What's the status of e-closings in DC, Maryland and Virginia?

It’s about time. The title insurance industry is catching up and rapidly integrating technology into all aspects of the real estate transaction.

The ESIGN Act was federally passed in 2000 to enforce the viability of electronically signed documents, but ironically, an industry that thirsts for more efficiency has been slow in adapting to technology.

Eighteen years on, homebuyers and refinancing homeowners still come to our closing table every day to sign their closing documents, some 50+ pages, with pen in hand. But that all may be changing in the very near future.

With the emergence of online mortgage solutions and the increasing availability of technology to simplify the process of finding a home for purchase, the title insurance industry may be next on the fast track to online integration.

In the next year there will be a major shift toward electronic closings, or e-closings, as legislation is being proposed and adopted all over the country to make way for a faster and more secure way to close real estate transactions.

In 1996, Federal Title became one the first companies in the nation to offer an online service to shop and compare closing costs, and more importantly, order title and settlement services.

We are now positioned to be among the first in the country to offer e-closings in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. We’re still waiting for clearer legislation in Maryland and DC to make e-closings viable, and not all lenders have a system in place yet for tracking them.

How does an e-closing work?

Once the parties have a ratified contract, any party in the transaction may order settlement services at https://federaltitle.com/order. The title company and lender will work to finalize a closing disclosure and coordinate a settlement date with the borrower.

The closing documents from the title company and the loan documents from the lender will then be uploaded to an online portal where the borrower, lender, agent and seller (if a purchase), will have the ability to review and sign their documents in front of a video notary.

Can I close remotely now via e-closing?

Federal Title is up to date with the latest software to provide an online closing for our clients. However, there a few caveats to be ironed out this year.

Legislation in DC and Maryland does not yet explicitly state that the use of a video notary is acceptable, although no legislation against it has been passed.

Meanwhile, Virginia was the first state in the United States to allow the use of video notary and thus is a viable option for e-closing.

The second caveat is on the lending side. The Note and Deed of Trust are essentially the two most important mortgage documents that the borrower signs.

Some mortgage lenders have already established an “E-Note” and “E-Vault” platform and are capable of closing your entire loan electronically. Essentially, the E-Note allows for the Note to be enforceable when electronically signed, and the E-Vault stores the E-Note.

Many mortgage lenders are diligently working to transition to e-closings, and it will be no surprise to see a major influx of e-closings in the very near future. We’re also keeping an eye on e-closing legislation in DC and Maryland.

To see if you qualify for a remote closing or have more questions regarding the e-closing process, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

CLOSE IT! House of the Week: Ballston Living for Millennials

Calling all millennials who want to experience city life but don’t want to live directly in the district. We have a beautiful, spacious two-bedroom, two in a half bathroom condo with a den, located in the heart of Ballston-Virginia-Square which is listed for $735,000.  

This high rise has over 1,300 square feet and is move-in ready with granite kitchen counter tops, fresh paint, new carpet, a stackable washer/dryer plus two garage parking spaces, perfect for a roommate or significant other.

It’s full of amenities to include a pool, fitness center, and a party room. All of your friends can come to visit you because you are walking distance from Ballston and Virginia Square metro stops. You’ll be able to enjoy happy hours, dinners, and late night strolls of the city or even Uber to D.C. to sightsee or club hop. 

Assuming you put down 5 percent on a conventional loan, your cash to close numbers would be approximately $51,021. Monthly mortgage payments will then be approximately $3,112. For a more complete picture of what your cash-to-close figures would be for this condo, view the CLOSE IT! Web version or download the free CLOSE IT! iOS app.

Don't forget to tell your agent that you want to close with Federal Title & Escrow Company because home buyers save up to $750 by ordering closing services online. Read further here about ways to save at closing.  

Clarifying a common misconception: title insurance premiums

We've said it before, and we want to make it absolutely clear because we continue to get questions about title insurance premiums. Title insurance premiums are NOT created equal.

While you no doubt have heard that title insurance underwriters are legally required to file their rates with the local insurance commission, underwriters do not file identical rate schedules.

It is true that title companies who are agents of the same underwriter must charge the same title insurance premium. But sometimes title companies become agents of multiple underwriters, using one title insurance underwriter for one jurisdiction and a second underwriter in another jurisdiction, etc.

Federal Title is a prime example of this. We use different underwriters depending on the jurisdiction, allowing us to pass extended savings on to our homebuyers.

We receive calls fairly regularly from confused agents, lenders and consumers who are wondering why our Quick Quote reflects a title insurance premium on a Maryland property that is hundreds of dollars less than the other quotes. It's not because our quote is incorrect, it's because our underwriter charges a lower premium.

That title insurance premiums are created equal is a common misconception we wish to clarify for our agents and lenders as well as consumers, because we believe they are our best ally when it comes to looking out for the best interest of our homebuyers.

Headlines: The studio stigma; top DC suburbs for young workers

Here is a look at what's happening in real estate in and around the District of Columbia.

What you should know before buying a newly constructed home

Plan the details of your new home’s infrastructure and finishes, allocate your budget for the features and amenities that will make it uniquely yours, and monitor its construction with a builder who stands behind their work. -Washington Post

Title insurance: A friend in deed

After a house goes into contract, a title company searches public records, typically going back a number of years, to look for any problems with the home’s title. More than a third of all title searches reveal a problem, according to the American Land Title Association (ALTA). -Wall Street Journal

The studio stigma

Those who live in studios are staying in them longer and learning to make their peace with it and those newly entering the market, regardless of their age and status, are becoming more open to the idea of living in a studio. -New York Observer

10 best DC suburbs for young professionals

So, you're in your 20s and have a great job. The next question is: Where do you want to live? If big-city life isn't for you, there are plenty of suburban offerings surrounding the District. -Washington Business Journal

The essential guide to being an amateur landord in DC

We recommend consulting directly with DC’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) if you’re confused or unsure whether your unit needs a particular certification. -Urban Turf

Headlines: On the brink of a housing boom in NoMa; 67 condos coming to Logan Circle

Here's a look at what's happening in real estate in and around the District of Columbia. 

The Union Market housing boom is about to explode

In May, the neighborhood’s first mixed residential/retail space will break ground. If all goes well, eight more development projects will follow. -Washingtonian

Massive Tyson's project rebranded, final development plans filed

One of the few massive Tysons overhauls remaining in the Fairfax County pipeline has a new name and a clear vision for the initial phases of development. -Washington Business Journal

67-unit condo project on site of Logan Circle car wash will deliver in 2016

The development will consist of studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms. There will be five inclusionary zoning units, as well as 27 parking spaces and 26 bicycle spots. -Urban Turf

Concerns rising over new affordable housing law

The Disposition of District Land for Affordable Housing Amendment Act (DDLAH) requires residential buildings built on land formally owned by the District to allocate 30 percent of their units to affordable housing. -Curbed DC

Wary homeowners offered new ways to finance their next move

Now, rising home values are drawing homeowners back into the market, but many remain hesitant. They worry about not being able to find another home in their price range — especially if buying a new one is contingent on selling the one they have.-Washington Post

Racing to buy homes sight unseen

With the low-hanging fruit from the housing bust mostly picked, Wall Street-backed buyers of real estate are increasingly turning to quantitative data analysis as a way of accelerating their search for a dwindling supply of available homes that can be transformed into rental properties. -Wall Street Journal

  • Ways to save at closing

    Title charges are the largest chunk of closing costs and can vary by hundreds of dollars.

    Learn more

  • What are closing costs?

    The real estate closing process involves loan steps, legal steps and title steps.

    Learn more

  • What's title insurance?

    Insure your legal ownership just like you'd insure the building, but for lots cheaper.

    Learn more

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Our blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. Rate tables and figures that appear on our blog are deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For current rates & policies, refer to our Quick Quote and Consumer Guide. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on our blog.