Launching Own Up’s concierge experience 

In 2020, the housing market experienced low interest rates on loans, increasing customer intake for Own Up rapidly. In 2023, market conditions went in the opposite direction, recording some of the highest ever interest rates in the US, making it unaffordable for people to purchase a home.

As the Design Lead, I worked cross-functionally with stakeholders to advocate for the users at every step through design decisions in an economic environment that was make or break in the mortgage industry.

ROLEDesign Lead

TEAMIan Griesdorn (Senior Product Manager), Sam Wilder (Content Strategist), Robert Cafazzo (Tech Lead) &
ZeroDegrees (Agency Partner)

3 Months

The Problems;

Less customersHigh Drop-offsBroad Product Strategy

Due to high interest rates, low housing inventory & recession — there were less customers looking to buy a house and as a result, coming to Own Up.
The current experience was not performing well and had extremely high page drop-offs indicative of it not meeting our users’ expectations.

No matter the type of homebuyer path (even ineligible ones) the experience became too broad or not personalized enough in a tough economic climate, with a limited audience.

    Getting into the depth of the problems;

    Evaluating the current experience 

    Looking and collecting feedback from customers and our customer success teams on our current experience showed us the weaknesses in our design — our content and user journey did not set a suitable expectation that matched our current users’ needs, causing the low conversion and high drop-offs post-onboarding.

    • Lacking “human” depthOwn Up home advisors serve as unbiased facilitators to prospective homebuyers, who will advise you to not use Own Up if somewhere else is better — we were not sharing much about them.

    • Address current problemsEveryone knows the economy is not doing well, rates are high and housing is tough to find — this page was not relatable to that and did not reflect these changes.

    • Just want to see ratesAfter going through onboarding, some people expect to look at rates, not another friction point

    •What else...?Besides this pitch, there is not much else to do on the page. Our resources also link out to other pages that are already accessible through the homepage

    Are there opportunities to convert users that Own Up doesn’t currently serve?

    The past OwnUp experience focused on optimizing consults to maximize revenue opportunities — but for people who did not qualify for Own Up or for people who decided not to move forward with Own Up met with a dead-end node — there was an opportunity to connect them to a relevant qualifying service, which we termed at the Non-Concierge Experience. 

    Current high-level user flow
    The ineligible and drop-off points were considered as primary areas of revenue opportunities

    Ideating on the new experience;

    Leveraging creativity from Own Up teams across departments

    I led a group ideation session consisting of our Sales, Engineering, Lender Relations & Customer Success led to the generation of key themes, which helped me derive insights on how to approach design.

    Session Prompt—  How might we better position our Concierge offerings so that they more effectively solve the customer problem and deliver value in order to increase contact rates and consult take-rates?

    Rapid prototyping & testing — under NDA

    With the help of our agency partner Zero Degrees, I collaborated on quickly producing prototypes to test out concepts. The winning version was taken forward by me and refined.

    The first prototype added features and interactivity, resembling an app experience on mobile — this turned out to be too complex for our users during the test. They preferred the second experience which was simpler, provided them with options and clear steps on what to do next.

    The Concierge Experience

    We presented our customers with two options to choose from. They could either schedule a consultation with our home advisor or be connected with a lender match from our vetted network based on their unique scenario.

    This new experience resulted in a 24% increase in customers scheduling a call with home advisors, enabling Own Up to help more customers find the best mortgage deal, and drive revenue growth.


    Clarity of options & expectation setting

    In this new pitch, customer’s can either opt for Own Up’s concierge service and talk to a home advisor or be connected with a partner lender to give them a custom negotiated rate.

    Interest Rates & Market Forces

    Utilizing our rate range calculation API (we do this by parsing data from Optimal Blue), I created a widget for our users to look at weekly rate ranges, along with explanations on market conditions. 

    I also included the ability to set rate reminders, giving the option for people to stay informed daily or weekly about rate fluctuations — so when they are ready, they can move forward with their mortgage loan.

    Real people with genuine advice

    I created a home advisor details view, featuring their qualifications, years of experience and user reviews from previous customers.

    Leveraging the strength of our in-house expertise allows our customers to build trust with the product.

    Learnings & Next Steps;

    My biggest learning from my work with Own Up on this is that the mortgage industry is highly dependent on economic conditions. This means, our product should be designed for rapid upcoming change and flexibility. 

    To underscore the importance of this;

    A few months after the release of Own Up’s concierge experience, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced new legal requirements for online mortgages — requiring another iteration and product pivot. 

    ©Jigyasa Tuli
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