BLOG VIEW: For years now, residential mortgage borrowers have been assured on the title front, as it has been managed superlatively by expert title professionals who often act as silent partners, pushing the deal past the finish line.
In 2020, the emergence of COVID-19 resulted in the need for a safe, non-touch closing process. At the same time, historically low mortgage rates resulted in a surge of refinances and purchases. As a result, title companies had to leverage technology to accommodate a new, contactless closing experience.
And with home sales expected to remain strong in 2021, title companies are likely to see the same challenges. So how can they improve their processes in this unique situation created by the pandemic?
Title Operations in the Age of Remote Working and the New Normal
Title search, in general, is a resource intensive process and involves nuances that require considerable expenditure of time and money. Up until the pandemic, title transactions and closings were generally done in offices. But the new remote working norms have meant that a major amount of the workforce is now working from home.
In an industry where closing at the table was the norm, the pandemic has offered avenues for a new alternative. While this shift from closing room to digital may not be permanent, there’s no denying that working from home is here to stay for a significant number of jobs in the title industry. Therefore, the title industry will have to adapt by investing in a robust technology infrastructure that enables fast and secure title processes.
Technology Managed Concepts: The Key to Scale-Up
The pandemic has resulted in an urgent need to innovate and rethink how these remote processes can best be handled. It is now imperative that title companies invest in the right kind of technology and infrastructure, with digitization and automation being the way forward.
Technology is playing a key role in helping the real estate and mortgage sectors remain relevant in this ever-changing market.
Title search involves coordination of various processes, from compiling title history to ensuring that all documents are submitted on time. Expediting this process aids both the customer and the provider.
With the latest technology, title companies can increase efficiency by improving workflow. Tasks are completed faster and with greater precision.
Technology can also enable open and personalized communication, thus increasing transparency throughout the process.
Process Efficiency and Expertise to Meet Volumes
Title companies are front and center in orchestrating a safe closing experience. But it is important that title agents plan their workload effectively to cater to periods of high volume. If they are accepting cross-state verification requests apart from interstate transactions, they should be able to put together a comprehensive plan of action even before accepting the request.
This is necessary, as every state has different regulations, which makes it essential for title agents to stay up-to-date with the compliance process. Therefore, it is extremely important that title agents have a working plan, depending on the seasonality and complexity of processes, to ensure fast deliveries.
How to Achieve More in 2021
If the forecasts pan-out, and home sales remain strong this year – and if remote, at-home work continues to be the norm for the foreseeable future – title agents need to be prepared to manage the situation. During such stressful times, partnerships offer a strong alternative. Partnering with expert professionals can offer the flexibility to scale-up or scale-down a team to manage cycles effectively and ensure lower operational costs. Title firms should consider partnering with service providers that offer a unique combination of technology expertise and process excellence.
Dinesh Valecha is president at title processing firm FUGO Services.
Photo: John Schnobrich