By Meghan Hall
Historically, buying or refinancing a home often entails a lot of face-to-face interaction with brokers, notaries and other real estate professionals. For those at JetClosing, a platform that works to help manage the escrow and closing processes involved in closing on a home, the social distancing measures in place due to COVID-19 are catapulting the traditional home sales process into the 21st-century. According to the firm’s Chief Technology Officer, David Wolf, JetClosing has experienced its highest level of new order openings over the past couple of months.
JetClosing is a cloud-based technology and mobile app whose goal is to ease the workflow of the escrow process. What specific pain points were you seeing in the industry that led you to create JetClosing?
The traditional title and escrow process was one of the few remaining aspects of a real estate transaction that had not been meaningfully improved by technology. It relies heavily on in-person meetings, physical documents, manual signatures, cashier’s checks and fraud-prone bank wires – all of which leave a lot of room for human error and inefficiency.
Agents, buyers and sellers are the ones who fall victim to these inevitable errors, often due to busy schedules, forgotten deadlines or insecure fund transfers. Also, the core pricing model and fees associated with the traditional closing process are not engineered to deliver the best value to home buyers and sellers.
Closing on a home can be very emotionally and financially taxing. JetClosing was built to take an opaque closing process that can sometimes take weeks and transform it into a transparent, efficient and stress-free experience.
JetClosing has revolutionized the traditional title and escrow process, automating time-consuming manual tasks in one comprehensive and secure platform that streamlines the closing experience for buyers, sellers and agents. Our platform is the most efficient, user-friendly and cost-effective option for completing the escrow process digitally. All stakeholders involved in the closing process can collaborate remotely in real time, avoiding unnecessary delays if the agent or client isn’t able to meet in person for any reason.
Why do you believe that nobody has tackled these issues before? Or, if innovators have, why do you believe your solution will have more of an impact?
JetClosing was purpose-built hand in hand with title professionals and residential real estate agents to solve real problems that buyers and sellers face every day during the closing process. The biggest challenge that we face is our customers’ initial – and understandable – resistance to change. Agents often want to rely on familiar processes, many of which haven’t changed in years, simply because they don’t know about the alternatives.
JetClosing is not the only company to recognize the inefficiencies of progress tracking during the title and escrow process. Some companies have built digital checklists into their workflows, but they still rely heavily on agents and title professionals to manually update the status of each item manually. JetClosing’s progress-tracking system automatically logs status updates in real time as each step is completed by our escrow team. This frees up time for agents to focus on providing the most value as a partner and advisor to clients.
Most small traditional title companies don’t have the resources to build software that offers the same value; larger traditional firms are commonly challenged by operational barriers that can make it difficult to implement big changes across the company; and SaaS providers often lack the industry knowledge to address the most common pain points faced by title professionals and agents.
Can you explain how JetClosing works? How does the platform calculate its JetScore in order to inform its users of the efforts required to clear title?
JetClosing makes the closing process simple, transparent and secure, providing a user-friendly digital workflow for agents, buyers and sellers to complete the title and escrow process from anywhere in the world with unprecedented speed, security and ease. All parties can check on the status of each item in real time via familiar technology – like smartphones – used by agents, buyers and sellers in their everyday lives.
Our “JetScore” feature is a complementary tool for our clients to quantify the level of effort needed to clear titles. What’s more, as title issues are resolved, the JetScore will automatically adjust until it achieves an “A” rating and the property is cleared to close.
What is your current perspective on the national residential market?
Right now, the national residential market is changing daily and it’s impossible to predict what will happen in the coming days, weeks, months or years. But the future is bright for digital disruption. We’ve seen incredible demand for our product in recent months, hitting our highest number of new open orders on record this past March.
Also, with mortgage rates at historic lows, people are looking to close on home sales and refinance mortgages while observing the CDC’s social distancing guidelines. COVID-19 has forced the real estate industry to think differently and lean on technology to help buyers, sellers and agents transact digitally.
COVID-19 has made an impact on all industries, including real estate, which has traditionally relied on interpersonal communication and face-to-face contact in order to close deals. In your opinion, how is JetClosing, among other technologies, helping to bridge that divide currently?
The COVID-19 crisis has been a wake-up call for the real estate sector, challenging every professional to reevaluate how they can continue to transact in a fully digital world.
One notable change that has helped the residential real estate market adjust to this new normal is lifted restrictions on remote online notarization services. Believe it or not, some states still require lenders and title insurance underwriters to notarize documents in-person, which, aside from creating another time-consuming task, is a burden in the era of social distancing. We anticipate that these temporary permissions will expedite legislation that will permanently allow for RON because of the conveniences and advantages that it offers agents and their clients.
While some people do prefer face-to-face meetings, there are a number of circumstances beyond the pandemic that make digital closings a more attractive option to home buyers and sellers. We combine a user-friendly mobile app, a comprehensive online dashboard, email updates and strategic third-party integrations to deliver a modern home-closing experience. With JetClosing, even large electronic earnest money transfers are secured and guaranteed,
JetClosing was built to operate in a fully digital world, so we are well-positioned to help residential buyers, sellers and agents who need to transact remotely.
Do you think COVID-19 will catalyze the widespread use of technology in real estate, an industry that has traditionally been slow to adapt to change? Why or why not?
Our hope is that the current situation pushes traditional institutions to appreciate the efficiency, security and confidence that a fully digital closing process offers to buyers, sellers and agents. COVID-19 and the CDC’s social distancing guidelines are normalizing remote collaboration and expediting the adoption of new digital tools to address inefficiencies in new ways. Replacing traditional and trusted processes with technology can be intimidating, but the crisis has proven that our industry is extremely capable of adapting quickly, and we hope to see that appetite for innovation continue into the future.
With a lot of new real estate-based technologies coming to market, how does JetClosing intend on differentiating its product?
Technology is a large part of our story, but the most prominent differentiator is our ability to deliver a reliable, scalable and user-friendly product that doesn’t sacrifice the importance of human touch. Buying a home is often the largest financial investment that people will ever make. JetClosing eliminates unnecessary stress and increases transparency during the closing process so that buyers and sellers can focus on planning the next chapter in their lives.
Currently, JetClosing has locations in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Washington and Texas. Where does JetClosing intend to expand next? Why?
Given the current economic climate, we’re focusing on the needs of our existing markets where order volumes are consistently increasing. As we emerge from this crisis, we will revisit plans to expand into new geographic regions across the U.S. JetClosing is in the process of licensing in additional states, including Florida, California and Tennessee. Expansions in those markets will continue once the market picks up again.
Is there anything else you would like to add that The Registry did not ask or mention?
Digital title and escrow eliminate uncertainty and adds convenience during the home closing process, ensuring transparency and security for all stakeholders. It also frees up time for agents, buyers and sellers to focus on what matters most – a new home and the next chapter in their lives.