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Genworths "Swiss Army Knife" app for Mortgage Professionals

Created: 01 December 2014
Hits: 2524

Handy app for Real Estate pros, homebuyers alike

Montreal Gazette Sat Nov 22 2014

Source: Special To The Montreal Gazette

If you've ever spent a few hours in the wilderness, whether for camping or hiking, you know how useful a Swiss Army knife can be. Having several tools in one efficient device can definitely allow you to be ready for anything at a moment's notice. This level of functionality is exactly what project leaders at Genworth Canada had in mind when they designed their new HomeOpeners app. "It's kind of like a Swiss Army knife for mortgage professionals," said Marc Shendale, vice-president of business development at Genworth Canada. "Whether they need one or all of the components, it has something for everyone."

The web-based app was designed to be an all-in-one solution for mortgage professionals across Canada. The idea behind it is simple: provide easy access to the tools professionals need to help their clients make sound decisions regarding real estate.

"It's an intermediary tool with many unique functions that allows realtors and mortgage brokers to create more meaningful dialogue and engage with their prospects or customers," Shendale said. "It's about helping them build a profile with their customers and allowing them to be more successful in the roles that they're already in." The HomeOpeners App goes beyond the basic mortgage calculators of the past by providing a wide range of tools, including three different types of calculators designed to give brokers realistic cost estimates of their clients' homeownership potential.

According to Genworth, the app provides an estimate of what homeowners can actually afford by including additional expenses, such as property taxes, monthly utilities and mortgage insurance premiums.

"I use it every day," said Jared Dreyer, accredited mortgage professional at Dreyer Group Mortgages Inc. "It's a fantastic resource tool for mortgage brokers; the calculators are so important to our daily discussion with clients, and referral sources."

The bilingual app is accessible via smartphone on iOS, Android, and Blackberry devices, allowing users to set up and use their personal profile and applicable tools on-the-go. Because the app is browser based, you won't find it in any app stores. Instead, it can be accessed via genworthmobile.ca, and a quick button can be added to users' home screens.

"The features allow us to connect with clients the same as if we had a desktop," Dreyer said. "The email results and shared video are unique to the Genworth app." In addition to facilitating mortgage professionals' daily lives, the designers of the app had a larger purpose in mind: to enable responsible home ownership through homebuyer education.

"The app allows us to give mortgage pros a way to share info instantly with end buyers," Shendale said. "We're hoping that this tool is of value to the industry, and helps professionals enable their customers to make responsible homebuying decisions." That said, the app developers understood that, these days, many people prefer to opt out of using real-estate professionals at certain points when shopping for a home, and instead prefer to go it alone. For this reason, the Genworth app is accessible by the general population as well.

"A lot of people want to do the groundwork themselves today, and while the app was designed for professionals, it's simple enough to navigate that consumers can benefit from it, too," Shendale said. "Particularly the product section, which contains a lot of relevant resources for buyers. The integrated videos are also easy to use and very educational." Dreyer has seen first-hand how consumers are using the app for themselves. "The resource tools, videos, calculators and friendly design make it a win-win," he said. But of course, as with most major life decisions and investments, consulting with industry professionals tends to result in the best protection and advice for the average person. "We're very proud of our app, but it's not the be-all/end-all of the homebuying process," Shendale said.