Everything Title Agents Need to Know About Remote Online Notarization
Since the first online closing in 2017, we’ve helped thousands of title agents use remote online notarization to power homebuying experiences built for the 21st century. With unparalleled convenience, ease of use, and cost, both signers and title companies have said that online closings are the future to a world where your phone or computer is the keys to your new home.
In this blog post, we’ll go over how you can bring remote online notarization to your title company, and why it’ll unlock the customer experience you need to take your business to the next level.
The History of Remote Online Notarization
In 2011, Virginia’s Governor signed into law, House Bill 2318/Senate Bill 827. This was the first bill in the country to allow commissioned Virginia notaries to notarize documents online, via audio-video technology.
In 2013, Virginia released the “Electronic Notarization Assurance Standard.” This set out clear requirements for documents notarized online by Virginia electronic notaries
The passing of this Virginia law brought big changes to the real estate industry. In 2017, a Chicago couple closed a home loan, from a Michigan lender, using a Virginia notary public. And, they closed on a laptop, in thirty minutes, without traveling to an in-person meeting.
Remote Online Notarization and Online Closings
Nowadays, consumers expect this level of convenience and speed. For example, almost half of American households are Amazon Prime customers, which means they pay for faster, more personalized service. Amazon's impact on commerce is now bleeding into the mortgage space, and homebuyers expect the same type of customer experience. By offering fully online real estate closings, YOU get to be the hero of their home buying experience. As the title agent, you have the opportunity to serve your customers in a way that matches how modern home buyers want to buy.
By this point, you may be thinking -- “Hold on a second, Lauren. My state hasn’t passed a remote online notarization bill. I can’t do online closings yet.” Well, today I’m here to tell you that yes you can! By the end of May 2019, 22 states had passed bills on remote online notarization, but nearly 40 states have completed at least one fully digital remote closing.
How is this possible?
For over a century, every state has had laws in place which accept the notarizations from other states. These laws make it legal for a notarization performed by a notary in one state to be accepted and used in other states. Under these laws, when a notary performs a remote online notarization, that document can be used in other states too.
So, when a new state passes a RON bill, what that bill is doing is allowing the notaries in that state to start using RON also. It will also set out the specific requirements for what notaries in that state must do when they use RON.
So what all this means is that you can legally complete online closings in your state if you use a notary who is in a state with an already-effective RON bill. If notaries in your own state are already authorized to use RON, great. If not, your signers can use notaries from another state where notaries are already authorized to use RON. In fact, we’ve helped homebuyers in Colorado, Missouri and Hawaii purchase the homes of their dreams -- even before those states have their own RON bills. (By the way, we look forward to supporting notaries in those states too, just as soon as they have their own laws authorizing them to use RON).
Simply put, you need two things to offer online closings:
- An underwriter who will insure the transaction; and
- A county clerk set up and ready to accept eRecordings
Now, you’re probably thinking -- “That’s also great, Lauren. But, how do I know if those two things are true?”
The Notarize Closing Automation Platform
That’s where Notarize comes in. When you create a real estate transaction in Notarize, you'll be prompted to enter the property address to learn if it's eligible for a fully online closing. Our software uses the address to cross-reference if there’s an underwriter who will insure the transaction, and if the county accepts eRecordings.
If it’s eligible for a fully online closing, you’ll see the blue button “Online Closing” pictured here. If it’s not, you’ll see the white button labeled “Hybrid Closing.” A hybrid closing is when part of the closing is online with digital signatures and part of it is in-person with a notary. Either way, you can close with Notarize.
We still encourage you to talk to your county recorder in your town, because this may be the first remote online closing that they’ve been a part of.
Notarize partners with underwriters who will insure digital closings in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Since most states now have underwriters who will insure a digital closing, chances are you have eligibility in your town.
Want to learn more about RON or online closings? Sign up for our Title Academy to dig deeper.