In our 2021 Homebuyer Sentiment Index, the majority of homebuyers (54%) said that they rely on their real estate agent as their main point of contact during the closing process. As title companies look to grow their business and build connections in their local communities, real estate agents can be an invaluable business relationship.
In a recent October Research webinar, Qualia’s Director of High Growth Accounts, Jamie Kump, spoke with industry experts Jim O’Donnell of Equity National Title and Veronica Figueroa of eXp Realty to learn more about the title company-real estate agent relationship and how consumer expectations are impacting the real estate transaction.
Changing consumer expectations for the real estate transaction
With a wealth of knowledge available online, many of today’s homebuyers and sellers are coming to the closing table with more information than ever before and with greater expectations for transparency and information sharing during the closing process. “Consumers want convenience. They want information at their fingertips. They want speed. They want to know that this is going to happen with as little friction as possible,” said Figueroa. As consumers navigate the real estate transaction, many expect to use technology to find a home, simplify the closing process, and reduce paperwork.
Although homebuyers and sellers are doing research on their own, consumers are still looking to real estate professionals for in-depth knowledge and advice. Figueroa said that real estate professionals must be “obsessed with the consumer experience” in order to succeed. In an industry where reputation is everything, title companies and real estate agents must cater to the consumer to grow their businesses and provide a differentiated experience.
Building relationships with real estate agents
Figueroa explained that real estate agents are often local influencers because they are highly involved in their community and are often seen as sources of real estate knowledge and advice. O’Donnell encouraged title companies to align with high-producing real estate agents as a way to increase awareness about their services and connect with consumers in their area. Since many homebuyers look to their real estate agents for title company recommendations, connecting with agents can be an effective way for title companies to grow their business.
In explaining what she’s looking for in a title company, Figueroa said that she looks for a mutually beneficial partnership. “I want a title partner who’s going to help me grow. As competitive as this market is, we can’t just say I’m going to give good service. Good service is a must.” Building relationships with real estate agents comes down to providing a consistent and smooth closing experience for consumers as they work with all the various parties in the transaction. By going above and beyond for homebuyers, title companies can help real estate agents deliver a better experience for their clients and reduce friction during the closing process.
Digitalization in the industry
As title companies look to improve their customer experience, technology can be a powerful tool to increase efficiency and provide a more seamless closing experience. “We have to understand digitalization and that it’s not just about digitizing the closing, but digitizing all of our businesses,” O’Donnell said. He encouraged real estate professionals to embrace new technology as a way to improve the entire real estate transaction experience, from connecting with a real estate agent to signing closing documents.
Title companies are increasingly leveraging technology to communicate effectively and securely with consumers and other real estate professionals. O’Donnell explained that when working with real estate agents and other closing parties, email communication can make title companies vulnerable to a security breach. Instead, communicating through a secure portal can help mitigate security risks and provide a more streamlined way to share information with various closing parties. He recommended that title businesses consider their communication channels as a way to differentiate their business through real-time communication that also safeguards privacy.
Looking to communicate, exchange information, and share documents securely and seamlessly with real estate agents and other closing parties? Learn more about Qualia Connect by clicking below.