AgentTechnology

What the title and escrow industry can learn from wine

A tradition disrupted
  • The real estate industry needs to combine traditional procedures with new age technology to create a new wave of operations.
  • Real estate agents are the backbone of every deal -- they cannot be replaced.
  • Technological advancements allow for 24/7 access to property information through traditional and mobile-based applications.
  • Real estate has been slow to adopt technology, but a combination of both new and old procedures will create a stable business model.

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Dating back thousands of years, there isn’t a single place on the map that hasn’t been affected, in some way, by viticulture. Making and consuming wine is truly one of the oldest traditions in human history.

As the art of winemaking evolved, so did the concept of old world and new world wines. In essence, old world wines connote tradition.

Geographically, old world wines come from European wine regions, and climate-wise, the cooler temperatures lead to lighter-bodied wines.

New world wines encompass everything else — modernization, wine regions outside of Europe, warmer climates producing full-bodied wines, and the introduction of technology to bring winemaking into the 21st century.

Although some winemakers refuse to taint the tradition with technology, others welcome the challenge of wine hacking. I’ve found that the best wines combine tradition and modernization to produce unique taste and quality.

In 2008, the Wall Street Journal published an article on winemaker Emilio Rotolo.

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“[Emilio Rotolo] the former physician and real-estate investor came late to the wine business and, at his estate in the hills of the northeastern Italian province of Friuli, has always taken an unconventional approach, combining modern technology with ancient know-how to make highly regarded wines.”

Not only does Rotolo share my passion for real estate, but he also built a winery the way NexTitle shapes its business — old meets new.

When we think about marrying title and escrow services with technology to bring our industry into the 21st century, it’s useful to explore the old-meets-new approach.

1. In the old world, relationships are key

We have walked in your shoes, on both ends of buying and selling spectrum, so we understand what it takes to succeed. Nothing beats the boots-on-the-ground approach to real estate.

Like the barrels that form wine’s taste, agents are the backbone of any real estate deal — they can’t be replaced. There is no technology that can replace human interaction and relationships.

Real estate is built on partnerships, so rely on your trusted partners to take care of clients as if they were family. When each member of the team — the agent, loan officer, title and escrow agent — shares the same vision and emphasis on superior customer service, it helps make the process more efficient.

You’d never recommend wine you’ve never tasted, just as you’d never recommend a business partner you didn’t trust. It’s impossible to be in all places at once, but when you’re managing real estate transactions across the country, no amount of technology in the world can replace the human element in building relationships and providing expertise to your team.

2. Transparency and efficiency are major themes of the new world

Technology is a proven timesaver and has automated many processes that we don’t need people for — such as system integration and information management.

We understand clients’ need to access property information on their schedule, which isn’t always a 9-to-5 day. Technological advancements in real estate are allowing for 24/7 access to these resources through traditional and mobile-based Web applications.

Technology also provides an element of control over order processes, which can streamline closings with ease. There is simplicity to real estate that I love, but it’s also extremely complex.

Add the stress of closing a deal on a new home, and you might find yourself in a black hole of the real estate unknown. If you’ve been in the industry for as long as I have, you need a platform that allows for transparency and ease of use so clients can access all data from anywhere, at any time.

If you don’t have top tier operations, underwriting, proper buying procedures or the ability to adapt to new processes easily, you’re missing a huge segment of the market.

From analysis to seeing the big picture of the deal at hand, what once was a laborious process has now been freed up by modernization. With technology we can focus on better serving our clients, developing relationships and putting in the time to find the next best investment.

3. Best of both worlds: The amalgamation of humans and technology

The traditionally slow-to-adopt-technology industries such as healthcare, education, government and real estate are now being promised a better future with the rapid deployment of technologies targeted at speeding up various processes.

However, you must ensure that the new technology supports the tradition of your business. I encourage everyone to avoid picking a path that places your business and customers on the old world or new world side.

Each is beneficial in its own right, but technology and humans can be better together. In conjunction, old and new strategies can create the greatest wines and the most fruitful real estate transactions. Cheers.

Erin Sheckler is the president of NexTitle. Follow NexTitle on Twitter.

Email Erin Sheckler.