This post is part 5 of a multi-part educational series on remote online notarization. For part 4: “Technology Requirements for RON eClosings” click here.
In recent years, remote online notarization (RON) eClosings have been heralded as a game changer for real estate businesses looking to deliver a premium closing experience. There’s no question that eClosings enable greater flexibility for signers; however, the convenience factor does not hold up if a signer is not properly prepared for a remote experience.
While most consumers are familiar with digital purchases, the homebuying transaction cannot be simplified to a single click of a button. A homebuyer must navigate documents that require different digital signature types and quickly familiarize themselves with remote notarization processes and technology requirements.
Preparing signers can mean the difference between a streamlined, on-time closing and a delayed, stressful closing. Here are 3 key areas to consider when preparing signers for a remote closing.
Confirm the signer’s preference for digital closings early in the process
The decision to perform a RON eClosing should be confirmed when an order is opened. RON requires coordination and upfront planning, so the earlier the decision is made, the smoother the process will be.
An agent can help a signer understand their closing options by breaking down the type of experience the signer desires at closing. For example, a signer who prefers convenience and a socially-distanced signing will likely value a RON eClosing. Meanwhile, a signer who does not have a device with a webcam or who is intimidated by digital processes may prefer an in-person, traditional closing. (For more information on different closing types, click here.)
Ensure each party has the necessary technology & ID requirements
Once the decision for RON is made, the signer will need details on the required technology and identification requirements for the transaction.
A signer may assume that a mobile device will suffice for the online notarization; however, not all RON platforms are mobile-friendly. It’s crucial that the signer is appropriately informed ahead of the closing date of any device and other technology requirements or limitations. Along with any technology requirements that are specific to the RON platform, the signer should have the following:
- A working email address to receive instructions and invitations to join the RON platform
- A device with audio and video capabilities (Note: a smartphone does not typically work well for most RON platforms; however, some are mobile-friendly. Check with the RON provider. A computer, laptop, or tablet is typically compatible with most RON systems)
- A smartphone or digital camera to upload images of the signer’s ID
- A web browser supported by the chosen RON platform
- A strong internet connection
Additionally, the signer will need to prepare forms of identification for the remote notarization. These include:
- Social security number (provided to populate knowledge-based questions that help identify the signer through accurate responses to questions gathered from public records)
- Primary form of identification that has not expired and displays the signer’s name and photo (e.g. state issued driver’s license, state-issued ID card, passport, etc.)
- Secondary form of identification if required by the title company or lender (e.g. birth certificate, property tax bill, W-2 form, etc.)
Offer a pre-closing consultation over video chat
Before the closing date, the title or escrow agent should send the signer the digital closing package. The closing package should indicate which of the documents can be e-signed now and which must be e-signed in the virtual presence of an online notary during the closing. At this time, it’s also helpful to send over instructions on how to access the RON platform and details on what the signer can expect during the remote notarization.
First-time and even second or third-time homebuyers may want to walk through the closing documents ahead of the closing date. A recent study found that 2 in 5 people described buying their first home as the “most stressful event” of their lives. Offering a face-to-face pre-closing consultation over video is an excellent way to ease this stress. It’s also reassuring for title agents who are used to delivering customer care during the in-person signing. Title agents on Qualia can leverage Qualia Connect Video Chat to initiate a video consultation with a signer.
The future is RON
As the need for RON and contactless closings continue during the pandemic and beyond, demand for RON will continue to grow. While not every transaction can be handled remotely, businesses must recognize consumer preferences for remote transactions and offer customized signing experiences to meet their needs.
RON transactions require coordination, planning, and the right technology for success. Companies that start planning for RON now will come out ahead in the months and years to come. To learn more about the coordination required for RON, click below to download our eGuide: “All Eyes on RON: Accelerating Industry-Wide Adoption and How Key Players Can Get Started Now.”