During the summer when everyone is jet-setting on vacation, and year round as part time residents move in and out of Florida, we experience an increasing amount of closings where one or both parties cannot be physically present on the day of closing. As this is a common occurrence, there are many ways to accomplish a closing where one or both parties is absent, the key is identifying any potential issues that will present themselves and planning for them in advance.
Below are a few situations addressing a buyer or seller who will be absent for closing, how these situations can be addressed, and additional considerations that may come up.
Situation 1: A cash buyer will not be present on the closing date.
Possible Solution: If the buyer is technology savvy and the closing agent has the capability, buyer can electronically sign their closing documents if none call for notarization.
Additional Considerations: Will the buyer be able to wire their funds in time for closing? Does the buyer’s bank require them to be in person to initiate a wire of proceeds? Does the buyer’s bank have a branch located on their travel route?
Situation 2: A buyer who is obtaining financing will not be present on the closing date.
Possible Solution: The buyer can be a finance “mailaway” and sign their documents in front of a notary in their location. They would then send the original documents back to the closing agent.
Additional Considerations: Does the buyer’s lender allow them to pre sign documents or are they required to sign on the day of closing? If the latter, is the seller and listing agent aware that the buyer will be a mailaway and that documents will not be received until potentially one day after closing delaying disbursement of their proceeds? Is there a notary available on the day that the buyer needs to sign their documents? Is there an overnight carrier nearby so that the buyer’s documents can be returned to the closing agent in a timely manner?
Situation 3: A seller will not be present on the closing date because they are located in a different country.
Possible Solution: The seller can pre sign their documents in advance of their departure, if possible. Alternatively, a seller can sign their documents where they are physically located and return the original documents prior to the closing date.
Additional Considerations: Is there a US Embassy where the seller is located? Will the seller be able to get a timely appointment with a notary at the US Embassy? If using a foreign notary, will the foreign notary be willing to notarize documents that are in English? Will documents need to be translated into the foreign language? Does the foreign country have an express mail carrier available for return of the original documents?
As you can see, there are solutions available to address a closing when buyers and sellers will not be physically present on the closing day. The most important thing is advance planning. Always remember to go over a proposed closing date with buyers and sellers to ensure that they intend to be local at the time of closing. If they will not be, notify your closing agent as soon as possible so that a plan can be carried out to ensure that the closing is just as seamless as if all parties were present at the closing table.Should you have any questions, we urge you to contact one of the attorneys at Berlin Patten Ebling, or consult with your local real estate attorney, for additional guidance.
Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC
Article Authored by Jessica Featherstone, Esq. firstname.lastname@example.org
This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.
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