The Top Five Technologies Your Title Company Won't Survive Without

  When it comes to refinancing, gone are the days of small mom-and-pop title shops. Many law firms doing title work on the side have stopped, and even some full-time title firms have gone out of business. Why? Because high-tech processing software platforms have become necessary, and many companies don’t have the resources or willingness to convert. These programs are revolutionizing the industry, and without one, you will be left in the dust.

               Many industries have been using technology effectively for decades now. Why, you might ask, is technology only now becoming so important to the real estate services industry? The answer is fairly simple. The recent economic troubles have led to a boom in new regulation as well as a fresh crop of increasingly money-conscious consumers. You can no longer be a local or even regional company, charge $2000 per closing and go home happy.

               The combination of increased information access via the web and a general tightening of household budgets means consumers are getting shrewder. They simply aren’t willing to pay a premium for services whose value is often unclear to them. Moreover, they can shop around. They can look at ten lenders and ten title companies in an afternoon and come to an informed decision based on pricing and other customers’ reviews. Title fees have thus been driven down to the point where many companies are unsure how to remain profitable.

               This is exactly why software companies have recently stepped in and revolutionized the way the entire industry does business. Those who haven’t embraced the new technology are struggling, if they are still around at all. Here is a run-down of the most important tech tools a title company can use to remain profitable and competitive.


5. Web Portals

               Good communication is essential in any business. Web portals allow secure access to a title company’s files for all third parties with an interest in them, including customers and lenders. An abstractor can now upload a completed abstract directly to a file himself, eliminating the need for middlemen, document handlers and even email in the case of some software programs. Lenders can also download completed title commitments, wiring instructions, tax certifications and more without having to request them from the title company. Any entity that needs access to a file or that needs to upload a document directly into a file can do that. Quickly, and easily. This has obviously revolutionized process across the title industry. It has also made it so that many companies are unwilling to partner with title organizations that haven’t begun employing these convenient, time-saving technologies.

4. Integration with Push/Pull

               One major step beyond the web portal, XML push/pull integration is quickly becoming the industry standard. Third parties using the web portal have quickly realized how much more efficiently they can work when granted direct access to a title company’s platform. However, while this technology is obviously easier than calling or emailing, it still requires them to move from their own software platform to the title company’s website.

               Software integration has changed this in a big way. Information can now be “pushed” and “pulled” between many different types of software platforms automatically, reducing the need to view documents and notes on a title company’s web portal. The best example of the positive effects of this might be seen in the order entry process. With software integration, rather then faxing or emailing a request, or even entering it on the title company’s website, lenders can do it with the push of a button.

               Software integration means that when lenders push that button, all pertinent information travels directly into the title company’s software. It even automatically opens a new file. This eliminates the need for double-entry processing on both sides.

               A second fantastic example of the benefits of integration can be seen in its impact on communications with major abstractors. As you know, every single new file requires an abstract. In the past, this meant many email communications to request and receive completed abstracts. However, as abstract companies have become more tech savvy, they have learned how to integrate with title companies so that they can simply “push” orders back and forth without any verbal or email communication. It’s not magic, but it feels like magic.


3. Paperless organization

               Many title companies are still working with paper files, or have only started the transition to a paperless environment. Previous generations of software allowed digital storage of documents, but did little to organize them or make them readily accessible to you or your client. This may have slowed down the movement to a totally paperless office.

               However, new software programs allow documents to be organized into categories, labeled and given tailored access privileges so that different departments, clients or vendors can view them. Varying levels of access can be granted based on whether the person accessing is a lender, borrower, abstractor or even an offshore outsourcing company.

               Documents created or scanned into the software remain organized and accessible by all involved parties. Scanning is even more efficient now that you can scan a document directly into a file and have it categorized automatically. This eliminates the need to search a scan folder and upload files manually into the software. E-signatures also eliminate the need to print, sign and rescan documents, saving countless hours of productivity. 


2. Process Driving

               Check-lists have long been used to keep files organized. However, they have rarely been used effectively. Now, good software platforms use functions called “actions,” which are, in essence, highly customizable to-do lists. These will help you stay focused and organized, increasing efficiency and improving margins for your company. 

               Actions lists can be over 100 items long. They can be individually tailored to the needs and requirements of the lender, location and product type. As each action is completed, the next action in the chain will begin automatically. Custom action lists are exceptionally efficient ways to stay organized.

               However, a significant new feature coming to the market in the future will be the ability to complete actions based on when certain documents are uploaded. 

               What does this mean? Well, for instance, suppose an abstractor logs in to the secure web portal, uploads his land records abstract and categorizes it accordingly within the software. The “receive abstract” action will automatically self-complete and trigger the action of “type title” to begin. There is no human interaction with the title company involved in this process. No email of any kind needs to be sent or received.

               Small improvements like this might seem trivial, but when you consider the volume and scope of the documents that are constantly being uploaded (often at all hours of the night and day), as well as the sheer volume of loans being processed, these minute upgrades can account for thousands of minutes of productivity.


1. Custom Templates

               Perhaps the most useful and simple of these technologies are custom templates. Data entry can be a cumbersome, repetitive waste of valuable time, and custom templates can help to solve this issue through automation.


               Just about every piece of information you need in order to create all relevant documents is available in the software programs we are advocating. Rather than searching through a folder on your computer that contains hundreds of Word templates for deeds, form letters, wiring instructions, and then spending hours a day editing these documents for each specific use, you can automate 95% of this process.

               Custom templates are like your Word templates, but they contain special fields linked to your software platform. They require a bit of set-up, but once they are ready, you will find that a simple click fills all of the relevant fields with the appropriate data. With a minor amount of up-front work and maintenance, all of your standard documents can draft themselves.

               Probably the most salient example of this would be deed drafting. Assuming you have a licensed attorney for each state you are doing business in, a deed can be generated in seconds. The legal description, grantor, grantee, parcel ID and all other necessary data will populate automatically within the deed. It will then be sent to the attorney for approval before forwarding itself straight to the client. Automation of these detailed templates reduces errors and increases efficiency by 1000% or more for many repetitive processes. We don’t have to spell out for you the benefits of this kind of efficiency.


There’s More

               Though we believe these are some of the most important new technologies that your title company should own and use, this list barely scratches the surface as far as valuable title software features go.

               The above features primarily focus on streamlining communication, automating repetitive tasks and improving organization. High-volume title companies quite simply must do these things if they want to remain competitive.

               These features leave you with complete control over your processes, but they also remove a lot of repetitive time-wasting tasks and decrease the amount of human errors that occur in your business. It’s important to note that these technological improvements will benefit smaller enterprises just as much as major national title companies. They will boost convenience, quality and profit margins for big and small organizations alike.

Software and technology are changing and improving at a staggering rate. Keeping up with all of the new features can be challenging, but embracing automation and technology is no longer optional. Many lenders now require XML integration and streamlined communication systems in order to do business. As profit margins continue to shrink due to price compression, the slack must be picked up somewhere. Technology can do that.

If you are still running basic data processing software, you are severely limiting not only your marketing potential, but also your ability to do business and be profitable. Check out some of the latest title software. You won’t believe the difference it makes.

Also, don’t forget to keep visiting this blog! We will be posting frequent technology updates, including an upcoming comparative run-down of the best title software programs currently available.

2010-11-16 | Add a Comment
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Dan | 2011-03-29 12:38:49 | reply
when should we be expecting this "comparative run down of the best title software programs"? Very interested in the read. Also, you mention that these 5 'must haves' barely scratch the surface. Can you recommend where to look if we choose to dig deeper? I have attempted to do some research online and have continuously come up with nothing. Thanks alot! | 2012-07-05 13:57:50 | reply
Completely agree technology will propell this companies forward, they need to have up to date technology for their clients and employees.