While consumer satisfaction with the real estate process is strong overall, homebuyers are interested in receiving updates about progress in their transaction and want the option to sign documents electronically, according to a survey from the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR). Nearly 1,100 homebuyers participated.
“The survey offers some very telling measures and provides guidance for the title industry on what is important to the consumer,” said Stewart Morris Jr., vice chair of Stewart Title Guaranty Co. and a member of ALTA’s Board of Governors. “With the new integrated mortgage disclosures and owner’s title insurance labeled as ‘optional,’ it will be vital for the title industry to get information to the consumer earlier in the home-buying process.”
According to the survey, 40 percent of those who participated said they did not feel educated about the closing process. Of those who felt they did not receive enough information, two-thirds would have liked to know more about the closing process before hand. The survey found that 93 percent of the homebuyers were interested in receiving and/or signing documents that don’t require a witness in advance of the closing. As far as timing, the survey found that 90 percent of all transactions closed less than two months after an offer was accepted. The length of time to close a transaction was either as expected or shorter than expected, according to 74 percent of those polled.
For those who believed the closing took too long, the top causes were:
- Mortgage company not cooperative
- Some of the documents were incorrect and had to be redone
- Other real estate agent was not organized
- Title company was not cooperative
- Inspection identified issues that had to be rectified
To improve the process, HAR provided the following suggestions:
- Make the documents available electronically, with the ability to sign some in advance
- Provide clear communication and updates on the process
- Properly explain documents and fees early in the process
- Complete documents accurately and on time
- More follow up and involvement from the title agent is needed