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Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Future of Real Estate Closings - The Pen Will No Longer Be Mightier

By Kosta Ligris, Esq. @kligris

The real estate title and settlement process has resisted change and deployment of technology for years. But are we experiencing the "beginning of the end" of the real estate closing as we've known it? If you ask our friends in North Carolina, which successfully conducted its first ever "eClosing" in May 2017 the answer is clearly yes!

Aside from the reduction in paperwork, electronic closings stand to provide tremendous convenience and value to consumers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") ran a study which
found that electronic mortgage closings can benefit the consumer. “While technology alone will not address all consumer concerns in the closing process, our study showed that eClosings do offer the potential to make the process less complex,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “We expect this pilot project and its findings to help inform further innovation that will be a win-win for consumers and industry alike.”

Electronic closings will likely provide consumers with more time to review paperwork (such as lengthy loan documents), reduce the need to travel to a law firm, county registry or title company, and provide an audit trail for all the stakeholders including the consumers, lenders, insurers and regulators.

Even Fannie Mae is now accepting electronically executed promissory notes for mortgage transactions (subject to its terms and guidelines). The reality is that as electronic signature platforms continue to develop, the future of electronic closings as mainstream is imminent.

There will of course be critics, concerned with remote notarization, fraud, and cyber-crimes. But the concept and argument that "we've always done it this way" will not be upheld. As Millennials start to enter the housing market, the future is clear that Millennials hold massive buying power and are changing the housing market. They are used to conducting business on-line and via mobile apps (banking, transferring money, communicating, etc.) - the housing and mortgage industry will need to adapt for them as well. The time is now for the mortgage and title industry to prepare for the future in which the mouse and app will be mightier than the sword.

Originally published   on July 19, 2017

A member of the REBA Title Insurance and National Affairs Section, Kosta Ligris is the founder, CEO and Managing Partner of Ligris + Associates, P.C.. His practice concentrates on residential and commercial real estate transactions; he represents buyers, sellers, and developers in the acquisition, sale and development of residential and commercial real estate. Kosta also serves in a general counsel capacity for certain investors and developers by providing guidance on various legal matters and coordinating representation with other lawyers and law firms.  Kosta can be contacted by email at

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