In the Pandemic, Online Home-Buying Picks Up Speed – New York Times
When Kassi Horton’s husband, Army Staff Sgt. Shaun Horton, received a cross-country change in assignment in the midst of a pandemic, she knew their home-buying process would be atypical. So they jumped on an increasingly popular bandwagon for first-time buyers and made an offer on a home they had never seen in person. Eight more offers followed. For the Hortons, the ninth time was the charm, and in late January they moved into a new three-bedroom, two-bath home that they purchased entirely online.
First-time buyers have the tech-smarts and now the tools to do all or part of their purchase online, sometimes even before seeing their new houses in person.
Kansas joins growing list of states with RON legislation – ALTA
Kansas joined 31 other states passing legislation that authorizes the use of remote online notarization (RON). Senate Bill 106, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2022, passed the state’s second chamber on April 8.
The legislation is based on the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) as well as the ALTA-MBA model RON bill. The legislation allows for a notary in Kansas to perform a notarial act facilitated by communication technology if several requirements are met.
Q&A: Virtual closings and the importance of title insurance – Bankrate
The pandemic has accelerated a move to allow homebuyers to close the deal virtually, and the hot housing market has underscored the important role title insurance plays in protecting those buyers. Bankrate spoke to Diane Tomb, CEO of the American Land Title Association (ALTA), to hear about the shifting homebuying landscape and the post-pandemic outlook for these trends. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Advancing the Acceptance of Remote Digital Real Estate Closings – Real Estate Magazine (NAR)
Residential real estate sales have continued to flourish during the COVID-19 health pandemic and have been critical to keeping the economy afloat. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) applauds real estate professionals for quickly adapting as best as possible to remote work and virtual tour technologies to keep real estate transactions in motion despite limited in-person meetings and home tours in many states. But additional work needs to be done to ensure that real estate brokerage and mortgage systems that support real estate home sales can stay nimble during the social distancing restrictions put in place during the pandemic.
Real estate technology adoption in a post-pandemic world – HousingWire
The impact of COVID on the real estate market is significant and has forever changed the way our industry operates. This change, while disruptive and uncomfortable for some, has provoked the rapid adoption of real estate technology, the likes of which we haven’t seen before. Agents, teams and brokerages are now seriously reconsidering the technology platform, tools and services needed to effectively do business today. The imminent need for innovation and automation is now a requirement to not only survive, but thrive. In these uncertain and volatile times, successful agents have learned how to lean in to the power of technology to help them stay focused on what they do best.
Digital closings boomed in the COVID era, but these pain points remain – National Mortgage News
While growth of digital closings has been explosive because of the pandemic, the rapid expansion has created some concern for one fintech executive. The current state of growth could leave development of new products “resource constrained,” Kimberley Smathers, head of information security and compliance at Snapdocs, said during a panel discussion at the National Mortgage News Digital Mortgage conference.
Real estate transactions go virtual – The New York Times
Real estate transactions have gone largely digital as the pandemic has disrupted nearly every aspect of home buying, from house hunting to securing a mortgage, getting an appraisal, notarizing documents and signing the final closing documents. Digital products designed to streamline the home-buying process are not new, but coronavirus restrictions have enabled some of them to finally gain a foothold. Eight months into the pandemic, many of New York’s real estate professionals believe that some of these tech solutions may be here to stay as buyers and sellers have become more comfortable with virtual transactions.
Zillow: There’s no going back from RON – HousingWire
Zillow reports that more than 60% of its Zillow Offers customers closed on their home through RON. This increase in tech usage is now driving up the company’s earnings.
“The second win, maybe even mightier than the first, the technology tailwind,” Zillow CEO Rich Barton said in the earnings report. “Across every industry, there has been a COVID catalyzed and dramatic increase and reliance upon and adoption of technology. The concrete is setting on new digital habits for life and work, and it is highly unlikely that we go back to the old analog ways.
Remote online notarization is the proper path forward for digital closings – HousingWire – Op-ed by new ALTA President Bill Burding
In Japan, the word for “improvement” is kaizen. In business, kaizen refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the top down. One area in the mortgage and real estate industry that has been evolving for nearly two decades is digital closings.
Much like efforts to achieve full self-driving vehicles, the road to achieve full digital closings has been bumpy. However, the COVID-19 health crisis provided the high-octane fuel needed to open the throttle for digital closings.
FNF Digital Closing Hub wins Title Webbie Award from ALTA – ALTA
ALTA announced the winners of the 2020 Title Webbies, an awards program recognizing member companies that have created or redesigned the best title industry consumer-facing website or page within the past year.
The FNF Family of Companies, which has offices across the United States, was chosen as the Best Website-Underwriters winner. FNF’s Digital Closing Hub helps educate homeowners who are learning about digital closings and need to understand what to expect during a real estate transaction. The site is easy to navigate, mobile-friendly and a safe space for consumers to learn more about digital real estate closing options.
Hawaii Passes Remote Online Notarization Bill – ALTA
Hawaii has passed a bill that allows for remote online notarization (RON) in the state. SB 2275, which awaits the signature of Gov. David Ige, will go into Jan. 1, 2021. Hawaii becomes the 27th state to pass RON legislation. The legislation updates the state’s notary public laws to conform to the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (2018), the Hawaii Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, other state notary laws, and current notary practices
The changing laws on remote online notarization – The Washington Post
As of mid-June, 26 states allow RON closings, including Virginia. The District and Maryland allow RON closings on a temporary, emergency basis. According to Diane Tomb, chief executive of the American Land Title Association (ALTA), nearly 30 percent of title and settlement companies are offering some type of digital closing to meet social distancing requirements. This is up from 17 percent of companies offering digital closings in 2019.
How COVID-19 has shaped the push for remote online notarizations – Inman News
The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the fragility of the real estate ecosystem, but there is an opportunity to come out of this experience with newfound transparency and cohesiveness that will propel the market into a new way of doing business. To accomplish this, participants in the mortgage transaction will first need to understand how to improve their processes and work together more closely. This is where the real estate ecosystem comes into play. It is not just about the title company. Getting this done is going to require that the lending, title, settlement services and brokerage communities all come together.
Building Trust in Digital Mortgage Closings – The M Report
The typical customer hears a lot of messaging and advertising about a simple digital mortgage. And remember, they don’t know mortgage law, so “digital mortgage” sounds like an entirely online process that’s as easy as ordering on Amazon or watching Netflix. The reality, as we all know, isn’t that simple.
Sens. Cramer, Warner Introduce Federal Remote Online Notarizations Bill – MBA
U.S. Sens. Kevin Kramer, R-N.D., and Mark Warner, D-Va., have introduced legislation that would allow immediate nationwide use of Remote Online Notarizations (RON), a step long-advocated by the Mortgage Bankers Association and the American Land Title Association. S. 3533, the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic (SECURE) Notarization Act of 2020, would authorize every notary in the United States to perform RONs, requires tamper-evident technology in electronic notarizations and provides fraud prevention through the use of multifactor authentication.
Wisconsin issues emergency guidance on Remote Online Notarization – WISC-TV 3
The state Department of Financial Institutions has authorized remote online notarization due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation was originally supposed to go into effect on June 1 of this year.
Wisconsin Passes Remote Online Notarization Bill – ALTA
Wisconsin became the latest state to pass legislation that allows for remote online notarization (RON). AB 293, which is based off the ALTA-MBA model RON bill, awaits the governor’s signature. The legislation goes into effect in June 1, 2020. Wisconsin is the 23rd state to pass RON legislation. The Wisconsin Land Title Association was instrumental in getting the legislation passed.
The benefits of digital real estate closings – AZ BIG Media
For the past decade, the residential mortgage industry has felt the need to speed up the transaction. The industry is experiencing a wave of technological innovation as existing lenders and start-ups seek ways to automate, simplify and accelerate each step of the mortgage origination process.
The industry is working to streamline the overall mortgage process by encouraging the use of electronic documents. Fortunately, there are U.S. federal and state laws that permit lenders to originate e-mortgages in any state and deliver them to investors for purchase. And with the legal framework in place, interest in e-mortgages is picking up speed.
Get a Digital Closing Boot Camp on Your Calendar – ALTA
The Digital Closing & eMortgage Boot Camps – brought to you by the American Land Title Association and the Mortgage Bankers Association – will help your business navigate the digital closing process for the new decade. There are three sessions planned around the country, one in December and two in 2020.
Lenders Gauge the Success of Going Digital – Mortgage News Daily
Fannie Mae asked lenders, as part of its third quarter Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey, about their digital transformation efforts. The company says that, in previous surveys, lenders have consistently shown a strong interest in leveraging technology to improve both the front-end consumer experience and back-end operational efficiency.
Quicken Loans announces ability to perform eClosings in all 50 states – HousingWire
Quicken Loans announced in October that it is the first lender to develop the capabilities to perform electronic mortgage closings in all 50 states.
This is significant given the size of the company and its market share. Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data from 2018 shows that Quicken was the second-largest mortgage originator for the year by mortgage volume, originating $81.4 billion in loans and holding 4.7% of total origination volume, according to HMDA data prepared by iEmergent.
Digital Doesn’t Have to Be Disruptive –The Harvard Business Review
The FNF Digital Solutions Team picked this piece because we felt like a lot of the information in this article could apply to our agents as you work to determine how digital best helps you and your customers. Hopefully, it alleviates some potential fears you have and gets you excited about everything this technology can offer your business! Check out this excerpt:
It’s not surprising that many managers expect digital transformation to involve a radical disruption of the business, huge new investments in technology, a complete switch from physical to virtual channels, and the acquisition of tech start-ups. To be sure, in some cases such a paradigm shift is involved. But our research and work suggest that for most companies, digital transformation means something very different from outright disruption, in which the old is swept away by the new. Change is involved, and sometimes radical replacements for manufacturing processes, distribution channels, or business models are necessary; but more often than not, transformation means incremental steps to better deliver the core value proposition.
More States Legalize Digital Home Closing Process – Think Realty
Iowa is the latest state to allow buyers to electronically close on a home, continuing a shift across the country to make mortgage transactions more efficient.
To close out April, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law that enables digital closings for mortgage transactions, digitizing a time consuming and paper-intensive process.
Fidelity National Financial remotely notarizes Texas property purchase – HousingWire
Fidelity National Financial helped clients complete a real estate closing in Texas, even though the parties were in separate parts of the Lone Star State.
Indeed, the property sellers were in Austin, while the escrow officer was just south of Houston. No matter, FNF closed the gap between the two digitally.
Remote Notarizations Available for Fidelity National Financial Network – MReport
NotaryCam, a provider of online notarization and mortgage eClosing solutions, announced that Fidelity National Financial (FNF), will allow the use of NotaryCam to deliver remote online notarization (RON) and remote online closing (ROC) capabilities to FNF’s network of direct title and settlement operations, as well as its network of independent title agents. Most recently, FNF used the NotaryCam platform to complete its first remote notarization in Texas.
Fidelity National Financial takes digital closing nationwide – HousingWire
The digital real estate closing revolution is about to take a giant step forward, as the nation’s largest title insurance company is rolling out hybrid and fully digital closing options throughout its entire title insurance network.
How Many Trees Can Be Saved With Fully Digital Home Closings? – Redfin Blog
So, just how much paper would be saved in the U.S. if every single home closing was fully digital? Let’s break it down:
There were about 6 million home sales last year in the U.S. and about eight out of every 10—roughly 4,800,000—included a mortgage. For the sake of simplicity, we’re limiting this analysis to home sales including mortgages. The total documentation required to close a home sale—including the loan paperwork along with title, tax and various other legal documents—generally totals around 200 pages, according to Redfin Mortgage head Jason Bateman, though the pile of paper can be up to 2,000 pages.
Say goodbye to all that paperwork: Digital mortgages have arrived – Washington Post
If you’re a move-up buyer looking to purchase your second home, you might be pleasantly surprised by changes in one aspect of your experience: You can now apply for your mortgage completely online, rather than having to deal with all the onerous paperwork of yesteryear.
Check back soon for more Digital Closing news!