Does My Spouse Need to be Present for the Real Estate Closing?

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By Rochford Law Posted on April 4, 2022 at 3:46 PM
 

The beauty of a modern-day real estate closing is the flexibility – that is, if everything is in order. Just as a closing date is not hard and fast, not everyone involved in the sale needs to be present if the appropriate documents and plans are already in-place.

Because of these nuances, our closing attorneys at Rochford Law & Real Estate Title are commonly asked: Does my spouse need to be present for the real estate closing?

The answer is yes, and also no. The answer depends entirely on your situation.

Here are a few scenarios to help you determine whether or not your spouse needs to be present during a real estate closing, and how to plan accordingly so that everything goes smoothly.
  • Neither of You Has to Be Present
  • Cases Where You Need Your Spouse’s Consent
  • You, or Your Lawyer, Are Your Spouse’s Power of Attorney
  • When You Are Closing Remotely

Contact our team at Rochford Law & Real Estate Title to handle your real estate transaction in Nashville or Middle Tennessee!

Neither of You Has to be Present

Technically, whether you are buying or selling, neither you nor your spouse has to attend a real estate closing in-person.* Regardless of the reason – whether it be health or unavailability – the sale is not contingent on your or your spouse’s ability to be physically present.

This is because you can hire a closing attorney to handle all the paperwork and financial transactions. For sellers, especially, this is a convenient option since there is usually less paperwork (due to no loans or mortgages), and you can make an appointment with a mobile notary to verify your signatures.

If you do hire an attorney or title agent to handle the sale, you will need to provide them with both you and your spouse’s information. Specifically, you will need to provide copies of two forms of government-issued ID (driver’s license, voter registration, passport, social security card).

*It is worth noting that attending a real estate closing in-person can help avoid any complications that do come up and that could delay the closing.

Cases Where You Need Your Spouse’s Consent

Even if your spouse does not need to be physically present, if he or she has any legal ties to the property, you will still need their permission. For example, if you are buying property and intend for your spouse to be listed on the mortgage, he or she needs to give their consent either in-person or virtually. Another example is if you are selling property that lists your spouse on the mortgage, the title, or both, then he or she also will need to be present or give their consent.

In many cases, a buyer or seller involved in the transaction appoints a power of attorney – whether their spouse, a relative, or friend – to stand-in for them during the closing. Your spouse can do this, as well.

An exception for whether you need consent from your spouse is if you are buying a home and your spouse is not going to be listed on the mortgage/loan (say, because of their credit score). You can, however, always add his or her name to the title later so they are still listed as a co-owner of the home. Just know that when it comes time to sell, their co-ownership on the title will entitle them to grant or deny a sale – even if their name is not on the mortgage.

You, or Your Lawyer, Are Your Spouse’s Power of Attorney

As mentioned previously, your spouse can appoint you or your closing attorney as his or her power of attorney to represent them during the closing. A power of attorney is a notarized document in which your spouse gives someone the ability to sign documents on his and her behalf and to bind them to the terms and conditions of those documents.

Every state allows power of attorney to handle a home closing, but you still need to make sure that both your lender and your attorney are aware that you or the attorney are to stand-in for your spouse. In fact, there are two specific reasons you need to contact your lender as soon as possible if your spouse does not plan to attend the closing. First, some lenders frown upon the use of a power of attorney to sign their loan packages; in some cases, they may not allow it. Secondly, if the lender does approve of the power of attorney, it can take a few days to process the request.

It’s also best that you give an adequate heads-up so that your closing attorney can ensure the lender fills out the loan documents correctly. Thinking and planning ahead when a power of attorney is to be part of the closing process ultimately prevents delays!

You Are Closing Remotely

Another reason your spouse need not be present at a closing? You are closing the real estate transaction remotely. This can be because you have moved out-of-state, or simply because you have hired a qualified real estate attorney to handle everything so that you don’t have to!

In remote closings, you and your spouse might coordinate with a title attorney to sign the documents. Alternatively, you might print, sign, and have your paperwork notarized by a mobile notary before mailing or scanning your documents back to the other party.

Clearly, there are many ways to go about a remote closing! Contact us at Rochford Law & Real Estate Title to make sure all your bases are covered.