April 22, 2020

Safe In-Person Closings vs Virtual Closings

Safe In-Person Closings vs Virtual Closings

The recent social distancing and stay-at-home measures have changed how the real estate industry conducts day-to-day business, but homeowners can still reach their real estate goals. SMART has modified traditional closing procedures to include virtual, remote closings. Read about SMART's updated processes for traditional and virtual closings.

In-Person Closings Before vs Now

  • Closings are still occurring in our DC, Maryland, and Virginia offices. However, each office has a skeleton staff on-hand to limit social contact.
  • Although we usually prefer to shake hands with our clients, we must now make do with smiles and waves. We also ask that everyone uses hand sanitizer upon entering the office.
  • Currently, all closings are split to minimize social contact.
  • Appointments are now spread out to avoid overlapping, and on top of being tidied, conference rooms are sanitized between closings. Brand new pens will be offered to signers, which they can keep as closing souvenirs.
  • Only the signatories and the closing agent are allowed to attend the closing. Agents and loan officers can call into the appointment, but sadly friends and family will have to celebrate with homebuyers at a later time.
  • Our current policy dictates that the closer sits several seats from the signers to maintain a safe distance.

Virtual Closings

  • Remote Online Notary* (RON) appointments are available for all of our clients in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
  • Agents can be observers of our virtual closings. This must be arranged ahead of time, so let SMART know if you want this option.
  • Those interested in a virtual closing must request RON in advance and it must be approved by the lender prior to the appointment. (Not all lenders will accept RON.)
  • In order to facilitate a virtual closing, the signer needs a computer with internet access, a webcam, and a smartphone with a U.S. phone number. The signer must also have a U.S. government-issued driver's license or passport.
  • Shortly before the virtual closing, signers will receive an email invitation with instructions for the appointment. SMART asks the signer to review and sign certain documents prior to the meeting as well as provide photo ID via smartphone.
  • During the call, the closer reviews the closing docs, the signer completes the remaining paperwork, and the closer notarizes.

*RON (Remote Online Notary) is a remote online notarization solution that uses two-way audio-video technology to allow clients to eSign closing documents and get notarizations from virtually anywhere in the world.

Contact SMART for a quote or to get started on your closing process!

For additional information on this topic contact Evelyn Miller, Partner, at 202-753-7400.

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