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President’s Corner: June 2018

Joe Crutchfield Investors Title Company PresidentI have always viewed the title business as being in the nature of a personal service business. Buying a home or investment property is a very big deal to all of the parties involved and Investors Title prides itself on being able to provide personal attention to our customers so that their transaction goes as smoothly as possible.

We are grateful that our clients have responded so well over the years to our efforts. As technology becomes more and more widely used in our industry, however, the question is, “Is it possible to maintain that personal connection with clients and customers?” And, “What does ‘great service’ look like to a client/customer, anyway, in a world where so much interaction is done electronically and not in person?”

Modern paperless title and escrow systems and other document management software reduce that “personal touch” by design. In doing so, these systems make the process more efficient and less costly than older paper systems by centralizing and streamlining workflow. These systems, though, can create a rather “sterile” environment where closers or processors interact with customers.

I have been thinking about this subject quite a bit lately, particularly with the two laws that have recently been proposed in the Missouri State Legislature. These bills, if passed (and I’m sure one will eventually pass), would provide procedures for Electronic Notary services.

I mentioned this to a colleague and she said, “WOW! You mean like a Robot Notary?” Well, no, not like a Robot Notary. We’re not there yet. But, the ability for a Closer to notarize a Seller’s signature in St. Louis even though the documents are being signed in Seattle and we don’t need originals to record? Then yes, it would mean that, which will be a big deal.
When a document is notarized electronically, the Notary is not physically present when the document is executed. The Notary and document signer communicate via live video call on a phone, iPad or laptop. Keep in mind that some states already have laws that provide for Electronic Notary and there is some discussion now over whether real estate documents for transactions in Missouri can already be notarized electronically by an Electronic Notary in a state that has the appropriate law – even though Missouri doesn’t have an Electronic Notary law. Yes, I know, that’s a mouthful.

In any case, it’s a little complicated, but it’s certainly on the horizon and you may begin to see Electronically Notarized documents on a few deals in the near future. So, what does “great service” look like in today’s internet-saturated world, where there are hundreds of videos of dogs that look like celebrities? I think it comes down to what it’s always come down to: giving customers what they want. If clients want to communicate only by text and email, than that’s what we do. If buyers and sellers want to use Electronic Notaries and close at home in their pajamas, then we find a way to make that happen. (Though they will have to supply their own pajamas).

Anyway, very interesting stuff, I think. Have a great June and let us know how we’re doing by sending me or one of our salespeople a note. Hope to see you soon.

View/Download our full June 2018 Newsletter.