The mortgage business reveals the strengths and weaknesses of online home buying most clearly. Though now relatively small, the number of mortgage loans initiated through the Internet is expected to grow sharply in the future. Consumers are beginning to obtain mortgage loans online but they still want a fair amount of help when doing so.

          Mortgage loan industry experts are working to make the loan application process quicker and easier for consumers to access. The business model for mortgage loans is changing and the Internet is playing a part. Mortgage lending firms that are Internet accessible can close loans faster than traditional lending institutions. Consumers can look online and find what mortgage products are available. Online mortgage lenders are progressing quickly to provide the services that consumers want.

          Although lenders and Realtors are still symbiotic partners, the question remains whether Realtors are going to be contacted first by the consumer, as has usually been the case in the past. Before long, loans will be underwritten within minutes through the Internet, in comparison to the days or weeks that it takes now. Many consumers are out looking for rates or information, but consumers are not rushing to obtain their loans online. Many mortgage lending Web sites have turned to incentives to attract more business for their companies.

         The size of the transaction and unfamiliarity with certain legal matters and the procedures involved in obtaining a loan and buying a house have contributed to keeping many buyers from obtaining their mortgage loans online, without a mortgage broker or loan officer to assist them. Filling out a loan application is a long, tedious process whether it is done online or in person. Most borrowers are continuing to go to a traditional lender who can help talk them through the process. However, customers are becoming more informed before they become involved in real estate transactions.

Mortgage Sites:

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"Nearly half of all home shoppers go to the Web as a first step to get home-buying information, up from 12 percent two years ago." --Nick Karris *

"Buyers are clearly taking advantage of mortgage information available on the Web. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter estimates that 50 percent to 75 percent of all home buyers shop for mortgage rates online." --Ben Gervey, Judy Lin *

"Automated underwriting systems make online approvals much faster."--Gregory Lumsden *

"The consumer wants quick approval, minimum documentation and to close fast and on time."--Jack Lloyd *

"Our object is for customers to be our customers for life."--Gregory Lumsden *