Remote Closings Help Real Estate Industry Move Forward

11 Lacebark Lane, East Quogue closed remotely, Photo: Douglas Elliman Photography

The show must go on. While the quarantine continues, many businesses–many industries, really–have had to adapt to sustain. So much of real estate is reliant on physical space, from first looks to closings, which has prompted experts and professionals to get creative, and fast. One of the most important steps in a real estate transaction, the closing–which is almost always done in person with several parties present–has now gone virtual. Douglas Elliman Real Estate agent Palmer Gaget has completed several remote closings and discusses the ins and outs of coordinating the very involved process:

This has been a creative collaboration. It’s nice to be able to tell a positive story about being able to accomplish our home sales on the East End during our quarantine period, and without delays.

Last week, I was fortunate enough to have participated in two closings, a house in East Quogue on Monday (with Courtney and Allen Piliero on my team), and a home in Southampton on Friday. Quelle week! In both cases, the buyers and sellers accomplished their goals, without delay.

In home sales, once the contracts have been signed and the closing date set, the process of sealing the deal involves a sequence of events, involving many in-person meetings. With so much uncertainty, we just wanted to get the job done as quickly as possible, and without contact. It took some teamwork.

The attorneys agreed to “close by mail,” where buyers and sellers granted powers of attorney to their respective reps, and the title company handled the transaction. There is A LOT of coordinating on their parts to accomplish the task.

The physical walk-through inspection, where the buyer has a last chance to see the condition of the property before he or she writes that final check, is almost always performed in person. If the buyer is unavailable or out of town, they will usually rely on the buyer’s agent to conduct the tour. In these two cases, that was just not possible. Thanks to FaceTime, we were able to connect the buyer and seller directly, and the seller actually conducted her own tour.

Zoom is also a good way to perform a walkthrough if more than three parties need to participate.

Bank and commission checks can be wired directly, and it is possible in these unprecedented times to have a contact-free closing.

I am so grateful to the buyers and sellers, and to my colleagues internally and from other agencies, as well as the attorneys and title representatives who brought the sales to fruition.

Palmer Gaget of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Photo: Courtesy Douglas Elliman Real Estate