The Latte Experience

At the recent Inman Real Estate Connect conference in New York City, I participated on a panel entitled “What Does the Industry Need to Do to Make the Latte Vision Happen?” Brad Inman moderated a panel of five technology and real estate experts, including myself, discussing what should happen with the mortgage, title and transaction process to make life easier for everyone. I’d like to share my thoughts on what this means to the industry.

The consumer is the ultimate customer for all of the providers to the real estate transaction, including title insurance and closing. Therefore, the consumer experience in the real estate transaction is of ultimate importance to us at Stewart. There is heightened attention in the marketplace today on the consumer experience; it’s now often suggested that we make it as easy as buying a grande latte from Starbucks®. The real estate transaction is complicated by nature, but there are many ideas, services and processes being refined to deliver a better experience as well as improved efficiency.

As technology and service providers up the ante with new ways to serve their customers, the bar is continuously raised. And we, as the service providers for real estate, have an opportunity to think of ways to make the transaction a more enjoyable, more convenient and simpler experience for the consumer, as well as to improve the process for our traditional lender and REALTOR® intermediary customers.

The consumer will first usually find a loan and/or the property before we get involved. But when the title company gets under way, we should think about how to improve their experience across all our touchpoints to make the property title-ready and get the deal closed. With the advantage of our technology, like SureClose® and Stewart Online®, we can offer mobile and online access to data and documents throughout the transaction process, as well as provide weekly status reports and emails as new documents enter the consumer’s file. We can work together with our lender and REALTOR® customers to find solutions for consumer experience issues, while ensuring that we honor the regulatory requirements for real estate transactions and consumer protection.

The consumer should get what they want, the way they want it, and enjoy a convenient closing experience. Providers should help educate consumers on the process, keep them informed, minimize their work and make it convenient. The customer experience is essential, and we will move ahead with our enhanced vision for this experience – keeping in mind that serving our customers always comes first.

Let’s be innovative in the customer experience! Please share your thoughts on the latte vision in the comments.

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