How COVID Influenced The Mortgage Industry
Getting a mortgage through the pandemic can be challenging, especially with the number of rules and restrictions that were playing around. Furthermore, with many people losing their jobs or taking time off work, it was challenging for mortgage agencies and financial institutions to be certain they would receive a return on their investment.
We are now seeing things getting a lot better, with the vaccine, the social distancing mandates, and people wearing masks and being as safe as they can be. However, there are changes that they had to prepare for. With the new variant, people are unsure about how they will adapt, and it seems like some companies and countries are planning on going back to being as strict as they were since the beginning of the lockdown.
There was an expectation that COVID would hurt the housing market, but it had the opposite effect. During the past couple of years, the real estate market flourished with high demand and low supply. The cost of homes also increased dramatically in most markets. People working remotely wanted to move away from cities and apartments to the outskirts or countryside as they were looking for more space and no longer had to come into the office to get things done. Some were also giving up their rented apartments and moving in with their parents, which allowed them to spend less on rent.
Over the next six months, if the infected cases continue to rise and lockdowns are imminent, we will continue to implement the COVID strategies that we have mastered over the past couple of years. We can continue to work exclusively online and over the phone with clients. We adopted new technologies that help remote work and serve clients while social distancing or not meeting in person. These technologies and strategies also help maintain our efficiency, increase workflow and streamline the process for our clients.
There were a couple of changes we kept up with the rules and convenience of our clients. Everything changed in terms of process and we had to redo the structures we were working with over many years. We met clients in person for the longest time to complete applications, collect and review documents. Now we had to get everything done over the phone and online. We also changed our homes, turning them into offices so we could work remotely and go paperless, which is much better. Clients’ interactions with real estate agents and viewing properties were disrupted significantly, and we even saw people purchasing properties without viewing them in person. Lawyers have been conducting online video conferencing meetings to work with their clients.
We even had to change the way we communicated with one another. We were working with clients, online and over the phone, much more than in the past. We could not meet people at a whim anymore, and many clients were not open to us coming in and meeting them. If we wanted to handle an in-person meeting, we had to get permission and work on that accordingly. Similarly, for the most part, I was working from home and office but client interactions inside the office were minimized significantly due to COVID.
Remote working was not easy to keep up with, and when it came to coordinating with clients, not everyone was finding it as simple to adjust. I prefer meeting clients face to face. There's always a personal touch when you can put a face to a client’s name. Sometimes it makes it easier to explain things when you meet clients in person. We had to learn to adopt new technologies to streamline the process and be able to work remotely. With new rules, we are only allowed a couple of clients in our office at a time, It has to be in a sanitized and neutral space, so we use our boardroom for client meetings. Clients need to be screened in advance, wear masks, and meet behind plexiglass. When we are walking around our office, people should be wearing masks at all times, and we have sanitization stations all around the office. We can no longer meet clients in our offices.
Overall, we do everything we can to keep the clients we work with safe. We force everyone coming in to meet us to wear masks, and we sanitize everything, including high touchpoints. Furthermore, clients must sanitize, get pre-screened, and meet exclusively in our boardroom to consistently monitor who has been in and out of our office and sanitize everything accordingly.
I am doing as much work now as I always did. There are times when I get more done, and I have not been slowing down. I work around my clients’ needs which sometimes include evenings, weekends, and holidays. When it comes to the hours we put in, we stayed constant to hours since before the pandemic.
As a company, we pass a lot of the information to our clients online, so we had to invest in some secure servers. When it comes to a home purchase or mortgage, they are one of the most expensive decisions a person would make, so we have to ensure the information we pass around is protected. We were using secure platforms before COVID but adopted some new technologies during COVID, which helped us manage our clients and files during the pandemic. FINMO, SIGNNOW, Filogix, BluMortgage, SNAPNOA, DOORR among others, have always been reliable and are platforms that we can trust to get through the process.
I am open to meeting clients depending on the health guidelines at the time. Based on the public health officials' advice, they determine what we can and can’t do when meeting clients. We do not want to force any clients into meetings, but if they are comfortable meeting us in person, we would be open to making the trip. However, for the clients who are not fans of meeting in person, we had to make alternate arrangements. We worked on video conferencing calls for a while and will continue to do so until things get back to normal.
We also look forward to taking part in virtual public events and business expos to create more awareness about our brand and the work we do.
If you are looking for assistance when it comes to applying for a mortgage, connect with Chris Carvalho - The Mortgage Professional. I have worked in this industry for some time now and have a decent understanding of mortgages. Additionally, we connect with various financial institutions so that they are in the position to assist with our requirements and get our clients the best deals possible. Furthermore, we work on various types of mortgages, so would be able to assist everyone looking for a mortgage. If you want a better understanding of the services we offer, please click here. If you are looking to get in touch with us or think we can assist with any requirements, please click here.