Behind every business idea is a point of frustration that motivates an entrepreneur to take action. It can solve a small problem like how to find the remote control when it finds itself under the sofa (clapper!) to figuring out ways to take your phone with you everywhere you go.
For those paying attention, opportunity is always knocking. The biggest challenge is knowing when to answer the door.
As the owner of Family Abstract, I have been intimately familiar with problems that face the real estate industry in general and the title business in particular. Contrary to popular belief, the title business, while necessary, isn’t a super sexy business to be in. At least when you tell people that you’re a Realtor, they have an idea what you do for a living. When you tell people that you own a title company they can easily follow that up with ‘Oh that’s nice…what do you do for a living?’
Apart from the fact that the title insurance business is largely misunderstood, it’s also very generic. The services I provide to my customers don’t vary dramatically from those that other title companies provide (other than the fact that I have the best team in the business!) At the end of the day we are part of the home buying process where even home buyers can’t fully define what we do.
Fortunately, I do know what my title insurance company brings to the table and I also know the quality of professional care we offer our clients. But that and a buck is sometimes enough to get you on a bus.
Let me explain:
During the past 20 years, the playing field I spend my days on has changed pretty dramatically. Once upon a time I was able to compete for the home buyers business by offering unique qualities that made a difference in the life of my clients. Over time, many of the unique things that we pioneered became well practiced aspects of the industry and became pretty much ubiquitous. As a result we were also pushing forward with new models to help create new opportunities for ourselves and our clients.
Today, however, the opportunity for an independent title insurance company to be competitive has changed dramatically as well. It’s getting harder and harder to get deals into the pipeline because many of the brokerages have created their own title businesses so that they can offer their home buying customers a complete package of services. This means that while I can offer competitive and valuable services, I’m automatically closed out of these venues.
So, as a business owner and a guy who’s always looking for opportunity, what is my next move? Simple, if opportunity isn’t coming to you, your job is to go out and find it.
How do I make a seemingly generic title insurance company stand out from the rest? By offering something that is not only unique but brings value to all who touch it.
About three years ago the seeds of my newest endeavor, Nucazza were planted. They were based on the idea that home buyers want choice and want to be treated in a fair manner. The concept also acknowledges that not all home buyers want or need the same things.
Instead, by offering home buyers new ways to buy homes that allow them to create their own customized services and allow them to potentially save thousands of dollars in closing costs we have been able to grab the attention of in-market home buyers. These home buyers in turn have led us to work with Realtors who understand and are willing to work with home buyers who want the option of alternative compensation agreements.
All of this costs the buyers and the Realtors we work with absolutely nothing. We’ve also used this model to work with lenders who have valuable services they can offer home buyers.
The bottom line is that a good deal is good for everyone involved.
So what do I get out of it at the end of the day? Simple, I’m not in the business of buying or selling real estate, but I am in the title insurance business. As I work with these different players in the real estate model I just ask to be included at the title insurance provider. Since I can help bring the parties together and help my partners make money, it’s not a stretch to be included in providing the services needed.
I am solving my problem but I’m also solving problems for others. At the end of the day, I can feel the impact that finding opportunity means for me and I hope that I can help you along as well.