Recently, I saw a good client of Vesta Settlements as we watched our boys playing soccer together. We got to talking and he eventually asked a simple question as he congratulated me on the growth of Vesta Settlements. “What distinguishes your company from the others that allowed you to grow and succeed?”
Businesses fall on a spectrum of completely commoditized on the one hand (businesses that can only compete on price) to those that possess some unique intrinsic value on the other (those businesses that have tremendous pricing power). Where does the real estate title and settlement industry fall?
I believe our industry falls somewhere around the midpoint between these two. At our core, title and settlement companies essentially do the same thing and offer the same product. For title, we search the land records, review and analyze title and prepare title commitments and final policies based on our underwriting. For settlement, we handle administrative tasks and collect all relevant information needed for closing as well as the handling of the funds necessary to close the transaction. In that sense, we are a commodity business. In fact, on our own website, we write that we don’t hold the secret formula for Coca Cola. In other words, no one title company has a unique intrinsic quality providing an advantage over another in these terms. In fact, the vast majority of title company fees in Northern Virginia and the Metro DC area are within a couple hundred dollars of one another.
So what distinguishes us? A real estate transaction is likely the largest transaction most people will be involved in personally. Our role is labor intensive and while some of it is routine, other parts require great attention to detail by a “thinking” individual. Analyzing title, handling the challenges that routinely threaten deals, and the ability to do so while keeping agents and their clients calm and in the know ultimately creates value. A business that creates value is less commoditized.
So how else is value created? Another great client I recently met with said he uses us because we make him look good and everyone at Vesta Settlements is easy to talk to. At Vesta, we take time to educate both realtors and their clients through classes, newsletters, blogs, online videos and more. We place a high premium on great communication and file accuracy. We use technology to create efficiency for our realtor partners and their clients. Perhaps our paperless environment where every Vesta team member has access to every file creates the feeling for our realtor partners that we are “easy to talk to.”
Not all real estate title and settlement companies are the same and we certainly don’t deliver the same level of service. There is a quality to the work we do and true value to those we do it for! Do you want to see for yourself? That’s easy . . . send your real estate contract to firstname.lastname@example.org.