Similar to many founding stories, I started States Title in 2016 to make something easier. More specifically, to make it easier for people to buy a home. Today, we are a team of people who are building and using technology to remove the friction and frustration from the real estate closing process. Yes, we are redefining what closing a mortgage looks like. But, what we’re really doing is architecting a future where buying a home – one of the most emotional and important decisions one can make – becomes an accessible, affordable, transparent, seamless, and secure process for everyone.
My own experience when I found the house where I now live with my family – already a stressful and emotional process on so many levels – made me realize how much room there was for innovation in the real estate industry. While thinking about the impact of a big move, we also had to gather loads of financial documents, sign tons of papers, and wait for days without much of a view into how or when closing would actually happen.
The entire process was frustrating and expensive, and I really wanted to be spending that energy on the idea of a new house: the vision of comfort, the security of ownership, the accomplishment of finding a place my family could call home.
As States Title, we started off being laser-focused on improving the title and closing process. In 2018 we launched our first core product: an algorithmic, instantaneously underwritten refinance title insurance policy. In 2019 we welcomed North American Title Co. (NATC) and North American Title Insurance Co. (NATIC) to our family of brands. Today, after a year of growth and product adoption beyond our boldest predictions, our customers rely on us for much more than just instant title.
As we continue to challenge the status quo throughout the entire home closing process – fully recognizing the power of emotion behind what that experience means for people – we wanted our name to better reflect the feeling of “home.”
We landed on a word that embodies something core to our mission: Doma means ‘house,’ ‘dwelling,’ or ‘roof’ (implying shelter) in Latin, the oldest root of many languages. It is the root for ‘domicile’ and ‘domestic,’ two English words that are closely related to the concept of a home. The phrase “vitej doma” means “welcome home” in Czech. The brevity of the word ‘doma’ feels powerful and memorable; it is easy to spell and easy to pronounce. It represents the same type of simplicity and transparency we are bringing to the home buying process.
But, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that the name we’ve chosen for our company also recalls the acronym for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which, by definition, is exclusionary to members of the LGBTQ+ community. The legislation stands in stark contrast to our mission and to our beliefs – a home is a warm, welcoming, and inclusive place; the Defense of Marriage Act represents this country’s recent, historical intent to exclude a group of individuals from rights that others have without question.
We are called to action on the basis of those four letters we have in common – because we recognize that their meaning is significant and we emphasize that we share nothing else. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is stronger than ever. Internally, we are working to continue to broaden representation at all levels, but, in particular, our board and leadership team, to ensure we have the right voices at the table to both make decisions and ensure those decisions result in an inclusive culture. Externally, we continue to execute on our mission of creating a vastly more simple, efficient, and affordable closing experience. We are committed to ensuring that we embody the full meaning of the Latin root as a home and shelter, so that we can ultimately make buying a home a more equitable process for everyone. And, as CEO of Doma, my spouse and I have committed to creating, funding, and investing personal time in a foundation dedicated to making home buying more accessible and equitable for everyone.
The majority of home-buying time and energy should be spent dreaming about what the future will look like in that home. No one should have to spend time worrying about an arcane, lengthy process and tons of paperwork, or, worse, whether there will be additional roadblocks to obtaining that home because of the color of your skin, where you come from, who you choose as a life partner, or your religious beliefs.
As becoming Doma helps to accelerate our plans to architect the future of real estate transactions, we:
- Remain passionate about removing the friction and frustration from an antiquated process;
- Champion customers’ interests and work tirelessly to empower their success;
- Relentlessly challenge ourselves to define the future and defy the status quo – from working to transform the home closing process, to building a more inclusive company, to how we contribute to a more equitable country.
We aren’t quite there yet, but we stand committed to getting there alongside our team members, our customers, and our community. We’re looking forward to continuing our work in creating a transformational business, together, as Doma.