While walking around my neighborhood this morning, it occurred to me that I commonly think to myself (albeit selfishly) things like, “Ha, I paid less than you,” or “Our house has more square footage at the same price,” maybe even “You totally should have picked the larger lanai, can’t just pour that from bags at Home Depot!” I know, a bit vain, but more about making myself feel better for the choices I made, as opposed to the ones my neighbors may or may not have made.
Now I see houses still being constructed and all I can think is “Wow, my rate must be 2% less than theirs (we closed at the end of December 2021); no way I would want to close on a new purchase now!” A stark contrast from size, options, lots, bags of cement, etc. Now it is more about rates, affordability and thinking  

“Why would I ever move again?”

However, what gets missed by most, and me at times as well, is that even though the current market is a wild contrast from just a year ago, heck, even 6 months ago, it is a transition back to reality and what we would typically see. The difference though is that the market environment has changed, and borrowers have changed as well…but not in the drastic ways we might think.

Even though more than half of all borrowers recently say they went with their first offer, that doesn’t mean they expect (or will tolerate) an inferior experience or have lowered their expectations- it’s quite the opposite.

Two years of pandemic time, a purchase market that resembled a 1980’s Van Damme movie (looking at you Bloodsport), rates so low that starter homes were now priced like move-up homes, and lest we forget the rise of QR codes…QR codes! Most people didn’t even know what those were two years ago. Expectations have changed. Access, experience, data when I want it and instant action, all in an easily digestible, friendly format are now the essentials. No longer is it a game of minimums, now it is about essentials, experience, and retention.

Which in the end begs the question: Are you ready for that? More importantly, is your team ready, your processes, your technology, heck, your mind set? QR codes, really, who would have thought that was the thing to invest in? It’s like the entire world was Rickrolled…but that’s the reality.

Normalcy? Yes. Normal? No.