Customer Experience

Article

3 mins

A Home is Only as Smart as Its Servicer

Trusting in Tech

There’s no denying that the Internet of Things has grown so exponentially in recent years that for many of us, it can seem unsafe. While real threats come with automation and connectivity, reputable companies go to great lengths and spend big bucks to ensure their products are secure.

While much of the world trust that their digital products are secure, not everyone is technologically savvy, and some still prefer the “old school” ways of doing things. But, in the digital age, prescribing to the old school lifestyle takes a lot of time and energy. Those of us who choose not to be technologically ignorant live in a really exciting time where we can unlock our doors, cook dinner, and vacuum the house remotely from a smart device.

Home automation products are just one of many digital products that return some valuable time to us daily and help our lives run more efficiently. While Fintech and BaaS technology doesn’t live within the same industry as home automation, we can make correlations. Even though these products aren’t related directly to how “smart” a home is, the overarching use of consumer-led platforms like these ultimately tie into homeowners’ perceptions of home security.

Redefining What a Home Provides

Since you don’t have to own a home to enjoy the benefits of automation, it begs the question: Why do people buy homes? There’s no single best answer. But ultimately, it’s one of two options available to humans who need a place to sleep and store their things; renting or owning.

Examining it a bit further, people might choose to buy a home because they’re tired of sharing walls and floors/ceilings with strangers, or they’re sick of handing their hard-earned money over to a landlord and want to build some equity. Many people wish to own a home to build equity and get a return on their investment. Mark Twain is famously quoted saying, “Buy land, they aren’t making it anymore.” With interest rates historically low, and the stock market going crazy, the thought of owning property is appealing to more people.

Therein lies a primary difference between homeowners and renters. The commitment to buying a home means that you’re thinking about the future while renting is more of a short-term solution. Many people are okay with being renters and doing it for life. The point is, being tied to a home is no small decision and comes with other responsibilities.

To buy a home with a mortgage, you need good credit, enough cash on hand for a down payment, and a steady source of income.

After the mortgage closes, you will need to protect your new asset by maintaining the home, paying your utility bills, and ensuring it’s secure. After putting so much into the place you live, it’s reasonable to assume that most people would view their home as an investment rather than just a roof over their heads.

Mortgage Servicers are Unsung Heroes

Looking back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (flashback to psych 101), we can see that owning a home can fulfill (or assist in fulfilling) every level of need. Unfortunately, when people experience financial hardship, for whatever reason, things change.

The basic needs of food, water, and warmth take precedence over all others. That’s why when the choice to put food on the table goes head-to-head with making a mortgage payment, the food wins. If things don’t turn around, all psychological and self-fulfillment needs no longer factor in.

It’s no surprise that the Brace 2022 U.S. Mortgage Servicing Survey found that 60% of people would be too embarrassed to tell their friends or family if they defaulted on their mortgage, and 30% would be ashamed to ask for assistance if they were about to default.

However, when a homeowner experiences financial hardship, the last line of defense against foreclosure is their mortgage servicer – the person they pay their mortgage to monthly. Unfortunately, many homeowners aren’t aware of the loan modification options available to them. In fact, many feel that their servicers want to foreclose on their homes. But, we know that’s far from the truth.

Foreclosing on a home is a costly process that Servicers want to avoid at all costs. Plus, mortgage servicers are not monsters without compassion. They want to help. That was very much the case when Servicers around the country helped thousands of homeowners keep their homes through loan modifications throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staying Abreast with Brace

Revisiting the home automation point above, is it unreasonable to assume that consumers deserve the same level of connectivity when it comes to default resolution as they do in loan originations or payments? A mortgage servicer who’s digitally connected to the homeowner can help many more loans reperform before they enter into foreclosure. They can proactively engage consumers and better understand their financial situation while communicating the resolution options available to them more efficiently and effectively.

Learn How to Be a Digital Servicing Leader

As the saying goes, knowing is half the battle. But, how can you really know if such a significant change is worth it for both you, the Servicer, and your customers? Find out how Brace provides mortgage servicers with a consumer-led experience.