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Remote Online Notarization One Step Closer

Buyers and sellers in separate states may soon find it easier to close a sale remotely after the U.S. House OK’d a bill standardizing the process the Senate will now consider.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday evening to expand the availability of remote online notarization (RON) nationwide, a key advocacy priority for the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

The bipartisan SECURE Notarization Act now goes to the Senate for consideration.

RON allows a notary and signer in different physical locations to securely execute electronic documents using two-way audiovisual communication. Currently no nationwide program standardizes the process, which can make remote closing challenging, depending on the buyer or seller’s state of residence.

Nearly half of U.S. states expanded RON during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling real estate professionals to facilitate closings safely and securely. But without a national program, a patchwork of state laws required some agents in other states to adapt and use other social-distancing measures like drive-by closings.

NAR pressed lawmakers throughout the pandemic to pass a national RON bill while also working within each state to enact changes.

“NAR supported RON even before the pandemic,” says Shannon McGahn, NAR’s chief advocacy officer. “But now more than ever, this progress makes sense. Realtors® want to devote their time to helping homebuyers, not on paperwork.”

Even as COVID-19 becomes less of a factor, virtual sales and closings will remain in demand. In June 2022, 12% of sales took place virtually, according to NAR.

“This measure (the SECURE Notarization Act) establishes minimum standards to ensure strong consumer protections while providing certainty for interstate commerce,” says McGahn.

Source: National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

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