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Why does everyone think it's easy to "disrupt" the title industry?

by Alex Samant
Alex Samant is the Co-Founder and Marketing Manager of TitleCapture, based in Miami, FL. Besides having a vast marketing expertise as a result of over 15 years of hard work for companies in various industries, he also handles product development, with a huge focus on front end development, user experience, customer behavior and interaction.

We recently returned from Inman Connect 2019 in NYC and, even though we were there showcasing NetSheet.com, a new product targeting real estate agents and their brokers, we couldn’t take off our TitleCapture hats.

The reason? Most technology people there, whether they were entrepreneurs or venture capitalists, had this “new” thing they were talking about.

It was the “title business” and they were dreaming about how this market is ripe for “disruption”, how they can change things and make this industry “better”. How the industry is behind with technology, and oh ... there’s so much room for innovation and so much money to be made.

Making title professionals’ lives better is something we aspire to. For the last 5 years, we have been making life so much easier for title company reps to provide estimates and manage their relationships with real estate agents and lenders. We’re all FOR technology and innovation.

However, it seems that either these people have no clue about this industry, and are simply used to throwing lots of venture capital at anything that moves - or - ONCE AGAIN (just like the government does from time to time), they underestimate what title professionals do, every single day, for 365 days each year, in each of the 3007 counties of the United States of America. My guess is the latter.

My guess is as far as some of them go ... the “professional paper pushers” could simply be replaced by machines. In their mind, they would simply come up with an automated, do-it-yourself system where the closing simply takes place on its own, like magic.

I would hate to break it to them but there at least two major issues.

1) Scale and complexity - TitleCapture operates in all 50 states, and we know how hard it is to maintain accurate numbers when quoting recording, transfer, title insurance for all major underwriters (without relying on integrations for some of them), property taxes and so forth.
We can’t even imagine what it feels like for an actual settlement software provider. I don’t want to give names here, but a few days ago I was given a tour of one of the most customizable settlement software out there.
I was amazed at the sheer number of documents the software was able to generate, there were 100s of them ... and that was for just 3 states, let alone 50.

This is what these people want to “disrupt”. They want to give you “files stored in the cloud” and “bringing parties together” but when you ask them about the practical things - such as closing documents - they will tell you it’s a work in progress. You see, most technology “disruption” focuses on making whatever process they focus on, faster, cheaper or more transparent. Sometimes, this comes with some caveats. In this industry, simpler is NOT ALWAYS better. Another genius idea floating around was how tech would make it easy for consumers to obtain their own title insurance policies. Sounds great until the consumer gets to the part where they have to figure out what the ALTA 6.2 endorsement is and if they need it.

We believe innovation must start from the ground up. We made it possible for anyone to generate title estimates in seconds, regardless of where they are. There’s a lot of work that must be done at scale to solve granular (but pressing) issues such as wire fraud, secure email (many companies are still non-compliant with TRID, the FTC “safe- guard” rules or the GLBA) just to name a few. We also believe that you, as a title company, should solve these problems, one by one, with providers that promise to solve one problem at a time, not “re-design” or “re-invent” your entire workflow.
If they say they do too many things, chances are they don’t do ANY of them right.

2) The fragmented nature of the industry - Complexity aside, this industry lacks technological standards and shared services that would allow these larger scale “integrators” to exist.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a unique service, an API that all underwriters would be part of?.  If there was great way to get a quote for any title insurance policy?  There isn’t a service like this. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a unified service where you could obtain a recording, transfer tax or property tax value for any property in the US?.

There are some but they’re either not in all 50 states, or the pricing model is restrictive for most potential subscribers. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a centralized repository of all closing document templates across the country? That’s missing too.

You see, these are building blocks. If you have the audacity of “re-inventing” the closing or title process, you need to integrate these, which means, they need to be created first. Why most tech companies don’t want to start with these, we don’t know, but at some point, someone’s going to have to do it.

And if there’s one thing we learned over the last 5 years, it’s this: there’s nothing we can’t do if we set our minds to it.

That is why we, at TitleCapture, are committed to helping the Title Industry by solving problems, in the current workflow, not reinventing the entire process.

We are revolutionizing the Title Industry, book a demo to see for yourself!