More than 1,000 real estate professionals registered for Qualia’s Future of Real Estate Series (FORES) summer session which took place earlier this week. FORES offered an inside look at Qualia’s latest product releases and featured exclusive conversations between some of the industry’s most forward-thinking experts.
Presenters at FORES reviewed the events of Q2 and how they informed Qualia’s most recent product innovations. To conclude the event Qualia CEO, Nate Baker, joined Blend CEO, Nima Ghamsari, (earlier that day Blend announced that it raised $75M in Series F funding) and Homie co-founder and CFO, Mike Peregrina, to discuss how technology is shifting consumer experiences from home search through close.
Remote online notarization launch
One of the most anticipated sessions from FORES was the announcement of Qualia RON. Director of Product, Charlotte Brown, joined Product Manager, Kathleen Sullivan, to walk through a demonstration of Qualia RON.
“We wanted to differentiate our solution from other third party remote notarization tools,” Sullivan said during the demonstration. “We set out to build the first and only RON tool created specifically for real estate and fully integrated into a settlement platform.”
Sullivan and Brown discussed how Qualia RON meets industry standards as well as how the product goes beyond legislative guidelines to give real estate professionals “a simple way to strengthen their brand with a high level of service and to fulfill consumer demand for completely digital transactions.”
Qualia’s digital poll taken during the event found that 72% of poll respondents believe RON will have the biggest impact on the real estate industry this year compared to other technology.
A look back on Q2: Qualia’s response to COVID-19
Some of the most industry-shifting events of the past decade took place in the last quarter (Q2 2020). Qualia’s co-founder and CTO, Joel Gottsegen, walked attendees through a timeline of Qualia’s product innovation during the pandemic.
March 2020: rapid feature releases to address pandemic pain points
“One of the earliest challenges at the beginning of the pandemic was the closure of county recording offices across the country,” Gottsegen said. “So we created a real-time county recording office tracker. This tracker provided up-to-date information on whether or not offices were closed within Qualia Marketplace.”
In addition to helping title & escrow agents manage county recording closures, Qualia also responded to increased demand for remote notaries. “In March, we saw searches for remote notaries spike in response to COVID-19,” Gottsegen said. “We built a filtering system that allowed Qualia users to quickly and easily search for vetted remote notaries and place orders with them —all from within Marketplace.”
April 2020: new tools to help employees collaborate while working from home
“At the onset of the pandemic, usage of [Qualia’s in-app] chat feature increased dramatically. This demonstrated how wildly valuable it was for title & escrow agents to stay within their core software to interact with their team remotely,” Gottsegen said.
Qualia built Team Video Chat so users could initiate face-to-face conversations directly within their core software platform without needing to log in to additional platforms such as Zoom or Google Hangouts to collaborate with team members.
May 2020: a new product to enable remote ink-signed notarization (RIN)
In April and May, governors across the country began issuing local orders allowing for remote ink-signed notarization (RIN) during the pandemic. With RIN, signers could wet-ink sign documents over video chat with a remote notary.
“Our in-app video chat tool was the perfect foundation to build additional video capabilities,” Gottsegen said. “So we built another video tool [Connect Video Chat] to enable the new hybrid closing option called RIN.”
Powering better title-lender relationships: Qualia Post
In addition to recapping Q2 product updates for title & escrow users, Gottsegen also provided an update on Qualia’s mortgage lender product, Qualia Post. This product was initially designed to help mortgage lenders collect trailing documents from their title & escrow partners during the post-closing process. “We chose to focus specifically on trailing documents to alleviate the pain of post-closing, which includes a ton of manual work and a lack of visibility,” he said.
“We’re excited to announce that mortgage lenders can now automatically collect any document from title companies,” Gottsegen said. This means that Qualia Post can be used by any team at a mortgage lending institution that needs to collaborate with title companies for document retrieval.
The future of real estate: a look forward with Blend and Homie
To conclude the event, Qualia CEO, Nate Baker, joined Blend CEO, Nima Ghamsari, and Homie co-founder and CFO, Mike Peregrina, for a fireside chat. The panelists discussed how technology is shifting home buying experiences from search through close.
“We think that the industry is broken in the way people buy and sell homes,” Peregrina said. His team at Homie is creating a single, vertically-integrated brand experience for homebuyers. “The transaction is just one piece of the homeownership experience which is years and years long,” he explained. “To bundle everything into one brand creates a lot more collaboration and [consumer] savings as a byproduct of that.”
Ghamsari agreed that this ultimate end-to-end vision will create an ideal experience for consumers; however, it is years away from reality and not necessarily only achieved by vertically-integrated businesses. “There are likely gaps in those experiences that may not be digital yet,” he noted, adding that many of these gaps are addressed with software.
The foundational software that companies like Blend and Qualia are building to bridge these gaps will ultimately benefit both vertically-integrated businesses and specialized service providers alike. “If we’re able to work together, we will get to [the end vision] much faster,” Ghamsari said.
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