Once upon a time signing mortgage deeds was a long, hassling process but now some companies are claiming you can complete an application in as little as 15 minutes. So, how is this possible? The move to paperless mortgage deeds is finally happening this year in the public sector.
The idea of digital mortgages has been in private testing since June of 2016 but only now is it coming to the public sphere. Over the next 3 years, the government plans to create 89 new digital services, including online divorces and mortgages; it will mean that buyers will be able to sign deeds electronically with the government then authenticating it online. There will be no need for unnecessary paperwork whilst solicitors and conveyancers are able to track the progress of specific cases online.
In a recent speech, Caroline Nokes, Minister for Government Resilience and Efficiency stated that the government was committed to being up to date in the digital space. The move of going digital is to ensure government services are delivered effectively and promptly. In addition, going digital with allow data sharing across governmental departments meaning widespread improvements can be made for the benefit of the public. A common concern that the Minister acknowledged was the issue of security; however, she also said that the government would provide £1.9billion over a 5-year lifetime of National Cyber Security Strategy in order to show that security is a top priority.
At the moment, private companies in other parts of the world as well as the UK are branching out into the digital age for their mortgages with certain companies offering apps where you can track all the steps of your application. The problem with going all digital is that there is no face-to-face contact to discuss anything you might not understand about the contract. The responsibility is placed wholly on you and once the contract is signed it is legally binding.
One company that is trying out this new technology is Hull based firm, Hoocht; they claim to offer real time mortgage advice, using ‘Chatbots’ for customer conversations until their basic requirements are determined. After this, the customer is then passed onto a broker for advice via online chat to help finalise things. It may seem as if tech companies are simply looking to simplify and quicken the process of signing a mortgage but the fact remains that buying a house and getting a mortgage is one of the most important decisions in someone’s life.
With some companies claiming a close within 15 minutes, it seems unlikely that the best advice can really be given in such a short amount of time. In this situation, there is a fine line between efficiency and irresponsibility. Despite being introduced to new technologies everyday and being in the so called ‘digital age’ people still want people and more specifically actual, real life people to talk them through something as major as a mortgage. Digital mortgages may work for a certain type of case but what about the more complex cases? Fundamentally, technology is not always the answer, so why are we acting like it is the only solution?