Businesses around the country are instituting safety policies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the title industry is no exception.
We’d like to pass on a number of resources that title agents can use to help develop their own business continuity and “safe closing” initiatives.
Recently, several agents have received requests from lenders for their company’s COVID-19 Policy and the name and position of a point of contact for the agency. To help, Alliant National has developed a sample Disaster Preparedness Plan for Settlement Agents. It’s in a format that’s easy to personalize for your company’s use. Just insert your logo and modify the list as needed.
The form is based in part on a set of Safe Closing Protocols developed by ALTA. The protocols adapt recent COVID-19 recommendations from health officials to real estate closings. Alliant National has also compiled ALTA’s recommendations into a helpful info-graphic you can post in your office.
Importantly, under the ALTA protocols, any guest who exhibits symptoms linked to COVID-19 must notify staff upon arrival so they can be escorted out of common areas into a private closing room. The National Notary Association has developed Health Screening Questionnaires for notaries and borrowers.
Check out ALTA’s
COVID-19 resource page, NNA’s COVID-19 resource page and Alliant National’s COVID-19 resource page for more information on how you can keep your closings
safe and your business moving forward.
Interest in digital closings is surging, and Alliant National is committed to making sure you stay ahead of the curve.
Today, we’re releasing to our
agents a new series of handbooks exploring the elements and principles of
Extensively researched and
content-rich, Alliant National’s Components
of a Digital Closing series demystifies the Digital Closing Process and its
five major components: eSign, eNotary, eNote/eVault, eRecording and
eCollaboration. Each handbook in this series explores one component. The
purpose of the component is briefly described and placed within the context of
the broader Digital Closing Process. Laws, regulations, technological
requirements and specific technologies are discussed where appropriate.
This collection is designed to be a comprehensive, ready reference as the industry transitions toward the digital closing environment.
Notarization (RON) is a new form of notarization permitted in Florida as of
January 1, 2020.
notary laws required that the person signing certain legal documents and
persons signing as witnesses be in the same room, that is, physically present
with each another.
Florida’s new RON law
allows persons to be physically outside the presence of the Florida online
notary as long as the notary is located in Florida and all parties can see,
hear and communicate with each other via acceptable audio-video technology.
notarizations are still by far the norm, we will continue to see RON’s growth
and use as the real estate industry increasingly moves to electronic and
Moreover, in light of
the COVID-19 pandemic, RON will increasingly become a logical alternative and
preference as parties to a transaction do not have to be in others’ physical
It is important to
remember that a “traditional” Florida notary cannot simply begin acting as a
Florida online notary. Before acting as a Florida online notary, the notary
must be successfully registered as an online notary with the Florida Department
of State. This registration requires completion of a two-hour course, having certain
insurance policies in place, and selection of a “RON service provider” (the
technology company that provides the platform for the audio-video technology
and other required obligations such as an electronic journal).
The current major
impediment to RON is its slow acceptance by large institutional banks and
lenders. Other more “technology-minded” lenders are adopting RON at a faster
Despite the slow
acceptance by the lending industry, RON will be an important part of the
ongoing shift to handling real estate closings online digitally and
electronically. Once fully implemented, these practices will save agents time
and costs and be more convenient for all parties to a real estate transaction.