Yes, You Can Get To Closing on that Real Estate Deal!
(March 30, 2020) Maybe you found the house of your dreams, got the mortgage approved, and now are wondering if you will actually get to settlement? Or, you found a buyer for your family’s land months ago, they secured the subdivision approvals, and now you are ready to close. Will the COVID-19 Emergency Disaster declarations prevent deeds and mortgages from being signed and recorded?
There’s good news on that front. Usually, real estate deals need a notary public present in the room to notarize deeds and mortgages that will be recorded in the county records. At the present time, the PA Department of State has suspended that rule for certain transactions: “For personal real estate transactions, the Governor approved a temporary notarial rule suspension be granted only for real estate transactions that were already in process (e.g. agreement of sale completed for residential property and only mortgage closing needs to take place). This limited suspension… will enable real estate professionals to complete transactions begun prior to the disaster declaration, but protect Pennsylvanians currently sheltering in place by limiting visitors to private homes and enabling real estate professionals to comply with the Governor’s directive regarding essential vs. non-essential businesses.”
“For all commercial real estate transactions, the Governor approved a temporary suspension of 57 Pa.C.S. § 306 …for both transactions that were already in process as well as new transactions during the emergency period. These suspensions will allow transactions that may be needed to assist in responding to this public health exigency, including possible needs for emergency allocation or transfer of property during this disaster declaration, while also protecting Pennsylvanians and enabling real estate professionals to comply with the Governor’s directive regarding essential vs. non-essential businesses.”
While a notary must be qualified to use audio-visual technology to see and hear the transaction, and have the equipment to participate remotely, the notary need not be in the room with those signing the documents to notarize them. Notaries can obtain a free application here.
Once the deed and mortgage are signed and notarized by a Notary Public this statement must be added by the notary public: “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology.”
Montgomery County’s Recorder of Deeds, Jeanne Sorg, announced Friday that she will accept documents that comply with these new rules for recording. So that means house sales and real estate deals can happen. Then you can quarantine safely in your new home!
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