In the recent past, closing on a real estate transaction might have gone one of two ways: Either the buyer chose the traditional route and signed a stack of papers in someone’s office, or they opted for a tech-forward alternative and did everything possible online.
But now, digital notary and mortgage tech startup Notarize has created a third option: hybrid closings.
The company announced its hybrid closing services Wednesday as part of the relaunch of its Intelligent Closing Automation Platform for mortgage lenders.
The service is exactly what it sounds like, with consumers able to sign some documents online while still wrapping things up in the traditional way at their lender’s office.
In a statement Wednesday, Notarize said that offering hybrid services will allow lenders to “serve every type of closing.”
“Life happens outside of normal business hours, and it can be a struggle to get to the closing table,” the statement added. “However not every loan can close online, nor will every borrower want to opt-in. Many will still want to shake hands with their closing agent.”
In a phone conversation, Notarize founder and CEO Pat Kinsel told Inman that the ability to offer hybrid closings comes after the company embarked on “an extraordinary amount of work” that involved entirely rebuilding its tech platform.
He also said that prior to offering hybrid closings, Notarize didn’t have much “nuance to our platform.” Closings were either online or not, and the new hybrid option is meant to address that issue. Now, the company’s platform allows lenders to opt into the level of automation they want.
However, the company also revealed Wednesday that Texas-based Thrive Mortgage has already done 100 online closings and is now able to fund mortgages in as little as 10 minutes.
Kinsel described Thrive as “a fantastic partner.”
And Kelley Cooper Spencer, a senior manager at Thrive, said in a statement that “borrowers are closing on their homes in Starbucks and from their P.J.s.”
“They want painless, seamless experiences that don’t require them to sign stacks of paper in person,” Spencer added. “That’s why we want every closing to be powered by Notarize.”
Lenders interested in using Notarize’s platform pay a monthly fee the is determined by their scale.
Notarize has lately seen a banner period of growth. In addition to the new hybrid closing announcement, the company also said last week that it has facilitated more than $1 billion in online closings since launching the service in 2017.
In November 2018, tech-forward brokerage Redfin announced it had partnered with Notarize to enable all-digital closings on homes listed by it on its website.
One year ago, Notarize also raised $20 million from a variety of investors, pushing its total fundraising haul to $31 million.
Notarize works by getting professional notaries to go over documents via video call. The company works with businesses in a variety of sectors, including law and finance.
Long term, the company also sees the potential for growth; asked what he thought real estate closings would look like in the future Kinsel replied that he sees hybrids as “a stepping stone” to a more digital world.
“Over 95% percent of searches for new homes are done entirely online, with two-thirds of mortgages applied for the same way,” he also said. “We expect online closings to follow that same growth pattern, and be the standard for how lenders deliver exceptional borrower experiences in the near future.”
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