Curbside Pick-Up is No Longer Just for Groceries
From online ordering to picking up groceries or takeout curbside, it’s no secret that consumers and businesses have adapted to more digital, contactless transactions in the past year. The homebuying process is another example of this shift to a digital consumer experience, and while homebuyers have been able to house hunt and apply for a mortgage online for years, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a major shift in the way homebuyers and sellers attend real estate closings.
Now, in the same way you can pick up your groceries curbside, you can close on your new home without leaving the comfort of your vehicle. You can even close on your home while sitting on your couch in your pajamas. While each closing option has its own set of guidelines and circumstances, all of them likely will require participants to allocate additional time for the closing itself. Here are few things to expect on closing day, depending on options offered in your state.
Believe it or not, homebuyers still have the option to attend a closing the old-fashioned way, in person. To allow for social distancing, it is typically requested that only the sellers and buyers attend the closing. Closings may be conducted in a conference room or even curbside while you remain in your vehicle. Since all parties may not be in the same room at the same time, allocate extra time at the closing, as the closing agent will have to explain the closing documents separately to each party then shuffle between the two parties to collect required signatures.
Remote Online Notary (RON) Closing
A RON closing is a virtual closing where the signers and a notary agree to meet and electronically sign documents via a video conference. Due to COVID-19, RONs are now authorized in 43 states for real estate closings. To conduct a RON closing, you will need access to a computer or tablet with a high- speed internet connection and some privacy to protect your personal and financial information. It is important to note that a RON is not a substitute for your closing agent, so there may be additional fees at closing when utilizing a RON. The lender may also require a “wet” signature, rather than electronic, on select documents. Keys are released once the lender receives all the documents from the closing agent and a funding approval is issued.
Remote Closings via Real-Time Video Conference
A remote closing via real-time video conference typically takes place between the closing agent and the signers with all documents delivered to each party in paper format ahead of the closing. The closing occurs online via video conference in the same manner it would in person, with the attorney verifying the identity of the parties and explaining the documents to be signed. Once the signed documents are returned to the closing agent’s office, they are notarized and sent to the lender. Keys are released once the lender receives all the documents from the closing agent and a funding approval is issued. Extra time may need to be allotted for the mailing of the closing documents to and from the parties involved.
Closing options and costs associated with the above options will vary depending on your state and the agency providing the closing services. Be sure to discuss closing options with your Ameris Bank mortgage banker and closing agency early in the loan process to prevent any possible delays at closing time.
By: Marlene Sheard
Marlene is a mortgage marketing representative for Ameris Bank and previous sales and marketing president for her local Home Builders Association. She enjoys sharing her experiences for the buying, selling, and financing of homes.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All loans subject to normal credit approval criteria.