The difference between a refinance-dominated market and a purchase market can be stark for a title agency. It’s just a longer, more difficult process to bring a purchase transaction to closing. There are more people involved: Real Estate Agents and a seller, for starters. There are more emotions and anxieties on the buyer’s end. There are more steps. There are more opportunities for the deal to fall through…and to come back together again.
And there are a lot more calls, emails and other conversations to be had among all of those parties.
The real estate agent and broker are also core sources of business for most title agencies in a purchase market. While they’re not involved in the typical refinance transaction, making the loan officer the most likely “trusted advisor” to the person initiating the new mortgage, real estate agents are most definitely involved in guiding many, if not most, sellers and buyers in a purchase transaction. They’re also the most frequent intermediary. If a seller or buyer has a question, chances are, it’s the representing agent contacting the title agency for answers or information.
It’s also the REALTOR who’s most likely to chime up when a consumer asks, “What’s title insurance?” or “Who do you recommend?” It’s why many title agents put a lot of time and effort into winning over successful real estate agents and brokers.
And what tends to make a REALTOR recommend a title agency over and over? A fast, smooth closing experience is a great start. An agent doesn’t collect a commission until the closing has been successfully completed. That agent’s client isn’t completely happy until the closing is done. Nobody likes waiting.
But what about working with title agents who make REALTORS’ lives easier? Most of the REALTORS we know don’t spend a lot of time thinking about title insurance until they have questions, including “When is the closing?” We can argue whether or not that’s a justified priority, but the reality is that a typical real estate agent prefers to spend his or her time focused on closing deals for existing clients and finding new clients.
Allow us to present the following scenario. A successful and very busy real estate agent stays incredibly busy in a market like this. There are homes to show (or see). There are open houses to host. There are client meetings. There’s marketing to do. And, these days, there are bidding wars to oversee! Such REALTORS likely have dozens, if not hundreds of active clients. Such REALTORS work long days, nights and weekends. Such REALTORS have large numbers of active clients asking for their REALTORS’ recommendations about title agencies and closers.
Real Estate Agents Have A Choice
So, do such busy REALTORS prefer A) spending extra time—be it minutes, hours or even days—on the phone intermittently (“You’ve reached my voicemail…”) with the title agency working on one or two of his or her files? With the five, ten or twenty different title agencies handling those REALTORS’s client closings? Does he or she enjoy having to open a laptop or iPad, even though they’re in a car, a listed house without active Internet or a coffee shop—to enter a password on a portal just to find out when the closing for one file is? (And do you imagine said REALTORS are thrilled when they have to await two-factor authentication to log into said portals during the five minutes they’ve been able to set aside for this task?). Do said REALTORS enjoy having to manage multiple apps and log-ins representing the multiple title agencies helping their clients—maybe all with different passwords or means of authentication? Do they prefer to play phone tag when trying to find out where the closing on this file is?
Or B), do successful REALTORS prefer to send a text (or use web chat) to get or pass along the same information instantaneously? Do such REALTORS welcome extra time away from log-ins, apps and lost phone numbers so they can get back to what’s really important to them, client service and marketing?
A delay of seconds or minutes becomes pretty significant when a real estate agent faces a similar delay with each title agency involved in his or her transactions. Which agency do such REALTORS gravitate toward? The agencies that give them apps, portals, logins and passwords, voice mails and faxes? Or the agencies that allow them to send a quick text via Alanna?