This post is the second of a three-part series on how technology is reinventing how we do title settlement. Check back soon for Part III, or subscribe on the sidebar to receive email updates.

Hope is on the horizon, as recent innovation in the real estate industry is set to deliver a less stressful, more efficient home buying process for everyone involved. As covered in Part I of this series, consumers and realtors were early adopters of new technology, using it to lower costs and improve the home buying experience.

But what about modern solutions for title companies? Challenges with regulations and the numerous diverse data sources involved with the title insurance process have undoubtedly slowed both technology development and adoption. Nevertheless, new state-of-the-art solutions built specifically for title companies are starting to gain widespread adoption.

Out with the Old

Before technology entered the process, closing agents had to enter the information for each file by hand. Agents relied on the telephone, fax machine, scanned documents and, later, email to communicate and transmit information. Calendars and “whiteboards” were often used to keep track of these tasks.

As the closing progressed, so did the amount of paperwork. It was not uncommon to see a two- or three-inch-thick file sitting on a closing agent’s desk at any one time. Multiply that by an agent’s 5, 10 or 20 “open” escrow files, and it is not hard to imagine the frustration and difficulty involved with getting to the closing table on time and free of error.

And In With The New

In recent years, new solutions have started to eliminate some of these paper-intensive tasks. A good example is the advent of electronic recording. Before, title agents had to send paper document recordings by mail or in person to the county clerk’s office. Now eRecording allows for documents to be sent online instantaneously, saving both title agents and recording offices significant time and costs.

eRecording is just one example of how technology can optimize the thousands of tasks that title companies fulfill, which begs the question, “What other solutions exist, and is my office taking full advantage of these new tools to improve our processes?” If the answer is anything but, “Yes,” now is the time to take stock of your company’s use of technology.

5 Questions to Get Started

Luckily, taking advantage of new technology is not as scary as it sounds. Remember when Facebook seemed overwhelming? Now, it is hard to imagine a simpler way to keep in touch with friends over long distances and periods of time.

The first step is to assess and benchmark your office operations against today’s most tech-savvy title companies. Start with these five questions:

  1. Does your office have an automated tasking system in place that assigns owners, deadlines and reminders based on the closing date?
  2. Can you easily generate custom business reports in real time at no additional cost?
  3. Are your escrow accounts protected with automatic reconciliation and fraud detection?
  4. Do your internal tools “talk” to the systems that your realtors, lenders, underwriters, eRecorders, and other partners use?
  5. Do your internal tools “talk” to each other? Are you able to seamlessly transfer data between your systems for email, accounting, document, contact management, etc.?

How does your office stack up? In our next segment, we’ll break down each of these questions, including why they are important from a time and cost perspective and what steps your office should take if you answered “no.”