Title & Escrow: Stuck in a '50s Doc Brown experiment

I remember my first day on the job at a traditional title and escrow company…

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I remember my first day on the job at a traditional title and escrow company. I was hired to resolve several title and escrow claims bought against the title company. It was a cool Monday. I can still remember the goosebumps I had on my arms as I walked into a big brown building that looked like it may have been hip in 1992. It was 2012.

I crossed paths with a man who quickly introduced himself as the company’s “runner of 13 years.” He wore a well-starched, striped-blue shirt complimented by a smile that was slightly wider than his tie. Although I was concerned that I may look like I was one fry short of a Happy Meal, curiosity forced me to ask: “Are you a long distance runner or do you prefer short distances?” He explained to me that it was industry jargon for a courier who ran paper files between the title company, lenders, real estate agents, buyers and sellers. I immediately thought I was transported back in time, to a world where the only thing that tweeted were birds.

That was the first of countless times I would feel like Marty McFly, thrown back into the ’50s by Doc Brown’s experiment gone wrong. Fax machine exchanges; large earnest money deposits being picked up by a runner who could easily be a thief in a tie; large wires being sent pursuant to instructions given through email that can be hacked 15 minutes faster than Equifax, Yahoo and the US Government; buyers and sellers printing and filling out documents that ask them their name and address 50 times too many and then force them to find a scanner (invented in 1957) so that they can scan and insecurely email the redundant document back to the title company.

Agents, and their buyers and sellers, deserve better! They deserve a simple way to do simple things. If they can simply file their taxes, they should be able to simply give you their name. And, heaven forbid, even simply and securely deposit their earnest money.They deserve transparency. They deserve escrow prices that are fair and flat. They aren’t buying new tires where they need to be charged “tire recycle fees.” The ‘wheel’ truth is escrow work seldom increases as the price of the home increases, and, whatever you charge, can easily be added up (likely on your ten-key calculator with an affixed, roll of paper that prints) to a flat, easy-to-understand, number.

The title and escrow industry is full of professionals that do a wonderful job! Unfortunately, it all ends with an Uber, picking up Seller Sue, to transport her back in time, to a closing that throws her on top of a tree of paperwork she doesn’t understand.

Real estate agents are facing increased pressure to deliver value to their clients. Title and escrow provides one of the final opportunities for an agent to look their best in front of their clients. This opportunity should not be missed. I am glad to help deliver the Endpoint of antiquated, costly, black hole title and escrow, and the beginning point of a reimagined, effortless closing experience. And, yes, this is only the beginning.

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