Real Estate law firms are typically laser focused on serving that one area of law. They tend to be transactional practices by nature, with a long list of forms, processes and compliance requirements to follow and a variety of partners and clients they need to coordinate with on each transaction.
Over the past few years, the regulations and technology requirements for attorneys involved in the real estate purchase, sale, or lending process have become more stringent. Specifically, in July of 2017, TRID, or the “Know Before You Owe” rule, went into full effect.
The series of rules increases the responsibility real estate lawyers have in relation to the transmission of documents, overall communication and timeline to deliver a Closing Disclosure to the buyer before closing.
High volume law firms who work directly with mortgage brokers, lenders, or manage a portfolio of real estate investments for their clients must adhere to the new rules and self-audit to maintain a daunting amount of compliance tasks for a law firm of any size.
Recently I checked out Qualia, a full-featured real estate transaction management platform made for Real Estate Closing Attorneys, that solves the compliance and coordination challenges lawyers face and in turn makes law firms more attractive to both realtors and lenders.
Coordination, Consistency, and Compliance
Right from the start, Qualia feels different than what you may be used to when searching for software to run your real estate law firm. Qualia connects everyone in the real estate transaction into one platform. This coordinates everyone in the transaction automatically and removes the last minutes surprises from your transaction that often come up on closing day. When the alternative is trying to coordinate with others working in a silo, in different locations, on related matters, and only coming together as a group at the closing, the choice is clear.
Also, instead of a common dashboard, or list of cases, Qualia presents you with workflows, status lists, and task management tools for all of your active files that help you and your team keep consistent processes in place and streamline your practice.
And just as impressive, with a deep commitment to security, Qualia went through the rigorous process to achieve SOC-2 Certification and is the only title and closing software to do so. It has also been recognized as exceeding ALTA Best Practices Pillar 3 standards for information privacy protection. The platform gives law firms the ability to support thousands of active orders, generate closing disclosure statements, seamlessly integrate with title vendors, all while providing an enhanced level of security protection for a client’s PII/NPI over what the vast majority of offices currently employ with on premises software.
Instead of traditional task management to-do lists, Qualia’s Order Workflow breaks down the transaction lifecycle into these common stages:
- Order Opening
Order workflows can all be changed to support specific transaction types, such as short sales or foreclosures. Built in documents for every jurisdiction and to-do lists are included in each stage, relative to the type of transaction. Assign each task to a specific staff member for execution and be alerted when completed.
Further automation will automatically mark certain tasks complete when a CPL is issued, saving staff time and avoiding double entry. The Qualia Task View is specific to team member. Simply log in, and view what’s due that day.
How Order Workflow Also Increases Your Business
Even though we’re writing about Qualia for Title Agents and Lawyers in this review, it’s important to note also that Qualia is a platform. It has account types for Lenders, Real Estate Agents, Buyers, and Sellers. What makes this so valuable to your business is that the Lenders and Realtors who already use Qualia can easily place orders with lawyers directly through the platform with a click of a button. Say good-bye to the days of trying to coordinate getting information back and forth, constant phone calls for partners for information that should be readily available, and trying to keep top of mind with your partners to get more business. With Qualia you become just a click away.
Reporting – Qualia’s Critical Issues Report
Previously, law firms would manage gigantic excel files or export spreadsheets to sort and manage active transactions. One of my favorite features was by far the Critical Issues Report. Mark a note to say there is a Critical Issue, such as having any potential errors, missing information, incomplete deadlines, or partially completed documents, and that will appear on the report. A massive red alert message appears on files with issues, or run a system wide report during a team meeting to tackle issues at the start of the day.
This feature is tremendously important as the new TRID guidelines have a very strict timeline around the delivery of pre-closing documents to the borrower. The purchaser must receive the closing disclosure statement three days prior to the closing date. Going back to the ‘Know Before You Owe’ name, the purpose of this regulation is to ensure that the borrower is fully aware and informed of all closing and cost details before a real estate transaction is completed. Which, after the wild, wild, west years of lending that led to the recession, I can see why.
But, that doesn’t exactly make life easy for the law firm. Preparing a long list of complex documents, working with title companies and maintaining communication with the client requires diligent organization.
Closing Attorneys are often overwhelmed by this work, which is another area Qualia excels at correcting. View a workload report to balance or re-assign tasks to regain your sanity, and avoid losing the favor of a loan office by staying on top of your game with this powerful reporting tool.
Not the way you’d think of accounting in its traditional sense, Qualia is proactively preventing and identifying fraudulent criminal activity. Mortgage and income fraud are on the rise. The system monitors all applications, and checks for fraud daily. Or as their team likes to call it “Monitoring the Register.”
Documents and Communication
Create packages of documents and share them through a secure portal, or by using the built-in email templates, to trim even more time off of order preparation. This is a massive win for real estate attorneys, as many states now require the use of this type of encrypted communications.
In fact, all systems that transmit lending, loan, financial information, and loan related communication are required to meet SOC-2 Certification. Qualia was awarded this SOC-2 level compliance certification in February of 2017.
Qualia’s platform also helps you keep your contact database clean. The system prevents creating duplicate contact records and cleans up databases, which equates to far more accurate and meaningful reporting.
FedEx & UPS Shipping Integration
This simple integration is a true life-saver. When you have to get a closing package out the door, the last thing you need is to be fighting with the FedEx website. You can generate labels directly in Qualia, using the information from contacts that you had already entered on file.
e-Record with Simplifile
Submit or record documents seamlessly via an integration with Simplifile, which saves additional time during the pre or post-closing process. Documents recorded through Simplifile will automatically upload back into the file, so there’s no need to manage documents outside of the system.
Unlimited document storage, templates, and built in chat features give productivity a boost throughout the application. Tag team members in notes to address items or address those critical issues that could hold up a closing. Chat directly with coworkers in-app to make communication quick and easy.
Moving to Qualia
This real estate platform is growing at breakneck speed. The only solution to meet and exceed the new TRID guidelines boasts an impressive set of features in a very intuitive interface.
I expect to see Qualia’s name more often as a rising star in the legal technology community. There’s no stopping this company, with a team comprised of industry experts and a passionate support staff, from becoming a market leader in a very short period of time.