Dec. 18, 2018.
At Cornerstone Home Lending, we live by our company mission statement: to transform individual lives through lending. In our 30 years spent as a national mortgage lender, we’ve found one of the most effective ways to improve borrowers’ lives is by respecting their time in a competitive housing market. By streamlining the typical mortgage closing process and cutting out the extra red tape, we’re getting our buyers home three weeks faster.
Case study summary: Mortgage closing delays are an industry-wide problem
- Mortgage closing times (how long it takes to buy a house) sit at an average of 41 days, according to the Ellie Mae Origination Insight Report for May 2018.
- Roughly one in five mortgage closings are delayed or terminated, based on the National Association of Realtors’ April 2018 Realtors Confidence Index numbers in the same timeframe.
- Homebuyers lose valuable time and often property during mortgage closing delays, making prolonged mortgage closings a costly industry problem.
- Reducing the typical mortgage closing time can improve borrower satisfaction. Buyers can get home faster and may have a competitive advantage in a tight market.
- Realtor partners and loan officers also benefit from faster closings with freedom to serve more clients.
The challenge: Homebuyers’ time is being wasted
The Realtors Confidence Index shows that in April 2018, financing issues contributed to 30 percent of mortgage closing delays. Many times, these mortgage delays or terminations come down to a buyer’s personal financial circumstances, i.e., their ability to obtain and afford a mortgage. As a mortgage lender, we can’t change a buyer’s financial status. But we can change how easy it is for them to buy. Making mortgage prequalifications more accessible through our free LoanFly app is an important first step in this process.
Buyers’ time is a valuable thing to waste. Home inspection and appraisal issues also contribute to mortgage delays, at 19 and 18 percent respectively. But mortgage closings that take longer than expected — up to 41 days or more, based on the current industry average — can cost a buyer with each passing day. During this holding time, a buyer may have no choice but to continue to pay rent or a previous mortgage. This money could be better spent building their investment in their new home’s equity.
Here, we recognized another opportunity. We made mortgage prequalifications faster and easier — condensing the remote and in-person buyer prequalification time down to 15 minutes.* But could we do the same for mortgage closings?
The solution: Get buyers home in 10
Fast, 15-minute prequalifications made a big difference for both our realtor partners and our borrowers. Challenging the industry norm of a typical 41-day mortgage closing helped us improve our borrowers’ experience even further. It also allowed us to strengthen our 100-percent commitment to on-time closings by adding a quantifiable number to our promise. Mortgage closings completed in 10 days.**
Unlike many other home lenders, we keep everything in-house. Having full control over our in-house processing, underwriting, and approvals can push the mortgage process along quickly. By setting a “speed goal” and giving our loan officers the resources and the support they needed, soon enough, we were getting our borrowers home in 10.
Borrowers were surprised to hear that it no longer takes over a month to buy a house. Realtor partners were excited to find that they could give their customers a higher level of service — with fewer delays and less time waste — and potentially take on more clients. Loan officers felt more confident and more rewarded by the exceptional and expedient level of service they could now provide.
Want to know more about us? Here’s what our happy clients have to say about their Cornerstone experience.
The results: Cornerstone consistently closes in 10 days (or less)
For Dominic Dangora of Cornerstone Home Lending, offering the 10-Day Closing gave him a certain kind of notoriety among his realtor partners and borrowers. Seeing this level of speed in the mortgage closing process is fairly unusual. As Dangora explains, his borrowers most often benefit from Cornerstone’s 10-Day Closing in a competitive multi-offer situation.
“In some cases, a buyer may not even have the highest bid. But they can still get the house they want,” Dangora says. “A 10-day close compared to a 30 or 45-day close is more attractive to a seller. I’ve seen buyers under contract with a 10-day close without the highest bid.”
Dangora says shaving three weeks off the typical 41-day closing can be a money-saver for borrower, seller, and realtor.
A borrower can get keys in hand in just over a week, eliminating the overlap cost of housing, storage, and utilities. A seller can get their money faster and could avoid making another mortgage payment. A realtor partner can close more competitive deals in a shorter amount of time and potentially serve more clients. “Everybody wins,” says Dongora.
Recently, Dangora saw how these time-saving and money-saving features of the 10-Day Closing could benefit buyers who needed to move quickly. New clients came to Dangora after being given the runaround by another mortgage lender for more than two months. After a quick prequalification, Dangora was able to help his clients close on their dream home — a farm where they planned to start a horse rescue — in 10 days.
“We took these clients from start to finish and got them into their forever home in 10 days,” he said.
Other Cornerstone borrowers say:
- “Being able to close in 10 days was a true game-changer in this super competitive Seattle real estate market.” – Victoria F.
- “Kerry and Sara [at Cornerstone] were nothing short of exceptional in my seamless 10-day closing. I cannot recommend them enough. They were beyond responsive and reliable via phone, text, or email.” – Matt D.
- “We had an unexpected situation that required a fast close on our loan. Maggie [at Cornerstone] sprung into action and, through her thoughtful diligence and attention to detail, she was able to guide us and close this loan under 10 days. Our experience exceeded our expectations. And with their outstanding initiative, we were able to get into the home of our dreams.” – G. Tauber
- “We closed in 8 days!!! They worked a miracle for us, and I can’t say thank you enough!” – Bjorklund R.
Ten days is the Cornerstone “gold standard” for the many buyers who qualify, though Dangora has helped his borrowers close in 8 or 9 days too. Christina Ledesma is one of many Cornerstone loan officers who share the same experience. Ledesma’s most recent loan transaction went from buyer application to mortgage closing in exactly 10 days.
Cornerstone’s Bomar Team sees shaving a 10-Day Closing down to a 9-Day Closing as another way exceed borrower expectations. The Bomar Team’s last 10-Day Closing finished a day ahead of schedule and benefited borrowers told they had to move into their new home by the end of the month. To get the house they really wanted, these borrowers needed to slide in before the builder’s new fiscal year started on October 1, 2018. As the borrowers were told by their builder’s corporate office, they had to close by September 28, 2018, no matter what.
And they did. The Bomar Team met the tight deadline and helped nab these borrowers their dream home, moving the loan from start to finish in just nine days. The loan processed on September 19, 2018, and closed on September 28, 2018.
“A shorter close is, honestly, a bit exciting,” Bekah Gonzales of The Bomar Team says. “You have no choice but to work with complete urgency from start to finish. I believe it only helps fine-tune the skills we as a team have to utilize on a daily basis.” Plus, Gonzales says, the families her team works with are always very grateful for the quick turnaround.
Find out how you can get home 3 weeks faster
Our buyers are getting home happier and faster — and you can too. Start by getting prequalified from wherever you are and get connected to a loan officer in your area. Save yourself up to three weeks with mortgage in the fast lane and say goodbye to mortgage-time wasted.
*During normal business hours.
**10-day close not typical. Not all loans will close in this timeframe.
For educational purposes only. Please contact a qualified professional for specific guidance.
Sources deemed reliable but not guaranteed