OCT 24, 2013

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What We're Hearing

Will Four-Hour Closings Become the New Normal?


WE’RE HEARING from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania a k a the Keystone State where Public Act 73 of 2013 was recently enacted on Oct. 9. The act adopts the revised uniform law on notarial acts. Don’t touch that mouse because in practice this is actually practically important. Parts of the law make sense, which include a test to become a notary and a continuing education requirement. However, one small part of the 44-page law requires a notary to keep a journal of notarial acts.

In case you have not been to a closing lately there are a ridiculous number of documents to be signed. Many of them have to be notarized. This takes time. The new law requires notaries to maintain a contemporaneous journal of their “notarial acts” for each document they notarize. Perhaps this will somehow cut down on fraud. What it will do is add time to each and every closing. Basically for every document that is notarized you will spend an equal amount of time waiting for the poor notary to enter the info into a journal. Each notary act requires you to enter four to five items of information.

The law is not supposed to fully kick in until 2015 and “regulations” have to be developed to implement it. Someone should take into consideration the length of time a closing is going to take if the notary has to keep a contemporaneous journal. Maybe technology will eventually advance so we can do a fingerprint check at closing to make sure no fraud is taking place. Some of you may remember fingerprinting from your NMLS experience.

Speaking of the NMLS, Texas has just adopted the NMLS Uniform State Test, which replaces state-specific test components for the states that adopt it. The UST has 25 specific questions. Most states have adopted the UST but there are still 16 states that have not including New York, California, Florida and Illinois. There is no requirement that a state adopt the UST but in those states you will have to take the national test and individual state’s test.

Last week I had a haunted house Halloween story. To follow up there is now a website where for a small fee you can find out if someone died in a particular house. Apparently some people are turned off from buying a home if someone had died in it. I came across this in a discussion of what can kill a residential house sale.

Next we hear from the FTC where we have the fine-print story of the week. The FTC recently cracked down on another payday lender. This time because the multistate lender required a consumer with a complaint to resolve the matter in arbitration. The kicker was that the arbitration had to be conducted on an Indian Reservation located in South Dakota. Have a nice trip.

Finally we close in my home state of Michigan where we are hearing from the Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids. Need a job? Well if you have a skill at homebuilding there is a labor shortage. Many builders report that young folks are not entering the skills trade anymore and that type of education is not being offered in high school. I blame it on video games.

Based in Chelsea, Mich., John McDermott is a real estate and elder care attorney who represents both consumers and businesses. He can be emailed at jamcd@comcast.net.

Comments (1)
Hello John,

Enjoy your collum. Hopefully this is a nightmare that never comes true.


Posted by THOMAS WEST | Friday, October 25 2013 at 1:45PM ET
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