Notarization is an essential process when you want to ensure the authenticity and integrity of key documents. Traditionally, most notarizations were completed in person and on paper. For a fast-paced, hybrid work environment, such in-person and paper-based notarizations presented multiple challenges. Today’s fast-moving organizations need a more robust option for performing efficient, secure, and hassle-free notarization—and that’s where remote online notarization (RON) comes in handy.
So, what is remote online notarization, and how does it affect your title and escrow activities? Here is everything you need to know about this industry practice.
What is Remote Online Notarization (RON)?
RON refers to signing and validating documents without being in the same room as the notary. An electronic signature allows you to sign the documents remotely, while the notary uses audio-visual technology to confirm your identity.
Although the process seems simple, requiring only an electronic signature and audio-visual platform, remote online notarization has several other conditions that must be fulfilled for a RON transaction to be recognized. States, lenders, county recording, and other parties will only recognize the transaction if:
- the notary is licensed and physically present in the state of the property
- the RON platform allows the scanning and uploading of a government-issued ID for signer identity verification
- the audio-visual technology offers multi-factor authentication with knowledge-based identification
- documents are tamper-sealed with a digital stamp
- the notary keeps the electronic journal and video recording as a backup for the notarial ceremony
Note: The specifications might vary by state and county depending on the exact phrasing stated in the RON legislation.
What Does Remote Online Notarization Mean for the Title and Escrow Industry?
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, RON has become a widespread practice in the real estate industry. The industry trend benefits every player, from title agents, lenders, and real estate agents to notaries and clients.
First, the client doesn’t have to take time off work and travel to meet a notary at the office. Instead, they sign the documents online at their place of choice, which is more convenient for those living in remote areas.
Like clients, notaries also enjoy the convenience and don’t have to travel throughout the city to witness the signing of documents. That means they can save time and schedule more signings daily, leading to better productivity.
When clients and notaries have fewer hurdles in completing their roles in the closing process, everyone benefits including title agents and lenders. The faster the notarization is completed, the quicker the closing process.
With the latest technology, such as identity verification and digital seals, RON increases the security of closing property and reduces the risk of fraud in real estate. For instance, the video recording creates an audit trail providing more protection for the clients.
Regulations for using RON
While RON has become an industry trend, not all states allow the practice. Currently, around 40 states have enacted remote online notarization legislation. To perform valid in-house RON transactions, you must be certified according to the State legislation. Some of the requirements for approval include the following:
- Application to the State Secretary
- An active notary commission
- Additional notarization education
- Availability of the necessary RON software
- Payment of application fees
User-Friendly Way of Notarizing Documents Remotely
An aptly conducted RON act is lawfully admissible, akin to the custom, paper-based notarization—minus the inefficiencies and shortcomings associated with notarizing in person. RON capitalizes on electronic signatures, identity verification, secure audio-visual/electronic notarial journals, and cataloging technologies to hasten property closings.
Now’s the time to transform your notarization processes to fit the fast-moving hybrid work setting with RON. Contact Element Title and Escrow for your title and escrow needs today.