Wisconsin uses Internet to aid homeowners

Wisconsin uses Internet to aid homeowners

Wisconsin has unveiled a program for prospective homeowners to prequalify for mortgages using a Web service operated by the state's Housing and Economic Development Authority. The program is the first such service offered by a state housing authority, officials said.

The service, available to borrowers moving to Wisconsin as well as those relocating or refinancing inside the state, is called HouseKey Wisconsin. A link to the service can be found at the housing authority's Web site, at wheda.com. The housing authority has formed a partnership with Mortgagebot LLC, a Web loan origination company based in Cedarburg, to offer the service through 1,200 participating lenders across Wisconsin.

The HouseKey Wisconsin site can generate a credit-verified loan approval after applicants fill out an online form that takes about 20 minutes to complete, officials said. Customers can print copies of the loan approvals and applications for use by the lenders, who verify the information submitted through the Web site.

Lenders have the option of offering alternative financing to prospective borrowers who do not meet the standard HouseKey Wisconsin lending criteria.

'This initiative is part of [the authority's] strategy to benefit lenders and homebuyers in Wisconsin,' according to a statement by Fritz Ruf, the authority's executive director. 'Aside from letting us offer personalized, user-friendly loan applications online, HouseKey will generate additional business for our lending partners.'

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