For real estate agents and brokers, 2017 saw significant movement toward improved communications between all the professionals and consumers that are required for a property sale.

According to Housingwire, in the middle of this was an intentional effort by the title industry to apply technology to modernize and upgrade the closing process.

A turning point may have been a Fidelity National Financial Q1 2017 earnings call in which Bill Foley, chairman of the Board, highlighted the value of consolidating transactions to a single technology platform while discussing strategies “to develop an end-to-end program from the time the REALTOR® gets the listing to the time when the transaction closes and we interface with the lenders.”

In the not so distant past, technology powerful enough to drive the real estate industry’s impending step-change evolution would have only been available to the largest enterprises and institutions. Today, however, thanks to advances in how technology can be built and distributed, it is available to businesses of all sizes.

In 2018, agents aren’t going to be able to operate in disconnected silos. They will risk losing too much business.

Digital transactions that provide connections between transaction parties have slowly become not only a normal way of doing business, but the requirement.

Look to Zillow for proof. It has more than 160 million monthly users, over 100 million homes in its database, and has quickly displaced traditional methods for starting a home search.

As a result, agents will see title companies looking to be the drivers behind a unified real estate transaction platform if they don’t want diminished control of their business.
Pressures driving title agents in 2018 will include market consolidation, lead consolidation and margin compression.

Companies that focus on customer first experiences will quickly gain their unfair advantage and expand their market share.

While digital mortgages will play a big part in the consumer first transition (and especially in the marketing around it), adoption will remain below 1 percent of the market throughout 2018 as service providers test out the waters.

As agents, will could see title companies looking to take the lead on implementing technology that drives the real estate industry forward. If they don’t, the coming year will be one that marks the beginning of business challenges that will remain with companies for years to come rather than one that marks a time they expanded their presence while taking the customer experience to new heights.

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