Residential Settlements Team Continues to Conduct Real Estate Closings
March 30, 2020
Our firm is considered an essential business, and we will continue to conduct real estate closings as scheduled. All staff that are not essential to the completion of real estate closings are working from home, to limit the number of individuals in our office space. Our office is closed to the public, except for parties to real estate settlements appearing to sign documents which require wet-ink signatures and acknowledgment by a notary. Maryland’s Office of Legal Counsel has indicated that persons leaving their homes to go to and from an Essential Business is permissible under the Governor’s Order issued March 30, 2020. Specifically, Section II.b.i. of the Order defines Essential Activities as “obtaining necessary supplies or services for one’s self or household.” According to the Office of Legal Counsel, the settlement of real estate is an essential activity for one’s self or household, and is a permissible reason to leave one’s home or residence.
We are committed to doing our part to protect the health and safety of our customers, employees, and communities during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. To that end, we are asking that only essential parties to the signing attend the signing appointment (Borrowers, Buyers and Sellers) and that everyone attending a signing appointment adhere to the following guidelines:
Prior to the signing appointment, we ask that everyone attending a signing appointment consider the following questions:
- Have you or anyone in your household had any cold or flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, within the last 14 days?
- Have you or anyone in your household been in contact with anyone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 within the last 14 days?
- Have you traveled out of state in the last 14 days? Will you be coming from another state to attend closing?
- Do you have any reason to believe that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 while you were traveling domestically or internationally within the last 14 days?
- Are you at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19? (for more information, click HERE.
If a client answers YES to ANY ONE of these questions, we are requesting them to contact the us for details about how we can help with the coordination of their closing.
We are ready, willing and able to allow remote access to the closing for lenders, real estate agents, and any other third-party advisers representing the parties, but those third-party advisers may NOT come to the signing appointment.
At the signing appointment, we are asking that everyone use good hygiene and other preventative measures to prevent potential spread of germs. We recommend that they:
- Follow prevention and preparation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which are available HERE.
- Do not shake hands.
- We will provide new pens for your use at settlement, and ask that you do not share pens. These pens are yours to keep after settlement, or will be disposed of. You are, of course, welcome to bring and use your own pen.
- Wash your hands before and after the appointment with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and running water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact.
This publication is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting a lawyer.