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An overwhelming majority of consumers who used remote online notarization (RON) technology to complete their real estate transaction described the process as secure and convenient, and made the possibility of purchasing a home a reality.

According to a survey issued by ALTA member company Champion Title, 97% of consumers who closed on transactions in Virginia using RON said the process was safe and secure. Additionally, 95% said they would recommend the RON process to others. Nearly 350 consumers participated in the survey.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, businesses have been forced to rapidly adapt to a new normal, and the real estate industry is no exception,” said ALTA CEO Diane Tomb. “Remote online notarization has been one of the title industry’s most important tools in this process.”

The digital closing process provided convenience for many consumers who wouldn’t have been able to close in person due to various reasons, including health issues, being out of town, serving in the military or having to work or find a babysitter.

What some consumers said about the RON process:

  • I am stationed overseas in South Korea. My closing happened nearly 7,000 air miles away and 13 time zones different. Closing on the house would have been impossible without this option. Our dream house would have slipped away from us had we not been able to execute the buy remotely.
  • It allows for people with disabilities, autoimmune disorders and those without access to transportation to easily close. It’s a more inclusive and accessible option.
  • For a family with three children, the remote process made it so much easier for us. We didn’t have to arrange for a sitter, get all the kids ready, take them to a sitter, etc. If the kids were in school, it wouldn’t be a problem but with being in a time of virtual learning, the remote process took a lot of stress off our shoulders.
  • We had already moved across country. Remote closing saved us from flying back for one hour of signing papers. It was also much more convenient than manually signing all the papers in a real estate transaction.
  • It allowed me to physically remain at work but take a break to take care of my closing. Minimal disruption of my workday, no dealing with commuter traffic, no finding/paying for parking in an unfamiliar location, and then having to go back to work.

Of those surveyed, 79% would support legislation providing nationwide access to RON. Virginia is one of 37 states that have passed RON legislation, ALTA continues to support the bipartisan Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic (SECURE) Notarization Act of 2021. The bill has been reintroduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and allows for the immediate nationwide use of RON. The legislation provides certainty for interstate recognition of RON and establishes minimum standards to ensure strong nationwide consumer protections. Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) have introduced the bill in the House, while Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) have introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

“All Americans deserve the same opportunity to close their transaction safely and securely through a remote process,” Tomb said. “This is why Congress must pass the SECURE Notarization Act.”

Courtesy of ALTA.org

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