From ensuring everyone arrives on time to keeping all the paperwork in order, the closing process has always been complex. In 2018 eClosures are a rising trend in the way Realtors handle real estate. EClosures allow for lenders to review questions ahead of time and expediate the closing process for all parties involved. In 2017, the National Notary Society published the Model Electronic Notarization Act 2017, which details the specifics of what is necessary to execute an eClosure versus a traditional one. The major obstacle that the new digital age of closing faces? It must be signed into law by individual states. Only a year later, multiple states have now made their first eClosure.
Two states in particular, North Carolina and Mississippi, have both experienced success with eClosures. North Carolina was able to execute its first eClosure in May 2017 through its already-existing legal infrastructure, creating their eClosing Program. This program allowed North Carolina to create a standard for eClosings effectively and safely. Almost every county in the state can close by e-signature today.
The latest state to implement eClosings was Mississippi, in June 2018. One of the major additions that Mississippi utilized was a virtual chat closing room, which allowed all parties involved to review the documents days in advance and have questions settled beforehand. This major jump saves time and eases the final closing. It is important to note that Mississippi follows North Carolina and does not yet do remote closings. Tennessee has also just passed eClosures in their state.
Remote closings remain a topic of debate. Due to the issue of privacy and identity theft, Arkansas hasn’t jumped on the digital bandwagon. We will need to have our state legislature put this forward and pass the law before we can begin testing it in the state. According to Scott Jones, Attorney Title Group’s Attorney and Realty instructor, Arkansas still requires the buyer and seller to sign the documents in person. But the landscape of closing is changing, and the future is bright for improving the process.