Call

Navigate

Login
Subscribe to Blog
What the Experts are Saying About This Year’s State of the Industry for 2024
Business Strategy

What the Experts are Saying About This Year’s State of the Industry for 2024

Lindsey Gordon Mariah McQueen

As we stand at the threshold of 2024, the real estate industry is gearing up for what promises to be a transformative year. Carrying forward challenges and opportunities from 2023, there is a tangible sense of optimism, especially driven by the expectation of more favorable interest rates. For title professionals, the imperative is to adapt and actively shape strategies that will enable them to thrive in this upcoming year. 

 

Remain Diligent and Enhance Cybersecurity Measures  

The end of 2023 and the first few weeks of 2024 have already witnessed several high-profile cyberattacks, leaving several organizations grappling with the aftermath of security breaches. 

With the recent cyberattack at loanDepot that brought systems down to the incident at First American Financial, it’s more evident than ever that the title industry must remain vigilant in the face of ongoing threats and protect consumer data. 


Staying Involved
 

If the last few years of hardship in the real estate market have been good for anything, it’s been to show us how much positive can come from working together. Whether we work together to enhance security measures, educate homebuyers, or step up and voice concerns on unregulated title insurance alternatives, last year demonstrated what title professionals could accomplish when focused on the same goals.

“One thing that I've seen since I've been in this role is the title insurance industry really does step up. We are real leaders when it comes to identifying solutions and challenges.” - Diane Tomb

 

Listen to Diane Tomb’s Full Interview on the State of the Industry from the Title Talks Podcast


Network and Collaborate
 

Staying engaged with what’s happening in the real estate and title insurance world can mean forging new connections with colleagues and vendors and leaning into them when you need help. We’ve seen competing title companies create coalitions that meet periodically to discuss their geographic areas’ unique challenges and share ideas. State and national land title groups can serve as a vehicle for convergence among individuals within the industry looking to find support for their business as well.   

Stewart Title’s Andi Bolin shares that there’s a lot of strength to be found in working together: “If [my agents] win, the consumer wins, we all win, and our industry looks better as a whole. What is important to me is that this career is lasting and standing, and we’re able to fight against the people that are trying to come in and invalidate what we do on a day-to-day basis.”

Listen to Andi Bolin’s Full Interview on the State of the Title Industry from the Title Talks Podcast

Stay Informed on Regulatory Changes

It’s vitally important that title professionals make it a habit to stay informed of regulatory changes. It’s easy to take the approach of sitting back and feeling like whatever decisions are being made are inevitable. You can advocate for the title industry on a state and federal level by staying engaged on topics and keeping up with your land title associations. The American Land Title Association (ALTA) attributes much of the success they saw this year fighting the Fannie Mae title waiver pilot program to individuals sending letters to lawmakers to bring attention to and ultimately halt the waiver program.  As a business owner or resident in your home state, Diane Tomb shares that agents  have more power to effect change than they realize:

“We're happy to be your advocates, and we will continue to do that. But you're sitting there in their backyard, right? You're employing people in their district. Their job is to represent you. - Diane Tomb, ALTA CEO


Differentiate Yourself
 

Stewart Title’s Andi Bolin sympathizes with agents who feel a lack of control surrounding the circumstances of the current real estate market. She recommends that finding a way to stand out in your marketing can be your ticket to gaining more business. In her Title Talks interview, Bolin asks listeners to think of the gas station turned cultural phenomenon, Buc-ee’s. What started as a promise of clean bathrooms for weary road travelers has become a must-stop attraction and a brand so strong that customers proudly wear t-shirts and hats emblazoned with the famous beaver mascot. While agencies are unlikely to generate that level of fanaticism among customers, finding a way to differentiate your customer experience to make it memorable in a positive way will ensure you will get repeat business and more referrals in the future.  

“What can we focus on now that we can change? We're not going to change the interest rate. We're not going to change the economy. We're not going to change the Fed. We're not going to change the housing market; we can't list more houses; we can't change what our competitors are doing. Those are the things we can't change. What we can change is what you can do to differentiate yourself and your market.” - Andi Bolin, Stewart Title


Prepare for Election Impacts

The onset of an election year introduces a unique set of challenges and a heightened level of political and economic uncertainty. This uncertainty, if left unchecked, has the potential to induce caution among buyers and sellers, resulting in a slowdown in the housing market as they adopt a wait-and-see approach. Being prepared for these potential shifts will help title professionals navigate the year ahead. A range of factors come into play during an election year that can influence the housing market dynamics: 

Economic Growth: A robust and flourishing economy typically bodes well for the housing market. Confidence in the future prompts individuals to make significant investments, such as purchasing a home, contributing to a positive housing market environment. 

Interest Rates: The impact of interest rates on the housing market cannot be overstated. Elevated interest rates increase the cost of borrowing for home purchases, potentially diminishing demand and leading to a contraction in the housing market. 

Political Uncertainty: The mere presence of uncertainty surrounding the outcome of an election can cast a shadow on the housing market. The hesitancy induced by this political uncertainty may deter potential buyers and sellers, causing a slowdown in real estate transactions. 

Understanding the interconnectedness of these factors is crucial for stakeholders in the housing market. Monitoring economic indicators, staying attuned to interest rate trends, and gauging the pulse of political developments can empower individuals to make informed decisions and mitigate the potential impacts of uncertainty this year.

 

Managing Efficiency and Costs

With a never-ending list of to-dos before and after closing, juggling multiple closings at a time, it is no wonder that title professionals say their biggest challenge is too much on their plate. Chief Operating Officer of Advocus National Title, Brent Scheer, says he sees the industry moving in a direction where the role of a title professional becomes more of a coordinator role. Agents would work with different vendors or teams to delegate those responsibilities to increase their capacity for meeting customer needs. “The thing that we continue to have to deal with from a title and closing side of the business is exactly that…having to identify what we spend our time on and then how to be efficient and effective with that time,” said Scheer.

With technology and production systems as they are, it’s easier than ever to outsource parts of title production to help get to closing and make more efficient use of their time.

“You're trying to figure out where you should be spending your time. If there's an opportunity to outsource a piece of what you do, great.” - Brent Scheer, Advocus National Title Insurance Company

 

Listen to Brent’s Full Title Talks Episode on the 2023 State of the Title Industry

Meeting Evolving Customer Expectations

The role of title agent and closer comes with balancing the expectations of various parties, including but not limited to the lender, the buyer, the seller, and the real estate agent. The title agent is the middleman (or person) responsible for keeping everyone informed and keeping the closing on track. While you can’t perform miracles to avoid all issues and delays, agents can keep open lines of communication so that every party has clear expectations.

“As volume goes up and goes down, again, what’s the one thing that we can do is manage expectations,” said Scheer.

Today’s consumer is not used to waiting or being left in the dark. Since most of us can track our Amazon orders from warehouse to doormat, being left out of the loop on a closing can feel like a frustrating experience for the average person who doesn’t know how real estate transacts. There are a few things to consider when gearing your business up to meet evolving expectations from customers.

Real-Time or Instant Payments

Instant payment services like Real-Time Payments (RTP) or FedNow allow financial institutions to send payments end-to-end instantly, eliminating the need for wire transfers and checks in the real estate settlement process and circumventing the confines of traditional banking hours. In the title industry, there is a well-deserved concern about the potential for fraud. While wire fraud is rampant and often hard to reverse, instant payments would make it impossible to stop fraud after a payment is sent. Similar steps to counteract wire fraud, like verbally verifying information via a phone call to a known number, could help make instant payments a safer and more efficient option for settlements in the future.

 

“Real-time payments...another game changer in terms of convenience because now we don't have to worry about wire cutoffs anymore.” - Brett Scheer, Advocus National Title

 

Mobile Reliance

Scheer jokes that most of us depend on our mobile phones: “Why would we go see another human again?” While his joke is meant to overstate the impersonal nature of technology, we greatly benefited from the instantaneous access to both communication and information on our mobile devices.

You should reconsider if your title company isn’t gearing up to be mobile-friendly.  Older generations may say they prefer human interaction, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who isn’t heavily dependent on this pocket-sized technology. It’s practical to assume that Millennials and Gen Z will expect a mobile-friendly experience.  

Key Takeaways

The new year beckons as a year of strategic positioning, adaptability, and collective strength for title professionals.

“We're controlling what we can control in this time and in this climate.” - Deb Grace, AccuTitle


By actively engaging, staying informed, embracing innovation, and
maintaining a customer-centric approach, title agents can navigate the evolving landscape successfully, ensuring a prosperous and transformative year ahead. 
 

 

Related Blogs: 

Download 2023 State of the Title Industry Report

Keep Reading

Reflecting on 2023’s Biggest Moments
Industry News 7 Min read
Reflecting on 2023’s Biggest Moments
How To Avoid Quiet Title
Homebuying & Selling Tips 5 Min read
How To Avoid Quiet Title
2023 State of the Title Industry Survey Webinar Recap
Industry News 4 Min read
2023 State of the Title Industry Survey Webinar Recap
What Kind of Land Survey Do I Need?
Homebuying & Selling Tips 8 Min read
What Kind of Land Survey Do I Need?
Lindsey Gordon Director of Communications

Lindsey Gordon is the Director of Communications and video producer at PropLogix. She loves using video and digital media to help educate the title industry and help clients and give the world a glimpse of what it’s like to work at PropLogix.

Mariah McQueen Marketing Generalist

Mariah McQueen is a Marketing Generalist at PropLogix who is passionate about protecting homebuyers and enjoys writing about subjects valuable to the title industry. She currently lives in Orlando and enjoys practicing Jiu-Jitsu, traveling, and playing the piano.