Everything Title Agents Need to Know About Closing Online
Notarize has seen unprecedented demand in light of COVID-19, and like you, we’re still working to understand our rapidly-changing reality. We’ve hired dozens of new teammates and even opened up the platform, but implementing these solutions takes time.
We appreciate your cooperation as we work to build new solutions and connect with you on your Contact Sales inquiries, demo requests, and email correspondence. We promise that we’re doing all we can to respond in a timely fashion.
We understand that many of you are looking to close online as soon as possible. Here is a checklist and some frequently asked questions that address everything title agents need to know about closing online.
You need a Notarize for Title Agents account
You will need to talk to one of our Sales representatives in order to set up a Notarize for Title Agents account. Onboarding for this account takes an average of 2-3 weeks.
This account will be your transaction hub, where you will receive packages from lenders, prepare documents for signers, and ultimately maintain closings as part of your record-keeping practices.
You can request a callback from one of our Sales representatives here.
Ensure your underwriters will insure online closings
Notarize must have an existing relationship with an underwriter for that underwriter to insure transactions conducted on the Notarize platform. Currently, we have working relationships with underwriters in all 50 states.
It’s best to start a conversation early with your underwriter to ensure you can meet their expectations for online closings. Some underwriters have specific transaction requirements,, such as using notaries from a specific location during a signing. Please keep in mind that, currently, notaries on the Notarize platform are located in Texas and Virginia.
Confirm your lenders are set up to do online closings
In order to do any closing on the Notarize platform that involves a loan and a lender, that lender will need to have their own Notarize account. Onboarding for lenders takes about 3-4 weeks.
Additionally, in order to complete fully digital closings, lenders must have an eVault that is tied to their Notarize account. That is how the electronic promissory note (eNote) is stored, managed, and shipped in an online closing.
You can find more information about eVaults and eNotes here.
Research if your county will accept eRecorded documents
According to the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA), as of March 1, 2020, only half the recording jurisdictions in the United States accept eRecorded documents. However, 90% of Americans live in counties that accept eRecordings. Learn more about eRecording here.
If you are closing on a property in a county that only records paper documents, papering-out may be a viable option. Papering-out allows you to complete all the closing documents electronically before printing out the electronic record and submitting it as a certified paper printout. You can find more about the papering-out process here.
Confirm that your signer(s) has the proper devices for an online closing
Your signer will need the following technologies in order to close online:
- A valid email address.
- A device with audio and video capabilities. This can be:
- A computer Mac or Windows computer with a webcam,
- An Apple mobile device, such as iPhone or iPad, or
- An Android mobile device, such as a tablet or smartphone.
- A supported browser such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari on the web, or the Notarize app on their mobile device.
- A strong internet connection.
Verify that your signers have the proper forms of ID
Notarize can help signers anywhere in the world. We’ve helped folks close on homes from the rim of the Grand Canyon and while waiting through a layover at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France.
However, every fully online closing requires that the signer has a U.S. Social Security Number. There are no exceptions at this time.
We use (but do not collect) signer SSNs in order to populate identity challenge questions that help ensure a signer is who they claim to be. You can read more about the signer experience here, including other security measures that make RON transactions safer and more secure than in-person notarizations.
Your signer will also need a valid and unexpired ID that bears a photographic image of the individual's face and signature: You can find a list of ID forms acceptable for online notarization here.
Enroll in Notarize Academy to become familiar with the platform
Notarize Academy is a suite of digital, on-demand courses that helps any real estate professional understand how they can use technology to deliver a better home buying experience to their clients. The best part is, the courses are 100% free.
Our courses include training video modules that can be completed in about 40 minutes. Each course includes downloadable scripts, guides and links for optional further reading. The courses are designed for title agents, escrow officers, and closing agents who are new to online closings.
Here’s what you can expect to learn in Academy courses:
- How to complete online closings
- Everything you need to know about remote online notarization
- How technology can be used to curb real estate fraud
- How to talk about online closings with your signers
Setting expectations for when you join the Notarize platform
Once you’re ready to close, it’s important that your partners and signers alike understand our notary wait times and turnaround time for uploading documents and sending them to a signer.
Our notary operations team is busiest during traditional business hours. The great thing about Notarize is we’re online 24x5 during the work week, and from 8am - 7pm EST/CST on Saturdays, to complete real estate closings. Our closings are typically handled within 10 minutes of selecting “Connect with a Notary.”
As for document preparation, all new title accounts will require title agents to tag their own closing packages. This means adding signature flags to the digital copy that explains where a signer needs to eSign.
We built a tutorial about how to do this in our Notarize Academy Product Training course, which you can find for free here.
If you are tagging your documents and using our ResWare integration, we ask that you leverage white text tagging to prepare the closing documents, with additional support as needed from our team. Click here for a white text tagging implementation guide.
An Overview of Notarize
Fully Digital vs. Hybrid Closings
Notarize offers two main closing types: fully digital and hybrid. Here are the requirements for each.
Fully Digital Closings
Fully digital closings are just that: fully digital. Lenders prepare the documents digitally; title agents manage the documents digitally; signers complete the closing packet digitally; and the entire thing is eRecorded digitally.
You can complete fully digital closings if:
- Your lender must be on-boarded with Notarize and has synced its eVault to its Notarize account;
- Your underwriter must on-boarded with Notarize and willing to insure the transaction; and
- Your county recorder will eRecord the documents, unless you live in a papering-out state.
- You may also close online if it's a cash or seller-side closing that does not require mortgage documents.
We encourage cash and seller-side transactions as a launching pad for title agencies new to the platform.
A Hybrid closing allows for most of the closing documents to be electronically signed by borrowers at their convenience, prior to the closing table. Documents that require notarization are then completed with a traditional, in-person notary.
In hybrid closings, lenders on the platform typically invite title agents to the closing through Notarize. Then, title agents use their own notaries or hire mobile notaries to complete the closings. You can find more information about Hybrid closings on our Support page.
Hybrid closings are available in all 50 states because the most important element of the home closing – the notarial act – is still done in person. This also means the documents can be submitted to any county recorder.
Price of the Notarize Platform
Closings through the Notarize are conducted through two title agency pricing tiers: Title Pro and Title Premium. Title agency subscription plans include potential discounts based on volume commitment. You can find additional information about each tier here.
Closings through the platform are $99 ($35 per Hybrid). Traditionally, we see the transaction fee passed through to the signer.
Notarize Title Software Integrations
At this time, Notarize is integrated with the ResWare platform. You can find the job aid for getting setup here.
How to Close in a State Without a RON Bill
When states pass laws on remote online notarization, it’s to allow notaries in those states to perform electronic notarizations themselves. In fact, we’ve helped homebuyers purchase the homes of their dreams in states that have yet to even propose a RON bill.
That’s because you only need two things for cash and seller-side closings to occur:
- An underwriter who will insure the transaction; and
- A county clerk that will accept the eRecordings.
These RON bills are important – and so is your support – but you don’t need to wait on lawmakers before you can move your business online.
Notarize has underwriting partners across the country that will insure a digital closing. Among our network, we have thousands of title agents who are actively close homes in communities across the country for homebuyers across the globe.