Marketing to mobile buyers.

AuthorSchneider, Howard

"AN INFORMED BORROWER IS A MORE SUCCESSFUL BORROWER," says Jon Lawless, vice president-underwriting and pricing analytics at Washington, D.C.-based Fannie Mae.

Education removes "a lot of misconceptions," Lawless adds.

Technology can play a leading role in bringing better informed borrowers to the closing table. Fannie Mae is pursuing that objective with the recent introduction of HOME by Fannie Mae[TM]--a mobile app that gives prospective real estate buyers guidance on how to proceed toward ownership.

Basic information on mortgage types and ways to save for a down payment is paired with tools to help potential purchasers calculate how much they can afford to spend on a house. Consumers often "think it's harder to buy" a home than the process actually is, Lawless notes.

HOME by Fannie Mae assists future homeowners by helping them determine if they're financially prepared to purchase. Other aspects of the app describe how to shop for properties, features of home loans and an owner's ongoing responsibilities. Interactive calculators, articles and video are part of the HOME by Fannie Mae experience.

Tomorrow's borrowers

Mobile applications and millennials are important to lenders, observes Lawless. "The industry's very, very focused on mobile" technologies, and "millennials are the biggest generation"--even exceeding baby boomers in number, he explains.

Reliance on technology is a hallmark of the millennial generation, as these 18-to-34-year-olds grew up with computers. Offering "information in a digestible format" is a key to working with today's younger buyers, says Lawless.

HOME by Fannie Mae's development started by looking at existing tools, as well as conducting focus groups and doing surveys. Fannie Mae provides the app to lenders and real estate agents. These business partners then give HOME by Fannie Mae to consumers with whom they work.

However, the app can't be personalized by lenders. Consumers also can download HOME by Fannie Mae directly through Google[TM] Play and Apple's App Store.

More than 75,000 downloads of the app have occurred since its July 1,2015, debut. The vast majority of those were for iPhone[R] users. Fannie is marketing HOME by Fannie Mae through traditional and social media outlets, in addition to making it available to its business partners.

Fannie's app is straightforward, with helpful information organized well and presented simply. Consumers are taken step-by-step through the buying process, and given clear...

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