As companies in every industry accelerate their digital transformations, consumers are reaping the benefits; what was unheard of just a few years ago, like buying a car or buying groceries entirely online, is now commonplace.
Some interactions, though, are still hamstrung by high-friction experiences: take closing on a new home. Companies like Zillow and Redfin have brought the home-browsing experience into the 21st century, but when it comes to actually purchasing, most homebuyers are locked into a traditional set of processes and procedures hampered by piles of paperwork, confusing jargon, and in-person meetings.
Qualia is changing all that.
The San Francisco-based company provides cloud-based closing software that makes the closing process seamless and understandable for all parties involved. And with Twilio Programmable Video, they’ve been able to take the homebuying process and make it entirely remote.
“People often feel like they’re left in the dark and ignored throughout their closing process,” explained Max Lamb, director of business development at Qualia.
As any homebuyer can tell you, the process is often chaotic and confusing. With smart software and a thoughtful user experience, though, Qualia is bringing calm to the closing experience.
“As soon as you get to closing, you run into this manual wall of paper,” Lamb said. “Today’s homebuyer expects a digital experience that reflects the way they operate in other parts of their lives. We want to help our customers—escrow officers, title insurers, lenders, real estate agents, title agents, etc.—keep up with the increased technology demands they’re facing from homebuyers and sellers.”
Today, more than 500,000 real estate professionals have used Qualia’s platform to process closings for more than a million home buyers and sellers a year, Lamb said. The company saw a massive opportunity in streamlining the closing process, and has done just that, bringing transparency, security, and simplicity to the process by collating it all onto one easy to use platform where all parties can see where each piece of the process is.
The missing piece, though, became clearer than ever before when COVID-19 hit. The company needed a way to enable people to actually sign and close on their new home without having to meet in person. Twilio made it possible.
“COVID really increased the demand for remote closing tools,” explained Charlotte Brown, director of product. “Up until now, the biggest barrier to having a fully digital experience is that by law, you have to sign in front of a notary. But with COVID, more states started passing laws and emergency orders allowing for remote notarization, which has been a huge step forward for the real estate industry.”
To leverage this new opportunity, the company needed to quickly enable secure, high-quality video services for its customers.
“Up until now, we’ve been able to take everyone up to that closing moment digitally, but then you have to say, ‘Now print out the papers and sit down in person,’” Brown said. “Now because of Twilio, we have this video integration enabling remote online notarization.”
It’s quite literally the last puzzle piece in the homebuying process, Brown said. Homebuyers can now browse, choose, buy, and close on a home entirely online.
As the company built their video solution, though, they knew they needed a provider who could maintain the safety of all the vulnerable personal data involved while also remaining reliable and providing unparalleled quality, Lamb said. Twilio was just the ticket.
“It was important for us to have that reliability and security,” he explained. “You need to be able to count on your video.”
“We had been working with other vendors and with Twilio, the quality is clear: Twilio has much better video quality. So much so that as we were working on our project, one of our senior engineers started doing all our internal videos through Twilio because the quality was just so good,” she said.
The company found it easy to work within Twilio’s APIs as well, Lamb said.
“The ease of implementation was great,” he said. “It’s been very straightforward: it works like it’s supposed to and exactly how you’d expect.”
With Twilio, the quality is clear.
Connecting the final link in creating a fully digital homebuying experience is just the start for Qualia, Brown and Lamb said. It’s opened new doors.
“It’s not just that we’re able to make the day-to-day better,” Brown said. “It’s that we’re enabling our customers to do things in a totally different way. It’s created an opportunity for us to be leaders in this space. Video was a pivotal feature in our ability to change the narrative and shape how real estate is transacted in the future.”
Lamb agreed: “I’m excited to continue down this path,” he said. “A path of building on the functionality we’re providing to make these transactions seamless and transparent for everyone.”