Like every industry, the real estate profession grappled with doing business during the pandemic – not just for the sake of doing business, but for the unnerved consumers trying to navigate the home-buying process during an alarming present and an uncertain future.
A late 2020 survey by the National Association of Realtors reports seller urgency during the pandemic, as well as the shift toward multigenerational homes to accommodate more family members. Not to mention chaos as many buyers who purchased after April 2020 experienced COVID-related delays in closings thanks to office closures, supply issues and more.
Another key takeaway – and a constant theme during the pandemic – is how technology liberated consumers and professionals alike. Virtual home tours surged with some buyers putting in offers without physically walking through the property. Refinances also saw a surge. A shift in household economics strained finances, so lower interest rates and cash-outs became attractive.
The underlying constant during all of this was constant uncertainty. While many of the country’s major financial institutions seemed to bumble through the pandemic, tech became the saving grace for everyone to provide some sense of assurance in daily life.
Technology harnesses desperation to fuel the change that drives the consumer experience
“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change.” ~ William S. Burroughs
Prior to the 2020 pandemic, we were already heading into an era driven by consumer expectations of on-demand experiences. We soon quickly discovered how despair can breed and accelerate innovation and foster acceptance. Businesses scrambled to find a way to functionally, and profitably, serve a literal “captive” customer. Following the lead of telemedicine and district-wide online classrooms, other professionals who never thought their business could transfer to video learning found a way.
For many consumers, the expectation of online, virtual work and play remains. The pandemic reinforced the on-demand expectation.
We already knew technology to be a dynamic and fluid panacea for many delays and glitches. Broadband hammered dialup. Email and e-signatures all but obliterated the facsimile. So how can we innovate and leverage technology to make the real estate transaction even better? To smooth out uncertainties, remove angst, instill confidence along every step of the transaction and save money – regardless of external influences and insecurities?
By fueling the process with certainty.
Title is the key to unlocking the transaction slowdown
Whether it’s a refinance or a mortgage purchase, the real estate transaction is littered with points of uncertainty that drag down the transaction process. So, it makes sense that resolving these points could significantly cut down the time to close. Right now, consumers can expect a closing time of 30-60 days, with an average of 45. External circumstances, such as a pandemic, lend an agonizing element of uncertainty to that expectation.
While much innovation has been focused on the upstream, consumer-facing processes, one of the industry’s largest transactional quagmires – title – remains largely untouched. Why? Because it is still largely a manual and cumbersome process.
That’s not the industry’s fault; each property tells a story. Title has the job of finding all the chapters of that story and unraveling them with accuracy. Since individuals, trusts, and lienholders are characters in that story, title has the onerous job of manually trying to tie these characters together in an authoritative fashion.
The first title insurance policy was issued in 1876. While public recordkeeping has certainly improved since then, the entire real estate transaction process has not fundamentally changed since 1890. Title commitments in particular are still completed manually using the title production system of record, printed out and sent out by postal mail.
There are hundreds of decisions to be made for every final title decision – from home purchases to refinances and more. In today’s best, traditional circumstances, it’s a process that typically requires one to five days to complete.
What if a technology solution could put all the information title needs to fuel decision-making and then use these insights to expedite every transaction touchpoint along the way?
Now that’s a fully integrated and streamlined process that can satisfy consumers and insert confidence into the transaction process.
We’ve done that with Flueid Decision. The result is a workflow for refinance title determinations cut from five or more days to just 45 seconds – with an entire reduction in closings of 40-plus days, to just 10 or less. For purchase transactions, it is an enhanced traditional search and examination review process that verifies the consumer data found in the statement of information in near real-time. This means cleaner commitments and less risk for all parties involved.
The future of good decisions is Flueid
Flueid Decision is a patented and independent workflow application that can be embedded into the core operating systems of point of sale (POS) platforms, lender operating systems (LOS) platforms, title production systems (TPS), servicing platforms and marketplaces, to connect and simplify processes. It is designed to compress the closing timeline by expediting and digitally enhancing the title search processes using traditional and nontraditional data sources, proprietary logic, and insights. This illuminates and eliminates potential curative issues traditionally found during the closing process at the start of the transaction.
The result: a trusted digital decision rooted in traditional best practices and guidelines helping to deliver 20% expedited pipeline perfection for mortgage originators, 61% cost savings for title underwriters and 65% faster fulfillment times for title agents.
The platform doesn’t change the tried-and-true industry standards used to make those decisions. It merely operates proactively instead of reactively, unlocking the existing data at every point in the transaction, putting it into context, and then layering it alongside critical insights and logic to paint the most complete picture of a real estate transaction possible. The decision is also configured to each client’s guidelines, meaning they have greater transparency and control over their workflow. And lastly, insights on these decisions can be pushed to key milestones in the process, delivering greater certainty across the life cycle.
It’s increasingly clear that world uncertainty remains a constant. Now, regardless of what is going on in the world, the real estate industry can deliver immediate certainty and the on-demand experience consumers expect, all while reducing costs.
Advanced, available technology can put the real estate industry in a leadership position of producing certainty, allowing the industry to deliver a stabilizing influence during times of flux.
Start making good decisions today. Learn how Flueid can fuel your workflow.