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Can a Home Closing Be Completed Digitally?

Posted on in Real Estate

Grayslake Real Estate AttorneyThe process of buying or selling a home can be complicated at the best of times, but since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, people involved in these types of transactions have encountered additional challenges. In some cases, people may be concerned about safety issues related to the possible spread of infections. At the same time, many people have become used to working from home or holding virtual meetings, and they may find it easier to handle business using online tools rather than meeting in person. Homebuyers and sellers will want to understand the options that may be available to them during a home closing, including whether these matters can be completed virtually or whether documents can be signed electronically.

Options for eClosings

Traditionally, a home closing has involved a lengthy meeting in which the parties sign multiple documents that transfer ownership of the property and establish a homeowner’s financial obligations to their mortgage lender. Due to concerns about COVID-19, many realtors, attorneys, lenders, and other involved parties have taken steps to limit contact during closings, sign documents electronically, and handle these meetings virtually when possible. While concerns about infections may be reduced for those who have been vaccinated, some of the options for virtual closings may still be preferable, since they may allow a closing to be completed more quickly, easily, and efficiently.

A virtual closing or eClosing may involve any methods of signing or filing documents electronically, and these closings may consist of:

  • In-person electronic notarization (IPEN) - One or both parties may meet in person with the personnel involved in a closing, but they may be able to sign documents electronically using digital signatures. These documents may then be notarized and recorded to complete the transaction.

  • Remote online notarization (RON) - A closing may be completely virtual, consisting of a meeting using software such as Zoom, and documents may be signed and notarized digitally during this process. In 2020, the governor of Illinois issued an executive order providing guidance for remote notarizations, ensuring that the rights of the parties involved will be protected during these types of transactions.

  • Hybrid methods - A closing may use multiple methods for signing documents, including electronic signatures for some documents and manual, pen-and-ink signatures for others. These closings will usually be conducted in person.

During an eClosing, the parties may need to take steps to confirm their identities, such as by displaying a driver’s license or other identification on-screen. Payments due at closing may be transmitted electronically, and an attorney or closing agent can take the time to explain all of the documents to the parties and ensure that they understand what they are signing.

Contact Our Waukegan Home Closing Attorneys

At Newland & Newland, LLP, we work to provide our clients with options to ensure that they can complete a residential real estate transaction quickly, efficiently, and with minimal complications. We make sure to explain the available options for conducting closings online and signing documents digitally, and we provide our clients with guidance throughout the closing process to ensure they understand their rights and responsibilities. To get help with your home closing, contact our North Chicago real estate lawyers at 847-549-0000 and arrange a complimentary consultation.

Sources:

https://archive.curbed.com/2020/4/6/21206017/housing-coronavirus-digital-appraisals-ron-virtual-showings

https://www.quickenloans.com/learn/eclosing

https://www.ilsos.gov/departments/index/notary/electronicnotary0320.pdf

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