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Real Estate Transactions are Changing Before Our Eyes: Remote Online Notarization
The idea of Remote Online Notarization (RON) was becoming a hot topic even before COVID. In fact, for the state of Maryland, RON legislation was passed in April 2019, bringing an upgrade to the notarial law and now all county clerks in Maryland accept electronic signatures.
In addition, twenty-two other states have passed RON laws, and with the post-COVID-19 era in full effect the idea of e-transactions and online notary services has become a must.
As the industry moves closer and closer to digital mortgages becoming standard, reliable RON technology will be the key conducting real estate closings anytime from anywhere. Velocity Title’s RON platform allows multiple parties to join a virtual closing table from anywhere in the world. Since no mortgage closing can be complete without properly notarized documents, Velocity’s platform provides market-leading RON technology that can meet the various needs of any customer.
What is Remote Online Notarization?
RON is the future of real estate transactions. It’s a way to complete real estate closings electronically without the need of any in-person interaction or documents. According to Qualia, a leading platform provider that supports RON technologies, “RON occurs when documents are signed and notarized in an electronic form. The signer uses an electronic signature and appears before the remote notary using online audio-visual technology.” (Note: Qualia chose Velocity Title as the first to Beta RON Technology in the state of Maryland and has been processing RON transaction (Seller Signings and Cash Purchases – for both Primary Residences and Investment Properties) since the acceptance of this technology in MD).
Before RON Versus After RON
- Before RON
A typical settlement takes place in-person. The home buyers, sellers, and real estate agents meet at the title company’s office. They have their photo identification ready and sign the necessary legal documents in front of a notary public. After signing their documents, the title company and notary handle sending in the documentation to the necessary legal parties and the transaction is recorded and complete.
- After RON
RON transactions are made up of three components: electronic signatures, notarizations and audio-visual technology. With RON, all parties involved never have to meet in person and can safely and securely finalize their real estate transaction.
- They sit down in front of their computer or phone.
- They connect to the Internet and an audio-visual platform.
- They e-sign their documents and the transaction is complete!
Embracing RON the Right Way
Title companies such as Velocity Title, will make the RON closing process easy by using their RON registered notaries, and providing clients with the necessary log-in information for the date of the transaction. Velocity Title will also meet the strictest RON requirements outlined by the State of Maryland and other jurisdictions where they perform settlements. Here are the typical requirements and conditions that must be met for a RON transaction:
- The notary will be physically present and licensed in the state of the property.
- The RON technology platform must offer multi-factor authentication and knowledge-based identification to verify the identity of the signers.
- The RON platform must have the ability to scan a government issued ID for the notary to verify the identity of the signer and the validity of their ID.
- Documents must be digitally stamped and tamper-sealed to prevent interference with authenticity and security of the notarial ceremony.
- The notary must keep a video recording as well as an electronic journal as backup files of the notarial ceremony. These must be kept for a period specified by the state law (if not specified, the standard is 7 years).
Velocity Title understands the importance of exceeding our clients’ expectations—even in the midst of a pandemic. Velocity’s Co-Founder/Owner, G. Russell Donaldson, Esq., states:
“If nothing else, the COVID pandemic has accelerated the technology evolution in the real estate, mortgage, and title industries. Fully digital settlements are around the corner and RON settlements are a big step in the right direction (available today for seller signings, cash purchases, and other transactions that qualify). Using online technology, remote notaries can digitally meet with buyers and sellers of real estate to perform notary services for closings remotely. This of course is cost saving and provides the utmost convenience to sellers and cash buyers of both primary residences and investment properties. In addition, more lenders will accept this form of singing as their technology develops in the near future and real estate professionals also find this extremely convenient. Using RON services, the real estate, title and mortgage industries are moving forward with Next-Gen technology to provide the most streamlined experience available, and at Velocity Title we have embraced this evolution.”