Numerous industry studies show that consumers save money with affiliated title agencies and enjoy the many benefits of one stop shopping. The benefits to the consumer that uses an affiliated title agency include:
- Greater convenience
- Greater accountability
- Greater speed due to technology
- Greater competition and competitive costs
The convenience of one stop shopping with an affiliated title agency is obvious. Purchasing a home (especially for the first time) is a complicated process with a lot of services and requirements that are thrust upon the buyers. If title insurance and other settlement services can be procured through the real estate agent (someone the buyers trust and feel comfortable with) this will save the buyer the hassle of shopping around and trying to make sense of a service they are no familiar with.
Affiliated title agencies provide greater accountability because they are owned or partially owned by the Brokerage. If an affiliated title agency does not provide competitive pricing and services that will reflect poorly on the agent and on the realtor and will in turn be harmful to future business. The Realtor© will not allow this. Affiliated title agencies also have the ability to communicate with the realtor-owner, the agent and other related companies through integrated technology platforms, which allows for speedier transactions.
Significantly Lower Costs
The most comprehensive economic study to date on the costs of affiliated title services vs. unaffiliated title services concluded that title premiums and title-related charges are not higher when an affiliated title agency handles the transaction. (The CapAnalysis Study - released in October 2006) In the case of Thoroughbred Title Services the costs are significantly lower. HUD has also recognized the benefits of affiliated title agencies: "Controlled business arrangements and so-called one stop shopping may offer consumers significant benefits including reducing time, complexity and costs associated with settlements." (HUD's July 1994 proposed Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) regulation governing affiliated business arrangements)
Better Overall Experience
Recent consumer surveys also have shown that consumers actually welcome the various benefits and convenience of affiliated settlement services. In a 2004 survey of over 3000 home buyers conducted by Weston Edwards & Associates found that 70% of the homebuyers were either highly likely or likely to use one-stop shopping for real estate purchases. An earlier survey by Harris Interactive found that 64% of home buyers who had recently used an affiliated settlement service had a much better overall experience, while 90% who did not use such services felt they would have had a better home purchase experience with less delays and more convenience.