The Internet Can Mean ProfitPaul HarkinsInternet, profits, online application Lately, the words Internet and profit are not usually put together in the same sentence. In the mortgage business, combining those terms can be an even more elusive process. For example, as a large mortgage company, it is easy to throw money at a project in order to make it work, but this does not necessarily make it profitable. If you are a small mortgage company, there are ways you can profit from the Web that most businesses would never consider. The Internet is designed to make communication and research easier, less expensive and more efficient. A mortgage application is not difficult, and if you use the tools provided on the Internet, brokers can save a lot of money. Companies like Ellie Mae, LION, Myers, OpenClose, Real EC and many others offer tremendous savings for ancillary products used in the mortgage process. The most time-consuming part of the mortgage process is the pre-qualification or pre-approval of a loan. If an originator makes a mistake at this early stage, the rest of the application process will be a nightmare. Assuming that it is not that difficult to find people looking to refinance or purchase a new mortgage, how you serve them makes all the difference. How many originators obtain a credit report and appraisal on a borrower before they meet them? If you are like most originators, you pull credit, but assume the appraisal will be fine. Since the beginning of 2001, that has been proven to be a costly mistake. Using the Internet to save money is often overlooked as a way to boost the bottom line by increasing your net, as opposed to the gross profit. There are methods to ensure that your prospect is qualified from a "value of the home" perspective. Automated valuation programs allow any individual to determine the value of a home within minutes. My company's product, for example, covers over 2200 counties in the United States and allows a broker to determine the value of a home for less than $50. In this age of refinancing, speed and cost are the major factors in determining the success or failure of a small mortgage company. Choose your Internet partners wisely. They could mean the difference between saving money and collecting unemployment checks. Paul Harkins is president and CEO of Applied Technology Solution Integrators Inc. He can be reached by phone at (845) 351-2220 or e-mail [email protected].