A survey of more than 350 real estate professionals indicates that remote online notarization has increased nearly 40 percent in recent months.

A new survey shows that remote notarization has surged during the coronavirus pandemic, and that real estate professionals are generally optimistic about their industry’s prospects.

Title start up Qualia conducted the survey, which involved polling more than 350 title professionals, real estate agents, lenders and other industry members in both late March and early April, and then again in May. The responses — which also come from 34 different states — show that the use of remote online notarization (RON) rose nearly 40 percent between April and May, Qualia said in a statement Tuesday.

The survey also revealed that 65 percent of respondents were still working remotely in May, and that company owners are considering prolonging remote work options.

Nate Baker

Responding to the survey results, Qualia co-founder and CEO Nate Baker said in a statement that “this is an important time for real estate as the industry undergoes rapid change and a monumental shift in mindset.”

“The real estate industry looks very different than it did just three months ago and it will likely look very different in the next three months as we see remote work and remote online notarizations transition from temporary stopgap solutions to permanent options,” Baker added.

The survey additionally found that as of May, 70 percent of respondents expected their volume to stay the same or increase over the next 30 days. That represents an increase of 414 percent compared to those who expected steady or increasing volume in late March and April.

The findings in the survey are potentially good news for Qualia, which is among a handful of companies trying to digitalize the traditionally paper-laden experience of closing on a home. The company — which was founded in 2015 and has indicated it wants to create an Amazon-like experience for real estate — has been offering all-digital closings for years now, and recently raised $55 million in new funding to expand on that vision.

Among other things, Qualia’s new survey specifically found that real estate professionals are “conducting more e-recordings, remote online notarizations and hybrid remote ink-signed notarizations.” And Baker concluded that “a large majority of respondents remain interested in remote online notarization options, indicating that RON is likely to stay post pandemic and become a consumer expectation.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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