In the “old days,” aka the pre-pandemic era before we got used to hopping on Zoom, Teams and Google Meet, you would need to physically go in-person to your real estate lawyer’s office. Whether you were dropping off cheques, signing documents or picking up keys, there’s a lot more running around.

To save time, ask your real estate lawyer if they offer virtual signing through video conferencing.

What are the benefits of doing a virtual signing with a real estate lawyer?

If your lawyer offers virtual signing, it can save you a lot of time. You won’t need to make the trip to their office, and you don’t have to sit around in the waiting room. All you have to do on the day of your appointment is open the calendar invite and click the video conferencing link.

It also gives you access to a wider geographic location when searching for your real estate lawyer. With a virtual signing, it’s possible to purchase a home in a city across the country without having to physically visit at any point in the process.

How does virtual signing work when purchasing a property?

Instead of going to their office, your real estate lawyer or their legal assistant will send you the prepared documents ahead of time so you can review. In the video call with your lawyer, they will explain what is on each page and you’ll initial and sign where needed.

The lawyer will require that you have a printed copy of each document and sign them visibly on video so they can verify your signature. Their office will likely send you an email containing all the documents necessary prior to the video call.

What are the downsides to virtual signing?

If you choose not to have your lawyer send the documents by courier, you’ll need access to a printer and scanner so that you can print everything out yourself and submit the signed documents via email. There’s a lot of paperwork, so make sure to keep the pages in order!

With technology often comes some technical difficulties, for example printer issues, problems with the files, or internet connection problems. If you’re in a time crunch or don’t have the patience to deal with some potential tech problems, you might prefer an in-person meeting.

When does the virtual signing with my real estate lawyer occur?

While every law firm is slightly different, reviewing documents for your home purchase is typically done within the week leading up to your closing date. Most lawyers will charge a rush fee if you provide them info too close to the closing date, so it’s a good idea to leave plenty of time and contact your lawyer as early as possible.

As a first-time home buyer, how should I prepare for a virtual signing with my lawyer?

  • Have a copy of your documents printed in advance
  • Have a quiet space where you can focus on what the lawyer is saying
  • Keep your government-issued photo ID nearby, so you can show the lawyer on camera
  • Have a couple of pens handy, so you sign the documents
  • Get a note-taking app or some paper so you can make notes if needed
  • Make a list of questions you want to ask your lawyer so you don’t forget any

After the virtual signing is complete, you’ll need to send the signed documents to your real estate lawyer. It’s a good idea to keep a copy for yourself too!

Will I still need to go to my real estate lawyer’s office to pick up the keys on closing day?

This depends on your lawyer’s closing day procedures. You can ask them how they handle key pick up. Either you will have to go to their office, or you may be able to ask for the keys to be left in a lockbox at the property. On closing day, you’ll be notified the keys are ready for pick up or a lockbox code will be released.

We understand the value of doing things virtually, and when you sign-up for Perch, you can get pre-approved on your mortgage from the comfort of your own home.

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