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The First Online Mortgage Closing in Texas Has Arrived

Just yesterday, Erich Gellert sat at his dining room table eagerly hovering over his laptop. Slightly past midnight, while most of his neighbors were fast asleep, Erich was about to make history. With a few simple clicks of his mouse, he purchased a new home over the internet - becoming the first home owner to complete a 100% paperless mortgage closing in the state of Texas.

The timing of this closing is just as remarkable as the act itself. Just 24 hours earlier, on July 1st, the remote online notarization law went into effect, making Texas the first state in 6 years to enact the bill (Virginia was the first in 2012). With the ability to now electronically notarize key mortgage documents - a concept which was unheard of until last year - lenders and title agents now have the power to facilitate fully-digital real estate transactions from anywhere at anytime, with any Texas property.

Buying and selling a home online isn’t some far-off, futuristic technology - it has arrived. Texas’ first mortgage closing comes just months after the first real estate closing in Florida, and over the past year, hundreds of residents across the country have purchased a home, refinanced, or taken out a home equity loan over the Notarize platform.

Online closing present tremendous benefits for the industry and homeowners alike. From the comfort of his kitchen in Katy, Texas, Erich said he elected to “eClose” because it offered him convenience and confidence in an otherwise intimidating closing process. Not only did he not have to drive more than 30 miles to the agent's Houston office, but at 12:00am, he could have stayed in his pajamas (if he wanted).

Notarize_Texas First Remote Online Mortgage ClosingErich pictured here (left) with his wife and co-borrower, Leilani (middle) and Jennifer Hansen of KW Premier in Katy (right).

This monumental moment was due in large part to Thrive Mortgage and their team, including Kelley Cooper Spencer, who witnessed the midnight closing in Gellert’s home, and long-time partner Stewart Title, which served as both title agent and underwriter for the transaction. And of course, a huge thank you to our Virginia-based closing agent, Ambyr Davis, who helped walk through a lengthy 185-page mortgage package with the buyer.

It’s clear that when the industry comes together to fuel innovation and change, we can impact the most important moments in people’s lives. We’re excited to be a part of the first online closing in Texas, and look forward to seeing online closings become the new norm in every state.

“Online closings can’t happen in a vacuum: it requires trusted partners who are committed to innovation plus best-in-class technology to deliver an end-to-end paperless mortgage,” said Pat Kinsel, CEO of Notarize. “We strongly believe that buying and selling a home 100 percent online is the future, and we’re excited to power the very first online closing in Texas.”

With this milestone, Texas is now at the forefront of innovation that will ease the mortgage lending process for everyone involved. Thrive recognized a distinct strategic and competitive advantage and asked Notarize to help it capitalize on the digital movement. We helped Thrive build a paperless mortgage process for its clients in just five weeks. In an industry where digital transformation can take months or even years, we’re committed to changing the standard. The time for online closings is now.

And it quickly paid off. Just hours after Erich, Thrive helped Andy Byrd of Austin become the second Texas resident to complete a fully paperless transaction when he completed an eMortgage for a home in Temple. Monteith Title served as the title agent, while Stewart served as the underwriter. Temple real estate agents Jennifer Bruns (Vista Real Estate) and William Cook (Cook Realty) worked with the buyer and seller, respectively. After all, two is better than one.

Notarize is a company of many firsts. With Notarize for Mortgage, we were the first platform to execute an entirely online closing last summer and we continue to reinvent the industry by rethinking the way people do business.

The first eClosing in Texas culminated a year-long effort by Notarize, Stewart, and industry partners to provide the Texas mortgage sector with tools to offer a better signing and notarization experience for their customers. We’re excited to be transforming an untouched market with some of the biggest partners in the mortgage industry at our side.

Texas now has an opportunity to lead by example. As the second-largest state for homeownership in the country, Texas can spur significant change in the real estate and housing finance industries. Widespread adoption of online closings can improve the bottom lines for companies while getting Americans into their homes faster and at less cost.

There’s nothing bigger (or better) than that.

You have notarization questions, we have notarization answers. While we at Notarize pride ourselves on providing helpful resources (like this blog!) to demystify notarization, we’re not lawyers and don’t give legal advice. Pro tip: always check with your own attorneys, advisors, or document recipients if you have further questions about notarization or digitally notarized docs.

How Elevated Title Completed Over 50 Online Closings with Notarize in Just One Year

When Brian Lemke joined Elevated Title as Chief Business Officer nearly three years ago, he was determined to take the national title company through its next phase of growth. A pillar in the real estate industry for more than 15 years, Elevated Title was seeking new technology to drive a consumer experience built for the 21st century.

“We knew that homebuyers were becoming more tech-savvy, and the way we wanted people to close on their home simply wasn’t the way they wanted to anymore,” said Lemke. “We needed to use technology to bring the home buying and refinance process to them, on their terms.”

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