If you’re one of the 111 million-plus people who watched Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7 (or one of the millions more like me who was just in it for the snacks, commercials and half-time show), you probably saw the debut of the Quicken Loans Rocket Mortgage ad, which unwittingly unleashed a torrent of criticism in the Twitterverse. RISMedia’s latest webinar, however, revealed that there’s a lot more to Rocket Mortgage than meets the eye—and real estate professionals should take note.
Personally, I was surprised at the criticism, but that’s probably because I was privy to the inner workings of Rocket Mortgage while working on the cover story for the January issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine. While many Super Bowl viewers saw Rocket Mortgage as a return to risky lending practices, it is actually designed to be a well-vetted, compliant, streamlined alternative to the traditional mortgage process.
To get to the heart of the matter, RISMedia took a look under the hood during its recent webinar, “Home Buying in the 21st Century: How Rocket Mortgage Can Help You and Your Clients.” The webinar was moderated by Verl Workman, founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems, and featured Regis Hadiaris, Rocket Mortgage product lead, and Tom Dempsey, director, Relocation and Business Development for Quicken Loans. RISMedia Executive Vice President Darryl MacPherson was also on hand to weigh in.
The webinar showcased Rocket Mortgage, which Quicken Loans heralds as the first complete, end-to-end, online mortgage experience. Rocket Mortgage is designed to avoid all the paperwork commonly associated with the mortgage process (yes, no more reams of bank statements and piles of pay stubs) and lead folks to mortgage approval and rate lock in a matter of minutes. In many scenarios, Rocket Mortgage is purported to shave off 7–10 days from the traditional 30-day closing process.
“Understanding that most REALTORS® have solid mortgage relationships that are already in place, this value proposition from Rocket Mortgage could be an excellent complement to a lending relationship,” said MacPherson. “This is a huge opportunity to stay compliant and streamline the mortgage process on behalf of the consumer.”
Too good to be true? How does it all work? Hadiaris took the audience through a live demo of Rocket Mortgage and answered many of the concerns real estate professionals have. Watch the webinar to hear the details first-hand. In the meantime, here are a few important takeaways:
Rocket Mortgage delivers an actual approval, not a pre-approval, for those who qualify. “Out there in the market, people are confused. They’re using a lot of mortgage calculators with assumptions,” said Hadiaris. “We said, no assumptions. Let’s get them actual approval so they don’t have this big burden of proof later in the process.”
To pull off an approval and rate lock, the Rocket Mortgage engine verifies employment and income information, credit history, and several other key gauges that lead to loan approval. “This doesn’t change the rigor of the underwriting process at all,” Hadiaris added. “We’ve just made it faster and more efficient.”
Such efficiency opens up a world of possibility for real estate professionals. “Imagine you can get a client approved at a showing or at an open house,” said Dempsey. “We all have stories of pre-approvals not working out. Now, with the person the client trusts most in the transaction—the real estate agent—they can sit at home and get approved, and know exactly what they qualify for.”
Workman raised a cautionary flag. “Real estate agents have a tendency to chase shiny objects. It’s important to know: Will this make me money? Will this save me time?”
Dempsey answered a definitive yes to both. “You can spend more time with buyers who qualify and quickly identify those that don’t,” he explained. “You don’t want to be wasting time chasing non-qualified clients, or find out 22 days into the process that something’s not going to work out.”
Rocket Mortgage is a potential solution for all those buyers on the sidelines. According to Hadiaris, Quicken Loans conducts volumes of market research to see what needs aren’t being met and how QL can fill the void.
“We built Rocket Mortgage because we saw that 60 percent of potential homebuyers were choosing not to participate,” he explained. “They were too intimidated to participate in a very confusing process. We saw this group sitting on the sidelines, heavily engaged in technology and heavily engaged in using mobile devices. They wanted to be able to use their phone and their desktop for mortgage, too, just like they do in other parts of their lives.”
Rocket Mortgage is not designed to eliminate the real estate agent. In fact, it’s designed to engage the real estate agent.
“A lot of folks are sitting on the sideline because they’re not comfortable calling a lender and giving them information,” said Dempsey, "whereas, most people are comfortable sharing information with a trusted real estate professional. [Real estate agents] can use this tool to sit down with them over the kitchen table in the privacy of their own home.”
The experience is completely online…if you want it to be. While mortgage approval can be obtained online with Rocket Mortgage, Quicken Loans professionals are there at the ready whenever live interaction is desired.
“We built this so that people can have as much control over the experience as they want,” said Hadiaris. “If they want to self-serve they can. If they want the help of our award –winning mortgage team at any point, they can have that too.”
“This is not intended to displace the mortgage banker,” he added. “There will always be people who would rather speak to a person.”