GUIDELINES FOR EFFECTIVE SOCIAL DISTANCING AT A REAL ESTATE CLOSING

For the benefit of our clients, Michael, Elting, & Anders, PLLC, will continue to operate and conduct closings.  In order to best protect our staff, clients, agents, and any third parties who are involved in our office’s real estate transactions, as well as promote social distancing, we have established new office polices.  We are carefully monitoring the local Register of Deeds offices, which are currently all open and operating. As the impact of the coronavirus develops within our community, we will update our office policies and operation, as may be needed.  We appreciate your business!

HEALTH AND SANITATION PRECAUTIONS

On Your Part:

  • IF YOU ARE SICK OR EXHIBITING SYMPTOMS. In order to best protect our staff, we ask that any individual who is exhibiting any signs or symptoms of sickness reschedule your closing appointment.

  • IF HAVE HAD CONTACT WITH SOMEONE EXHIBITING SYMPTOMS. Unfortunately, the best advice from the CDC is to proceed in the same manner as if you were sick.

  • WASH YOUR HANDS. Prior to engaging in any closing activity please thoroughly wash and/or sanitize your hands.  These activities include:

    • Handling documents

    • Signing documents

    • Final walk-throughs

    • Entering buildings (doorknobs, elevator buttons)

  • AVOID PHYSICAL CONTACT WHERE POSSIBLE.  Please accept our apologies for not shaking hands and please do not be offended when we decline.

  • AVOID LINGERING AROUND OUR DOOR.  When you arrive for your appointment, please call, stay in your car, and we will bring documents to your car with a new pen and a clipboard that is wiped with antibacterial wipes between uses.  

 

On Our Part:

  • WE PLEDGE TO FOLLOW THE SAME PROTOCOLS LISTED ABOVE.

  • ADDITIONAL STEPS WE WILL TAKE:

    • Spray and/or wipe clipboards between signing

    • Provide new pens for signing

    • Maintain a distance of at least six feet from other individuals where possible

    • Wear cloth face masks

    • Screen our employees for symptoms

 

PARTIES AT CLOSING

  • BUYERS/BORROWERS. If possible, please download Zoom on your phone before closing.  When you arrive for your appointment, please call and we will bring your documents to your car.  The attorney will then email details for a Zoom meeting to review documents with you as you sign.  If you are unable to use this technology, then the attorney will call you and review documents with you over the phone as you sign.  Please follow the directions above and bring only the necessary signers to closing. Buyers and Sellers should take particular care to avoid bringing their children, additional family members, and other unnecessary people to closing if possible.

  • SELLERS. Sellers are encouraged to sign their seller documents ahead of closing and to overnight or hand-deliver the original, notarized documents for closing. This will help to reduce overall traffic and contact.

  • REAL ESTATE AGENTS & LENDERS.   Please consider phone conferencing or Zoom/FaceTime attendance, instead of being physically present, if possible.

 

CLOSINGS AND PHYSICAL LOCATIONS

  • OFFICE HOURS. Our office will continue to be open for closings and our hours will remain 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; however, we are implementing an Appointment Only policy.  If you do not have a scheduled appointment, please call or email our office as we will not be able to greet walk-ins. In the event that the Coronavirus continues to spread in our area, we will be limiting our office hours and working from home as much as possible.

  • CLOSINGS. If possible, the buyer(s) and/or seller(s) are the only people who should be physically present at our office for closings or appointments, see above for more details.

  • LENGTH OF CLOSINGS.  Our office prides itself on our attorneys’ friendliness and desire to educate buyers about the closing process and to explain all closing documents.  At this time and in order to shorten the amount of time of closing (and thus lessen exposure), our attorneys will quickly review all documents at closing and will attempt to have buyers in and out of the closing in an expedited manner.  If you would prefer to read your loan package in advance, please contact your paralegal who can email you the package prior to closing if the lender has provided it to us in advance.   We also will make every effort to email buyers information on matters of title prior to closing.  Please let us know specific questions that you have so that we can address them.

  • RECORDING.  We will attempt to record electronically where possible to limit additional exposure while at the Register of Deeds.  Where “Physical” or “in-person” recording is necessary, we will visit the Register of Deeds ONLY ONCE A DAY to limit additional exposure.  Please understand that this may delay the recordation and distribution following the closing ceremony.

  • TIMING.  If it is unavoidable that your closing be rescheduled due to sickness, please communicate with our office and the other parties ASAP.  Additionally, if your transaction involves a loan, please consult with your lender regarding the expiration of your interest rate lock.

 

FINANCIAL

  • CASH CLOSINGS. All cash closings (e.g. not involving a loan) will now be handled remotely, without a physical in-office closing, where possible.  Buyer’s documents can be signed electronically, and we are happy to review closing documents over the phone with an attorney.

  • NO PHYSICAL CASH.  Physical cash is handled by multiple people every day and can be an opportunity to circulate many germs, not just COVID-19.  Please do not present physical cash at the closing.  We will send you our wiring instructions close to your closing date so that you can send a wire (NOT an ACH--our bank account will reject any ACH you may send and we are not responsible if your money is then in limbo for several days).  Please review your engagement letter for more details.

    • Increased use of wires requires additional security around that process.

    • If sending a wire, please call us to confirm the wiring instructions with our office prior to sending.

    • Do not EVER rely on email for the wiring instructions or our contact information.

  • EARNEST MONEY DEPOSITS. If possible, please mail or drop through the mail slot earnest money deposits. Acknowledgments will be emailed as soon as possible. 

  • POST-CLOSING CHECKS.  Post-closing checks will continue to be handled on a case-by-case process.  Please see your engagement letter regarding disbursement options.  If picking up a check, please call when you arrive and someone will take it out to your car.  Please show ID when you pick up checks.

 

Thank you for your understanding while we work diligently to ensure that your real estate transactions are not delayed and to do our part in preventing the spread of this problematic virus.

Phone (704) 827-5897

Fax (704) 827-2230

124 W Catawba Ave, Mt Holly, NC 28120, USA

©2020 by Michael, Elting, & Anders, PLLC.