Creative Methods for Closing During COVID-19
By Rosemary Liuzzo Mohamed and Carly Clinton
The transactional world faced many challenges during the pandemic. A traditional purchase/sale closing takes place in a small conference room filled with six to ten individuals passing pens and papers and leaning over each other’s shoulders. Sitting shoulder to shoulder in a tight space is not ideal given the new world we live in where 6 feet social distancing is the new norm. Our firm, along with the teamwork of other professionals in the industry, worked together to successfully implement creative methods for closings.
“Curbside Closing” – If closing in a conference room is not plausible, the alternative is to close outside. Sometimes this would include meeting in a park, backyard or literally in a parking lot. During the height of the pandemic when we were still learning about the spread of COVID-19, closings were performed using the most caution possible. This would include closers verifying borrower IDs while sitting inside their car and watching the borrowers sign the documents from a safe distance outside of the car. Notarizing documents was sometimes even done on the hood of a car! And always wearing masks of course.
The Use of Communication and Technology – When closing under creative conditions we sometimes do not have the luxury of a full service office to scan and copy documents. Sending electronic copies of documents prior to the closing allows for less questions and issues at the closing table (and saves more trees). Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. provided all closers with portable scanners to serve the function of scanning and emailing funding documents from any location. All of our closers were also given firm laptops to bring to every closing so documents could be sent from a secure network and wires released as needed.
In conclusion, we are still navigating through unprecedented times and the future of the traditional closing is something that will continue to rapidly evolve over the next few months. Our firm will continue to educate ourselves on the current rules and regulations and continue creating alternative methods to close as needed.