July Leadership Message

Last month, I had the honor of being a panelist on VLTA’s first Virtual Town Hall Meeting with nine other professionals from various segments of our industry, each providing a unique perspective. We answered questions submitted by our membership and shared our experiences in this new COVID world. While there were many takeaways from the program, what do we do with those takeaways?  Where do we go from here? While no one knows for sure what the future holds, there are a few things we can do to prepare for it.

Be Willing to Change

Everyone has had to alter the way they handle business on a day to day basis – from investing in large amounts of PPE to grappling with new technologies and processes. Several settlement agents incorporated “car closings” to create distancing. Many others registered to become e-notaries and signed up for remote online notarization (RON) platforms in hopes of limiting in-person interactions at settlement. A few discovered e-recording for the first time when courthouses began limiting walk-ins. While the approaches differed, the mindset of all these people did not – they were willing to try something new. If we are to survive in what the future may hold – whatever that may be – we must cultivate the same mindset and be willing to change.
   
Learn How to Work Remotely and Manage Those That Do

Many title software companies allow you to work from just about anywhere if you have an internet connection. This technology became critical as employers began sending employees home to work and handle record volumes of transactions created by low interest rates. Working remotely was new for many employers and employees, but it may become the new normal. Zoom, Skype and FaceTime are being used in ever-increasing measure to collaborate and communicate. Learning how to work remotely and manage those that do has become essential and will continue to be. We need to be prepared for a possible second wave of COVID. And as more and more employees experience the flexibility of working from home, it will become necessary for employers to offer this feature to retain their workforce. This is a good thing – employers will not be limited to hiring personnel from their immediate local area but can now broaden their horizons to hiring individuals irrespective of where they live.
  
Stay Informed

As the Virtual Town Hall Meeting illustrated, the real estate industry is made up of many different individuals, each playing a unique role. We are all related. None of us can survive without the other. And so, if we are to prepare for the change that is coming, we should seek to understand other roles people play in our industry. If new legislation, for example, is in our future to help navigate through the changes to come, it is important for all stakeholders in the industry to collaborate in a meaningful and understanding way so that we can – together – create the best laws possible. 
 
VLTA is a wonderful place to do just that. I encourage each of you to get involved with VLTA to become more aware of what our industry faces legislatively on a state and local level. There are many new laws coming out that affect business owners, especially with respect to the health and safety of employees. Find out who your legislators are by clicking here. Attend the VLTA Lobby Day.  Consider joining ALTA’s free Title Action Network (TAN) to receive notifications about issues that will affect you, your business and your customers. 
 
If you missed our Virtual Town Hall Meeting, click here to access the recording!

Megan Meloon
VLTA President