As the residential real estate market adapts to stabilizing, but still high mortgage rates and the ongoing lack of housing supply, real estate agents, home buyers and sellers will face a highly competitive environment. Innovative technologies offer powerful advantages to help real estate agents, home buyers and sellers successfully navigate this dynamic market.
For example, First American Title Insurance Company’s digital platform, FirstAm IgniteRE™, was designed to improve the residential real estate transaction process for all participants.
Recently honored as a HousingWire Tech Trendsetter, First American Title’s Senior Vice President of Product Development and Technology Services Garrett Page shared his thoughts on how FirstAm IgniteRE is helping real estate professionals thrive in today’s market, the importance of a customer-first mindset in the design process, and a look ahead at what’s in store for the platform in 2024.
Tell us about FirstAm IgniteRE’s inception. What challenges in the real estate transaction process inspired this product’s development?
Previously, certain key steps in the real estate transaction process, such as initiating title orders and accessing documents, were only available through multiple platforms and logins, placing an unnecessary burden on real estate agents. To address this issue, our team designed FirstAm IgniteRE with a set of on-demand tools and functionalities accessible via a single login. These features range from a secure transactions portal where agents can review and complete documents, community insights to help grow neighborhood expertise, and training classes on the latest industry trends and topics. The platform is designed to deliver a device-agnostic experience to help real estate professionals save time and better serve home buyers and sellers.
“FirstAm IgniteRE™ has enjoyed strong early success, primarily driven by First American’s commitment to customer feedback. Our team constantly collects, analyzes and, ultimately, integrates customer insights into the platform, which has been crucial to our design process and a key driver of growth.”
Can you share more details on some of the unique features of FirstAm IgniteRE?
Our team designed FirstAm IgniteRE to be extremely nimble, allowing the platform to be quickly updated with the latest technologies and features. A prime example is the Neighborhood Discovery feature, which we launched in summer 2023. Neighborhood Discovery allows real estate professionals to discover insights on properties within a neighborhood that they define within the platform, enabling agents to become neighborhood experts without walking door-to-door to understand the local housing market.
Other features we’ve recently integrated into FirstAm IgniteRE include the ability to access, send and eSign transaction documents from secure messaging portals, instant access to HOA contact reports and foreclosure reports, color-coded pins to show property ownership types (i.e., owner occupied vs. non-owner occupied), and a geolocation beacon that allows agents to use their current location to find properties.
How has FirstAm IgniteRE been received so far?
FirstAm IgniteRE has enjoyed strong early success, primarily driven by First American’s commitment to incorporating customer feedback. Our team constantly collects, analyzes and, ultimately, integrates customer insights into the platform, which has been crucial to our design process and a key driver of growth.
With multiple channels to directly engage with agents, the platform has collected more than 10,000 comments, suggestions, and requests to build new solutions. This feedback helps propel our customers ahead of their peers. According to the results of a recent survey, more than 95% of respondents rated FirstAm IgniteRE as valuable, and the platform boasts a 90.2 satisfaction rating among our customers.
Since we launched the platform’s full suite of capabilities in late 2022, the FirstAm IgniteRE user base has increased more than tenfold. We also continue to see an increase in engagement, with a nearly 1,000% year-over-year boost in clicks and page loads.
Are there any new features we can look forward to in 2024?
Our roadmap is driven by feedback from our customers, and they are telling us they want safe and simple access to the First American services and data-driven insights they use on a daily basis. In 2024, we will be focusing on enhancing the mobile experience of FirstAm IgniteRE and adding features like streamlined report generation and quicker access to rates and fees via a new Quick Seller Netsheet calculator.