Guidance Residential

Home Financing Application

SOFTWARE & APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT

Challenge

The process of financing a home is more often than not complicated and stressful – not only for the buyer, but for the realtor as well.  For example, according to findings published by the Federal Housing Finance Authority in 2016, 18% of home loan applicants were forced to redo their paperwork while while nearly 24% ultimately had their closing dates postponed.

Like many of its competitors, Guidance Residential, a home financing company based in Reston, Virginia, struggled to facilitate a more seamless process for its clients while also improving the quality of its customer service. Guidance Residential enlisted the help of Fifth Tribe in order to smooth the bumps in their home financing process in a way that would promote their customer first mentality.

Strategy

As leaders in innovative web and mobile development, Fifth Tribe’s strategy was driven by ideas that were directed towards functionality, creative design, and accessibility.  Our process kicked off with multiple interviews with realtors and customers that were targeted towards learning about the pain points of each of their experiences. We discovered that many of the anxieties felt by potential buyers were consequences of the several unknown factors that corrupt the finance application process, such as the lack of frequent updates, indirect communication with the realtor, questionable repetition of tireless steps, and unclear or nonexistent explanations of their current application status or expectations for moving forward.

In short, customers need to know what’s happening at every step of the process and, from what we learned, that is frequently not the case in home financing. Knowing these facts, we were able to create a comprehensive outline of the Guidance Residential’s short-term and long-term goals not only for their business, but also for their position in the customer service industry. Because Guidance Residential’s most complex challenges were rooted in how they could improve the customer experience, we decided to design an application with the user experience in mind.

Solution

The app that Fifth Tribe designed for Guidance Residential creates a financing experience that connects the realtor and the customer in a direct and informative way. Upon invitation by the realtor, the client is able to join them on the portal where they’ll be actively engaged with and informed to the financing process.

The application includes pages to explore financing FAQs, to contact an agent either via email or via phone (without having to go outside the app), and to review important milestones that have been accomplished and that lay ahead. Besides tackling and solving the customer service challenges that had previously plagued the company (e.g. waiting several days to find out if a financing application has been pre-approved or approved), Fifth Tribe was also determined to reinvent the Guidance Residential customer experience in a way unlike what anyone else in the realtor market does. We achieved this goal by shifting the mortgage application process onto a digital platform.

Result

By digitizing this oftentimes overwhelming and over-complicated process and creating a platform that establishes a step-by-step “checklist” to financing a home, Fifth Tribe created an open channel of communication between the parties involved. 

Similarly, the “Client Portal” offers helpful planning tools as well as up-to-the-minute updates on the client’s finance application or the status of their home, ensuring that they always have access to relevant information. Through the creation of this app, Guidance Residential is now able to guarantee a home-buying experience that is Riba-free, quick, efficient, and secure.