Stewart Aggressively Pursuing eForms Market for Residential Real Estate

Stewart Transaction Solutions, Inc. said Monday that it had made a majority investment in Reveal Systems, Inc., a forms provider for the real estate industry. Terms of the investment were not disclosed. The investment marks the company’s second investment in the past month into an online forms provider for residential real estate professionals. Stewart first entered the space in late January with the acquisition of online forms provider Formulator. “With this investment, Stewart now provides online forms to the real estate brokerage, title insurance and mortgage lending industries,â€? said Travis Wright, president of Stewart Transaction Solutions. “The addition of Reveal’s products to the Stewart technology portfolio furthers our technology strategy to streamline the real estate transaction process. Our integrated solutions — including the SureClose online collaboration platform — will help keep the real estate agent at the center of the transaction with their clients.â€? Reveal Systems’ products and services include the following: TrueForms premier real estate forms and contracts, TrueWire e-marketing tools, myTrueSite agent Web sites, Reveal Broadband internet services and TrueFunds financial software.

Major title insurance providers and their subsidiaries have been moving quickly to provide centralized online services to real estate agents and brokers. One week ago, First American announced the launch of MarketLinx, a new company that focuses on the information technology needs of residential real estate professionals. Industry observers say that the move by title insurance providers to woo front-line real estate professionals is an online rush for share-of-mind in the residential real estate community, which pumps billions of dollars worth of title insurance-related dollars into the title industry each year. “It’s nothing new,” one industry source told Housing Wire. “[The title companies] have been going after brokers for years, but they’ve just discovered that they can do so more cost effectively through online channels, so it’s become sort of like a twenty-first century gold rush of sorts.” The marketing practices of large title companies may be coming under greater scrutiny in various states, however, with the California Department of Insurance recently alleging that First American had illegally marketed its services to brokers by offering them free electronic services. As reported earlier on Housing Wire, First American settled the charges in early January for $10 million without admitting any wrongdoing with respect to its marketing practices.

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