Business as Somewhat Usual
The Coronavirus Pandemic couldn't of happened at a worst time for the title industry. Right at the start of the spring sales market and in the middle of a low interest rate-generated refinance boom. We may have to stay at home as much as possible and practice social distancing, but we also have to buy, sell and refinance our homes. To do this, we need operational title companies.
With all the upheaval, New World Title & Escrow is continuing to provide settlement services without significant interruption. We have been able to achieve this by adapting to and overcoming the challenges Coronavirus has imposed. To reduce contact with our customers, the majority of our team members are teleworking from their homes. Our locations are closed to the general public, as settlements are being conducted on an appointment-only basis, with only the absolutely indespensible parties attending. Others may observe settlement using teleconferencing applications like Facetime and Skype. Sellers and buyers are scheduled to attend closing at different times or are kept in separate conference rooms, to avoid unnecessary exposure. Customers are given unused pens, which are theirs to keep, or may bring their own to closing. Closing documents are delivered to customers prior to the settlement date, so they may review them and resolve any questions or issues at home rather than at the settlement table. After settlement, signed copies are set digitally to customers, rather than hardcopies. All our offices are provisioned with cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and rubber gloves. Our conference rooms and reception areas are thouroughly disinfected following each closing. While courthouses are closing to the public, we can electronically record documents.
For those who are sensitive to exposure from visiting our offices, we do our best to accommodate, through mobile in-home closings, curbside closings (think of a drive-thru) and in some situations online closings. If there can be any semblance of a silver lining from all this, the lending industry is taking giant leaps towards making remote online closings the norm rather than the very limited exception it was prior to this crisis. When that comes to fruition, not only will you be able to order groceries and take out from your computer, you can buy, sell and refinance you house.
So like the rest of the world, the title companies were not prepared for specifically a pandemic such as Coronavirus. However, the prudent title companies did plan for some type of disaster, and employed the right technology and processes to provide for business continuity. Those who did are now reaping the rewards, which ultimately benefits their customers.