Keeping Safe During Real Estate Closings

Keeping Safe During Real Estate Closings

Operational Best Practices/Safe Closing Protocols


In response to COVID-19, Emmanuel Sheppard and Condon (“ESC”) will implement the following operational procedures for all real estate closings occurring between March 26, 2020 and April 30, 2020:


General Information


• Symptomatic Clients: Any clients who exhibit symptoms or that may be suspected of having COVID
19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.) should notify ESC prior to arrival.


• Funding Requirements: For all transactions, all incoming funds, including but not limited to, earnest
money deposits and cash to close shall be transmitted via wire transfer.


• Transfer of Keys and Other Items: The parties and/or real estate agents will be required to make
arrangements for the transfer of keys, garage door openers, alarm system information, and any other items
related to the transaction outside of closing.


• General Environmental Cleaning: The offices of ESC will be cleaned on a nightly basis. Cleaning
personnel will be required to use appropriate disinfectant solutions when cleaning office areas and
conference rooms.


• Workforce Dispersion: As a result of COVID-19, ESC has been required to adopt new operating
procedures, which include much of our staff working remotely. The safety of our clients, staff and their
families are our utmost concern. We appreciate your patience during this time.


Closing the Transaction: Buyer/Seller may elect from the following TWO options:
 

(1) Execute Closing Documents Remotely:


• Receipt of Closing Documents: In advance of the closing date, Buyer/Seller will receive their
closing packet via email or overnight courier such as Fed-Ex. Buyer/Seller are asked to perform a
complete review of their closing documents. If Buyer/Seller should have any questions regarding
their closing documents, they are asked to contact ESC by phone to discuss their documents.


• Execution of Closing Documents: Buyer/Seller will be required to execute their documents
remotely in the presence of a notary (must not be a family member, nor have a financial interest in
the transaction). Buyer/Seller must also execute their closing documents in the presence of two
witnesses (one witness may also be the notary - must not be a family member, nor have a financial
interest in the transaction). Buyer/Seller will be required to return the original, signed closing
documents to ESC via hand delivery or FedEx. (If interested, please contact ESC to discuss
remote/online notary options.)


• Handling of Closing Documents: Upon receipt, the package containing the closing documents
will be placed in a designated holding area for up to 24 hours (when possible). At the end of the
24-hour period, the file will be processed pursuant to normal operating standards and best
practices.


(2) Execute Closing Documents at the offices of ESC:


• Reduction of Time Needed in Office: In advance of the closing date, Buyer/Seller may receive
their closing packet via email. Buyer/Seller are asked to completely review their closing
documents. In an effort to limit person to person contact, closing documents will not be reviewed
or discussed in person at closing, only by phone prior to the closing.


• Scheduling the Closing: Buyer and Seller will be required to schedule a time to appear at ESC to
execute their closing documents.


• Staggered/Split Closings: When possible, closings will be Staggered (30 minutes) to minimize
the number of customers in lobby.


• Closing Documents will be provided by ESC: All closing documents to be executed at closing
will be provided by ESC. In an effort to maintain a sanitary environment, ESC respectfully requests
that Buyer and Seller not bring any items, including documents, to closing.


• Limitations on Attendees at Closing: Attendance at closing is strictly limited to ESC employees
and Buyer/Seller. Realtors are requested to attend by phone. All other individuals, including but
not limited to, children, family members and friends, are respectfully asked not to attend the
closing, and will not be permitted inside the offices of ESC.


• Social Distancing in Lobby: Only Buyers/Sellers will be permitted in the lobby area and are
requested to maintain a social distance of 6 feet from one another. Food and Beverages will not be
provided during closing and will not be permitted in the building.


• Conference Rooms: Disinfectant wipes, Lysol spray, and hand sanitizer will be located in all
conference rooms.


• ESC Employees Must Wear Gloves: ESC attorneys, closers, and employees are required to wear
gloves before meeting with Buyer/Seller.


• Buyer/Seller Execution of Closing Documents: Buyer/Seller will be placed in a designated seat
6 ft away from the attorney/closer. The Buyer/Seller will be asked to use hand sanitizer. The
Buyer/Seller will be provided a pair of gloves to wear before signing documents. The Buyer/Seller
will be provided a pen to sign the documents or can use his/her own blue pen. Buyer/Seller may
keep the pen or discard the pen after signing. Buyer/Seller are encouraged to wash their hands or
use hand sanitizer before leaving the building.


• Execution of Documents: Buyer/Seller will execute the closing documents in the presence of the
attorney/closer. The attorney/closer will check for any errors, notarize, and witness the closing
documents. The Buyer/Seller will then be free to leave.


• Processing Closing Documents: After execution of the documents, the closing file will be placed
in the designated holding area for 24-hours (if possible). At the end of the 24-hour period the file
will be processed pursuant to normal operating standards and best practices.


• Post-Closing Disinfecting: For the safety of those using the conference rooms at ESC, after each
closing the attorney/ closer, while wearing gloves, will be required to wipe down the chairs, table
and door handle with disinfecting wipes or bleach solution.


• Visitor Health Screening: Parties that must physically attend Closing at ESC are requested to
complete and sign the Visitor Health Screening Questionnaire.

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