Nationwide shelter-in-place ordinances and social distancing guidelines are helping to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, this is putting a tremendous strain on businesses throughout the country. Restaurants and other service industry businesses are bearing the brunt of this change, as many can now only provide curbside or delivery options.
However, the impact doesn’t stop there. The real estate and title industry are facing many challenges due to social distancing guidelines. This has forced many title companies to get creative about the way they conduct closings. Let’s go over some ways title companies can facilitate safe closings so real estate transactions aren’t left hanging in limbo.
One way title companies can keep themselves and their clients safe is by performing curbside closings. This involves emailing the client their closing documents or allowing access to the document via a virtual closing agent. If the client has any questions, these can be addressed over email or phone. Then, the client drives to the title office and waits in their car. A title agent and the notary can then bring the necessary documents to the car for signature and take a picture of the client’s ID for notary purposes. During this process, everyone involved needs to take precautions such as wearing gloves, masks, and practicing social distancing.
Safe In-Office Closings
If an in-office closing is necessary, there are ways to get it done with safety in mind. It’s up to the title company to take the necessary precautions and communicate the procedure to all parties involved. Some of these safety measures include providing hand sanitizer and soap, limiting attendance to only the required individuals, and staying six feet apart at all times. It’s also important to disinfect conference rooms and offices prior to and after the closing. Other precautions include only serving prepackaged snacks and beverages and providing new pens to all guests.
A surefire way of practicing social distancing during a property transaction is by facilitating digital closings, which make it possible for much of the process to be done remotely. An AI-powered virtual closing agent can act as a digital hub of communication and allow clients and real estate agents access to closing documents. A title company can also utilize Remote Online Notarization (RON). This involves using audio and visual technology so a notary can witness the signing of a document without in-person contact. The use of RON has become more common after the SECURE Notarization Act was introduced to the Senate in March. This practice helps stop the spread of COVID-19 while facilitating a crucial step in the closing process.
Don’t Let the Current Crisis Hold Up Closings
During this uncertain time, title companies need to do everything they can to keep their staff and clients safe. Fortunately, closings don’t have to come to a standstill. Use the tips discussed above and continue doing business safely.
Alanna.ai develops AI-powered tools for the title industry. To learn more, request a demo today.