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Product Review: myFirstAm

June 06 2012

In October of 2011, First American Title Insurance Company officially announced the launch of myFirstAm™, its Web portal designed to facilitate a smooth residential transaction by allowing real estate professionals to create and track title insurance and escrow orders. This week, First American invited us to take a closer look at the portal. Here are some of the highlights from our "test drive:"

What is myFirstAm™?

For those of you who aren't familiar with myFirstAm™, you can check out the press release about the launch. myFirstAm simplifies the closing process by allowing real estate professionals to stay on top of every detail of their transaction. myFirstAm helps registered users track many of the key milestones related to completing a First American title insurance or escrow order. By using myFirstAm, users can:

  • Receive status updates and reports, as well as share these updates with clients or colleagues
  • Keep informed of order status by viewing order history anytime
  • Create new orders online
  • Calculate estimated fees
  • Access property data from public records*

It can help real estate professionals support their clients much more effectively by providing updates on each key order milestone, along with their supporting documentation, if any, from First American Title. Armed with this information, an agent or broker can get ahead of the process and let their clients know what documents are coming to them next. They can explain the purpose of each document and explain any anomalies they might expect BEFORE the client gets upset or worried about the implications of an exception noted on a document. The tool isn't intended strictly for real estate professionals, either. Other parties involved in the transaction, such as attorneys, may also use it.

Although myFirstAm is currently not optimized for mobile, First American Title is in the process of rolling out a mobile application and mobile-optimized version of the myFirstAm.com site.

*Fees may apply. Not available in the state of Texas and where prohibited by law

The Basics

The home screen of myFirstAm can be customized with widgets that can be added, removed, and moved around the page. Here's a peek at the home screen:

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In "My Preferences," users can change their notifications preferences.

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With myFirstAm, users can receive notifications via email and text message for certain events (such as when escrow is opened, earnest money is received, loan documents are received, etc.). These milestones vary depending on the geographic region in which the user is located (we'll talk more about this later). The user can also add additional contacts (who are party to the transaction) to receive the notifications.

Below is an example of a typical Order Status Report, which can be emailed to a user on a daily or weekly basis:

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Under "View Orders," users can complete a variety of tasks. They will see a list of all their orders, or they can filter results to show only their open orders. To find a specific transaction, they can easily search by property address, seller information, or buyer information, and filter search results. They can then view the transaction's order details.

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Under "Property Search", users can pull public records data to:

  • View recorded documents and property reports
  • Order a property report

The number of reports available to each user varies according to location, and is clearly visible within the system.

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The "Calculate" menu item allows users to calculate fees for title insurance and escrow. The final menu item, "Order," allows users to order title insurance, escrow services, or customer service.

Notable Product Features

  • First American describes myFirstAm as an enterprise platform. This means that the solution can be fine-tuned based on the local business practices surrounding the ordering of title insurance and escrow services. That's going to make the agent's life easier as it eliminates unnecessary fields and adjusts the required documents.
  • The user interface on myFirstAm is clean and easy to navigate. This is important, particularly as the intent of the product is to make life easier.
  • myFirstAm makes ordering reports online super easy! Most business is moving online because it's fast, easy and convenient. It's time the title insurance and escrow process moved in this direction as well.
  • Polygon Map Farming - This is a fancy way of referring to the ability to draw an area on a map and receive public records information for all the properties within that area. This is a great tool, for instance, when a user wants to send "just listed" or "just sold" postcards.

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Learn More

Other articles of interest: Settlement Room by Emphasys | Track My File