Dickason Law Group (DLG) wanted to develop a finely tuned staffing model and invest in superior technology in order to orchestrate seamless coordination across a distributed workforce and scale rapidly. After several experiments with other platforms, they found success with Qualia.
In 2007, Matt Dickason started DLG, a traditional real estate closing law firm, to serve the residents of Atlanta and built his business to a modest size over the first few years. He, like many other similar firms, nurtured relationships with local mortgage lenders and real estate brokerages to send him business. But unlike other similar firms, Dickason, who was as much an entrepreneur as he was real estate attorney, noticed that the status quo for real estate closings could be improved and decided to make a change. Dickason noted that, “Deeds have been sent to counties for 120 years pretty much the same way. This industry has been screaming for help.”
In many parts of the country, including Georgia, Dickason noticed that firms focused their resources in a counter-intuitive way. Closing firms generally spread their highly trained staff members too thin by getting them deeply involved in every part of the business rather than have them specialize in the areas that needed them most: client development and service.
Developing a New Business Model
With that insight, Dickason decided to experiment first with his staffing model. He reorganized his back-office staffing while realigning his experienced staff with a knack for customer service to work directly with clients. Instead of being deep into each file, as in the past, their primary job functions now focused on improving and simplifying the client experience. This Client Relationship Manager (CRM) became the client's single point of contact throughout the process. The work involved in moving a contract through closing was then delegated across multiple back of house roles. According to Dickason, the model would be instrumental in helping DLG scale cost effectively while providing the best service in the region.
“We wanted to make it simple for everyone in the closing process to collaborate with a single point of contact,” explained Dickason.
“By creating the CRM model, we also made it possible for us to develop a statewide network of affiliated real estate attorneys to work with us too. Our affiliated attorneys, as well as the real estate agents and mortgage brokers we partner with, can now communicate with one person at DLG to get the deal done. That was our goal.”
“However, while we greatly improved the staffing problem by introducing the CRMs, we still needed to work through the technology side of our plan. We needed a platform with a single source of truth, a place where all our closing information could be managed and could act as a central hub for online communication.”
The Goldilocks Technology Hunt
With DLG’s staffing going according to plan, DLG still needed to find the second half of the equation - superior technology - in order to make their business model scale effectively. To find the right solution DLG went through a Goldilocks journey.
- Too Burdensome: DLG initially built a cloud-based solution utilizing Google Sheets, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Wordpress, Gravity Forms, Google Hangouts, AODocs, Boomerang, Gorgias, Zapier, WebMerge, and more. All of these technologies relied heavily on each other and one small change or error could disrupt the entire process. While it was the first time DLG had deep access to data and intelligence they had never seen before, the process was cumbersome and fragmented. Working in all of these environments not only frustrated employees, but proved to be ineffective in scaling the business.
- Too Antiquated: DLG also spent a good deal of time, money, and effort on other settlement softwares; RamQuest and Softpro. It quickly became apparent that the on-premise version of the tools they invested in could not keep up with what DLG needed to do and also carried with them frustrating user experiences. They were too antiquated. DLG thought their only option was to pay for a Softpro upgrade. While they were not convinced it would solve their problems, the team was about to reluctantly go through this additional time intensive and costly implementation.
- Just Right: Fortunately, in a desperate last-minute search, DLG did a quick search online for options in the market that had good reviews. They found Qualia on the first search. It was just right. Within minutes of finding Qualia online, DLG was speaking with the team. DLG’s Chief Operations Officer Zach Wachs explained that “it was clear right from that start that this was a different kind of platform and a different kind of team. People at Qualia just get it. They're incredibly sharp. That's super refreshing.”
“We needed to find a solution that was web-based and where we didn't have to buy a license and install software on 50 different laptops,” said Dickason. With DLG’s remote workforce and statewide network of attorneys, Qualia’s cloud-based system was the perfect solution for collaborating and communicating with a distributed workforce, as well as with the growing number of real estate agents and mortgage lenders they wanted to do business with.
“It was clear from the first 10-minute demo that this is what we were looking for,” shared Wachs. “Qualia’s interface is so intuitive. We knew our CRMs could step right in and do their work and our attorneys and broader network would feel right at home. Anyone who's been in the industry can easily use this thing. This was what we had been looking for."
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“The number of things you can do in Qualia’s end-to-end environment is a true game changer,” exclaimed Wachs. “We'd been dreaming about this truly web based solution for years. In fact, we were so frustrated with what else was out there that we started building our own app until we tripped over Qualia.”
"The transition from Softpro was butter," Wachs describes of the migration to Qualia. At first, the team at DLG thought they’d just start slowly with a few files, but it was so easy to use Qualia they decided to flip the switch fully and never turned back.
In fact, months after uninstalling their Softpro implementation, they still have to pay off a Softpro bill because how quickly they switched. But, DLG, a very cost-conscious firm, found that being off that platform was more than worth the sunk cost.
Qualia pays for itself since DLG has been able to consolidate almost a dozen of their other services by switching to Qualia, including:
- closing document prep,
- document management tools,
- file trackers,
- workflow tools,
- a special program for short sales,
- email and chat (significantly reduced since many communications flow through the platform),
- reconciliations platform and escrow accounting,
- vendor management tools for order, fulfillment, and payments--especially handy when managing DLG’s largest abstract vendor, Coast to Coast Title Service who integrates seamlessly within the Qualia Marketplace.
In addition, CRMs are much more efficient because they can direct hundreds of monthly mailings through the FedEx integration and e-recordings through the Qualia platform.
Today, DLG receives business from their network of 50+ affiliated attorneys, from other national title agencies seeking to do business in Georgia, and from the direct relationships Dickason himself continues to build with mortgage lenders and real estate brokerages.
This entire network effortlessly coordinates through Qualia. With both their staffing and technology plans in place, DLG is servicing thousands of closing per year and scaling faster than ever. With a sense of satisfaction that his dream plan is coming together, Dickason shared “Qualia is an invaluable technology partner for coordinating our closings and securing new business. It’s helping us reach our future goals of closing 10% of Georgia’s real estate transactions in the next few years.”
ABOUT DICKASON LAW GROUP
Dickason Law Group is a Georgia-based full-service real estate closing firm that provides particular expertise in real estate transactions. Services include advising start-up and mid-sized companies to encompassing all types of real estate transactions including contract drafting and review, acquisition and development of raw land, and residential and commercial closings. To learn more, visit www.dickasonlaw.com.
Qualia redefines the real estate closing experience by connecting everyone in the transaction in one secure, mobile, cloud-based platform. For more information about Qualia, the only end-to-end Real Estate Closing Platform, visit: www.qualia.com.
Sign up to learn how Qualia can help your office at qualia.com/demo or call 855-441-5498.