You can buy anything online nowadays - groceries, flowers, make-up, homes, music, furniture, the list goes on and on.  Yes, I did say homes!  Many of us have bought and paid for something online, however, very few people have bought and paid for a house online.  Oh, sure, there are some that can say they found the home online, and they did all their paperwork to purchase the home remotely via email, fax and overnight mailings.  Those of us in the real estate transaction world are used to seeing this.  What we are not used to seeing is electronic closings – eClosing – but it is seriously time to get ready for them.  And North Carolina finally did our first one!

I recently had the pleasure of handling a “hybrid” eClosing for a young woman who agreed to give it a shot.  The buyer had received all of the documents days before closing so she was able to review them, and I was able to address any questions before she actually came to the closing.  

With a hybrid eClosing, the borrower signs the majority of the documents the mortgage company requires using an electronic signature pad.  The remaining documents required notarization so the mortgage company required us to print and “wet sign” those documents.  Once they were signed and notarized, I uploaded them to a web platform and submitted all of the signed documents to the mortgage company.  The mortgage company instantaneously received them, saw that all forms were completed, signed, and notarized so they were immediately able to authorize disbursement and fund the loan.  

Under North Carolina law, a closing attorney must record the conveyance documents before they can disburse any funds to any party interested in the transaction.  Therefore, I immediately updated title to the property to make sure there were no new concerns that may prevent clear title from being conveyed, and once I confirmed all was good, I e-recorded the documents with the Register of Deeds.  Then we delivered keys to the buyer and proceeds to the seller.  The whole settlement and closing portion of buying the home took about 15 minutes.  It saved time and paper… boy, did it save paper! The lender, buyer, and I all have access to the digital copy. 

Now, what we need to be ready for is a complete end-to-end eClosing because it will not be long.  Under the direction of North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Ozie Stallworth, Electronic Notarization and Notary Enforcement Director is leading a group of trailblazers involved in real estate transactions in the N.C. eClosing Pilot Program.  We have learned that nationwide lenders and investors (both government and private) are ready, willing, and able to accept end-to-end eClosing transactions.  Therefore, it is time for us to be ready.  The complete end-to-end eClosing is one where everything happens online from signing and notarizing all documents, to funding and recording the conveyance documents at the Register of Deeds office without having to print and submit anything with a “wet signature”.  

I cannot wait!

Published by Susan R. Benoit on October 7, 2016