Title Tip – Witness Closing

The use of a Witness Closing (or signing/ notary service) has become much more common in recent years.  It is often used where buyers and sellers live long distances away from each other, and one party or another (or both) uses a Witness Closer to avoid the time and expense of travel to a central location.

  • Many properties being sold today are owned by lenders who have obtained the property through a foreclosure action.  After the redemption period has expired, the lender now becomes the owner of the property and is free to sell the property to a buyer.  With these closing happening all over the country, it doesn’t pay for the lender to have a representative travel everywhere to sign the necessary documents.
  • Another common use of a witness closer is for some of the “on line” or nation-wide lenders who need to close loans that are in cities where they don’t have a branch office.

For situations like these, the seller or lender will use a third party to witness the execution of the documents, completion of acknowledgements, and return of the documents. Those documents, delivered to the Witness Closer are typical for any sale or re-finance transaction.  They include deeds, loan documents, mortgages, notes, disclosures, affidavits, and settlement statements prepared by the seller or lender.

Here is an important distinction from a standard escrow closing  –  the witness closer does not handle funds, search or examine title, or prepare or retain documents.  Their function is only to witness the signing of those documents sent to them by others.  In this role, they are not prepared or qualified to answer any questions about the documents being presented.  They are not responsible for their content. The witness may, however, at the direction of the closing agent, request any amount due from the borrower as shown on the settlement statement – and forward the same to the seller or lender as directed.

Cygneture Title provides witness closing services for situations where this is needed.  We can offer this at any of our three offices, or if special handling is required we can offer this at another location more convenient to a customer who is not mobile.  Please give us a call if we can be assistance to you.

Disclaimer – this information is NOT legal or financial advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the same.  It is offered for informational purposes only.  Many different factors can influence the proper course of action for a particular situation.  Please seek the advice of a qualified professional for guidance with your specific transaction.