8 out of 10 consumers prefer to close transactions in person

A survey from Solidifi shows whiz-bang convenience isn’t the No. 1 concern of most consumers

To hear a real estate technologist tell it, consumers would like to buy homes in their pajamas.

But a new survey from Solidifi, a title and mortgage services provider, suggests otherwise. It found that eight of 10 consumers would prefer to close a transaction in person.

The result suggests that it may be a while before “e-closings” become the norm, if ever — despite the strides of online closing providers such as Notarize.

“As our survey revealed, a truly extraordinary consumer experience goes beyond digital,” said Solidifi President Loren Cooke in a statement. “In a market where consumers expect an omnichannel banking experience, it’s the human touch points that can really make a difference and lead to repeat business and loyal customers.”

The survey reached 1,000 consumers who bought or refinanced their home in the past two years, asking them about their mortgage borrowing and transaction closing experience, according to Solidifi.

Further suggesting that whiz-bang convenience isn’t always the number one concern of homebuyers and sellers, a larger share of respondents (49.3 percent) indicated a preference that their closing agent be “knowledgable” than “efficient” (40.1 percent).

The ideal for most consumers appears to be a closing experience that offers a balanced mix of technology and in-person service — a preference that many virtual real estate brokerages have found holds true with real estate agents as well.

Despite overwhelmingly wanting to put the final ink on deals face to face, 70 percent of survey respondents also said they would like a “more digital process at the closing table.”

Be that as it may, some startups are having success with facilitating closings that take place entirely online.

Notarize, for example, announced in May that it had facilitated more than 5,000 online closings since launching entirely web-based closings in late 2017. Redfin uses Notarize to offer all-digital closings through its in-house mortgage lender and title service.

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