Strategies for title businesses to attract and retain clients are evolving—especially after two years of social distancing. In response to these limiting factors, agencies have found new ways to build their books of business with online tools (such as social media and virtual meetings) taking a leading role.
Industry veterans that we’ve spoken with, including Tyrone “TJ” Johnson, Assistant Vice President & State Agency Manager at Alliant National Title Insurance Company, believe these new ways of building relationships are here to stay. “The changes in how we communicate, reach out, and attend meetings will carry on in 2022 and beyond,” Johnson said.
While these new strategies are changing the dynamic of how title agents connect with clients, title agents need to do more than just keep pace with online relationship building. They also need to leverage their technology stack to deliver an optimized client experience. One of the primary methods to attract and retain new sources of business is for title agents to advance their digital capabilities and deliver a premium experience to their real estate agent and lender clients. In this article, we explore what real estate agents and mortgage lenders expect from their title providers and how title agents can strengthen relationships with these clients to earn repeat business.
What real estate agents expect from title partners
According to Qualia’s 2022 Homebuyer Sentiment Index, the majority of homebuyers rely on their real estate agent as their main point of contact from home search through closing. It’s clear that real estate agents play a pivotal role in the homebuying journey, and homebuyers place high expectations on their real estate agents. As a result, real estate agents also place high expectations on their title partners.
1. Real estate agents want quick response times from their title agent
Qualia’s 2022 Homebuyer Sentiment survey asked respondents, “which of the following is important when evaluating whether you would work with a real estate agent again? (Select all that apply).” The top response was a tie between “personalized communication” (43%) and “quick response times” (43%). To meet consumer demand for speed and convenient transaction experiences, real estate agents depend on quick response times from their transaction partners—including title agents.
Automating certain communications (such as status updates) can help title agents meet these expectations. For example, with Qualia Connect, title companies can set up triggers within their workflow in Qualia Core so that custom, automated messages are sent to the appropriate parties when certain milestones are complete. Automated communication allows title agents to respond quickly to real estate agents or even directly to consumers. In fact, the majority of Connect users report that they are now able to respond to clients within hours rather than several days or a week.
At Alliant National Title Insurance Company, Johnson works closely with title agents to uncover business development opportunities. He agreed that title agents who stand out from the competition are not only knowledgeable about the process but are also “quick to respond and agile as well.”
2. Real estate agents want their title agents to offer local knowledge and closing expertise
According to Qualia’s 2022 Homebuyer Sentiment Index, homebuyers highly value real estate agents who possess local market expertise and offer guidance during the closing process. Qualia’s report also found that consumers find closing documents—both the amount of paperwork and understanding the documents—to be the most challenging aspect of the closing process.
Homebuyers trust real estate agents as sources of knowledge and advice about the homebuying process—including the most notoriously challenging aspect of the process—the home closing. Title agents can provide real value to real estate agents by offering guidance throughout the closing process and providing tools that reduce confusion for consumers.
Solutions like Qualia Connect allow title agents to offer this expertise rather than focusing their energy on time-consuming and manual tasks. For example, when title agents automate status updates, they can divert their attention away from repetitive follow-ups and instead focus on offering clients greater certainty during the complicated closing process. Qualia Connect also allows homebuyers and their real estate agents to review closing documents and for buyers to eSign certain documents ahead of the closing date. This enables consumers to take the time to ask their real estate agent (or title agent) questions and feel more confident during the closing process.
What mortgage lenders expect from title partners
1. Mortgage lenders also want quick response times from their title agent
According to Qualia’s 2022 Homebuyer Sentiment Index, the closing process is critical for consumers when it comes to deciding if they will work with a mortgage lender again. Recent borrowers report that their top priorities when considering working with a mortgage lender again are “quick response times,” “guidance through the closing process,” and “an on-time closing.”
Streamlined communications and document sharing are vital to ensuring the closing is efficient and accurate. Solutions like Connect allow for smoother and more organized transactions. With Connect, title agents can instantly provide closing updates to lenders. In Connect, documents and information are securely stored and available at any time to approved parties.
2. Mortgage lenders want on-time closings
The failure to close a loan on time negatively impacts a borrower’s experience. According to data from STRATMOR, failing to close a loan in the expected timeframe costs a lender 57 NPS points. Lenders who did not close in the expected timeframe had an average NPS score of 30, while lenders who closed on time had an average score of 87.
Lenders rely on title agents to meet closing deadlines. One of the main culprits for closing delays is errors on closing documents and/or missing documents. Rekeying data can sometimes result in documentation errors. Solutions like Connect allow title agents to send information requests directly to lenders. This information is then auto-populated across the entire order, saving even more time and ensuring accuracy.
Title agents that implement digital processes are valuable partners to real estate agents and mortgage lenders. By streamlining communication, leveraging automation, and securely sharing documents, title agents can deliver a better client experience and reduce friction during the closing process.
To learn more about how your business can leverage Qualia Connect to better serve your clients, get in touch with a Qualia specialist by scheduling a time below.