How to Prepare for Remote Online Notarization in 2020

Remote online notarizations (RON) allow people to get their documents notarized through a notary in an online video meeting. The number states adopting notary laws is growing faster than we could have ever anticipated. As of December 2019, 22 states have passed bills to allow notaries in their state to perform RON transactions.

Before we start 2020, here is a guide to how you can prepare for implementing online closings and remote online notarization in your real estate business next year.

What is Remote Online Notarization?

Remote online notarization is when documents are notarized in an electronic form. The signer uses an electronic signature and meets the notary via an online video call. RON allows signers to connect with a notary anywhere, anytime, without physically needing to meet them. 

In 2011, Virginia was the first state to pass a law that allowed any business or consumer to get their documents notarized by someone who was not physically present. Now, 22 states have RON bills and another dozen are coming live next year.

Here's how RON works:

  • Signers upload the documents they need to get notarized
  • They take a photo of their license and enter the last four digits of their social security number
  • They answer a series of knowledge-based authentication based on where they live, cars owned, etc
  • They connect via video with a notary 24x7 and electronically sign and notarize their document
  • The completed document is emailed to them or the receiving party in minutes

Today, more than 2,000 title agents and some of the largest lenders in the country, such as Guaranteed Rate and United Wholesale Mortgage use remote online notarization to improve the speed, quality and efficiency of their closings. 

How You Can Prepare

Remote online notarizations allow people to buy a home in Texas, while they’re visiting family in Massachusetts. It allows someone overseas to recover a stolen passport when it would have otherwise taken them weeks to get an appointment at a U.S. Embassy.

As your state prepares for, or enforces laws in favor of this technology, here’s what you should do:

Educate Yourself

Here are a few free resources that explain remote online notarization and digital closings. Sign up for this free content to learn more about RON in the real estate industry.

Stay In the Know

When governors sign a state’s remote online notarization bill into law, it includes critical framework about how RON will operate in that specific state. You should review the bill for key dates and definitions. Some bills are incredibly detailed and some bills provide a more high-level overview of how RON works.

After you read the initial bill, review the final rules for remote online notarization lie from your state legislature. Typically, they release a final set of regulations in the weeks and months ahead of the enforcement date. In many states, that person is the Secretary of State.

Your state will also release information about application acceptance dates, classes, exams - anything related to getting your online notary certification off the ground.

Check in with your state legislature often to make sure you:

  • Review the initial law. It typically has information about key definitions, processes, etc.
  • Follow your state legislature as they refine the final regulations.
  • Stay informed about application acceptance dates, classes, exams - all the stuff that will help you become an online notary sooner.

Rally Your Team

In order for remote online notarization to be impactful, you need to get buy-in from each stakeholder in your organization. The process of using technology to notarize documents from anywhere demands a highly collaborative and communicative infrastructure. When everyone supports each other, that’s when you can truly deliver a solution to serve your state.

Evaluate vendors that put customer experience first

There are a handful of vendors whose products support remote online notarizations, but it’s important to find a partner who can help you put the residents of your state first. Notarize, for example, has 24/7 support for users as well as a myriad of resources to help both state and local officials, as well as residents successfully notarize important documents. Partner with someone who cares about your success.

Where is Remote Online Notarization Available?

As of December 2019, here is an updated list of RON legislation in the United States. 

The Complete Guide to Remote Online Notarization