How Remote Online Notarization is Transforming the Real Estate Industry

Until recently, home closings were only possible when both parties could meet for an in-person notary session. COVID-19 changed that by introducing remote online notarization (RON).

RON is a digital process whereby two people connect on a video call and complete, sign, and notarize a document. This process is also recorded and provides an audit trail.

Streamlined Closings

A notary is essential to the closing process and plays a critical fraud-deterring role. Notaries verify signatures and validate the information in a document to ensure it is complete, accurate, and enforceable.

In the past, a home closing could only occur in person, requiring signers to appear before a notary to sign and seal documents physically. This is no longer the case as more lenders are embracing eClosings and using remote online notarization (RON) to help speed up the process.

While many title companies are still hesitant to embrace RON until COVID-19 is over fully, most are now offering it to their customers for mortgage and real estate closings. This is helping to drive a massive expansion of the market and creates an exciting new opportunity for savvy entrepreneurs.

Several states have already passed RON laws, and more are considering them. The mortgage industry’s trade association, the American Land Title Association, and the Mortgage Bankers Association developed model legislation that, if adopted, will provide consistency among state RON laws and establish best practices like identity proofing, multilayers of verification, and digital recording to ensure the legitimacy of the RON process.

Reduced Paper Consumption

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was common for real estate clients to take hours out of their schedules to travel and locate a notary. For many of these clients, remote online notarization (RON) provided a turnkey panacea.

RON is a digital experience that mirrors traditional notarization by connecting a signer with a certified notary via video conference. Each video session is recorded and stored, capturing a complete transaction audit trail. This satisfies all state requirements for journal entries and requires that a notary witnesses the signer’s identity.

RON provides a better client experience than traditional notarization. Clients no longer have to negotiate a time to get together with a notary or worry about finding reliable childcare and transportation to meet. They can connect remotely with a notary from home or work to sign their closing papers. This helps reduce their stress while saving them time and money.

Speedier Closings

Whether during the COVID-19 pandemic or as more consumers look to refinance their homes, remote online notarization (RON) will become a staple for mortgage professionals. In a RON session, the person signing appears via a two-way video conference to sign documents scanned and verified digitally. Unlike eSignatures, the person’s identity is validated to a higher standard using knowledge-based authentication and software-based analysis of photo ID to reduce fraud risk.

To ensure that you’re leveraging RON effectively, ensure your organization aligns with a digital mortgage technology platform that offers an eClosing solution and includes the RON feature. This will reduce the amount of paper, postage, and travel required per closing while ensuring compliance with state requirements. Download the MBA Education and aLTA comprehensive survey of state requirements for RON to learn more about the legal and technical details that affect each state’s RON process.

More Secure Closings

A notary plays a critical fraud-deterring role in real estate transactions. Remote online notarization (RON) enables notaries to verify signatures through audio-visual technology without meeting in person. RON uses identification verification, knowledge-based authentication, electronic journals, and record-keeping technologies to complete the process properly.

This technology offers peace of mind to everyone involved, including the signer, notary, and mortgage lender. The knowledge-based authentication feature allows for a more secure signing, while electronic identification verification helps to reduce identity theft. The remote process also helps to prevent any miscommunication and potential errors that can occur during face-to-face meetings.

While some states have only recently passed RON laws—made permanent during the COVID-19 pandemic—it’s clear that this option is here to stay. As a result, real estate professionals are taking advantage of RON to provide their clients with an efficient, faster, and more secure closing experience.

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