First Minnesota Home Sold using Online Notary
A change in Minnesota law that took effect on January 1, 2019, now permits remote online notarization, allowing notaries registered in Minnesota “to perform a remote notarial act.” This change will become increasingly convenient for Minnesotans, especially when buying and selling real estate.
In Minnesota, notaries are required for real estate purchases and sales to act as an impartial witness when parties sign important documents, such as mortgages, deeds, and affidavits. A notary’s most common duty is to prevent fraud by witnessing and stating—through a notary’s signature and stamp—that an individual signing a particular document is the individual identified in that document. This change now allows sellers and buyers to sign documents in front of a notary who is virtually present, usually via webcam, as opposed to physically in the room. This new possibility is more convenient for users seeking to avoid the travel time to a title company’s office or bank, which was previously required to complete most real estate transactions.
Notarize, an online notary platform, took advantage of this change in the law and became the first company to notarize a Minnesotan’s home sale remotely. Notarize partnered with Redfin, a digital brokerage firm that served as the lender in the transaction. Notarize and Redfin follow a number of other real estate technology companies that are making their presence known in the Twin Cities.
This change will inevitably shake up the home buying and selling process—especially for Minnesotans living in rural areas or even those just looking to avoid a snowy commute. Furthermore, the new law is likely to have implications for title companies and their business models, as remote notaries become more commonplace in Minnesota. At Wilkerson & Hegna, PLLP, we stay on top of the changing legal landscape, which often has implications for our clients, their transactions, and their businesses.