Broker Check

A (temporary?) New Way of Doing Business: Real Estate Transactions and Notaries

April 22, 2020

It's interesting to watch how our economy and doing business is continuing to evolve in this Quaran-time many of us our finding ourselves in. Most recently changes have been made that affect how those in need of relocation will transact real estate, and if you're finding that you're in need of notarizing a document or getting estate planning done, that's changed (for now) too!

Here's an update from a local real estate specialist and owner of Katchen Company, Kathy Boyle and denver estate planning attorney Sara Bastani:

Buying and selling homes in this new reality

Currently we live in a very strange and unpredictable time in the age of COVID-19. We are unsure of what the future looks like outside of our social distancing world and where we go from here. What we do know is no matter what, people will never stop needing to buy or sell their homes – if we need to shelter in place let it be in one that you love!

That said, as real estate professionals we are rapidly adapting to this changing way of life and embracing this amazing age of technology in which we live. Welcome to the virtual age of open houses and showings! Now more than ever, real estate agents are critical to the success for any buyer or seller to navigate this virtual world.

For sellers, all the important practices of decluttering, making home improvements, landscaping, cleaning, and staging go unchanged. What has changed is the importance of selling your home from a visual perspective. What will your home look like through a video tour, what about a floor plan? Will drone photography make more of an impact? More than ever brokers need to be creative and strategic in working with sellers to capture the buyers’ interest without the benefit of being there in person.

For buyers, they already are adept at online searches for homes either by Google, Zillow or through the MLS. Now they will be focused on virtual open house events – if they cannot walk into the house can the broker help them visualize themselves living there through Zoom, Facebook Live, YouTube streaming? Are the pictures painting a story that makes buyers make an offer?

These are the questions and challenges that lie ahead of us. What we know is that good real estate brokers will work tirelessly in their client’s best interest to make the visual become a reality. If you would like someone to help you navigate the challenges of buying or selling, contact me - I will guide you through to a successful ending.

Kathy Boyle, 303-507-0859 @katchencompany

Notarizing Documents While Staying-At-Home: An Estate Planning Perspective

As if notarizing a document isn’t enough of an inconvenience in our “Pre-Covid 19” lives, we are now under a stay-at-home order in Colorado. Does this mean that we must risk our health to venture into the world, masks in place, abiding by social distancing rules, and bringing our own pens to accomplish this task? Fortunately the answer is, not necessarily. On March 30th, 2020, The Notary Program Rules for the state of Colorado (8 CCR 1505-11) were temporarily amended to authorize remote notarization via “audio visual communication”.

Estate Planners are particularly happy to have this temporary exception where wills and other important documents require notaries to make them legal documents. Many people have time on their hands during these long days at home and are turning to their perpetual to-do lists. Often, creating a last will and testament has also stubbornly remains a fixture here, right above cleaning out the gutters and making photo albums. The fear and panic in this uncertain time has also encouraged people to harness and control wherever possible. Creating an estate plan can bring about a certain peace of mind.

Fortunately, getting your will in place can now happen even while staying-at-home. Along with most of the regular requirements for a notarization (among other specific requirements not discussed here), the amended Rule allows for the Notary Public to communicate with the signor via ‘audio-visual communication’ which it defines as “communication by which an individual is able to see, hear and communicate with a remotely located individual in real time using electronic means”. Some of the more popular examples of this are Zoom and Google Meet but there are many to choose from. This type of technology has been an MVP of the pandemic where it is virtually connecting employees, medical professionals and patients, families, friends and now, notaries and signors.

As an estate planning attorney, I have been successfully meeting with families and individuals via online meetings, completing their plans, and checking that item off their lists. Notarizing a Last Will and Testament is one of the exceptions to the general Rule and requires different steps than most other documents. When seeking a Notary Public during this time, be sure that the Notary you work with understands the requirements and limitations of the new Rule and has identified the appropriate communication platform for your situation.

Learn more about how COVID – 19 is affecting estate planning at:

Sara Bastani, Esq., Bastani Law Firm, LLC

3900 E. Mexico Ave., Ste. 300 Denver, CO 80210

Telephone: 720.316.9616