Real Estate

Title Data Is Helping Real Estate Agents, Lenders Prospect for Clients

DataTrace, which now operates more than 1,800 U.S. title plants, says the remarkable granularity of its data can help identify renters who are getting ready to buy, empty nesters and fix-and-flip investors.

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The nation’s largest provider of title data says title insurers are helping real estate agents and mortgage loan originators repurpose its remarkably granular data to farm for prospects — including renters who are getting ready to buy, empty nesters and fix-and-flip investors.

First American Financial subsidiary Data Trace Information Services LLC said Tuesday that it now operates more than 1,800 U.S. title plants, having added more than 1,100 title plants to its coverage since 2022.

DataTrace says it’s not only expanding its title plant coverage but deepening it, as part of a multi-year program to leverage the company’s proprietary artificial intelligence and automation technology.

In Florida, for example, DataTrace has expanded the historic depth of its title plants in eight counties, with coverage going back 30 years in Charlotte, DeSoto, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Martin, Okeechobee, and Sumter counties.

Robert Karraa

“Our ongoing investment in title plant data and automation technology reflects our commitment to help our customers grow and increase efficiency, while providing the most complete, in-depth data in the nation,” DataTrace President Robert Karraa said, in a statement.

Last fall, DataTrace increased the depth and breadth of its coverage in Texas with the addition of six geographically indexed title plants in the metro Austin market including Travis, Caldwell, Burnet, Llano, Williamson and Hays counties.

DataTrace provides title history information, property tax assessment and payment data, document images and property profiles in 47 U.S. states, making it the “broadest and most comprehensive title information system available,” the company claims.

Of particular interest to real estate agents and mortgage loan originators, in March, DataTrace announced the addition of new search and automated list-building capabilities to the company’s TitleFlex property data platform.

Those new capabilities allow title companies that use TitleFlex to generate more effective prospecting lists for their real estate and lending clients, identifying property owners who could be thinking about buying or selling real estate.

TitleFlex now provides title companies with access to pre-defined specialty searches, allowing them to create custom prospect lists from more than 150 million residential properties, DataTrace said.

Tucker Ryals

“Title companies rely on lenders and real estate agents as referrals, and we’re seeing them get creative in supporting these partners, generate transactions, and building deeper relationships,” DataTrace VP of Sales Tucker Ryals said in a January blog post.

“For example, title agents are working with their real estate clients to use ‘farming’ tactics to identify prospects, even those who may not be in the market yet, based on their individual characteristics that indicate a propensity to buy or sell,” Ryals wrote. “This includes renters who are likely to buy, investors looking for fix and flip opportunities, older empty nesters who are prime candidates for downsizing, or homeowners with significant equity in aging homes that need updating.”

The granularity of the TitleFlex data, he said, “is remarkable, allowing real estate agents and lenders — and title companies on their behalf — to generate highly targeted lists in order to nurture and grow business.”

TitleFlex’s pre-defined, targeted searches provide a baseline that users can customize with their own filters.

“For instance, a real estate agent may start with a general empty-nest list and then narrow it down to a particular neighborhood or condominium development with which they’ve had recent success,” Ryals said.

In providing such services to real estate agents and lenders, title companies must be careful to comply with the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and similar regulations in many states aimed at preventing the payment of kickbacks in exchange for business.

In 2021, for example, First American Title Co. agreed to pay a $1 million penalty to California regulators to resolve allegations that a company marketing representative provided illegal perks to real estate agents, including sales coaching and bus caravans to promote listings.

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