Tuesday, April 28, 2020 / by Vanessa Saunders
From Vanessa Saunders, MBA, MIMC , Broker Owner, Global Property Systems Real Estate
April 28, 2020.
As a real estate brokerage in the state of New York, my team of agents and I have been told by Governor Cuomo and the New York State Association of Realtors that we cannot have any face to face interactions with other agents, our clients and our service providers. Since much of traditional real estate has been conducted at a personal level, this has made it difficult, if not impossible to operate as we have in the past. We’ve been turned upside down.
You may be surprised to find out that I think this is a good thing.
Sometimes it takes a shake-up to stimulate change. In the 19 years that I’ve been in real estate, I’ve been talking with people in and out of the industry about digitally transforming the closing process. For a long time it’s been “We’ll do it someday.” Thanks to the quarantine, that day has come.
Remote online notarization
To have digital closings, New York title companies needed to use remote online notarizations,. The technology for it has long existed, but its legality has never been granted by New York State. In response to the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) public health emergency, on March 19, 2020 Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.7, which authorizes notary publics to officiate documents remotely. The Executive Order allows a notary public to witness a document being signed, using audio video technology, and to then notarize the document. There is the usual laundry list of conditions to exist and procedures to be followed, but remote notarizations are now possible in New York.
Blockchain and real estate
Another technology benefiting from the COVID-19 pandemic is the recognition of the value of a digitally controlled transaction platform. Blockchain had its first real-world application when a person (or group of people) using the name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 applied it to serve as the public transaction ledger of the crypto-currency Bitcoin. Blockchain is not cryptocurrency, contrary to many misconceptions. What it actually does is create a record of all the details of a transaction, which can be viewed by everyone but cannot be altered by a third party.
Its use in real estate transactions is obvious. It is common in many of the transactions in Europe and Asia, but it really hasn’t caught on in the United States. I have been involved in several blockchain transactions, and am a global influencer and blockchain advisor to REConsortia (https://consortia.realestate,) which uses blockchain for real estate referral tracking and escrow payments. I have no doubt that the use of blockchain will revolutionize the real estate industry.
Global Property Systems says:
There are people in the real estate industry who have been operating the same way for decades. COVID-19 is shaking them up. It’s likely to create better practices for a modern industry as remote closing processes move forward. This will improve real estate for the buyers, the sellers and the Realtors who embrace change.
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