In a highly competitive market, your title service providers can have a tangible impact on your business outcomes. Below are considerations for selecting a title provider who will help you navigate today’s challenging market.
It’s important to know that your title provider will remain consistent – whether the market is up or down. Decades of experience, minimal claims and strong financial backing all contribute to the stability of a settlement service provider. Jim Gladden, senior vice president, origination strategy, ServiceLink, says, “There’s an element of risk lenders can avoid by working with a title partner that has a history of producing instant title with minimal claims. How long have they been doing it? What does their track record look like?”
In high or low markets, each file matters. After all, a home is likely your borrower’s biggest investment – and making sure a purchase, refinance or home equity transaction goes smoothly is critical. For that reason, it’s important to ensure that your title service provider takes the unique needs of your team and your borrowers into account and prioritizes each transaction.
According to Kristy Folino, senior vice president, origination services, ServiceLink, “At the time we start working with a lender, we document their expectations, customize their account and provide a dedicated team with a single point of contact. That team really gets to know each client and becomes an extension of their operation. When you dedicate individuals to working with the same lenders and loan officers, they understand the unique expectations each of them has. We empower our staff to make decisions and find creative solutions, which allows us to provide quick responses, have a more efficient process and provide exceptional service.”
Prioritization of the borrower experience
The real estate lending industry is increasingly competitive and attracting and retaining borrowers is critical. Investigate how your title provider thinks about your borrowers and whether their service ethos and technology prioritize the borrower throughout the transaction.
Check out the 2022 ServiceLink State of Homebuying Report to learn more about today’s borrowers. According to Dave Steinmetz, president of origination services, ServiceLink, “Our study suggests that a growing number of buyers are embracing technology, and many are open to new pathways to achieve homeownership. This indicates there is an opportunity for lenders to provide more targeted resources and guidance to buyers throughout their homebuying journey.”
In leaner times, you need maximize margins on each transaction. Consider where your title service provider has automated their process and how that contributes to your bottom line. For example, instant title technology speeds decisioning and enables shorter rate lock periods by quickly clearing the way to the closing table. In fact, many lenders are surprised at how many of their loans qualify for fast-tracking through the instant title process.
Integrating instant title into your processes could allow you to improve your workflows. By utilizing instant title complexity decisions, you can prioritize clear-to-close files and get them to the closing table faster.
In the past few years, the mortgage industry has seen how quickly volumes can change. In this volatile environment, it’s critical to partner with settlement service providers who can flex up or down with you as the market necessitates. The size of a provider’s signing agent panel impacts their scalability – as does their ability to allocate vendors to your operations at critical times like month’s end.
Being able to use one provider for transactions in all 50 states can simplify your operations. By partnering with a title service provider with national scope, you can ensure your team and borrowers have a consistent experience, wherever they’re located.
Gladden says, “National coverage can be important when a lender’s portfolio is geographically diverse. As part of Fidelity National Financial, ServiceLink is fortunate to have that national scope and to be able to serve lenders wherever they are located.”
Strict adherence to local, state and federal guidelines is critical to ensuring compliant transactions, and security around data must be airtight to protect lenders and their customers from potential breaches or other security incidents.
“Each title provider uses a platform that is aggregating both public and nonpublic consumer information. It’s important to know how that information is protected,” says Gladden.
It’s important to look at the sources of title service providers’ data. While speed is essential, assurances from your title providers about data quality is paramount – particularly when it comes to instant title. “The product is only as good as the data source, so the quality and depth of the data is the biggest factor to look out for. Instant title providers may all be racing toward the same goal, but the methodologies we’re using to get there — whether technologies, processes or the decisions we’re making — differ significantly,” says Sandeepa Sasimohan, vice president of title automation, ServiceLink. “ServiceLink is setting a new standard by focusing on title-grade data as our primary source, meaning the data is more accurate and more aligned toward the true condition of the title.”
ServiceLink’s advantage lies in having access to historical data aggregated by Fidelity National Financial – including the data on millions of previously insured records and parcels of land.
Breadth of product offering
When you’re considering adding to your slate of providers, consider what value you can gain by onboarding a particular vendor. Partnering with organizations that offer a comprehensive suite of services – including uninsured and insured title products, flood and valuations – can lead to increased efficiencies.
These considerations ladder up to one critical theme: partnership. Your title service provider should be a strategic ally who works alongside you to navigate market conditions. Learn more about how ServiceLink can serve you in today’s market.