In March of this year, mortgage rates hit a record low. As a result, applications for refinances skyrocketed 224% compared to March 2019. In the same month, the coronavirus pandemic struck—purchase volume plummeted and closing cancelations spiked.
Now, as the world regains its footing, the real estate environment is still largely uncertain. How long will title & escrow businesses cater to the need for contactless closings? How will the economic ripple effects of the shut downs impact real estate volume? The answers to these questions remain to be determined.
In these uncertain times, businesses can find stability through the ability to quickly adapt to fluctuating circumstances and order volumes. And the right title & escrow workflow software is elemental to success.
LemonBrew Abstract, the title & escrow division of LemonBrew Technologies, which had operations in 3 states, purchased Qualia just a few months before COVID-19. Since then, they have expanded to 19 additional states—all while maintaining the same number of physical offices. While their team could not predict the pandemic, they did have the foresight to prioritize software that could help them stay nimble and innovative. We spoke with Amit Doshi, the COO of LemonBrew Abstract’s parent company, LemonBrew Technologies, over the phone to discuss how LemonBrew filtered software providers to find the most flexible, tech-driven partner to match their business needs.
Software selection criteria for an adaptable business
Choosing the right technology partner is crucial to success in the months and years ahead. Doshi offered a few areas his team at LemonBrew Abstract examined closely when they selected a software provider:
ROBUST INTEGRATIONS WITH UNDERWRITERS AND LENDERS
Successful integrations enable underwriter, lender, title & escrow, and vendor teams to collaborate seamlessly on files. Information is passed from one system to another without the need for rekeying and manual data entry which can create clunky workflows and costly errors.
A software provider’s ability to successfully integrate with multiple lender LOS platforms and underwriter systems is especially important for adaptability and meeting new customer demands for seamless transaction experiences. “We needed the ability to work with national lenders,” Doshi said. “Qualia being a technology company reassures us that we can work with our software provider to build new integrations with lenders that have proprietary LOS systems.”
CUSTOMIZATION OF WORKFLOWS & OTHER AUTOMATION
As your business responds to unpredictable events, having the ability to quickly adapt workflows is crucial. Doshi explained that prior to Qualia (and when LemonBrew Abstract was only operational in 3 states), they leveraged a smaller regional platform which made transactions outside of the platform’s region especially difficult and inefficient. “A lot of things kept breaking,” he said. As a result, LemonBrew Abstract stitched together 14 handoffs from start-to-finish. “With Qualia we now have just 4 handoffs. We were able to almost double our number of orders per month.”
In a similar vein, during COVID-19, LemonBrew Abstract was able to quickly respond to the need for contactless closings and social distancing thanks to a paperless, automatic handoff system made possible with Qualia’s customizable workflows.
In addition to dynamic, automated workflows, businesses should search for other automation features that reduce manual, repetitive activity. Tasks such as rekeying data, moving files, making calculations, communicating closing progress with clients, and updating order status can all be automated for greater efficiency.
AN INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY PARTNER
“LemonBrew is a true technology company,” Doshi said. “Our engineers needed the ability to work directly with our software provider’s team of engineers to make our process and platform better… at the end of the day, it’s hard for a technology company to work with a non-technology company.”
Businesses of all types and sizes should have the same mindset as Doshi in 2020. Your software provider should have the ability to innovate and adapt with your business and with a dynamic market. This adaptability and technology-focused mindset will not only advance your business, it will also make you more enticing to partners.
MODERN INTERFACE AND EASE-OF-USE
Simple-to-use, modern software will not only ease stress among employees during uncertain times, it will also excite them and can operate as a talent-retention tool.
“If you look at our prior software, it takes you back to the days of Nintendo,” Doshi said. “We have a lot of millennials on our team and we wanted them to look at the software and say ‘wow’ this is exciting and something I want to work with.”
TRANSACTION-BASED PRICING STRUCTURE
Doshi and his team are rapidly expanding operations and while efficiency-driving tools have enabled their headcount to remain the same, the need for more resources could arise at any time. “[With a transaction-based pricing structure] we know how much our costs will be based on transaction,” Doshi pointed out.
Make the switch
There’s a common phrase that “necessity is the mother of invention.” Indeed, COVID-19 has pushed forward much innovation out of necessity for contactless closings and remote work.
Business will not be the same moving forward. The strides to adopt new technology cannot be backtracked (nor should they be) and the trajectory of the industry will remain pointed toward digitization and paperless systems. Now more than ever, it’s important for businesses to get on board and find the right software provider to propel them forward alongside their peers.
To learn more about LemonBrew’s success with Qualia, click HERE to download the case study.