There is no clear “yes” or “no” answer when deciding to create a custom site, as there are several factors to consider when choosing the best fit for your mortgage business. Here are five key factors to think about when deciding between a fully customized website or utilizing an out-of-the-box mortgage template.
Mortgage Website Template vs. Custom Site
Features & Scalability
There are certain features that are MUSTs in a professional mortgage website. These include features like a mobile-responsiveness, a secure 1003 application, mortgage calculators, up-to-date mortgage content, contact forms, and compliance disclaimers.
If you’re choosing a custom site, these tools would either need to be built from scratch (an additional cost) or sourced as tools/plugins from the right vendor (may have an additional cost or issues with compatibility).
Then there’s the matter of scalability.
A scalable website not only grows with the size of your mortgage business but it also evolves with trends. It was not that long ago that the ability to search online for home listings and applying for a home loan online was limited.
Today, consumers can view active home listings in real time, take virtual tours, obtain a mortgage, and sign the legal documents required to purchase a home –digitally!
The rapid adoption of digital mortgage is one that cannot be ignored if you want your lending business to thrive into the future.
Generally speaking, adding features and plugins to a custom website is possible. You would need to know what you are doing or hire someone who does, and the cost will vary depending on the complexity of the code, the difficulty of integrating it into the existing platform, as well as the other developer fees. Remember that these custom additions may not come with tech support after development.
Some website templates commonly lack the tools mortgage professionals need. However, if you choose the right company, their website templates are set up to come with features that make the site work more like an extension of the office rather than a static page.
When comparing mortgage templates from different vendors, ask:
- How often features are added or updated
- If 3rd party integrations are possible (such as loan origination software)
- If there is tech support
- If the site can support the expansion of your lending business
In a nutshell: Choose a website that can scale with you by selecting a quality template or a custom mortgage site.
Website templates often get a bad rap for looking too generic. They are, after all, a template used by several other mortgage companies promoting the same mortgage products that you are advertising. However, today’s templates offer many opportunities for branding.
You can customize your header with a logo, select your own stock photos to match the areas you serve and change the overall color scheme to match your brand.
However, if you need a website without design restrictions — one that allows you to make the strongest emotional impact with your prospect, then a custom website is the way to go.
In a nutshell: If your branding goals cannot be achieved with a template, go with a made-to-order custom mortgage website.
User experience is a critical component to mortgage website conversions.
With a custom mortgage site, you can define the experience of your prospect, enhancing the user experience while also reflecting your value.
But don’t discount the template just yet! Some mortgage templates come with built-in optimizations such as mobile responsiveness, customizeable lead capture forms, and a secure digital 1003 that prospects can fill right from your site.
In a nutshell: Websites need to be user-friendly and optimized for conversions. If you can’t find a template with those elements, consider a custom site.
Custom mortgage websites cost significantly more than template-based websites. Prices for a custom site vary based on the developer’s fees, the time needed to complete the project, the number of pages, and the sophistication of the coding.
A rough estimate for a custom site is anywhere between $3K-$5K and sometimes even much higher if you hire a high-end web agency. Note that this price usually does not include support after the completion of the project, your domain or web hosting, or the core.
A website template, on the other hand, has all the heavy coding already completed for you. The visual direction as well as the internal performance is ready to go right out of the box, saving you an impressive amount of money!
In a nutshell: If budget is a primary factor in choosing your business site, use a template.
Website Launch Date
If you want to launch your site in less than six weeks, then a mortgage template is the way to go. Building a custom website from scratch, especially a site with loan processing and management tools, requires a lot of collaboration, planning, and testing.
Only after the site structure is complete will it move into the design phase. However, with a template, you move straight into customizing the design since the structure is set.
Add your business info and some quality content, and you’ll be ready to launch in a few clicks. Even if you spend a little more time customizing the template, it’ll still be ready to launch in a fraction of the time needed to launch a custom site.
In a nutshell: If you need to launch your site within a few hours, choose a template.
Still having trouble deciding? Test out a mortgage template before committing to a custom site! Add your brand and explore all the features free for 10-days. Click here to get started and see more digital mortgage solutions in the download below.