Signing Process & The Required Documents

Posted: September 13th, 2021

The requirements for the signing of the closing documents depend on whether you are the seller or the buyer, and for buyers, whether you are paying cash or obtaining mortgage financing.


For all sellers, there are some documents which must be notarized, including the deed, bill of sale, and other necessary closing affidavits.

This means that you must have a current valid government issued identification so that the notary can verify your identity.

Florida law requires these documents to be notarized. Deeds must also be witnessed.

Further, we must be in possession of the originals of these documents on or before the closing date.

Buyers Obtaining Mortgage Financing

For buyers who are obtaining mortgage financing, there are some documents which must be notarized, including the mortgage and many of the other lender’s documents.

Further, we must be in possession of the originals of these documents on or before the closing date.

Buyers Paying with Cash

For buyers who are paying cash, no documents require notarization. Thus, we often close cash buyers electronically via Docusign (i.e. without a signing appointment at our office). Cash buyers are of course still welcome to come to our office to sign at the election of the buyer. Please let your closer know your preference in this regard.

How Closing Document Signing Usually Happens

For sellers and buyers obtaining mortgage financing, because there are documents which need to be notarized and which we need the originals, typically, if you live locally and/or will be in town physically on or near the day of closing, it works best if you come to the office to sign. In this circumstance, our staff will notarize your documents at no additional cost.

If you are unable to be in town and/or cannot come to our office to sign the closing documents, alternative arrangements must be made. This is a common circumstance which our staff has plenty of experience with. Please notify your closer or one of our other staff members that you are unable to sign in person at our office and we will attempt to make the most convenient arrangements for you as we can.

Use of ‘Remote Online Notarization’

As of January 1, 2020, Florida law allows ‘remote online notarization’ which relaxes the traditional requirement of a notary being in the same physical location as the person whose signatures are being notarized.

The use of remote online notarization requires the consent of all parties in the transaction, including the mortgage lender.

As of Spring 2021, most institutional lenders are not accepting closing documents signed and authenticated using remote online notarization, so as of this writing, transactions involving a ‘normal’ institutional mortgage cannot yet be done using remote online notarization, but we believe this will change within the next couple of years, or sooner.

For the time being, our use of remote online notarization is limited to cash transactions.

For cash transactions, if the buyer is agreeable to accepting a deed executed by remote online notarization, we can proceed with closing using remote online notarization (and are happy to do so).

We understand and respect that due to the novelty of remote online notarization, many are apprehensive to accept documents executed using this method, but we also want you to know that there is absolutely no diminution in the scope, coverage, or effectiveness under a title insurance policy due to the fact that the deed conveying title to the property was executed using remote online notarization.

To the contrary, we believe that due to the technical safeguards that the law requires, remote online notarization is substantially more secure than conventional notarization, and will greatly reduce the potential for forgery and impersonation i.e. identity theft sales of real estate (it happens).

When remote online notarization is used, there is a video session of the seller’s deed being executed that will be archived by a third party platform (not Echelon Title Services) and available to you (for a small fee to the remote online notarization platform owner) for a minimum of 10 years. This seems preferable to conventional notarization.

As with anything new where digital replaces the tangible, we expect that the acceptance of documents executed by remote online notarization will grow exponentially and in a short time it will represent the majority of notarizations of legal documents.

The cost of remote online notarization is nominal, usually $25.00 per session.

If you wish to use remote online notarization, we can make the arrangements for you and the fees will be collected on the closing statement at closing (assuming all parties to the transaction have consented).

If you are interested in learning more about remote online notarization, there are many informative and well produced videos on youtube, many by the notary platforms that warehouse the video notary session (again, this is not something our office handles, but we can coordinate with the notary to have the documents executed in this manner).