In real estate, demand for digital lending sees loan approvals take just 24 hours

A recent article caught our attention. Its opening line included the promise of home loans settling in 24 hours, and went on to talk about revolutionising the home loan industry with faster service, electronic documentation and more. Music to our ears.

The real estate industry has traditionally been hamstrung by paperwork. Agents have had to race back and forth from the office, printing out documents to seal important deals – with the paper-based systems leading to slow turnaround times, extra administrative burden and potential security breaches. 

Indeed, recent research by Docusign Australia found that 67% of real estate agents have to stay in the office because their systems are still paper-based; and 64% say that manual transactions are a pain for customers, because they don’t have printers or scanners at home. 

Add to this the interminable amounts of time that customers have to wait for finance approval, and the process can become incredibly drawn out. It can mean that potential home buyers miss out on the house of their dreams because they haven’t had their home loan approved. So that 24-hour turnaround promised above? Brilliant.

The 24-hour loan goes to show that there is huge demand from customers across Australia for faster loan turnarounds, giving everyone more certainty in the home buying process. Given that, in the past, home loan approvals took about four to six weeks to get approved, a 24 hour turnaround is huge. 

Digitising every step is a win-win

It’s not just the actual home loan approval process that can be sped up. Across the entire home buying journey – from searching for properties to sealing the deal – every interaction should be digitised. Speed is hugely important in this industry, particularly in this current era with houses being snapped up faster than ever.

And the industry is certainly getting there. Some banks have been making the most of the emergency laws passed in some States that allowed a broader range of documents to be signed and/or witnessed electronically during COVID-19. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, for example, scaled up its use of eSignatures during the pandemic so that customers who couldn’t physically attend a branch could complete home loan paperwork electronically.

As the CBA and others found, the use of eSignatures drastically reduces turnaround times in getting home loan documents completed. More importantly, documents come back without errors – saving huge amounts of time by eliminating all that to-and-fro chasing of missing signatures.

Watch this space for digital permanency

At the February 2021 Annual Economic Forecast, Anna Bligh AC, CEO of the Australian Banking Association, spoke of the opportunities coming out of the crisis of COVID-19 – specifically, the opportunity to modernise and simplify banking processes. “A good example would be the move to facilitate the use of eSignatures and digital witnessing of documents,” she said.

We are still waiting with bated breath to see if the Australian government will make these laws permanent – with news expected in coming weeks. Watch this space. 

In the meantime

No matter what the result when it comes to regulatory changes in the banking industry, real estate agents still have a great opportunity to digitise more of their own processes to streamline the experience for customers and free up their own time.

Not sure where to start? Contact Docusign today for a chat about automating your real estate agency’s systems of agreement.

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