Remote Online Notarization Is One Step Closer

Passage by the House sets the stage for a Senate vote on NAR efforts to bring more real estate transactions into the digital age.
concept, virtual signature

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday evening to expand the availability of remote online notarization (RON) nationwide, a key advocacy priority for the National Association of REALTORS®. The bipartisan SECURE Notarization Act now goes to the Senate for consideration.

RON allows a notary and signer in different physical locations to safely and securely execute electronic documents using two-way audiovisual communication.

Nearly half of states have expanded RON during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling real estate professionals to facilitate closings safely and securely. But because of the patchwork of state laws, agents in other states had to adapt to drive-by closings and other social-distancing methods. NAR pressed lawmakers throughout the pandemic to pass a national RON bill while simultaneously working on the state level to enact changes.

“REALTORS® have always been leaders in technology in the real estate profession. NAR supported RON even before the pandemic,” says Shannon McGahn, NAR’s chief advocacy officer. “But now more than ever, this progress makes sense. REALTORS® want to devote their time to helping home buyers, not on paperwork.”

Even as COVID-19 becomes less of a factor, virtual sales and closings will remain in demand. In June 2022, NAR reports, 12% of sales took place virtually.

Speaking about the House bill, McGahn says, “This measure establishes minimum standards to ensure strong consumer protections while providing certainty for interstate commerce.”