Remote Closings – 5 ways to prepare for your first eClosing

The number of eClosings conducted is on the rise as people familiarize themselves with remote closing technology and search for safe closing options. A recent survey conducted by Qualia reported a 40% increase in Remote Online Closings between April and May.

Here are five quick tips to help your company join the movement and become remote ready.

1. Choosing an eClosing or Remote Online Notarization Provider

A variety of eClosing and RON providers are available in today’s landscape. Some platforms contain everything you need to sign and notarize electronic documents. Others are set up only to perform remote notary functions or collect e-signatures. So, which one is right for you?

eClosing Platforms

eClosing platforms generate digital closing documents allowing for collaboration, signing, and notarizing. Everything needed for an electronic closing is self-contained inside the eClosing software. Capturing signatures can take place in person or with the use of an eNotary.

Remote Online Notarization (RON)

In a RON closing, the notary and signer are in separate locations. First, the eNotary uses a multi-factor credential analysis to verify the signer’s identity. They will then conduct the notarial act live, via a recorded, two-way audio-visual conference with the signer. The executed documents are digital but may not have originated in that format.

Working with Lenders and Title Underwriters

When choosing a platform for your company, you may want to speak with your lenders. Choosing the same or compatible eClosing platforms will make collaborating a breeze.

Many lending institutions have RON platform requirements such as; MERS or MISMO compliance. They may also prefer the platform to be Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac accredited.

Checking with your Title Underwriters for any compliance requirements is also good practice when a title policy is involved. Asking these questions before choosing a platform can save a lot of headaches.

2. Check the Laws in your State

The CFPB conducted its first eClosing Pilot program in 2014. The program highlighted the new technologies and possibilities for electronic closings. Yet, even now, six years later, remote online notarization is not legal in every state.

In light of the pandemic, the urgent need for safe closing procedures spurred changes in RON laws. Many states without permanent legislation enacted emergency orders or temporary measures allowing RON. In some cases, these newly enacted orders are not yet live or will expire in 2021. With so many changes occurring, it is essential to stay current with the laws of your state.

No RON laws in your State?

Some states allow for the recording of RON documents but do not enable local notaries to perform the closing. However, you can have your documents executed using a notary from a state with an enacted RON bill.

For example, currently, California does not have Notary Legislation in place to support RON transactions, but County Recorders can accept digital documents executed using RON by notaries public in states that have supporting legislation. To do this, you could use one of SYNRGO’s Texas-based notaries to close your transaction and still record it in California.

3. Prepare Your Remote Virtual Closing Room

You’ll want to complete a trial run in your virtual closing room to ensure everything is working smoothly.

Hardware & Connections

Before conducting a remote closing, you’ll need the following items: highspeed internet access, a webcam, microphone or headset, a handheld electronic device such as a tablet or phone, and a computer.

Security & Permissions

RON platforms have built-in security measures. However, your network may have other IT enacted measures to prevent the transmission of non-public information. You will want to be sure you have the correct permissions and access to all closing documents and screens before you begin.

 

4. Set up your eNotary Certificate

An eNotary certificate is separate from your traditional notary stamp. If you, personally, wish to notarize electronically, you will need to apply for this additional certification before you can offer RON services.

Each state has requirements for becoming a Remote Online Notary. Most involve holding an existing commission as a traditional notary. You may also need to complete a RON application with the Secretary of State to obtain a digital certificate and electronic seal.

You can view the requirements for your state on the National Notary website.

Finally, upload your verified eNotary certificate and digital seal to the eClosing platform for use in place of your traditional stamp.

 

 5. Remote Consumer Identity Session

RON platforms, like SYRNGO’s LiveSign, use identity proofing to verify the signer’s authenticity prior to notarizing closing documents. The signer answers a series of security questions and validates their photo ID.

The signer should download the e-sign app or other verification application ahead of time to compare signatures and prepare for the closing ceremony.

Document Review

The signer should thoroughly review closing documents up to 3 days ahead of the closing ceremony. Loan officers should take care to address any concerns about the documents well before the closing begins. This step is critical, as the eNotary is not able to pause the live recording once it has begun. If questions do arise, the closing will need to be rescheduled for a later date.

Another good practice is to review any recording or title policy requirements prior to the closing ceremony as documents can not be altered after they are signed.

YOU ARE NOW READY TO SCHEDULE YOUR CLOSING!

 

Congratulations on completing your first eClosing!
Now that the documents have been executed, you can continue with your post-closing protocol.

BONUS TIP
Preparing for Recording and Post-Closing

Electronically signed documents are date and time-stamped with a tamper-evident seal. This seal maintains the integrity of the documents and prevents any changes or fraud from occurring.

Closing officers need to keep these seals intact to ensure the authenticity of the closing package. Using an online tool like SYNRGO’s Fuse is a great way to submit packages for eRecording immediately following closing.

What if the country jurisdiction is not eRecording?

If you are closing on a property in a county that does not currently eRecord, you may be able to “paper out.” Papering-out allows you to print a certified copy of electronically executed documents for recording.

Each state that allows for papering out has specific requirements for who must supervise the printing, what kind of certification must be attached. Check with your state for the proper papering out guidelines.