Scott Parisen, escrow officer at Glen Oaks Escrow, has worked in the California real estate business for two decades. Throughout his career, he experienced the housing bubble in 2006, the resulting housing crisis in 2008, and the market’s steady recovery over the past few years. Nothing, however, quite compares to the ups and downs of the past few months. “Everything is changing day-by-day [with the pandemic] and now, we’re experiencing the wildfires in California,” Parisen said during a phone interview with Qualia.
Parisen and his team are currently experiencing the highest levels of refinancing, purchase, and resale volume ever. We spoke with him over the phone to discuss how his team is responding to record-level volume while maintaining high levels of service for clients and consumers.
California escrow officers typically remain in-office, but partners are often remote
Under regulations from the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (previously the California Department of Business Oversight), escrow officers are required to operate in brick and mortar locations. (The department issued a memo that under certain circumstances, remote work is allowed.) This meant that at the onset of the pandemic, while other businesses transitioned to work-from-home environments, many California escrow companies reconfigured their office spaces to comply with CDC guidelines.
“When everything initially happened, our company took things very seriously. We broke the office down into sections for limited exposure from group to group,” Parisen said. Glen Oaks Escrow used plastic boards to separate the office into sections and created multiple entrances for different departments to access their sectioned-off spaces.
While Glen Oaks maintained in-office operations, many of their partners did not. Many of the other parties involved in the transaction are working from home or with limited staff. “We might be on hold for a few hours and turnaround times are slower with other parties working from home,” Parisen explained. “This makes it difficult for us to maintain a level of service when we’re working with parties who have their own challenges.”
Leveraging technology to maintain high levels of partner and consumer satisfaction
Escrow officers are the center point of the real estate transaction. “Right now, no one feels normal. Yet people are relying on us [as the primary coordinator in the transaction] to conduct business as normal as possible,” Parisen said.
For his team, paperless processes and automation are keeping the engines running as smoothly as possible. “My team has always been at the forefront of technology and now we’re utilizing that to its highest potential,” Parisen said. His team has been able to accelerate timelines on their end with as little contact as possible through paperless processes and automation built into their core workflow software (Qualia).
Below are a few features within Qualia that enable California escrow officers to maintain high levels of efficiency and collaboration internally and externally with clients:
- Dynamic Workflows. Managers can set up an ideal, automated transaction workflow to streamline operational efficiency while also limiting person-to-person contact. These workflows can be configured in a dynamic way to respond to the swift changes inherent in escrow work.
- Tasks dashboard: Qualia’s dynamic workflow system is configured for the entire team assigned to a particular order to see the progress of that order. This allows anyone involved in the order to update a client on the status without needing to track down a colleague for an update.
- Qualia Connect. This tool enables escrow officers to securely share information with partners and offers an integrated e-signing experience. A client can see a task assigned to them and once complete, the information is automatically populated and stored in the escrow officer’s file.
- Contact tracking. Qualia’s contact dashboard enables escrow businesses to track order volume from different partners such as real estate agents or lenders over time. If a particular contact is driving less business, then the business development representative can reach out to the contact to re-engage.
- Accounting. Qualia’s in-file accounting features enable escrow offers to see funding statuses and deadlines on a single screen. The system also enables checks to be cut directly from Qualia. The reporting in the accounting system is built to be compliant for every state and for California in particular, is audit-ready.
- Document storage. Qualia gives you the ability to create, upload, and store unlimited documents in the system. You can also easily create and modify document templates to input any changes you need to make immediately.
For Parisen and his team, the thought of conducting business without a cloud-based, automated, and paperless system is nearly unfathomable. “I can’t imagine being able to operate right now if we were still pushing big paper files and printing documents,” he said.
For more information about how Qualia helps California escrow businesses achieve high volume and greater efficiency, click below to schedule a time with one of our Qualia Specialists.