Can you close on a new property virtually?

Most people go to a closing session in person when buying a new property. There, they meet with the title company, the seller and the real estate agents. They all go over the paperwork together and sign everything into the name of the new buyer.

But maybe you’re not interested in meeting in person. Say you live in Florida all winter, but you want to keep investing in properties in Pennsylvania. This is your business, and you can’t just stop investing for a few months while you’re out of state. You also don’t want to drive or fly back and forth constantly. Can you do a virtual closing to buy the property without going in person?

You can, but it’s not always as simple as you may assume. Sometimes, you just sign the papers online and then still meet up face-to-face to finish it. Other times, you don’t. It depends on your situation. Here are the three most common ways that these virtual closings — also called e-closings — tend to work:

  1. You use a hybrid closing. Some documents are electronic, others are not. You sign some online and meet in person to sign the rest.
  2. You still meet with a notary in person. The documents themselves are all online, and they bring an electronic device to the meeting.
  3. You do not meet anyone in person. Everyone involved signs the paperwork online. You still have to talk to the notary and have them witness it, but they do it via webcam.

As the real estate process evolves, be sure you always keep up with the legal options you have.