The title industry is in the midst of re-establishing its image and the value it provides to real estate transactions. The industry has made technological advancements in the title production and the closing processes. Reviewing staffing levels including management will always be a required budgetary process.

However, the following elements of the current business model warrant change, to be more cost effective in providing quality service and a profitable bottom line.

Editor’s note: The following essay, contributed by TI Services LLC founder Gary Wolff, was submitted as a part of the "Roadmap to Recovery," an Inman News editorial project through which our audience is envisioning the future of the real estate industry. Click here for details.

By GARY WOLFF

The title industry is in the midst of re-establishing its image and the value it provides to real estate transactions. The industry has made technological advancements in the title production and the closing processes. Reviewing staffing levels including management will always be a required budgetary process.

However, the following elements of the current business model warrant change, to be more cost effective in providing quality service and a profitable bottom line.

Multiple offices — The convenience factor of multiple offices is unwarranted and has proven only to drive up operating costs.

Underwriter’s agency relationship — Underwriters must create and adhere to stricter accountability standards of their agents to minimize defalcations and claims.

Shared title production — The consolidation of title productions operations over recent years has benefited the industry, but shared title production facilities can only further enhance the bottom line, without creating a competitive disadvantage.

Closing/escrow offices — This is what the customer sees and understands of the title industry. Local offices will always be needed to provide the necessary interface with the parties to the transaction. In fact, the future of the title agent will be more focused to the closing/escrow services as title commitments and policies are being produced elsewhere.

Marketing — Quality service will always be required, and costs for these services will become a critical factor as consumers will demand competitively priced products and service. Online resources will provide basic marketing services, thereby diminishing the need for a traditional sales force allowing closers/escrow officers to assist in the company marketing plan as companies can’t afford to pay sales commissions to everyone.

Regulatory — With the continuing consolidations of underwriters, antitrust issues will eventually have a negative impact on pricing. A separation of premium structure made up of an insurance risk factor priced accordingly by the insurance company and possibly regulated on a federal level, together with an operational agency cost factor could equal a new premium methodology. This two-tiered structure could allow for a competitive environment to exist between multiple title agencies that share the same underwriter.

The title industry alone can’t revive the housing market, but it can assist by keeping its cost of services properly aligned, so on a collective basis with other settlement service providers, the overall costs to consumers allows for increased homeownership and the ability to borrow equity, which together will grow a stronger economy.

Garry Wolff is founder of TI Services LLC, a title insurance consulting and services provider.

***

What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
We are less than 1 week away from Inman Connect! Get your ticket for $99 before prices go up next week.GET YOUR TICKET×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription