MReport March 2019

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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22 | TH E M R EP O RT FEATURE D o you remember what depositing a check looked like a decade ago? Someone sent or handed you a paper check, and you proceeded to your local bank branch to fill out a deposit slip. You walked up to a bank teller who processed the deposit and handed you a printed receipt. Today, we open our banking app on our mo- bile devices and within a couple of clicks and swipes the check is processed and deposited for us. The technology can process the picture quality and even detect a proper endorsement. Some platforms also read the check text and suggest the deposit amount. That is an example of innovation in banking, and a whole host of innovative and disruptive fintech startups are taking money movement and payment systems to a whole new level. Now let's recall what buying a home was like a decade or two ago. You meet a real estate agent to look at a home, write up a contract, go back and forth negotiating with a seller and ulti- mately (unless you can pay in cash) go through the unbearable experience of providing a bank countless of items to get a mortgage approved. And then we have your closing–the anticli- mactic pinnacle of your purchase transaction that requires you to sign countless pages of paper in the presence of a notary or attorney. Hopefully, you are closing in the comfort of a nice office with comfortable chairs, nice pens, and your choice of tea or coffee. But many people have to travel to a governmental registry–and get the privilege of consummat- ing the most significant financial transaction of their lives in an old county building, sitting in mismatched chairs under flickering lights and a draft coming from old windows. Sound like 1999? Remarkably, most people continue to endure this exact process in 2019. Sure, there are tools online to find new home listings and even estimate a value. We can sign an offer or contract remotely using a digital signing platform, and also wire a deposit. We can apply for a mortgage using a fancy web- portal, but the overall process remains frag- mented, slow, and just plain old. Many theories claim to explain why real estate has been so slow to embrace and adopt innovation. After all, mortgages are highly regulated and the process requires checks and balances to ensure such regulatory compliance– but lots of other regulated industries including banking itself have managed to innovate and develop tools for greater efficiency and smooth- er customer experience. Ultimately, we are an industry resistant to change. We love to throw around terms like "this is how it's always done" or "this is a stan- dard agreement." When it comes to all of the services and products necessary for a real estate transaction to come together, we have a select group of players that dominate the market share nationally, regionally, or locally. And therein lies the problem. We get comfortable. How comfortable? Blockbuster comfortable. Disrupting the Status Quo H ow many of us remember the bright lights of a Blockbuster in our neighborhood? It was the place to go on a weekend evening and pick out a movie to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Started in Dallas, Blockbuster was three times larger than its nearest competitor. The Scramble for Innovation Real estate is next in line for a tech transformation. By Kosta Ligris, Esq.

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