Amanda Farrell - 7 months ago
Why Your Title Company Should Offer Remote Online Notarization
Title business is booming. Many are looking to hire more processors to meet the demand of title orders. Others are expanding their services and footprint to meet the ever-increasing homebuyer demand of Americans. Changing or adding to your current process may seem like an unnecessary and even audacious move. Still, for title companies looking to continue the upward momentum, this is the best time to start weighing your options for remote closings.
Remote online notarization can grow your title business
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, remote online notarization was a nice-to-have novelty. While some settlement and notary professionals dabbled in getting RON certified as more states have approved the process over the last decade, most had taken a wait-and-see approach.
Shortly after the pandemic onset, there was a rush to get the proper certification, technology, and process to keep transactions moving remotely. At the national level, the American Land Title Association and the Mortgage Bankers Association is pushing Congress to adopt the SECURE Notarization Act to approve and standardize the technology in all 50 states. While the option isn’t available everywhere in the United States, it’s clear that the technology isn’t going away. Prominent advocates across the title, real estate, and mortgage industry are pushing for nationwide use.
Not every real estate deal is the perfect match for remote online notarization, but there are several reasons to offer your customers and partners the option.
Here are three reasons to start using remote online notarization now:
- Work with more real estate investors.
- Close faster.
- Stay ahead of the competition.
Real estate investors love remote online notarization
If you want to work with more real estate investors, you should start talking about the benefits of remote closings with them now. Before RON, there were two main ways that real estate investors closed on a property:
- At the title company’s office
- Mail-away closings
Heading down to a title company or real estate law firm to simply sign papers can take the better part of a day between travel time and signing the stack of closing documents. Most investors would prefer spending this time researching and making offers on new properties.
In the past, if an investor is purchasing a property out of town, the buyer or seller is located in another state, one party is on vacation, or if the investor is practicing remote investing, mail aways were the only option to close without delays. Unfortunately, mail-aways are notorious for being returned with signing errors, creating more work for the title agent, and wasting more time for the buyer and seller. Even one missed initial or signature can delay the closing. Mail-aways also cost more than a traditional closing at the office, but they don’t offer anywhere near the same quality assurance as a remote online notarization platform.
The internet already makes finding, researching, and rehabbing potential assets easier. Real estate apps make managing, maintaining, and budgeting for properties simpler to track too. Simplifying the settlement process with remote online notarization is a natural progression.
eSigning and RON reduce closing time
Fewer errors on mail-aways mean more time saved for other closings. If you’re not opposed to splitting the closing package, another way to save even more time is to have the buyer and seller eSign documents that don’t require notarization before the closing. Scheduling a separate appointment provides buyers and sellers an opportunity to review some closing documents at their own pace and reach out to you for questions if needed.
A traditional closing for purchase can include fifty or more documents to sign and notarize and anywhere from an hour to two hours to complete in the office. With remote online notarization and eSigning beforehand, the average to close is closer to 30 minutes.
Offer more closing choices to get ahead of competitors
Even without the pandemic continuing to loom in consumers’ minds, most people are more open to online transactions. By now, we’re all experts in Zoom, finding the best online deal on hand sanitizers and toilet paper, and even buying a new car online with our exact specifications. Why shouldn’t buying and selling real estate be that easy?
While some first-time homebuyers and professionals may want to preserve the excitement of closing in person, remote closings don’t devalue the experience for many consumers.
“This is not negotiable,” says one homeowner, Steve Krivda, who refinanced with RON. “If you’re going to do a closing, this is the only way to do it. It’s more efficient. It’s a lot more pleasurable to go through. Anybody that is considering purchasing now, why not do it from the comfort of your home.”
The move to eClosings has had some rough patches for the lending industry. Still, from January of 2020 to June, eNotes registered with the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems has more than doubled, going from 15,000 to 40,000. We’ve also seen non-traditional lenders originate more loans than traditional banks like Wells Fargo for the first time. These independent lenders, like Quicken Loans, have registered the bulk of eNotes.
The pandemic has shown that much of the barriers to adopting a standard RON process have been psychological. Its potential return on investment has countered the past aversion from underwriters and lenders. Staying ahead of the competition will mean keeping up with early adopters in the real estate, title, and mortgage industry.
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