On Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., Governor, J.B. Pritzker issued a public order (“Order”) directing Illinois residents to shelter-in-place. The shelter-in-place is, for now, effective through April 7, 2020. During this time frame, how is your real estate transaction going to be affected?
The short answer is that real estate transactions will proceed as planned. Under the Order, there are several exceptions or permissible activities that may still be performed. These are called “Essential Businesses and Operations.” Under this category, Financial Institutions (i.e. banks, title companies) and Professional Services (i.e. legal services, accounting, appraisals) are allowed to continue operating. As such, real estate transactions can proceed as planned and deals can still close during this period.
However, as an added precaution and based on recommendations from the title companies in our area, the following procedures will be followed:
All cash transactions will be closed electronically via e-mail and/or DocuSign. Any funds to be provided at the closing will need to be sent via wire transfer to the title company. Documents required by the title company to be an original (i.e. Deed) should be dropped off or sent via overnight courier to the title company prior to closing. Once the transaction has concluded, copies of the pertinent documents will be sent via overnight delivery to all parties. Any proceeds due will either be wired or a check sent via overnight delivery. There is also the option to pick up your documents and check at the title company.
Transaction with a Lender
Seller(s): It is very common for sellers to sign their closing documents in advance, give their attorney a power of attorney for closing day and not attend the closing. Our office has always offered this service and will continue to do so during this time period. Moreover, title companies are encouraging sellers not attend closing and send their documentation prior to closing. Therefore, for our seller clients, our office will coordinate with you to get your signature on the necessary documents in advance of closing. The few documents requiring signing on the day of closing we will execute on your behalf under a power of attorney.
Once the transaction has concluded, copies of the pertinent documents will be sent via overnight delivery to all parties. Any proceeds due will either be wired or a check sent via overnight delivery. There is also the option to pick up your documents and check at the title company.
Buyer(s): Due to the fact that many loan documents are required to be wet signed and notarized, buyers must still attend the closing. Title companies are requesting that only the buyers required to sign the loan documents and their attorney attend the closing, so as to limit the number of people at the title company. The title companies have implemented some safety measures to ensure a safe and clean environment. All closing rooms will be cleaned with disinfectant after every closing. The pens used will be new and disposed of after closing. Also, they will limit the number of people allowed in the facility and practice social distancing recommendations when possible. Some title companies are also offering drive by closings, where buyers can pull up, sign the documents in their car, and hand them back to the title representative.
Once the transaction has concluded, copies of the pertinent documents will be sent via overnight delivery to all parties. Any proceeds due will either be wired or a check sent via overnight delivery. There is also the option to pick up your documents and check at the title company if you choose to wait after signing.
In short, your real estate transaction should proceed as planned with just some slight modifications for the closing. Lenders, attorneys and title companies are still working during the shelter-in-place period. Fournier Law Firm, Ltd. is committed to assisting our clients in making your closing as smooth as possible. As your closing nears, our office will be in contact with you to coordinate the necessary steps to get your deal closed.
Harry J. Fournier was selected by Super Lawyers as the “Top Rated Real Estate Attorney” for 2020! Only 5% of the attorneys in Illinois are selected to Super Lawyers each year.
Harry was selected due to his high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Super Lawyers performs a multi-factor selection process that includes independent research, peer nominations, and evaluations, as well as professional achievement in legal practice.
Photo credit: Convey Digital Marketing