By Meghan Hall
Finalizing a real estate transaction requires not just a lot of coordination between brokers, lenders and title companies, but a lot of paperwork too. The process can be long and time-consuming, but more companies are attempting to use technology to streamline and simplify the closing process. The Registry spoke with Qualia’s CEO, Nate Baker, on how the tech industry is changing the way that real estate professionals close residential deals.
Can you tell me a little bit about your position with Qualia and how the initial idea of integrating with Encompass — a technology platform — came to fruition? What was the purpose of creating such a platform?
As co-founder and CEO, I have spoken with countless real estate professionals about the closing process. One of the biggest issues plaguing the real estate industry as a whole is that every transaction party is operating on a different system, and they’re all communicating through different means. The lender is working through the loan origination system, while the title company is in its title software and the realtor is working in a different platform. Buyers and sellers sometimes aren’t even involved in these technologies, putting them at a significant disadvantage.
The purpose of the Qualia/Encompass Two-Way Integration (2WI) is to solve another portion of that system inefficiency and allow lenders and title companies to interact in a way not possible before. Qualia already gives title companies nationwide an easy way to communicate with vendors, realtors, buyers and sellers, so giving lenders a direct integration with their system of record will immediately make that workflow smoother.
What gap in the market or problem does Qualia’s integration with Encompass seek to fix? Why should real estate professionals use the new integrated platform over other brands of closing software?
The real estate industry is turning towards new technology partners for help as user experience and security rise in importance. Closings are moving online, so it’s important to make sure that all of the pieces of the closing process fit together. Right now lenders, along with title and escrow companies, are stuck sending emails, making phone calls, and in some cases, faxing documents back and forth. In a digital world, that’s inefficient – originators and processors have to take notes, upload documents online, log activity and more just to ensure that the information is in the right place.
That’s where Qualia comes in. We’re making sure that all parties involved in a real estate closing (lenders, title companies, realtors, vendors, borrowers, sellers) can quickly and easily interact with one another, send vital documents and information and finalize closings faster than they are. The Encompass Two-Way Integration (2WI) keeps everything online and allows both sides to stay within their system of record without using any third-party software systems. Ordering, sending data and receiving documents can be automated in Qualia so title companies don’t have to alter their workflows to complete the same tasks.
How does Encompass specifically increase the efficiency at which lenders, title companies and investors interact? Can the efficiency of a close affect the profitability of a transaction?
The Qualia/Encompass 2WI gives lenders the ability to instantly place new title orders to any title company using Qualia Connect. Qualia members appear in the dropdown list for new title orders, and all of the data entered for the new order automatically populates in Qualia for the title company. This new level of interaction eliminates the need to retype information, which not only saves time, but also reduces the potential for data entry error.
The communication process is also heavily streamlined. Messages can be sent back in forth in real time through Qualia’s secure application, so lenders and title companies can track and organize conversations and shared documents all in one place.
Ultimately, title companies want to close files quickly so they can work on new files faster. If they’re able to save time throughout the closing process through automation, they’ll be able to spend less money per file.
What is the importance of a two-way integration system in an industry such as real estate that moves and evolves rapidly?
As the title industry embraces innovation, it’s important to make sure that the right technology is created and used. The 2WI is important to increase efficiency, make the closing process simpler for all parties and organize the transaction in a digital world. It eliminates steps in the process, like scanning, data entry, re-uploading and more.
It also provides a new level of security to the communication and data exchange processes. In 2017 alone, nearly $1 billion was diverted or attempted to be diverted from real estate transactions through email fraud. Title agents, lenders and all other parties need to ensure their security, and the 2WI helps do so.
What does Qualia think of the state of the residential real estate industry moving forward? How will the platform continue to adjust to the ever-changing market?
Qualia has grown substantially over the last few years to cover close to 10 percent of all real estate closings, and we’re going to continue to build new products and features to make the closing process easier for our members and those who use our suite of products. The industry continues to evolve quickly, and we aim to make sure we’re there to help our users remain competitive in a challenging market. We look at where the industry is going and listen closely to our community of thousands of title and escrow companies, vendors and partners.
You can see it across the real estate industry overall – technology is rapidly changing how real estate is transacted everyday. With so many different parts of the transaction moving online, digital closings are becoming more and more common. Qualia is built with this shift in mind. Our goal isn’t to just change how title companies transact real estate within their title software. It’s to change how they interact with their buyers, sellers, realtors, and lenders, and ultimately change how the entire closing process is completed from start to finish.