has noted a significant increase in remote online notarization (RON) adoption and utilization for real estate transactions in Florida over the past three months. Since Jan. 1, which is the date Florida’s RON law went into effect, the company has experienced a 100 percent month-over-month increase in RON closings.
“With such a high concentration of property transactions being executed by out-of-state residents, Florida represents a great use case for RON,” said NotaryCam Founder and Chief Executive Officer Rick Triola. “Our volume of Florida RON closings is doubling almost every other day, and we have signed hundreds of new partners in the past three months. We’re thankful that Florida real estate professionals have embraced RON quickly and whole-heartedly to enable their clients’ transactions to proceed faster and smoother than ever before.”
According to the Florida Realtors association, international buyers accounted for 36,400 of all existing home sales in the state between August 2018 and July 2019, which represents $16 billion in volume. The association also estimates that the vacation/rental-home business accounted for $27.4 billion in sales within the state in 2018.
For Florida-based real estate closing attorney and NotaryCam client Jordan Lulich of Lulich Attorneys and Consultants, the availability of user-friendly technology has made RON a popular option with clients across all demographics.
“We have started offering digital real estate closings to Florida sellers and buyers. I thought this would only be popular among younger clients. However, to my surprise, even older clients have been able to successfully complete the closings through NotaryCam,” Lulich said. “The technological support and guidance that is offered is really top notch, and I have only heard positive feedback from the real estate agents and clients that I work with. We continue to push all of our clients to close digitally as it makes the process easier for everyone.”
According to Lulich, the increase in RON activity was especially pronounced during March and into April with in-state buyers and sellers due to concerns and regulations surrounding COVID-19.
“For the past six months, I have been passionately talking about RON closings only to be faced with skepticism and reluctance,” Lulich said. “However, now clients, customers and vendors are flocking to have their closings completed digitally. RON closings will be extremely useful and more popular in the coming weeks in light of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stay-at-home order issued on April 1.”
In March, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced Senate Bill 3533
, also known as the SECURE Notarization Act, which would legalize RON nationwide. The bill was introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted several states and municipalities to issue “shelter-in-place” or “stay-at-home” orders and individuals to practice social distancing in an effort to slow the spread of the disease. In addition, many states have also issued temporary RON provisions to address the challenges of conducting in-person notarization transactions during the pandemic.
“Given the current climate, in-person closings simply are not an option for the foreseeable future,” Triola added. “As Florida has demonstrated, the ability to conduct real estate closings remotely is critical to preventing this sector from grinding to a complete halt. NotaryCam applauds all efforts to make RON an option in all 50 states.”