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First American Grants Technology Tools To Real Estate Apprentices

  • First American’s Transaction Manager Gives New Real Estate Agents a Leg Up on the Competition

    ALISO VIEJO, CA., Nov. 16, 2005 – The Real Estate Apprentice Foundation today announced the continuation of an agreement with The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF) under which First American will award its industry leading real estate transaction management technology to the winners of the Real Estate Apprentice Grant Program, a curriculum designed to assist new licensed agents entering the industry to overcome fears and obstacles and become top-producing sales people. First American Transaction Manager is a feature-rich, state-of-the-art online platform designed to accelerate real estate transactions, enhance client relationships and increase operational efficiencies for real estate agents and brokers. Offered by First American Residential Group, a subsidiary of The First American Corporation, Transaction Manager provides an integrated set of tools that can be used during all phases of the residential real estate transaction, from listing to closing and beyond. “Our tools are a way for agents to differentiate themselves from their competition," said Stephen C. Roney, president and chief executive officer of First American Residential Group.

    A FORTUNE 500® Company that traces its history to 1889, The First American Corporation is the nation’s largest provider of data. The company has been a leading sponsor of the Real Estate Apprentice Grant Program since late 2004. According to Mike Lancaster, executive vice president of First American Residential Group, the company decided to participate in the program because of its strong working relationship and strategic alliance with RealtyU®, America’s largest network of real estate schools. “We see a very strong conduit between information and education,” said Lancaster. “The real estate industry continues to evolve, and education plays a big part in the success of new real estate professionals entering the business.”

    First American’s goal is to help new real estate professionals become more efficient and compliant by giving them an immediate thrust into the real estate industry with a complete suite of products, services, and technologies like Transaction Manager. With Transaction Manager, real estate professionals can methodically track their transactions from start to finish and open the door to a new way of conducting business.

    “Transaction Manager eliminates large amounts of paperwork, and provides an electronic to-do list, which allows the agent to streamline all aspects of the transaction from listing to the sale for both themselves and their broker,” said Lancaster.

    Increasing the efficiency of real estate professionals is one of the main goals of First American’s Residential Group. “These are key customers for First American,” said Roney. “In order for us to continue to grow our relationships, it is important that we bring added value to their business.”

    Over the last couple of years, the National Association of REALTORS® membership has grown from approximately 800,000 agents to 1.2 million. With new agents come new challenges. Because of First American’s depth of involvement in a large percentage of real estate transactions, it supports a best practice philosophy by sharing processes, trends and productivity tools that enable new real estate professionals to become the very best they can be.

    When a real estate professional first enters the business, all of the timelines, due dates and deadlines that can make or break a real estate transaction—combined with the sheer complexity and gravity of the situation—can be overwhelming. A key function of Transaction Manager is the “To Do” list, a “smart” task manager that drives workflow.

    “The beauty of Transaction Manager is the templating of the workflow,” said Chip McAvoy, senior technology officer for First American Residential Group. “You can identify what tasks need to be completed when, and what documents need to be posted. A new real estate professional can then utilize what others in the industry have spent many years learning—the steps necessary to provide good customer service while meeting all legal requirements.” Utilizing Transaction Manager alleviates possible mistakes and helps real estate professionals become more successful in a shorter amount of time.

    In addition to transaction management, First American is a leading organization in providing bundled settlement services. According to Lancaster, bundling is not new for First American, but the initiative has received a lot of press coverage due to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) during the last few years.

    “Bundling is consumer-driven, as it offers more convenience and a simplified approach to the closing settlement,” said Lancaster. “First American’s goal is to simplify the real estate transaction through bundled services that bring together lending, title and realty services to benefit the end consumer.”

    “Consumers are much more sophisticated than in times past,” said Roney. “Access to information is a big factor, as is increased consumer experience. Many homeowners have refinanced multiple times over the last few years, which increases their frequency with and expectations of the mortgage finance process. There is tremendous pressure to simplify and take the expense out of the transaction. Technology, ownership of data and bundling are the keys to creating that efficiency and cost reduction.”

    About The Real Estate Apprentice Grant Program

    The Real Estate Apprentice Grant Program is open to all new real estate students that are U.S. or Canadian citizens or legal residents who have taken or will be taking a real estate licensing course or became licensed during the current six-month grant (Season III, July 1–Dec. 31, 2005) or the 90 days preceding. Interested persons can apply online at www.RealEstateApprentice.com. Every six months inaugurates a new season. The competition is judged on the basis of answers to essay questions that demonstrate salesmanship and communication skills, entrepreneurial spirit, integrity, creativity and uniqueness.

    The Real Estate Apprentice Grant Program sponsors include: The First American Corporation, Hobbs/Herder Advertising and Design, Success Strategies Institute, McLean International, RealtyU®, iSucceed Online Real Estate Mentoring, Upward Motion Inc., Thomson SouthWestern, Calculated Industries, The Real Estate Cyberspace Society, CreateAPlan Real Estate Business Planning, RIS Media and Broker Agent News. Companies interested in providing their products or services to grant finalists should contact Dr. Martin Oliver at Dr.Oliver@ReApprentice.com or at 949-349-9394 ext 107.