For the past four years, we’ve been asking title and escrow professionals about their biggest challenges, what their operations look like, and why they choose to outsource to get a clearer picture of what it’s like working in the industry. In this year’s State of the Title Industry report, we saw some changes in responses from previous surveys, an indication of how title order volumes, a shrinking workforce, and new technology are affecting the industry.
Here are some of the highlights from this year’s report in visual form! To see the full report, download it at stateoftitle.com.
Results from the 2021 State of the Industry Survey
What’s it like working in the title industry?
The title insurance industry isn’t a well-known career option for many people. Most people get into the business because family or friends of family members own and operate an independent agency. Others say their career path in the industry was utterly happenstance, some humorously saying they were “tricked into title.”
In one of our LinkedIn polls, 35% said they were born into the business, while 41% said they were “tricked.” The remaining 24% choose “other.”
For young people who have never purchased a home or don’t have a family with a background in real estate or title, the industry remains hidden to the next generation of workers. For those who might know of its existence but have little to no reference of what the day-to-day work of title agents looks like, here are some everyday core responsibilities of our respondents:
- 71.1% said title clearing and closing
- 42.9% said post-closing duties
- 41.7% said order entry/ordering pre-closing due diligence
- 37.4% said client retention
- 28.5% said overseeing a team of processors/closers
- 25.9% said business development
- 21.7% said other, which included training, title examination, and underwriting
The division of labor usually depends on the size or type of company. Types of companies include independent agencies, underwriter-owned operations, law firms, and title companies affiliated with a brokerage, lender, or builder. The majority of our respondents (83%) work at an independent agency.
📰 Related Reading: Is a career in the title industry right for you?
The Biggest Challenges for Industry Leaders
Since 2008, there has been a significant pullback in recruiting efforts, and now, the industry is facing a reckoning. As more of the workforce reaches retirement age, recruiting and training new professionals is a growing problem.
Over the past three years, we’ve seen “Hiring and training new staff” creep up the ladder of most significant challenges for title industry leaders. This year, it ranked as the number challenge. Last year, it was in the number three position.
Here are all of the top challenges for Owners, Presidents, CEOs, and Executives:
- Hiring and training new staff
- Juggling too many different responsibilities
- Not enough time to complete tasks
- Unexpected delays
- Finding ways to generate new business
The ten-year gap in hiring has left a vacuum where a generation of experienced title workers in their early thirties should occupy. To demonstrate, the percentage of workers over 65 (9.3%) is about the same as those ages 25-34 (9.9%)!
See how title professionals rank their peers’ due diligence, download the full report now!
Outsourcing Title Operations
Over the past two years, title order volume and especially refinancing orders have boomed. Homebuyer demand doesn’t seem to be slowing down for the holiday season either. The largest percentage of those working at a title company (18%) handle anywhere from 21-30 closing each month.
This increase in workloads and decrease in an experienced workforce is one of the many reasons why title agents outsource to title support services like PropLogix.
Some of the most common parts of the title production to outsource include:
- Municipal Lien Searches (84%)
- Title Searches (72%)
- Tax research like liens, exemptions, and certificates (62%)
Technology in the Title Industry
In addition to outsourcing, many professionals leverage technology to increase their team’s efficiency and provide more closing options for consumers.
96% of title professionals use closing software to start, track, and complete each file. The most popular among our respondents are:
- Closers’ Choice
In addition to this software which serves as the backbone of title production, many title and escrow professionals are turning to new technology like remote online notarization and artificial intelligence to provide a better customer experience.
🎧 Related Listening: AI in the Title Industry with Hoyt Mann of Alanna.ai
While the overall share of closings utilizing RON or eClosing technology is still tiny, many title professionals have started implementing it into their operations. While it’s not the perfect match for every type of transaction, lender, or consumer, there’s been a clear and steady increase in adoption.
Artificial intelligence has several applications for the industry. One of the most prominent uses is AI-powered virtual assistants, like Alanna.ai. These tools are more than your typical static chatbot commonly seen on websites today. Instead, Alanna is directly connected to your title software, uses Natural Language Processing to understand questions, and retrieves the correct information with lightning speed.
As younger people approach their homebuying years, many expect the homebuying process to match their other purchasing experiences, which happen primarily online and with little friction. Many don’t own checkbooks or understand why they have to go to an office to sign papers. The traditional homebuying experience isn’t tailored to them.
While many consumers still enjoy the in-person closing experience, providing more consumer choices never hurts. To effectively appeal to and serve every segment of the homebuying population, each professional involved in the transaction must understand and meet these unique needs and expectations.
See more insights from this year’s report. Go to stateoftitle.com to download it now!
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