CLOSING ON YOUR HOME REMOTELY IN A PANDEMIC, Michele Cea, Esq. Guest Author

By | September 17, 2020

As a bonus to the readers of the Hallmark Abstract Service blog, we will periodically feature industry experts as guest authors. In this role they provide an inside look at topics surrounding the New York residential and commercial real estate industry with information that is invaluable!

If anyone would ever like to contribute, articles need not be long (250+ words) and simply be real estate-related in some capacity.

CLOSING ON YOUR HOME REMOTELY IN A PANDEMIC, Michele Cea, Esq., Cea Legal P.C.

In the age of COVID and non-essentials business closings, millions of us now are relegated to working from home, forced to social distance, and find creative ways to get things done in a non-traditional way. Closing on your new home in a pandemic is no exception. Hence, the concept of “Remote Closings” has boomed.

Typically, in-person round table closings consist of attorneys for both buyer and seller, a notary, buyers and sellers, managing agent, and the buying and selling brokers. That can be up to 10 people all crammed in a conference room. This is not going to happen in the mist of the pandemic.

Here are some guidelines and suggestions we recommend. Following this advice will ensure a much smoother, less stressful closing process in this developing age of remote closing.

Things to Do to Facilitate A Smooth Remote Closing  

Giving power of attorney in advance can smooth out any kinks in the closing process and reduce the number of signatures for closing docs.

Use Docusign or some other electronic signature platform is an efficient and safe way to transmit all documents in reliable fashion.  The benefits to this are: it is easy to review documents in advance and ask questions, it saves time, its economical since there’s less people involved in paperwork exchanges, everyone gets an electronic copy, no commuting, scheduling conflicts, or traffic delays.

Use a notary video conference to verify your identity if acceptable. But one caveat is, remote notarization in NY is allowed but most banks and title will not accept this, so you may have no choice but to meet with a notary in-person.

Pay by electronic bank transfer. The parties will include the seller, bank, coop apartment corporation, managing agents, brokers and attorneys. Make sure to verify all wire transfer information.

Discuss how you are going to do the walkthrough. Will it be a virtual walkthrough where the seller shows all the elements of the home are functional? Or arrange for the homeowner to be out and arrange for access to keys in a physical location to practice safe social distancing?

Get all documents and information to the title company in advance of the remote closing day.

Create a roadmap or diagram depicting what each participant’s role will be, and have a check list of things to do. This should include which documents to sign, how it will get signed, notarized, delivered to escrow, how the money will exchange hands, as well as key turnover.

Conclusion

With these helpful hints in the new era of remote closings, following these steps should create a less stressful, smoother closing. Co-op closings will have a much more complicated scenario. So don’t hesitate to discuss other creative options unique to your situation, with your attorney.

Michele Cea – 

Mr. Cea founded his own practice focused on representing foreign nationals and companies operating in the United States. He has extensive experience with international corporate matters, real estate transactions and non-immigrant visa petitions, such as extraordinary ability and investor visas.

Mr. Cea is licensed to practice in New York (2013) and in Italy (2012). Mr. Cea is fluent in Italian and conversational in Spanish. Mr. Cea is a member of the New York City Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association.

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