In a busy purchase market, what can your service provider do for you?


It’s starting to look like the “bubble watchers” and market bears won’t be getting their way in 2022. By all accounts, the purchase market we’ve been experiencing in residential real estate will continue, although by all accounts, it will become more competitive. For lenders, that means differentiating on more than just interest rates and product mixes. It means little things like settlement fees, time to close and cutting expenses to ensure reasonable margins.

Traditionally, that begins internally. Many lenders reexamine their staffing levels, discretionary expenses and the like. And that’s not a bad start. However, the best operations usually also revisit their service provider networks during market cycles like this. The point is to ensure not only that vendors aren’t liabilities (from a cost, branding or compliance perspective), but to see that they’re providing maximum ROI as well.

For title agents, that starts with providing maximum bang for the buck. Better-than-average turnaround times; minimal errors or TRID curative; exceptional customer service and reasonable fees are all par for the course for a title provider to prove its value to lenders, borrowers and real estate professionals alike.

But lenders, don’t forget to ask yourselves what additional value a title provider brings to the table. Does that partner have enough bandwidth to handle a larger order volume, allowing for a streamlining of the vendor network? Is that partner serving, to some degree, as an additional resource or virtual consultant, especially when it comes to helping a lender keep an eye on a regulatory environment that’s rapidly changing from state to state? Is the service provider’s workflow and operation aligned with the way you do business?

If the answer to any of those questions happens to be “no,” then think about incorporating it into your vendor audit. The best title providers offer those resources, and more, while delivering all of the necessary deliverables (service, turn-time, etc.) as well.

After all, in a competitive market, it’s the little things, even behind the scenes, that give a mortgage lender the edge.