In the past few years, the real estate agent’s role has shifted. Online search portals and other digital touchpoints are empowering homebuyers to investigate home listings online long before they connect with an agent.
While the real estate agent’s role has transformed, their identity as the key liaison during the homebuying process has remained steadfast. A recent consumer survey commissioned by Qualia found that 41% of recent homebuyers said that the real estate agent was their main point of contact during the home closing.
As title companies look to form new relationships with real estate agents and develop more business from existing agents, understanding what real estate agents want in a partner is crucial. This is what Drew Coleman, Team Lead at the Drew Coleman Team, and Cor Donovan, Realtor at Corbett Donovan PLLC, discussed with Jamie Kump, Director of High Growth Accounts on a recent October Research webinar.
Establishing new partnerships with real estate agents
Donovan and Coleman said that they are often inundated with texts, emails, and calls from title companies that want to partner with them. This has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic because in-person real estate gatherings and networking events were canceled.
Donovan suggested that title companies should look for value-add opportunities to get in front of real estate agents. “If you have a great communication software you want to introduce to us, get us on the phone,” he said. “Prove to us how your level of service and communications exceed the competition.”
Coleman agreed that the emails and texts from title agents seeking a meeting don’t typically grab his attention. “There are so many solutions out there that can add value to realtor business,” he noted. “Go a mile deep into [a solution we can use together] and sell it to me.”
Competitively differente your digital capabilities
While digital closing tools can be a compelling differentiator, Coleman and Donovan both stressed the importance of simple-to-use digital closing platforms that work well with other systems.
“Everyone likes the idea of consumers living natively in their applications and their bubble,” Coleman said. “As long as the consumer can access what they need, it doesn’t really matter where they access it…it’s more important that [the digital platform] works well with other systems.”
Coleman also noted the value of technology that matches consumer expectations. “[Consumers] don’t care how your platform works, they just want it to work,” he said. “Homebuyers are judging the technology compared to the best technology, and against the best digital experience they’ve had.”
Maintaining partnerships: what do real estate agents want from their title partners?
Like any strong relationship, clear and consistent communication is paramount. Donvan and Coleman agreed that agreeing on communication preferences early in the process is important. These preferences may include:
- Aligning on who the title agency should communicate with at the brokerage. Oftentimes in a larger brokerage, the real estate agent will prefer that communication goes through their transaction coordinator or someone similar.
- Agreeing on how to communicate with the homebuyer. Should the title agency reach out directly? Or should they use the real estate agent as the conduit?
- Understand which channels are best to communicate with the real estate agent. Does the agent prefer phone calls, text messages, emails, or secure portals? And under what circumstances should text or email communication be escalated to a direct phone call?
Coleman also noted the importance of real estate agents and title companies operating as a team to work forward instead of backing into a standard closing timeline. “Give your team wiggle room in case something comes up…the more proactive you can be, that’s what the consumer wants,” he said.
To watch a recording of the October Research webinar featuring Qualia, Drew Coleman Team, and Corbett Donovan PLLC, click below.