Providing clients with fast and consistent closings is key to being successful in a changing market. Title & escrow companies can accomplish this by analyzing existing workflows for inefficiencies, such as excessive manual processes and time-consuming tasks. Without scalable processes, the high number of tasks associated with closings—such as collecting HOA documentation to property tax data—can lead to inefficiencies. Identifying and addressing these inefficiencies enables title & escrow companies to provide a better (and faster) closing experience while saving employees time for more important tasks.

One often-inefficient process is mortgage payoffs. During this process, agents are responsible for obtaining a payoff statement, researching the current payoff figures, and ordering a payoff statement from lending institutions, which is a formal letter indicating how much the lender is owed. Payoffs must be paid at the closing so that the lender releases their claim to the property.

How payoff delays can derail closings

Getting payoff statements back in a timely manner is essential for progressing closings, but the process of acquiring payoffs can be a tangled web of manual communication and multiple portals. Title agents often need to work with a lending institution or multiple lenders to acquire a single payoff. Collecting this information traditionally involves reaching out via multiple emails, logging into various portals, and navigating automated voice messaging systems. Many title & escrow companies use a separate spreadsheet or “cheat sheet” to keep track of all the different requirements across lenders. This information is either stored and updated manually or integrated into a company’s technology. 

Unfortunately, following different processes for each lender can result in significant time that an agent must spend hunting down payoffs and may lead to a closing delay. Leslie McKenzie, Director of Operations at Allied Title & Escrow LLC, explained that “not having an updated payoff at closing can create issues and potential delays.” The lack of standardization is often at the root of delays due to payoffs. Since title agents must often reach out to multiple lenders for payoffs, each lender may have a slightly different process. For example, in one scenario, lenders may require title agents to dial into an automated voice message system and spend 5 to 7 minutes tracking down payoff information. In another, it may take weeks for a lender to send the payoff statement back to the agent. Standardizing this process can save time internally and result in a smoother closing experience. 

Solutions to standardize the payoff process

Simplifying how agents order payoff statements can save processing time and improve predictability during closings. Joe Salmons, Senior Vice President of Sales at SitusAMC (a vendor that provides payoffs as well as other real estate services), explained that when title companies manage payoffs internally, it’s often a manual process that requires agents to reach out to lenders multiple times to secure necessary documentation. Salmons explained that outsourcing payoffs to expert vendors “takes the heavy lifting off of the title company” to create significant time savings and enable agents to focus on other more important tasks. 

Removing operational hurdles can create a standard process regardless of which lender a title company is working with. Salmons shared that “we repeatedly hear from title companies that the ordering process is rife with unnecessary hurdles right now. If title processors could click a few buttons to order payoffs right inside their settlement software, that would have a significant impact on their time savings.” For example, instead of dialing into an automated voice messaging system and receiving back a payoff statement, agents can order payoffs from expert vendors without leaving their settlement software. 

Outsourcing payoffs (and other closing tasks) to expert vendors enables title companies to focus their efforts on providing high-quality, on-time closings. Not only does it take time-consuming tasks off agents’ plates, but it also enables businesses to scale based on fluctuations in transaction volume. Centralizing documentation, communication, and payments in one place can create a simpler process for agents to follow and reduce the time it takes to manage payoff statements.

Payoffs: the latest addition to Qualia Marketplace

Mortgage payoffs are the latest product that can be ordered in Qualia Marketplace. This update enables agents to order payoff statements without leaving their core workflow, which standardizes the ordering process and saves agents time. In Qualia Marketplace, agents can order payoffs with a few clicks to avoid spending time and resources chasing down lenders to acquire payoff statements. 

With this new addition to Marketplace, businesses can further standardize how they order payoffs by centralizing documentation, communication, and payments in one place. Learn more about how payoffs in Qualia Marketplace can help expedite your business’ closing process by speaking with one of Qualia’s experts.

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