their MLS network, it is now available to more than 60 percent of all real estate agents and brokers in the U.S. — nearly 700,000 REALTORS® nationwide.`