Although the majority of real estate closings include the buyers, sellers, brokers and lender around a big table - with a title attorney - all signing papers together, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. Life has a funny way of getting in the way – job commitments, pregnancy due dates, vacations, illnesses, living in a different state – all these can prevent you from attending the closing in person.
And although you will be missed, there are a few options to consider that can be utilized to still allow the transaction to take place in your absence.
Now, it’s important to first keep in mind that it is not the title company (unless it is a cash transaction) that has any say over the closing date. That distinct honor goes to the lending institution in this case. They will finalize a closing date, and then contact the title company – who will then contact all other parties involved – to coordinate the time and location based on that date given.
So once the date is set and you realize you will be unable to attend, there are a few options that you have in regards to how your role in signing the required documents will play out. But first, and most importantly, if you feel that there is a chance you will not be able to attend, please let your agent and the title company know as soon as possible so that alternate arrangements can be made.
One option is to assign a Power of Attorney (POA). If, for example, you will be away on business but your spouse will be available to attend, you could assign your spouse as your POA over matters pertaining to this transaction, thus allowing them to sign the documents in your place at the actual closing. A POA is not just limited to a spouse, of course, it could be anyone you choose whether it’s a relative, non-relative, friend, or perhaps even your real estate agent. This fairly simple document can be drawn up by the title company for a nominal fee and signed at your convenience any length of time prior to the closing. Please note that if you as the buyer is planning to use a POA, your lender will need to approve that ahead of time, so please advise the title company as soon as possible if you think you will be needing to assign a POA in your place.
Another option is to do a “mail away” closing. This means the title company would mail all of the documents to you to sign in the presence of a Notary Public, and provide you with an overnight mailing label (such as FedEx, etc) to mail them back to us. Then the regularly scheduled closing would take place with the remaining parties present at the closing table.
Buying or refinancing a home is sometimes a confusing process, but there are tools in place like the POA’s or mail away closings to help the consumer. Be sure to always ask your bank or title company how they can make things convenient for you.