Recently USA Today ran a story about how restaurants are moving towards offering their customers customized entrees.
One of the examples given is Chipotle, a Mexican food chain which has five basic items which can be served in five different ways, with a bunch of other options the consumer can use to construct his main dish.
This "less is more' attitude among restaurants is streamlining menus, but by increasing the number of variables the consumer can choose from, increasing customer satisfaction.
Years ago, long before the mortgage boom and bust, a speaker at an industry conference brought up the topic of the customizable mortgage. But the most pressing argument against this occurring was the need for standardization so the loan can be sold in the secondary market.
With the work in progress on a new securitization platform, it might be time to consider the customizable mortgage again.
There has never been a truly customizable mortgage offered to consumers, although the pay-option adjustable-rate mortgage and Fannie Mae's pick-your-term loan had customizable attributes.
The biggest advantage of a customized mortgage is that it would bring together features from different products which in the past could not be in the same loan.
The customizable mortgage, however, would require an educated consumer and that is the biggest drawback to its creation.
Consumers not only need to know about the mortgage process, but also truly understand their own finances to effectively design their own loans.
That is the protection against unscrupulous mortgage originators who took advantage of people getting outside-the-box loan products during the boom years.
Maybe the time isn't right today for the customizable mortgage, but the time is right to start discussing its potential for helping get consumers into homes in the not-so-distant future.