Real Estate Closings During the Pandemic
The Coronavirus has changed our behaviors in many ways, including how real estate closings are being conducted. For now, the days of a conference room filled with sellers, buyers, their attorneys and real estate agents, happily consummating a real estate closing are a thing of the past. The need to minimize in-person contact has changed the way we do things, but it is still a cheerful, positive experience.
At Kahan Kerensky Capossela, our highest priority is the health and safety of our clients and our employees. Pursuant to achieving that objective, KKC has adopted extensive protocols to ensure everyone’s safety, while efficiently and effectively conducting smooth and successful real estate closings for our clients.
Every morning each employee’s temperature is taken and recorded, and all employees wear masks when not within the confines of their offices or work stations. Clients are instructed to call from the parking lot, and they are then shown directly into a conference room from an exterior hallway without passing through our reception area. Plexiglass dividers have been installed the length of each conference room table; the lawyer sits on one side, and the clients sit on the other side. The conference room tables are wiped down with disinfecting wipes immediately after each time the conference rooms are used. Also, each conference room has a container of hand sanitizer and a container of sanitized pens.
Whether we are representing a client as the buyer, seller, or for a refinance, the only persons in the conference room are the clients and the attorney. Masks are worn at all times. Masks are available for clients if the clients do not have a mask. Papers are passed through a narrow opening at the bottom of the plexiglass divider. The execution of a couple of documents requires two witnesses. When it comes time for the client to sign those documents, the witnesses (paralegals) will not enter the conference room; rather they will stand in the doorway outside the conference room, watch the client sign the documents, and then they will sign as witnesses later.
For closings in which we represent the seller, the clients will come to our office a few days before the closing to execute the closing documents. Subsequently, we then send the executed documents to the buyer’s attorney via UPS prior to the scheduled closing date. After the buyers complete their closing, the buyer’s attorney will send us our client’s sales proceeds, either a check via overnight delivery or a wire transfer into our trust account. This can result in a delay of a day or two before the seller is able to receive their sale proceeds if the check is being delivered to us via next day delivery.
Despite these additional steps and adjustments to the closing process, it has been working remarkably well, as the lawyers on both sides of the transactions have been very cooperative and accommodating. All in all, it has been business as usual. As always, we're happy to discuss any questions regarding the closing process, as well as any questions regarding real estate in general.