As supply chain issues diminish and homebuilders look to grow their business, more of them are looking at collaborating with title agencies, real estate companies and other industry partners.
Landmark Custom Builder & Remodeling co-founder Eric Waddell and Josué Soto, CEO of the Soto Legacy Group, powered by EXP Realty, spoke at this year’s National Settlement Services Summit (NS3) about what that collaboration looks like.
Landmark is a small, luxury custom homebuilder that specializes in large vacation rental homes.
“We are experts in building,” Waddell said. “We are not experts in all the things people in this audience do or on the real estate side of things. What we’re trying to move toward is more of a collaboration between title work, what the real estate expert brings to the table and what the builder brings to the table. We’re starting to collaborate a little bit more and go after larger projects.”
Such collaboration will make smaller companies like Landmark more competitive, he said.
“Some of the bigger boys, they may have their title companies inside their organizations, they have their marketing arm inside their organization. As a small company, we need the expertise to collaborate with us to compete with the bigger companies,” Waddell said. “If we can bring a collaboration of people together and operate as an entity together, we think that there’s opportunity to grow in the marketplace and to meet some of the needs that are there.”
Collaboration is the most important thing in the industry now and for the future, Soto said.
“Every one of us, from the title side, from the real estate side, from the mortgage side, need to come together and really understand how this process works and how we can come together to build something stronger and more effective and understand each one of our processes as we work together,” he said.
Soto has seen the power of collaboration through his involvement in NAHREP, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.
“By me being a part of this organization for the past 10 years, I’ve been able to surround myself with title reps, custom builders, etc. And we understand what it takes to collaborate, how we can all work together in different aspects in our industry to be able to help each other build something bigger than what we can see for ourselves,” he said.
Waddell agreed, saying through collaboration, each individual company gets to look beyond the single transaction.
“An example of that would be if I can do a larger project and his company can do the sales and marketing for my company, then it gives his agents a larger project to work with,” he explained. “So instead of just looking at one single, individual transaction, now he’s looking at representing the entire community.”
It works similarly with title companies, Waddell said.
“If I’m doing a larger project and the title company is in with us, together, to attract that project, then their business grows as well,” he said. “Let’s not think of one client at a time. Let’s think of how we can do multiple transactions throughout the cycle of the business.”
Soto suggested title companies consider inviting builders to some of the educational classes they regularly conduct for real estate agents.
“It is important for them to understand how builders can really help them build their business and vice versa,” he said. “If the agents are able to understand the entire process, then they’re able to go back to some of their clients and say, ‘I may have something that will work for you.’”
Collaboration will be especially helpful during the current cooling housing market.
Soto said he is seeing signs of the market slowing on the seller side.
“You’re seeing homes sitting on the market just slightly longer,” he said. “Normally, it was one to two days, 48 hours tops. Now I notice it’s five to seven days.”
Even so, there is still demand for housing, Waddell said.
“My personal opinion is that if we get into a recession, you still have demand exceeding supply in our industry. We’re still going to have business and we’re still going to have customers,” he said. “Will it slow down a little bit? Maybe, but regardless, people are going to need a place to live and are going to buy homes.”