This weekend, Our SVP Richard Weeks was reading the Tierra Grande (Texas A&M Real Estate Center‘s publication which highlights real estate research and addresses issues of interest to real estate professionals and consumers alike) and told me about the Texas law that goes into effect July 1, 2018. You’ll be able to get documents notarized from home, in your underwear if your prefer. Or, perhaps, a beach in South America? Regardless, it is surely a game changer in document execution. Year ago, I argued that I couldn’t imagine a bank being willing to accept such an instrument, I guess I was wrong again. Developments like this continue to make it more likely I can run my real estate business from my Ranch one day, which is the end goal.
New Online Notarization Law
Until now, though, documents required to be notarized injected inconvenience and delay into an otherwise routine transaction. A new development in Texas law will allow Texans—and others—to complete notarized documents without even taking off their Dearfoams. H.B. 1217, which takes effect July 1, 2018, introduces online notarization to Texas.
The new law, most of which is now codified in Chapter 406, Subchapter C, creates a separate class of notary public. That is, there are now “regular notaries” (Subchapter A) and “online notaries” (Subchapter C).
Online notarizations must be conducted by two-way video and audio conference technology that satisfies the standards set by the secretary of state.
The notary may charge the same fees as a regular notary plus an additional $25 online notary charge. The fee must be included in the record.
Records of online notarizations must be maintained for at least five years, whereas a regular notary’s record must be kept for three years or until the notary’s commission expires, whichever is longer.
So, if your real estate professional asks you to open your email, read and electronically sign the attachment, and return it with your electronically notarized signature (on a federal holiday, no less), he’s not flashing back to his previous career in international espionage. He’s just keeping up with the times.