Let’s Imagine Title in the Future and May the Fourth Be With Us

Long ago in a title company not very far away, a few claims administrators sat in the company lunch room imagining the title insurance vending machine. That was at a time when business computers merely word processed, but we knew something was about to happen……. okay maybe not “about.” It took over 20 years for us to get even a glimpse. Now, things seem to be happening, barring another crash of 2008-ish event, so let’s imagine what a more modern version of the title insurance vending machine may look like. This is a work in progress:

  1. On demand title report or commitment. A land owner won’t have to order a title report or commitment, it will be there when she plugs in her private key. The public will see the public record while the owner, lender, and contract purchaser will see a report. A commitment won’t be examined or typed when ordered, but will be an ongoing blockchain (or something like that) of data that pulls into a report on demand. People who can get Westworld Seasons One and Two on demand, will expect title on demand, and will also expect it to be similarly cool-looking.
  2. It will pull data from: the county treasurer, the county assessor, land records (public or private title plant?), name indices, state tax register, GIS maps, subdivision plats…. What else?
  3. It will be connected to: the MLS, Zillow(?), prior and current surveys, applicable municipal ordinances, the owner’s other asset portfolio…. What else?
  4. Interface. It will be mobile, scrollable or swipeable, and without those tiny little hyperlinks that are annoying to click on a mobile device. It will show unpaid and open taxes, the assessed value, the current owner with prior owner information available. It will show the primary and all junior mortgages and liens. It will sort liens on similar names from known direct hits. It will show easements, building lines and other covenants, declarations, plat restrictions and relevant plat notes. It will show related vacated streets and alleys and relevant information from adjoining lands allowing it to show encroachments.
  5. Security. The owner’s and lien holder’s private data will be secure, and the integrity of each transaction will be secured.

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