Is It Safe to Apply for a Mortgage Online?

by Courtney Christensen

In recent years, getting a mortgage online has become more and more common – but most people are worried about making such significant financial transactions wholly over the internet – and with good reason. Dealings online can be shady, and you want to make sure your finances are protected. However, when COVID19 arrived, so much of the world was forced to do more buying over the internet. The mortgage industry is no exception. Now, it’s almost just as common to get a mortgage online as a traditional one. Is this safe? How can you protect yourself and secure a home loan at the same time?

How is Applying Online Different?

Is applying online really all that different than applying in-person? That depends on the lender you use. The process basics are the same: apply, provide documents, go through underwriting, and close on your home. However, the lender can make all the difference.

Were they prepared for the lurch forward into online mortgages when COVID19 hit? Are they still able to be personable over the phone and email? Do they have the technology required to make online mortgages easy for you, the borrower?

If the answer is yes to these questions, then applying for a mortgage online is actually much easier than applying in person. First: it’s faster. Second: it’s less complicated. Third: it’s more convenient.

It’s faster. When you can cut out the labor of hand-delivering or the wait time of mailing documents, applying for a mortgage takes way less time. Instead, everything is at your fingertips and is automatically transferred to your loan officer. Something that could take days is now done in seconds.

It’s less complicated. Mortgages require a lot of paperwork and a lot of back and forth between the borrower and the loan officer. With an online mortgage, there’s much less phone tag since you can communicate virtually. Also, all that paperwork? If you find the right lender – some documents and paperwork can be pulled automatically for you—no need to drive to the bank for copies of your bank statements.

It’s more convenient. What’s more convenient than applying for a mortgage from your couch? Not much! In fact, some lenders provide the ability for you to e-sign any paperwork needed for the mortgage (including closing documents!), which means you won’t even have to leave your couch for that either.

What Safety Features Should You Look For?

The biggest concern of online home loans is the security of making such an important transaction over the internet. This is a valid concern! You should absolutely do your research and pay attention when shopping for anything online, and even more so when providing personal information through the internet.

The first thing you should look for in any mortgage app is encryption. Encryption protects your personal information by transforming it into a code that only someone with the key can read. This will keep everything from your messages to your social security number safe from hackers.

Secondly, you should practice basic internet safety. Never send personal information over SMS or texts – only through the app’s protected internal messaging system. Don’t connect to public wifi when making any updates or transactions on the app. Review any and all emails from your lender to be absolutely sure they aren’t spam. Hackers are smart and tricky – do everything you can to protect yourself. The chances are minimal that you’ll be hacked, but it’s never a bad idea to protect yourself anyway.

Shop Around

I’ve mentioned more than once in this article that it’s essential to find the right lender instead of just a convenient one. When it comes to online mortgages, you need to be careful, which means finding a lender you can trust.

Shopping around for a mortgage is more than just looking for the best rate. Read reviews and ask questions about their online application process. Be sure that you will still be treated like a person and not a faceless number. Having confidence in your lender is the start of a smooth and exciting homeownership journey!

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