Ten months after introducing its startSafe digital opening package for buyers and sellers, Fidelity National Financial has reached its goal of creating an end-to-end transaction solution with the inHere Experience Platform launch on Thursday.
“The real estate industry is now at an inflection point,”said FNF CEO Randy Quirk in a press release. “Evidence supports the fact that real estate professionals and consumers are ready to embrace change in the closing process, but there hasn’t been a large enough coordinated effort to deliver on the customer’s desire for change or to capitalize on the change itself.”
“The inHere Experience Platform overcomes these hurdles and provides the necessary scale needed for real change to occur,” he added.
The platform enables consumers and real estate professionals to take advantage of the company’s startSafe tool alongside new transaction management and tracking, e-notarization, and e-closing services through the inHere mobile app and desktop site.
Through the app, consumers and agents can start the transaction process with the startSafe multi-factor authentication tool that enables both parties to gather sensitive personal and financial information without worrying about email scams or phishing. From there, users can track the progress of their transactions and gather additional documentation with easy-to-follow reminders from their escrow and settlement provider.
Once it’s time to close the transaction, agents and consumers can use inHere’s e-notarization and e-closing tools to complete the closing process, including releasing the mortgage loan and transferring the title and ownership documents to the buyer.
Consumers and real estate professionals can access the platform at no cost through FNF’s expansive network of title companies that include Fidelity National Title, Chicago Title Insurance Company, and Commonwealth. The title companies will facilitate the sign-up process. Real estate professionals can manage all of their transactions with one login, even if their clients use different title companies within the FNF network.
“The inHere Experience Platform is built with a digital-first, mobile-first focus,” FNF Chief Digital Officer Jason Nadeau said in the announcement. “Over the past few years, we have successfully migrated to cloud-based solutions and fully implemented digital connections to our key systems.”
“What we have done that is unique is we have reimagined the process of managing and closing a real estate transaction within the nation’s largest footprint of settlement service providers,” he added. “By investing in a digital infrastructure instead of investing in outside ventures, we don’t need to rely on new entities to drive change.”
“Rather, we have spent the time to develop a technology platform that is easily deployed at scale and empowers our trusted staff to bring the digital inHere experience to millions of transactions quickly.”
In a phone call with Inman, Nadeau said the pandemic quickened FNF’s cloud-based solutions strategy timeline so they could help their title and settlement professionals, consumers and real estate agents keep their deals on track despite social distancing and shelter-in-place orders.
“One of the things that has been happening, honestly, over the last decade is a lot of point solutions,” he said. “So there’s been a lot of solutions around ‘How do I shop for a home?’ or, over the last 20 years, attempts at ‘How do I digitally close a loan?'”
“Over the last two years, it has become really in vogue to talk about ‘How do I notarize a loan?’ So we took a step back and said, ‘This isn’t about solving for one point in the process; this is about figuring out a way to help real estate professionals work for consumers by digitizing the entire process for them.'”
Nadeau said FNF’s expansive network of title companies gives them a leg-up on the competition and customizes the experience for real estate professionals and consumers, as they’re able to utilize inHere at any point in the transaction process, as well as use it in conjunction with other third-party tools.
“Consumers and real estate professionals are going to have varying ways that they like to work, and our goal is to provide as many options for our real estate professionals or consumers as possible,” he explained. “We’re not going to force them down one path.”
“So if you’re the type of consumer that says, ‘I really don’t do a lot online, just call me,’ they might skip the startSafe process, and they might never use an app or portal to check what’s going on,” he added. “But then at the last minute, they might be out of state for closing, or they’ve got a COVID diagnosis, and they need to do a digital closing, they could jump in [inHere] at the last minute and do that.”
Nadeau said FNF is confident of the inHere Experience Platform’s future success, as evidenced by the rollout of startSafe to more than 1 million consumers throughout their subsidiaries since launching in February.
“We’ve designed [inHere] so that every one of our operations and every one of our staff at every one of our thousands of branches can use it,” he said. “It’s baked right into their process and available to them because we felt like the end of the day, one of our greatest assets we have at Fidelity is our family of companies.”