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. .

Wire Fraud is on the Rise

In the digital era, fraudsters have upped their game to attempt to steal, connive, and deceive. A lucrative target for criminals is now the real estate industry at large. All parties involved in a real estate transaction must take extra steps to ensure minimal risk when dealing with sensitive information and funds. Fraudsters are constantly lurking for vulnerabilities at every corner of the internet, especially when it comes to online banking transactions. A known email scam called phishing is being utilized to redirect clients’ money into fraudulent accounts. “Phishing is a fraudulent practice of sending emails from a reputable company to convince individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers”. In these cases, fraudsters are hacking into email accounts of lenders, real estate agents or title companies, pretending to be an employee, and then providing false information, such as fraudulent wiring instructions. If their attempts are successful and funds are delivered to a fraudulent account, the funds are virtually impossible to recover. Because of this, Federal Title & Escrow Company will only send wire instructions to clients via email, in a secured format and only upon request. Clients should never accept wiring instructions from any other party. So that our clients can also take their own precautionary steps when sending funds, we’ve prepared the below wire verification checklist:

  1. Verify that the wiring instructions are received, in a secured email format, from Federal Title & Escrow Company.
  2. Have your bank verify that the name on the account of the receiving bank is Close It! Title Services, Inc. D/B/A Federal Title & Escrow Company.
  3. If the wiring instructions you have received do not display the receiving bank as United Bank and/or do not display the recipient or beneficiary as Federal Title & Escrow Company and/or Close It! Title Services, Inc., or a combination thereof, you should immediately STOP and contact our office by phone at 202-362-1500. 

CLOSE IT! House of the Week: A town home in Bloomingdale

CLOSE IT! House of the Week: A town home in Bloomingdale

A beautiful Victorian style townhouse located in LeDroit Park has an open floor plan with a modernized gourmet kitchen, perfect for hosting and entertaining. The unit includes 3 bedrooms and 3 spa like bathrooms with a bonus outdoor patio area on the property. The town home spans over 1,800 square feet and could be yours just in time for a Labor Day weekend celebration for only $869,000.

Other features:

  • Recess lighting throughout the home
  • Driveway and street parking
  • Off bedroom balcony
  • Pets allowed
  • Walk Score® – 95 Walkers Paradise
  • Transit Sore – 78 Excellent Transit
  • Bike Score – 84 Very Bikeable

Assuming the home buyer puts down 5 percent on a conventional loan, their cash to close would be $67,012 and monthly payments would be approximately $3,572. For a more accurate picture of what the cash-to-close figures would be for you, including the seller’s net proceeds and such, visit the CLOSE IT! web version calculator here or download the CLOSE IT! iOS app to your smart phone or tablet.

Feel free to tell your real estate agent that you want to use Federal Title & Escrow Company for settlement and save up to $750 on closing cost by ordering online. Always remember, it’s your choice in selecting a settlement company when it’s time to close. 

Close It! House of the Week: A home to love in Chevy Chase

Close It! House of the Week: A home to love in Chevy Chase

We’ve made our way to the D.C. side of Chevy Chase to see about a wonderful home filled with lots of light, charm and character. It’s listed for $935,000.

Featuring 3 BR / 1.5 BA and a bonus room, this detached single family home also offers lots of room to grow: walk-up attic, unfinished basement and studio in the back yard. A lovely sunroom overlooks a terraced garden and deck for cookouts and entertaining.

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $213,782.36. Monthly payments will then be around $4,432.84. For a complete picture of cash-to-close, including the seller’s net proceeds from this home-sale scenario, check out the Close It! Web version or download the free Close It! iOS app.

Close It! House of the Week: Walls of windows in Logan Circle; Walkscore of 97

Close It! House of the Week: Walls of windows in Logan Circle; Walkscore of 97

An ideal living option for someone who prefers a carless lifestyle, we’ve ventured out from our second office location in Logan Circle to check out a 1BR / 1.5 BA condo. It’s listed for $725,000.

This unit features a top-of-the-line gourmet kitchen with breakfast bar and separate dining room space. Southern exposures flood the open floorplan with lots of sunlight. The master bedroom offers two walk-in closets and en suite bathroom. The location – steps from some of the city’s best restaurants and retailers – is tough to beat. Designated parking is available for an additional sum.

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $164,935.99. Monthly payments will then be around $2,686.80, including the $544 HOA fee. For a complete picture of cash-to-close, including the seller’s net proceeds from this home-sale scenario, check out the Close It! Web version or download the free Close It! iOS app.

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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.