Over the past decade, the title industry has undergone a massive technological evolution. Within just a handful of years, title companies have transformed their operations from paper driven and analog systems to completely digital systems accessed from the cloud.

The evolution from the typewriter to the cloud didn’t happen overnight. As title companies adopted technology to level-up their operations, other players in the real estate ecosystem advanced at an even more rapid pace and developed their own solutions for their piece of the puzzle. As a result, the real estate industry digitized in a siloed fashion, and the transaction process became increasingly fragmented.

Today, APIs are changing these dynamics and enabling greater connectivity both within and across real estate businesses; however, these mission-critical tools won’t be a cure all without the proper underlying infrastructure to support them. Businesses must assess their API infrastructure through the appropriate lens to discover solutions that will deliver longevity.

The basics: why are APIs now mission-critical for enterprises? 

An Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of definitions and protocols for building and integrating application software. According to the most recent State of API Integration study, 72% of IT executives and integration specialists say API integration is “critical” or “very critical” to their business strategy. APIs allow businesses to integrate technology and processes that have historically been siloed—they essentially act as the “mesh” connecting business applications to one another. This connectivity enables businesses to increase speed and productivity, decrease operational costs, enhance scalability, and increase team engagement and collaboration. 

APIs also enable speed-to-innovation. In a 2021 Harvard Business Review article titled “APIs Aren’t Just for Tech Companies,” the authors describe APIs as critical for innovators to leverage a framework that enables them to stay ahead of the curve in a fast-changing and rapidly-digitizing environment. “Innovators use ecosystem thinking to chart strategies for sustainable growth and use APIs as conduits for value exchange within the value network.” 

In real estate, the value of APIs is especially weighty. Over the past few years, new technology companies exploded onto the real estate scene, leading to thousands of new point solutions designed to solve specific business challenges. APIs are essential in enabling these disjointed but helpful tools to work better together. This is true both on an internal level (enabling internal systems to talk to one another and for data to be centralized) and on an external level (enabling systems to communicate more easily with outside entities).

For example, a PropTech company offering consumers a digital, end-to-end homebuying experience could integrate with a network of title agencies by leveraging the Qualia API to connect their digital systems to those of various title agencies. This enables the PropTech company to reduce transaction friction by leveraging a “value network.” These organizations could also use the Qualia API to add in-house title services to their offering by connecting their internal systems to Qualia Core (title production software) using the Qualia API.

Going deeper: the benefits cloud-based platforms for APIs

Across many organizations, API administration is point-to-point (i.e. connecting one system to another system). This works well for each individual integration; however, when multiplied by hundreds of APIs and point-to-point connections, the system begins to fall apart and data traffic jams ensue as multiple points attempt to funnel into the same system. Not to mention, when one API is upgraded, the entire system may need to be re-engineered to ensure all of the connections are still intact. 

This is where the cloud-based platforms come in. Cloud-based platforms enable standard, pre-built, and configurable functions that offer a more simplistic API architecture than on-premise systems, which require in-house or contracted developers to write complex code and maintain multiple environments and integrations. For example, the Qualia API is an enterprise-grade (GraphQL), cloud-based software and offers a robust developer hub and sandbox. This means it’s quicker and easier for developer teams to access the API and selectively control who gets access to data. 

What’s ahead: standardization to drive forward an even more frictionless transaction 

While APIs enable system-to-system communication and smoother transaction experiences, there are still industry-wide improvements to be made. Real estate is still a highly-localized industry where workflows vary significantly from region-to-region. As a result, workflows aren’t especially standardized across title & escrow businesses and fast-growing companies have challenges scaling quickly across regions. For PropTech companies to leverage a network of title & escrow companies via an API for example, standardization is necessary.

This is where many enterprise title & escrow businesses are looking to cloud-based, configurable platforms like Qualia to enable simplified and standardized “base workflows” that can be easily configured with local requirements in mind. Businesses can leverage 3 to 4 “base workflows” that layer on dynamic tasks and documents to create a more standardized workflow that enables better system-to-system collaboration and ultimately enable automation to take place between systems. 

As the industry becomes more standardized, the power of APIs will only amplify what’s possible for a more simple, secure, and enjoyable transaction experience. To learn more about Qualia’s API, click below to get in touch with a Qualia product specialist.

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