Magazine article American Banker

Realty Conference Shows Technology Ready to Emerge

Magazine article American Banker

Realty Conference Shows Technology Ready to Emerge

Article excerpt

Some day soon, technology is going to sweep through the real estate brokerage and mortgage origination businesses.

This has been said for years, but in 1996 the industry may reach the turning point from theory to reality. Nowhere was that more obvious than at this year's National Association of Realtors convention.

"We used to call this the 'refrigerator magnet' conference, but not anymore," said one presenter. Now, wedged between booths selling pecan gift baskets, rhinestone Realtor pins, and customized birdhouses (get it painted like the house you just sold, it makes a great closing gift) are technological oases, with products aimed at the mortgage market.

After threatening for years to change the way mortgages are born, computer loan origination software has been refined to the point where it may actually start affecting the market.

At the convention here, the software creators were on the lookout for interested lenders and real estate agents. Although few of the systems have begun to write significant volume, many have links with brokers and agent friendly features, making them ready to roll.

"We're looking for technologically advanced lenders, who have quick turnover from point of sale to underwriter," said Kevin Gahagan, of Value Added Loan Origination, Southlake, Tex., one of the smaller, home-bred systems. The company retrofitted mortgage origination software to be more familiar to real estate people, and is hoping to hook up with several wholesale lenders to offer mortgages directly from a realty office. …

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