The title industry is fascinating. Even though the ultimate products we sell—title insurance and a legal real estate closing—have been referred to as “commoditized,” the fact is that a closing in New York is definitely not the same as one in Florida, Texas or Colorado. Title insurance requirements are not the same from state to state. Instead, these products are regulated—and highly, at that—at the state level, with some help at the county, municipal and federal level. So the fact is that while a title agency may appear to be the same thing universally to those unfamiliar with the concept; what a title agent actually does from market to market can be dramatically different.
We also serve a variety of clients: REALTORS, mortgage bankers and, of course, consumers. All with different priorities, customs and tastes.
We do know, however, that title agents also have a few things in common. One of those things is small profit margins. We’re a service intensive industry. We’re highly regulated. And we have been a little slower to the tech revolution than some industries, so we’re probably a little more manual labor-driven than we need to be.
If you add the similarities and differences together, you’d expect to see a lot of customized technology available across the title nation. Solutions that aren’t “out of the box” or “one-size-fits-all.” And yet, for decades, what’s been available to title agents from coast to coast has tended to be global or purport to address most or all of a title agent’s needs, when in practice, truly meeting those needs has required supplemental technology, expensive customization or unconventional workarounds.
Why is that? Many of the title agents we know, given the option to embrace a global solution or something from an “a la carte” style menu for any supporting service or system, will almost always select the latter. See our observation about thin margins for the reason. Many title agents have a handful of pressing needs, but these are far outnumbered by the different features of the most popular systems available. In other words, all too often, title agents are forced to buy more than they believe they need. There’s no picking or choosing. There’s no simply paying for what they use. It’s part of the reason an agency’s margins are thin in the first place.
This is exactly the sort of thing RPA technology can solve. Bots can handle clearly specified pain points: market-specific search products are one great example. They’re priced based on scope and function, and the purchasing title agency isn’t saddled with a fixed cost that includes a lot of bells and whistles they never needed in the first place.
We’re confident that as more and more single or limited function technology, like RPA, comes into the title market, title agents will be thrilled to be able to choose and purchase according to their unique needs. We’re pushing past the commoditization of our supporting technology, and providing title agents what they’re asking for. Finally.