Technology continues to change the way business is done throughout the world and we’re excited to introduce virtual notary services to our platform (“e-signing”). This innovation allows the parties to a real estate transaction to electronically sign closing documents, using state of the art technology and video conferencing with a notary public, at their convenience, in the comfort of their home, or on the go.
Parties are not required to use this service, and we’ll continue to host clients in our office for traditional paper signings, as well as offer live mobile notary services world-wide. Below we will explain how the process works and address some of the frequently asked questions.
How it Works.
E-signing is facilitated using a secure internet connection with our technology partner. This encrypted platform is accessed using a unique password that we’ll provide to the signers prior to closing. Only some of the closing documents required to buy, sell or refinance real property require notarization. Many only require signatures, which will be e-signed in the beginning of the online session, before the e-notary joins the session. All sessions are recorded and digitally stored on our secure server.
How We Verify the Identity of the Signer.
E-signing involves a high level of identity validation. During the online session, the signer will present valid state or federally issued photo identification. From there, the system will require deeper validation by having the signer engage in a process called “knowledge-based authentication”. This process uses the signer’s identifying information to generate five questions based on matters of the signer’s unique personal knowledge. For example, a signer might be asked in multiple choice, to choose the address in which they lived in May of 2016. Successfully answering these five questions in under 2 minutes is a prerequisite to continuing the e-signing session.
We Can Join.
Because members of our team work closely with our clients from contract to closing, there is often a certain level of comfort and trust that we develop. If one of our clients chooses, an agent from our office can join in on the e-signing session.
What it Costs.
There are no fees for this service. At TitleTeam, we don’t charge additional fees to our clients for any of the closing options we offer. Whether it’s in our office, at your home with one of our notaries, across the globe at an embassy, or using this technology, we’ll take care of it, and our settlement fee will not change.
Who Can Utilize E-Signing.
As of now, any Seller, that has a social security number, can e-sign with us anywhere in the world, between 7AM and Midnight EST, Monday through Friday. If you are purchasing a home and getting a mortgage, only a small group of lenders are currently accepting e-signed documents. We expect more will come on board in the coming months and for this to be a standard offering in the coming years. Please let our team know as soon as possible the name and contact person for the mortgage lender that will be financing your loan, so we can determine if this platform is available to you.
What You Should Know.
As with any new technology, there is always a learning curve. The first fully digital e-signing closing in Florida occurred on March 7, 2018. So, this is very new. Here are some of the challenges we have had to overcome thus far.
- We expect that there will be some clients that cannot correctly answer the required five identity verifying questions, which would prevent the session from proceeding. When this happens, we’ll have to coordinate an alternative signing process.
- Poor internet connection. Our commissioned online notaries are all located in a secure facility, connected to the internet using a direct fiber connection, to ensure there is no connectivity issues on that end. If signers are in a location with poor or spotty internet service, the process could be more cumbersome than other available options.
- As a Seller in a real estate transaction, you will have to sign a Deed, which is the document that transfers your interest over to the other party. Florida law requires that two witnesses, unrelated to the signers, witness the deed before it can be recorded in public records. In traditional closings, the notary can act as one of the witnesses. With e-signing, the Signers will need to have two witnesses, unrelated to them and in their presence for the online session, and this is something that will need to be planned before engaging in an e-signing session.