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Housing market shifts to the cyber side amid the pandemic

By April 20, 2020 One Comment
Housing market shifts to the cyber side amid the pandemic

In Washington Post contributor Michele Lerner’s comprehensive report on how the pandemic is moving the housing market to the “cyber side,” WFG Executive Chairman and Founder Patrick F. Stone provides perspective on what Lerner discovers is “one of the most difficult pieces of the real estate transaction to complete without human contact … the closing.”

Technology already in use can provide a secure portal for transactions to protect customers from fraud and identity theft. However, as Pat explains, primarily because of the lack of universal acceptance of a remote online notarization (RON), the technology has moved ahead of legislative empowerment.

“While Maryland and Virginia have enacted rules to accept RON, in practice, the ability to use electronic notarization depends on each county’s rules and technical capabilities,” he tells her. “About half of all states have passed legislation to allow RON. The SECURE Notarization Act of 2020 has been introduced in Congress to permit immediate use of RON nationwide, but it has yet to pass.”

Lerner goes on to explain that entirely digital closings can be conducted in some areas while in other areas workarounds are required to close.

“We have the option of doing a closing in the office with only the people who absolutely must be there,” Pat adds. “We sanitize the rooms and use all new pens and minimize touching anything.”

Mobile notaries, where the notary gets the signature on papers passed papers through the window of a car, are another option, Lerner notes.

Furthermore, Pat says, “We’re already doing more signatures using software like DocuSign for the signatures that don’t require notarization. That cuts down on the number of required in-person signatures to about a half-dozen. A few years from now we’re likely to see all real estate transactions done entirely online.”

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