7 States Still Haven’t Approved Virtual RE Closing

California, Connecticut, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina haven’t passed legislation, but Delaware, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. are close to doing so.

NEW YORK – Currently, 43 U.S. states have laws permanently allowing remote online notarization, which underlies virtual closings, up from 22 when the pandemic began, according to the National Notary Association.

The seven holdouts have yet to pass such legislation. California, Connecticut, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina don’t appear close to offering the digital closings, but bills in Delaware, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., are close to becoming law.

In a virtual closing, homebuyers videoconference with lenders, lawyers and notaries who verify identities, while documents are signed electronically.

As the market cools, mortgage lenders say they’re prioritizing virtual closings and other new tech-enabled processes.

“It’s really not a technology limitation; we’ve got all the tech now where you can do a fully digital close. It’s really the legal innovation that needs to happen,” says Brian Woodring, chief information officer of Detroit-based Rocket Mortgage LLC.

At the federal level, the U.S. House in late July approved the Secure Notarization Act, allowing notaries nationwide to conduct remote online notarizations. The U.S. Senate must still pass the bill.

Source: Wall Street Journal (08/08/22) Bousquette, Isabelle

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