HOUSTON (May 11, 2005) - This Friday, May 13, 2005, Stewart Title will take another step toward revolutionizing the real estate transaction process by completing an electronic closing on the sale of a single-family home using eClosingRoom, an electronic closing platform fully integrated into the SureClose® online transaction management system.
The closing will take place at Stewart Title of Wichita Falls, Texas.
"This is the first step in a long pilgrimage to a completely electronic real estate transaction," said Randy Schaffner, president, Stewart Title of Wichita Falls. "Just as consumers are already comfortable with online banking, online bill-paying and even paying their income taxes online, we are moving toward making the real estate closing process paperless."
"We do not have to wait to enhance the customer's experience during the closing process," said Darren Ross, director of e-commerce, Stewart Information Services Corp. "With eClosingRoom and SureClose technologies, we can offer consumers the ability to review and sign many of their loan and other documents electronically, prior to and during the actual closing."
"We are working with lenders to implement electronic mortgage notes, and with county clerks and recorders to accept electronic notarization and implement electronic recording," added Ross. "As each piece of the electronic transaction falls into place, we will see the benefits of a reduction in paper-based and delivery costs, as well as a more efficient and enjoyable closing process for the consumer."
The eClosingRoom technology was developed by Silanis Technology and Stewart Title Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corp. (NYSE-STC). SureClose is a product of Stewart Realty Solutions.
The sellers and buyer each can access their SureClose transaction file via a user ID and password-protected Web site to review documents in advance of the closing. Stewart Title of Wichita Falls will issue the Texas Residential Owners Policy (T1-R) at the closing table and all documents will be sent to the SureClose archive for permanent storage.
The sellers and the buyer will be able to access the documents online at the SureClose Web site at any time after the closing or in advance of their next real estate transaction.
"We consider this transaction a learning experience for our office - and a trend for the future," said Schaffner. "I am looking forward to telling my local real estate agents that their customers will no longer have to 'sign their hand off' at a closing - they will be able to sign once and apply that signature electronically on many of their documents. Lenders will also see the benefits of sending documents more quickly to the secondary market. It will be a win-win for all of us."
Stewart Title of Wichita Falls, Stewart Title Co. and Stewart Realty Solutions are wholly owned subsidiaries of Stewart Information Services Corp., a technology driven, strategically competitive, real estate information and transaction management company. Stewart provides title insurance and related information services required for settlement by the real estate and mortgage industries through more than 7,800 policy-issuing offices and agencies in the United States and international markets. Stewart also provides post-closing lender services, automated county clerk land records, property ownership mapping, geographic information systems, property information reports, flood certificates, document preparation, background checks and expertise in tax-deferred exchanges. More information can be found at www.stewart.com.