Alex had a chance to speak with Wade Vander Molen of Stewart Title about what the title industry has seen related to Coronavirus in the DC, Virginia and Maryland markets. The ever-changing atmosphere has left a lot of clients wondering what’s happening amid the virus pandemic. Wade shares a quick look into the ways that title has been responding to the conditions, like curbside closings and limited document signings. Not all jurisdictions and lenders allow for remote closings. Listen along to hear more, or read the transcript posted below.
Alex: Hello guys! Again, Alex here with the KW Beltway Homes Team. I’m jumping on a quick interview with my friend and a great professional from Stewart Title, Wade Vander Molen. Hi Wade, how are you?
Wade: Doing well.
Alex: Excellent. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer the most relevant questions that I’m getting every single day from our clients and database. My first question is, tell us what is happening with the title industry at the moment.
Wade: Right now, contrary to what some people would think, that there is a contraction of the market or that we may not be busy, we’re actually some of the busiest… these are some of the busiest times that we’ve ever had. You know, with low interest rates, a lot of people refinancing their homes, and also Realtors becoming really savvy with their clients, doing virtual showings and virtual open houses. There are still a lot of people that are on timelines to buy or sell that are still happening. Again, we’re probably one of the busiest we’ve ever been since I’ve been working at Stewart Title. So it’s a good time right now.
Alex: Oh, wow. That’s impressive. Thank you for sharing this, and really this is very encouraging for all of the folks who are very fearful and that are waiting on the sidelines. And you were saying that people are moving inventory. I mean, they are closing deals day in, day out.
Wade: Right, yeah, definitely.
Alex: And how do you guys handle all of the closings. I mean, what precautions have been taken for safety for your and our clients?
Wade: Well, our goal of course is to close everybody safely and securely. And we’re closing all people, all ages, all over the place, DC, Maryland and Virginia. So we have a couple of ways, three different ways, that we can get you closed. First, you can come to our office and still close. A couple differences, when you get to our office you have to wash your hands before walking in. All of our closers are wearing gloves and face masks. We’re doing the social distancing, so everyone is sitting six feet apart. We’re not allowing Realtors to come in for closings with their clients. They can come and they can wait outside. They can meet them before, then they can meet them afterwards, but we want to limit the amount of people that are in our office doing the closings. Secondly we travel for a lot of closings. Preferably what a lot of people want are curbside closings, where we’ll go to the homeowner’s home, but we will no go inside the house. We’ll bring a table and chairs and close in their driveway. We’ve even had people that have arrived at our office then have made the decision to not come up, so we’ve brought a table and chairs and kind of parked it outside of our building on a patio and we’ve signed people outside, if that’s what they want to do. No issues with that. And then thirdly, we have the ability to do an electronic closing or a remote closing.
Alex: Yeah, that was my next question. I wanted to ask, are there any electronic closings? And what are the requirements for Virginia, Maryland and DC, since we do business in all three states.
Wade: Right. So, right now electronic closings are okay in the state of Virginia. The property has to be located in Virginia. The difference is that the lender has to be okay with accepting an electronically signed deed and note. And most lenders right now are not okay with that because the investors behind the lenders don’t accept it. Also it has to be stored in an electronic vault, or an E-vault, and E-vaults are very expensive to have. It’s like $50,000, and most lenders don’t want to invest in that. With that said, there are lenders that are doing hybrid closings where they’ll sign all the documents electronically, but the deed and the note have to be signed wet, which is still helpful. That limits the amount of time we’re around somebody if we’re just signing a couple of documents wet. But seller side transactions, so on the listing side, the seller, we can sign them electronically, pretty much wherever they are. We have a client that just closed with us and she’s in the military in the country of Djibouti, out in the middle of nowhere, and we were able to sign her electronically. For cash transactions, they can also be signed electronically because there’s no lender involved. So we try to make it as easy as possible and accommodate for all of our clients.
Alex: Well thank you so much. That’s very nice, going beyond what’s the norm, and helping all of clients and ourselves, the Realtors, get more closings done, and help people move on with their lives. Thank you so much again, Wade, for taking the time. And hope to see you soon on another transaction!
Wade: Yes! Awesome. Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Alex: Stay safe.
Wade: You too.