Disrupting the title industry
Closing real estate transactions is a complex business requiring title agents to juggle everything from schedule coordination to title searches, identity verification, notarization, and more. Manual tasks, paper-covered desks, and antiquated thinking further complicate matters.
Roselyn Langianese, President of Summit Title Services, LLC, saw an opportunity to disrupt the status quo and support her operations staff with remote online notarization (RON) if she could find a reliable eClosing partner.
To digitize the traditional paper closing process, Roselyn knew the business needed an all-in-one eClosing platform with pre-loaded tools and customer support. And that’s when Roselyn handed off her big idea to Cheryl Megan, Vice President of Operations at Summit Title.
“I struggle with change. But once Roselyn convinces me that said change is actually legitimately going to happen, I can take it and run with it. She's got the big ideas, and then I drill them down into process,” says Cheryl.
Operationalizing eClosing with the Stavvy platform
With 20+ years of title industry experience, Cheryl is no stranger to digital transformation and operationalizing closing processes. She’s used several eClosing tools over the years before implementing the Stavvy platform at Summit Title during COVID-19.
Cheryl found that most platforms lacked reliable customer support or had a poor user experience. And with so many single-feature products on the market, Summit Title needed to invest in multiple tools to perform different aspects of digital transactions, leading to frustrations and a need for change.
After a demo with the Stavvy team, Roselyn and Cheryl saw how they could leverage Stavvy’s eClosing solution and customer support team to meet their current needs and future goals. As a result, they decided to invest in the Stavvy platform.
Summit Title operationalized its eClosing process with Stavvy, first implementing RON before extending its service offerings with in-person electronic notarization (IPEN) to meet the diverse needs of customers and real estate partners.
Leveraging IPEN and RON to double down on an eClosing investment
Stavvy’s eClosing solution was critical to Summit Title’s ability to operationalize and scale digital closing efficiently. Some of the benefits Summit Title experienced with the Stavvy platform are:
After partnering with Stavvy, Summit Title was the first title agency to conduct a RON transaction in New Hampshire. Stavvy also allows Summit Title to market its digital closing capabilities to signers, real estate agents, and lenders online to drive demand and eClosing awareness. “We absolutely blow up the world on Instagram and Facebook and talk about what we do and how we do it,” says Cheryl.
One of the company’s goals is to grow its geographic footprint in New Hampshire. Given the state’s size, a traveling closing team and mail-away closings are not cost-effective solutions. Remote closing powered by Stavvy supports the company’s business growth goals by eliminating the need to open more brick-and-mortar locations and staff them accordingly.
“More people are moving further north into New Hampshire, and then we've got the people who are moving out of New Hampshire and going to Florida. With so many snowbirds in the state, eClosing has been huge for our business. Instead of waiting to close in person, signers can head down to Florida and sign remotely. Before you'd have to overnight the documents, the signer has to find a notary, and they have to overnight the package back. And then there's a storm or something, and the package is lost. There are no losing documents anymore, which is better for them and our closing team in terms of efficiency and security,” says Cheryl.
Streamlined closing operation
A streamlined eClosing process is crucial to operational efficiency and a great customer experience. Cheryl worked hard to understand RON legislation and select an eClosing partner that could ensure compliance and security and grow with the organization.
Based on the simplicity and reliability of the Stavvy platform, she felt confident making eClosing with RON the primary method of closing for eligible sell-side and cash real estate transactions.
“When we open up a transaction, we send introduction letters to involved parties—what’s your mortgage payoff info, who’s doing the deed, the standard stuff. Once we introduced digital closing, we added to our letters questions like: Do you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera? Do you have an unexpired United States photo ID and social security number? If they answered no, we knew right off the bat that RON couldn’t happen, and we’d schedule a traditional closing. If they answered yes, we automatically set up a Stavvy closing and send an email confirming their remote closing details. We also email a User Guide to help explain the RON process and answer frequently asked questions before closing day,” says Cheryl.
Once a remote closing is scheduled, Summit Title’s operations team tags closing documents in the Stavvy platform. Cheryl shares that this process takes her team less time than prepping and shipping a paper closing package for customers to sign. “It takes about 5 minutes on a seller package. I’m not going to lie; it goes pretty fast.”
From there, the notary performs the digital closing on the Stavvy platform, safely storing and sending the executed package to signers immediately following the completion of the notarization process.
“Sellers probably have a 15-minute closing if they come in person, so a digital closing option is huge for them. They don't have to leave the house and travel for such a short meeting. As long as they have a computer, they can do their thing,” says Cheryl.
With over 90% of Summit Title’s seller-side transactions closed remotely with RON, the business wanted to use Stavvy’s IPEN feature to offer additional conveniences for signers who prefer to come into the office to close.
“Some signers refuse RON because they’re afraid of the technology. As far as New Hampshire goes, for us and our use cases, IPEN might be the first place where we can say, see, technology is not that scary; next time, let’s use RON.” IPEN, like RON, also helps Summit Title mitigate rising seller identity fraud cases affecting the industry.
Stavvy’s eClosing solution provides Summit Title’s team with several digital closing options ranging from hybrid transactions with IPEN to fully remote closings with RON creating a nimble-footedness that its competitors can’t match and an impressive customer experience.
Inspiring digital closing confidence with reliable support from Stavvy
Stavvy’s accessible customer support was “hugely important” to Summit Title’s digital success.
“In the beginning, it was huge because we were in the middle of COVID and overwhelmed already. We’re not tech people; I mean, tech-savvy enough to be dangerous, but we're not tech people. We didn't go to school for that. We can fiddle with documents and stuff, but technology is not our forte. And to have someone on 911 with a red phone was amazing,” says Cheryl.
“Stavvy is really user-friendly too, so once you’re trained and onboarded, you need very little support. It’s been a good business partnership, period.”