Making mortgages easier

Making mortgages easier

Dave Sims’s original cloud-based business never took off, so he took the same technology and transitioned it into something that could help people like himself

Three years ago, software developer Dave Sims came up with a brilliant plan. He’d take his existing IT file management company, Flux, which was worth north of US$1-million after 12 years, and modernize it by taking it “into the cloud.” He even had a name: Floify.

“This was 2012, and cloud-based software was already hot,” says Sims, 48. Rather than have his clients use his software on their own internal networks, he could now monitor and manage everything in real time from his offices in Boulder, Colo.

The only problem: nobody noticed.

While technically sound, Floify failed to gain traction, and Sims quickly realized that you can’t simply take an existing business, change its delivery and expect people to flock to it. “There were no sales, no leads, nothing was happening,” Sims recalls. “Something needed to change.”

Around that time, Sims was refinancing his home. It was a frustrating experience, and he was surprised at the antiquated way his mortgage broker was working. “He had a full-time assistant whose only job was to collect bank statements from borrowers,” Sims says. Endless e-mail. Faxes. Massive paper-filing systems. “It’s a laborious process. things move very slowly.” Then it hit him. What if there were a software program that could take care of these details – something that expedites the process for borrowers, while easing the tedious, daily workload for mortgage loan originators? After all, there are thousands, if not millions, of buyers every year and they all want the same thing: a fast, pain-free closing.

“I talked about it with my original loan officer, but he wasn’t that interested,” says Sims. “It was just easier for him to keep going in the way he’d always worked.”

Still, he saw the potential and built the program, and last year he relaunched Floify, this time as an online service specifically for mortgage brokers. His service allows brokers to easily collect and store customer bank statements, tax return information, mortgage documents and more. e company is currently growing its customer base by about 14 per cent a month, but he still needs more people to try it. That’s the challenge Sims faces right now. “People are used to doing things one way,” he laments, “the slow, expensive, tedious way it’s always been done.”

To attract more clients, Sims got his mortgage loan officer licence. He hopes that by thinking like a broker, he’ll understand his customers’ needs better. “There’s a saying in the software world: ‘Eat your own dog food.’” A developer, he explains, is always writing software for other people, but he must also create something that others truly understand and can use. “That’s why I got my licence, so I can understand what my clients go through. And so I can use it myself.”

- Jay Somerset / Illustrations by Remie Geoffroi