Where is the Closing Industry Headed?
November 11, 2020
To say that 2020 has been a year of massive uncertainty and change would be an understatement. COVID-19 has forced businesses, individuals, and the entire country to rapidly adjust to the new realities of life during a global pandemic. Of course, COVID-19 isn’t the only reason the world is changing. Rapid change was underway long before anyone even heard of the virus and people have always been looking to the next big thing.
The home sale process, and the closing industry within that, is not immune to these changes. Real estate lawyers, realtors, and lenders all had to change the way they do business seemingly overnight while still serving their clients with the most important purchase of their lives.
Obviously this rapid change has been devastating for many around the world. Small businesses have experienced challenges the likes of which haven’t been seen in decades. However, with these challenges can also come opportunity. Are the trends that occurred during COVID-19, and even before the pandemic, the tipping point for a massive cultural change in the real estate industry as a whole? We certainly believe so. With that in mind, let’s take a look at where the closing industry is heading moving forward.
Faster Closing Processes
This was a change that was set in motion long before lockdowns, masks, toilet paper shortages, and hand sanitizer available at every store entrance. Consumer behaviors and expectations have been changing and adapting to new technologies in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic and related changes have just put more of an emphasis on this.
We are living in a society of instant gratification. Social media allows us to share our thoughts, photos, and experiences for our friends, family, and colleagues to see and comment on in real-time. Amazon has made it possible to shop from the comfort of your own home and get your items in a matter of hours. And yet, a real estate closing has remained one of those processes that can still take weeks in some cases. But this is set to change and, in many ways, it already has.
One major change we have implemented at Janus Title is aimed at offering a faster experience for the professionals we work with. Qualia Connect is our cloud-based, secure client-facing portal that allows all attorneys, lenders, realtors and clients to communicate and close with video chat. This technological step forward in the title insurance process allows us to offer the Janus Turnaround, which is our promise to provide a faster turnaround than anyone else in the industry. For attorneys, this means offering a faster and more familiar experience for their clients. Clients are typically not experts or professionals in this process. They don’t often understand the background work that goes into the closing process. Offering a faster experience aligns home sales with other experiences clients have grown to know and love, like shopping on Amazon or ordering takeout from their smartphone.
More Personalized and Branded Experiences
While consumers change their behaviors and expectations when it comes to transactions, including a home sale or purchase, this should not be confused with a lack of personality or customization. More than 90 percent of consumers say they look for brands or services that resonate with them and offer more personalized experiences. While people may be more likely to do business online, that doesn’t mean they want some sanitized experience that treats them like another number.
For real estate professionals, this shouldn’t be a big surprise. The trend in recent years has leaned heavily toward personal branding and differentiation. Even though clients may opt to be pre-approved through an online platform, meet with their lawyer over video chat, or engage in digital open houses, the personal branding of the professional that they’re working with is still very important to them.
This can be a huge advantage for professionals that are willing to embrace this changing consumer behavior. Leaning into this desire for faster closing processes and making that a part of your own branding can pay off in a big way. In fact, simply providing that better level of service is a form of marketing in itself. Professionals who can offer faster services can use that as a part of their personal branding, to help them relate better to clients looking for a modern experience that aligns with their expectations and preferences.
An Increased Move to Digital Services
There was a time when, during the home sale or purchase process, clients would have to meet face to face with a number of people. This meant meeting with their lender for pre-approval, meeting with a realtor to look at homes, meeting with a lawyer to prepare documents, meeting with an inspector for home inspection, and then meeting again with their real estate agent for a final walkthrough before the real estate closing process is finally complete.
All of this is a major time commitment for everyone involved and simply doesn’t align with modern technology and expectations. Now, clients may seek out their pre-approval online or using an app from a lender focused on offering a digital experience. They could review and research the professionals they work with online. They may never even see the home they’re purchasing in person as they opt for a digital viewing using video or 3D photos.
The professionals that can make that seamless pivot to a digital experience and offer a more streamlined experience for their clients will benefit the most as the industry moves forward. Even as people try to move back to “normal” after the COVID-19 pandemic eventually ends, there are some trends that will prove to be permanent changes.
Partnering with Janus Title
Janus Title began as a technology-minded company. We aim to make the digital transition for real estate professionals a seamless one, with the ultimate goal of enabling lawyers and lenders to offer a better and faster experience to their clients. Our investment in technology, like Qualia Connect, and our commitment to the fastest turnaround times in the industry are the first step towards changing the closing industry forever.
To learn more about the benefits of partnering with Janus Title, contact us today.