Lulich Attorneys and Consultants Now Offering Digital Real Estate Closings
The real estate world is changing. It used to be that buyers and sellers needed to take the day off to handle their real estate settlements. Since many sellers of Florida property live in other states, there is the added problem that these sellers needed to fly into Florida and attend the settlement. These trips can take days. In the same way, sellers often wish to leave the state instead of staying in Florida for their settlement. Digital Real Estate Closings are changing those days.
Thanks to digital real estate closings, settlements will be faster and more efficient. The Florida legislature recognizes the benefits of digital real estate closings. That’s why it passed a new law which now allows a notary to verify signatures remotely. Technology recognizes the benefits of digital closings too. That’s why they’ve developed software to ease the ability to transmit and sign documents electronically.
Lulich Attorneys and Consultants has been advising buyers and sellers of residential and commercial properties on all aspects of home and building purchases for more than 30 years. We work with buyers, sellers, realtors, lenders, title companies, and banks. We have offices in Sebastian, and Vero Beach offices. Our lawyers handle all phases of real estate sales including the buy and sell agreement, obtaining financing and a mortgage, building code and inspection issues, negotiations with the other side, working with the title company, and many other issues.
Our law firm is now offering digital real estate closings to expedite and handle real estate closings of all types of Florida real estate. We are ready to work with all real estate entities in Florida and those outside of Florida that honor digital closings.
How an experienced Florida lawyer helps with a real estate closing
It’s wise for all buyers and sellers to hire skilled Florida real estate lawyersto handle their settlement. The lawyer will advise and advocate for the client in the following ways:
- Advise the buyer that he or she should conduct a pre-settlement inspection of the property.
- Discuss with the seller or buyer (depending on who the client is) any need to set aside funds for any necessary repairs
- Explain the documents that must be signed. This normally means going through each paragraph of the documents.
- Review any items that appear on the title report. Normally, skilled Florida real estate lawyers will review any title report issues prior to the settlement date. At settlement, the seller generally verifies these issues so the title company can give clear title.
- Provide payoff statements for any bills that are due – as of the date of the settlement.
- Review and verify the settlement agreement sheet. This sheet itemizes all the funds the seller is providing and all of the seller’s expenses. In the same way, buyers need advice on how much they are receiving and what expenses they must pay.
- Work with the title company to ensure that the title company will file the deed, mortgage, and any other relevant documents with the local courthouse after the settlement is over.
Florida’s new notary law
The Governor of Florida signed House Bill 409which authorizes the use of remote notaries in real estate transactions. The law becomes effective on the first day of January 2020. Florida becomes the 11thstate in 2019 and the 21ststate overall to approve the use of remote notaries. Currently, there are nearly one-half million notaries in the state of Florida.
The new law will also allow notaries to sign wills remotely.
The benefits of a digital real estate closings
The advantages of a digital closing, also called an e-closing, are many.
- The buyers and sellers don’t need to physically appear at a title company settlement office.
- They can review the documents that need to be signed at their leisure over several time intervals – instead of all at once.
- The procedure is less adversarial. If a buyer or seller has a concern, they can raise it with their own lawyers. The lawyers then can try to work out a resolution and then ask their clients for approval of the resolution.
- The closing can take place earlier than normal because the title company doesn’t have to wait until everyone’s schedule opens up for a specific date.
- Digital closings tend to catch more mistakes than hands-on closings.
An additional benefit is that digital closings reduce the need for paperwork which can be good for the environment.
The concerns and issues involved with a digital closing
There is still strong logic for assigning a time for the online closing so that everyone can be online at the same time. This way any issues can be resolved in real time and any documents can be updated or edited in real time.
The buyers and sellers still should be able to review any issues – especially the settlement sheet with their lawyer. This can be done by having the client meet at the lawyer’s officed during the closing time. Otherwise, the buyer or seller should be able to communicate with their lawyer through phone/text/Skype or other means.
The need for the right software
Digital closings require the right software. Many companies tout their products as the best. Our Florida real estate attorneys have reviewed (and continually look for improvements to) many digital closing software products. These products should be able to handle:
- Creating the right real estate closing documents
- Saving the documents in the right formats (pdf, for example) so they can be read by all the interested parties
- Providing a mechanism for electronic signatures
- Providing a method for the notary to sign the documents remotely
- Storing the documents so they can be printed and accessed
- Storing the documents so they can be archived
- Being able to communicate through video if necessary
- Making sure that signatures and initials aren’t missed
- An ability to comply with regulatory requirements – including those for lenders, brokers, and title companies
- Ensuring completeness – that all necessary documents are included
- Being able to properly edit documents and mark documents so it’s clear which items need special attention
The need to understand electronic signatures and other digital issues
There are three basic ways the buyers and sellers sign the documents (deeds, mortgages, security interest documents, promissory notes, etc.) and several ways the notary can fulfil their requirements.
- In a face-to-face closing, the documents are signed with a pen. The notary can than complete the notary formalities through online software.
- A hybrid closing where the buyers, sellers, sign the documents electronically while in the presence of a notary.
- All the participants – the buyers, the sellers, and the notary all sign remotely.
Call Lulich and Associates for e-closing advise today
Our Sebastian, and Vero Beach lawyers are ready to guide you through the digital closing process. As the new notary law takes effect, we anticipate that many real estate sales transactions will now be conducted online to save time and increase efficiency. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, a lender, or a tittle company – we’re ready to help you use this exciting new technology for your real estate transactions. To learn more about digital real estate closings, call us today at (772) 589-5500