Property

These robots are racing to replace mortgage brokers

By Oliver Smith 13 April 2016
Summary

It's the biggest financial decision of your life, and soon a computer might be doing all the hard work.

The property market is being transformed by technology, and mortgage brokers might be one of the last holdouts about to fall.

Crowdfunding property investing, peer-to-peer mortgage borrowing and even digital estate agents are making the process of buying a house easier than it has ever been (even if houses are more expensive than ever before).

In December Trussle arrived, backed by Zoopla and promising to help people find the best mortgage for them and save existing homeowners thousands by getting the best remortgage deal.

Read more: Buying property? Zoopla wants to be your one stop shop

Today Habito launched with similar claims to search over 100 lenders, advise on the best mortgage for your circumstances and helps you make the application online within 30 minutes.

Would you trust a mortgage robo-advisor?

Both Trussle and Habito are competing with human brokers who they claim look at fewer than 10% of the mortgages available on the market and take weeks to process applications.

But can these digital mortgage advisers really replace human brokers with their years of experience in the industry?

“No!” Habito’s CEO and founder Daniel Hegarty told The Memo.

“Machines are great at spotting patterns, doing arithmetic and moving data around – but human expertise will remain a key component of a market this complex for some time to come.”

Hegarty says Habito is designed to make intelligent decisions based on data and subtleties in the market, so if you’re more concerned about completing a transaction quickly over the eventual cost, Habito will be able to account for this.

“We have developed a very granular understanding of the emerging patterns in the market and how they can help or hinder potential applicants – it’s machine learning for the mortgage market.”

He also says that Habito’s system uses machines to fill out all the application forms that a human broker would typically have to do.

It’ll likely be years before using an online broker to sort out your mortgage becomes mainstream, as nearly 70% of all property deals today use a human broker, but Trussle and Habito are fighting to change that.