If you are buying a property in Florida and aware of closing costs in Florida for your property, the next step is to finalize the deal. This is where you begin the closing process.
Closing is the final step in the home buying process and often a crucial one. This is when all parties come together at the same place and sign the deal. The covid pandemic gave closings a serious blow and this is when the remote online notarization emerged as an essential service across all counties in Florida.
Remote online notarization (RON) is the process of notarizing documents electronically. During the closing process, the title company facilitates the RON where all parties including buyers, sellers, their respective agents, attorney, and other parties sitting at different physical locations come together to express consent and legally transfer the ownership of the property.
The attorney applies the digital seal on the new deed and this is when the transaction is considered to be complete.
With the advent of eClosings, RON is gaining country-wide acceptance and Floria is also one of the states that have legalized electronic signatures and RON.
Remote Online Notarization in Florida
Electronic Signatures are legal in the state of Florida which makes RON legal as well. Like many states, Florida has also passed the ESIGN and UETA acts that make electronic signatures legal and valid.
These acts demand a total of 4 prerequisites for technology vendors and title companies for the notarized documents to be legal in Florida. These are:
- Users should express an intent to sign the documents electronically.
- Parties should express their mutual consent to do business electronically with an option to opt out.
- Clear signature association where signed documents are sent to every party with information such as IP address, the identity of the signing party, date, etc.
- Record retention and retrieval, as electronically signed documents, can only be valid if reproduced when required.
Requirements for Remote Online Notary in Florida
There is a list of tools and procedures required for remote online notarization. The title company or the legal firm that has undertaken the process is responsible for running this checklist and making sure that all boxes are ticked.
They make sure to:
- Provide the required hardware such as the desktop, video conferencing software, access to electronic signature apps to the parties to conduct the process.
- Explain the parties about the documents they are singing. Get the consent of the parties before the process begins
- Set up session recording
- Verify user’s identity and credentials
- Store the digital documents in PDF and AV formats
How to become an online notary in Florida?
Since 1st Jan 2020 Florida Statute sections 117.201 to 117.305 have come into effect. These provisions allow notaries across counties in Florida to perform RON after they have taken a training program.
The sections also state some requirements to legally conduct online notarization in Florida. These are:
- The individual must be an active notary public.
- Should register with a third party vendor to provide technical support required to become an online notary. This should be done prior to registering to become an online notary.
- Should complete a 2 hour course on remote online notarization and receive a certification for registration
- Pay the registration fee of $10 for the state of Florida.
- Obtain a notary bond of $25,000.
Benefits of remote online notarization
There are many benefits of remote online notarization. These are:
Safety. One cannot simply change or manipulate the details including the notary seal or signatures of a digital document unlike a physical one. In the current times, RON’s ability to provide social distancing during the closing process also adds to its
Great Client Experience. RON saves the hassle for buyers and sellers to travel or mail physical copies of documents. This adds to their positive experience.
Cost Effective. RON saves cost during title search and redoing physical documents and the paperwork needed in general. It also saves costs for the clients, they otherwise incur in mailing the documents.
Remote online notarizations are going to become a norm in the future. If you are a registered notary in Florida and thinking about remote notarization, this may be the right time to add that to your list of services.