REAL ESTATE CLOSINGS WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING
Even though the Governor has signed an executive order which allows for remote notarizations, the title companies and lenders are not fully embracing this concept and we have had to adopt new procedures to obtain in-person notarized signatures for closing documents. The procedure used will depend upon the nature of your transaction, for instance, selling a home requires much less paperwork than purchasing a home with a mortgage. Nevertheless, we understand the importance of social distancing and we are currently observing the following protocols for all closings:
1. The buyers, sellers, realtors and lawyers will not assemble together as in days past. The closing attorney will meet with the clients alone and will arrange for the exchange of documents, checks and keys by courier or mail.
2. Client photo IDs will be requested and provided electronically rather than in person. You should also bring that same ID to the closing to display to the attorney in person.
3. When a client comes to the office to sign closing documents, they will call the office before coming inside in order to minimize the time they spend in our waiting room.
4. Clients will wear a face mask or cloth face covering when they enter the office. We will provide a mask, if available.
5. Clients should bring their own pen with blue ink. We will provide a pen if needed.
6. If client has keys and/or garage door openers to bring to closing, we ask that they put them in an envelope and label it before arriving at the office.
7. Meetings with the attorney will require social distancing. Various alternatives are available and can be discussed with the attorney in advance. For instance, we have a large table outdoors which can be used for meetings, weather permitting. It does not provide ideal privacy, but many people elect this option. We also have a large conference room where the attorney can sit more than six feet from the clients. When appropriate, arrangements can be made for signing through a glass window, which may include a car window if necessary, while reviewing the documents on the phone with the closing attorney. Again, these arrangements should be discussed in advance with the closing attorney so that we can be properly prepared for the unique challenges that arise in these different settings.
8. For all closing documents, the attorney will have their own set of copies and will provide the client with a separate set with the signature lines marked. This will eliminate the need for shuffling papers back and forth. The attorney and client will review documents together, at a safe distance. If requested, we will email you the closing documents in advance and you can print your own set to bring to the closing, so that no one else handles the documents before you do.
9. When complete, the client will provide the signed documents to the attorney, maintaining a proper distance, and the attorney will review and notarize.
10. Copies will be provided to the client electronically or in a print form.
11. We ask that no one come to the visit the office if they are sick, if they have traveled on a plane or a cruise ship in the last 14 days, or if they have been in contact with a person diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus or who is suspected to have the virus. If you are in this category please contact one of our closing attorneys to determine what alternate arrangements can be made to accommodate you. We also ask that you not bring children or other family members to the closing with you.