Survival of the fittest in the Randstad-conurbation mortgage market

In Utrecht, house prices recently climbed back to their 2008 pre-crisis peak, and that was already the case in Amsterdam in January. These are exciting signs in these two cities; home buyers are even being advised to take up some of their annual leave when looking for a home. It’s clear as day: the housing market, and therefore also the mortgage market, is heating up faster than a BBQ on a hot summer afternoon, certainly in the popular Randstad conurbation. So it’s in this region especially that the collaboration between the mortgage lender and the consumer really needs a boost,

by which I mean the collaboration needs to be better and faster. After all, consumers have no time to waste when making this decision, a decision about one of the most important and costly purchases of their lives. When you think about it, it would be better if they could already have the mortgage papers in hand before they step over the threshold. One of the ways to improve and speed up collaboration between the mortgage lender and the consumer is to handle this all online.

Digital kitchen table

I often compare collaborating online to people sitting around a kitchen table. All the stakeholders, from intermediary to mortgage lender to consumer, are sitting around the same—digital—kitchen table working on the same project. They’re all together, meaning no delays, no working in isolation, everything more transparent and the whole process moving much faster. No copy of the passport yet? Not a problem. The credit appraiser is already busy checking the home buyer’s creditworthiness while waiting for that to arrive. The biggest advantage for consumers is that, with online collaboration, they know how far along their mortgage application is and what they can do to speed up the process. Nothing spectacular really: consumers are already totally comfortable with this approach—when ordering something online from Zalando for example.

But for the mortgage lender, too, there are advantages to this way of working. First and foremost, there’s the time savings, followed by cost savings as a close second. Our research has shown that online collaboration with customers is important if you want to stay ahead of your competitors. And the professionals are feeling the heat: more than half agree with the statement that the pressure to collaborate online has increased as a result of the growing demand for financial products.

It’s good to see professionals on the mortgage market taking a proactive approach to online collaboration. And yet, the indication that they will be doing this “within five years” makes me worry a little: consumers who want to buy a home in Utrecht or Amsterdam today or tomorrow need to have that fast and efficient process in place right now, not in a few years’ time. By then the coals on the BBQ will have turned to ash. This is no time to sit back comfortably on the lounger: it’s time to get cooking. This is the time to show the consumer the added value you as a mortgage lender have to offer.