Attorney Heather James tried finding her clients’ house during a bad rainstorm in the middle of the night to help the couple close on a property. She got stuck in the mud but persevered by putting the vehicle in neutral and pushing it out by herself.
“I was drenched when I got to our clients’ home. They understood and offered me a towel. Then we started the home closing around the table,” she says.
James and her law partner Kara Cook have been offering closings anywhere, anytime for the past decade. Cook & James LLC in Rosewell, Ga., covers closings in Georgia, South Carolina, Connecticut, and New York. “Convenience is invaluable,” James explains.
The trend is of offering clients a convenient alternative to the norm of meeting during the day at the title company or attorney’s office is slowly gaining steam. These handy closings allow buyers, sellers, and refinancers the ability to choose their home, office, a hotel lobby, or whatever location is most convenient for them. Clients can also choose the time of the closing—usually outside of regular business hours due to their hectic daytime schedules.
Closings can be quite overwhelming, arduous, and time-consuming. So, when a broker or agent suggests an anywhere, anytime closing company that can save their clients time and effort, it becomes an added value to their services.
The Title Company Experience
When Gregg Amaral, broker-owner of Home Sales Palm Beach, in Jupiter, Fla., opened his real estate company in October 2018, many title companies approached him to promote their business and offer him free branded koozies.
“A koozie is nice, but I won’t get more business because of it,” he says. Not long after opening, Amaral discovered Producers Title in Jupiter, which offers services in the early morning and at night at a location convenient to their clients. Several of Amaral’s clients have chosen Producers Title for their closings and he couldn’t be happier about how it’s all panned out.
“People are afraid of change,” he says about this industry disruption. “They have to eventually go out of their comfort area and see how much easier this is than the current way of business.”
Sean Batcheler, vice president of Producers Title, says some people might think their hours of business are weird. But “offering that convenience is a big deal to clients,” he says. They recently conducted a closing in a client’s work truck. As the owner of a landscape company, the client had to finish a job on the day he was supposed to close, so they met him at the jobsite.
Producers Title associates will travel about 30 miles from their West Palm Beach office. And for clients outside of that radius, they offer a mobile notary who can set up anywhere the clients wants to close.
“Recently, we closed in a care facility for a stem cell patient. The homeowner was receiving treatment and needed to get it done quickly,” Batcheler says.
Creating that type of personal experience is crucial to gaining referrals for brokers, agents, and title companies alike, Batcheler explains. You could be the best agent and get your client to into a contract, but if the process falls apart at closing, it won’t sit well in that person’s mind, he says. Real estate professionals need to create a memorable experience that’s also successful in reaching their clients’ goals.
The Effective Simplicity of Closing Anywhere, Anytime
“As long as a location has electrical power, we’re OK,” says Cook. They need a working outlet, and then they use their cell phone hot spot to do the signing. “We have all the equipment we need to do the closing wherever that may be.”
Cook & James has done closings in coffee shops, in a woman’s bedroom because the client was on bed rest during a pregnancy, and at real estate offices. “Brokers think no lawyer would ever come to them. But typically, nobody puts them first. They are always the ones doing for others,” James says. “People are very surprised when we say we can come to them.”
Though the experience of closing anywhere isn’t without a bit of humor. James started a blog called Totally True Travel Tales to share some of the hard-to-believe encounters they’ve had while traveling for home closings, such as meeting a 12-foot pet iguana and conducting a signing on the tailgate of a pickup truck at a gas station. James and Cook also use the blog to share some of the on-the-job knowledge they’ve gained.
Amaral believes the concept of closings anywhere, anytime will catch on. “Offering this to my clients gives me one more leg up on the competition,” he says. “In a 10-mile radius, there are 2,500 real estate agents. This gives me a huge advantage.”