By: Maciek Zaremba, P.A., Broker Associate, Fathom Realty
Signing real estate documents from out of state or out of the country can be a challenging task. However, with the advancement of technology and proper planning, it is possible to sign real estate documents from anywhere in the world. Here are some best practices to follow when signing real estate documents when you are out of the state or out of the country.
WHEN YOU NEED A NOTARY PUBLIC
When you’re out of state, it’s easy. Not all closings require you to notarize documents as a buyer. When you’re a seller, you will need a notary public.
Hire a reliable and reputable notary public. When signing real estate documents remotely, it is essential to work with a reliable and reputable notary public. The notary public should be licensed in the state you are in, and have experience in handling remote signings. They should also be able to provide you with the necessary documents and guide you through the signing process. Closing attorneys can often arrange a notary public to meet you at home and make this process very easy.
Use a reputable electronic signature service. An electronic signature service can make the remote signing process much more efficient and secure. It is important to use a reputable electronic signature service that is compliant with Florida law and has a strong track record of securing sensitive information.
Understand the documents you are signing. Before signing any real estate document remotely, it is important to understand the document and its implications. This can include reviewing the document with your real estate attorney and asking any questions you may have. It is essential to ensure that you fully understand the terms of the document before signing it remotely. Often your real estate agent will not be present for remote closings, so be sure to have your agent and attorney available for questions during the scheduled closing time.
For out-of-country closings, the process is very similar. When you are selling a property, and you are abroad, then an American public notary is available by appointment at the U.S. Embassy & Consulate in the country you are in. The location may be hours away from the location you are in when traveling abroad, so be sure to call the U.S. Embassy to schedule an appointment. Situations can arise where there are no appointment spots available for weeks, so ensure you do this ahead of time, at least two weeks before closing. Often it will be required for you to have two witnesses present with you.
When purchasing property in Florida while traveling abroad, you may need to notarize documents. If a federally regulated loan is involved in your purchase, then follow the steps above to ensure you are prepared.
If you are purchasing using cash and no loan is involved, then you will be able to sign your purchase documents using an electronic signature service such as DocuSign. Your attorney should be equipped to handle the software for you and send everything over by email.
POWER OF ATTORNEY
You may also wish to consider using a power of attorney. A power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to act on your behalf and sign documents for you. However, it is important to use a reliable and trustworthy individual to act as your agent and to ensure that the power of attorney is properly executed. Also, they have strict requirements. The original power of attorney is required for recording deeds, and POAs cannot be used for LLCs or a trust.
In conclusion, signing real estate documents remotely can be a convenient and efficient option when you are out of state or out of the country. However, it is important to follow best practices and work with experienced professionals to ensure that the process is secure and legally compliant. By hiring a reliable notary public, using a reputable electronic signature service, understanding the documents you are signing, and considering using a power of attorney, you can sign real estate documents remotely with confidence.
To learn more, please join the RAJC and GBC for their session on Best Practices for Out of Country Contracts at RASM South on April 27 at 1:30 p.m.