April 7, 2020
Pruitt Title is working very hard to continue to provide excellent service and a seamless settlement experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is the information we have, procedures we have implemented and policies we will follow to keep everyone happy and safe.
Our Underwriter, First American Title Insurance Company, is allowing settlements to continue in VA, MD and DC. This means we can close in person at Pruitt’s main office in Tyson’s Corner, remotely (out of state), offsite (at a location of your choosing), and virtually (see more about this below).
Most courthouses are still open which means we are able to record and disburse, as per usual. A handful of courthouses are totally closed and we will not be able to record however, we can still close and disburse. Recording will take place once the courthouse is reopened. In these cases, lender’s and owner’s title insurance will be issued through the ultimate recording date with an affidavit agreed to and signed by all parties and an additional requirement to Schedule B1 of the Commitment.
A virtual settlement is a settlement conducted online. It’s basically a video call and signatures are electronic. We have run into a few issues with this type of closing. The first being the systems used to conduct this type of closing are extremely overwhelmed and sometimes completely unavailable. The second issue is lenders do not accept electronic signatures so if you are financing a home purchase, the closing cannot be done virtually. The third issue is some courthouses do not accept electronic signatures so if you are selling a home and want to close virtually, we must be sure the county will accept the deed. Lastly, if the settlement is split between two title companies, we must make sure the “other” title company will accept electronic signatures.
Below are guidelines we have put into place to help keep EVERYONE safe:
- Clients required to sign the closing documents would ideally be the only people attending closing. We know how important it is to have your trusted advisors at closing, but also want to limit everyone’s chance of exposure to others when possible.
- It is highly encouraged that Realtors, Loan Officers, and family members (including children) refrain from attending closing. We are happy to “FaceTime” people in, when possible.
- Everyone must wash their hands before and after settlement.
- Buyers and Sellers are required to sign their documents at separate times.
- IDs for anyone signing must be texted to 703-964-7103 before or during the settlement.
- Sellers can request a full remote settlement, digitally signed and notarized. While this is highly recommended, it’s not always possible. Please ask your processor if this would work in your case. Also, refer back to paragraph three above.
- If closing at our main office, the conference room shall be sanitized between each use.The Settlement Agent / Attorney will be seated more than six feet from the clients signing the settlement documents to comply with the CDC’s social distancing recommendations.
- Although we sanitize our pens, please feel free to bring your own!
- For closings outside of our office, closing should be held on a porch or garage when possible. If held indoors, the area should be completely sanitized.
- Clients must be in good health at the time of the signing and must not display any flu-like symptoms.
- Handshaking is not permitted.
- No copies will be given at settlement. Electronic copies of the signed documents will be securely e-mailed to clients following the closing.
The safety and health of our staff and clients is of paramount concern to us. Please keep in mind we are considered essential services and working as efficiently as we can while trying to maintain safety for our own families. We are teleworking with most of our staff having children at home due to school closures. We appreciate your patience and understanding always, and especially now.