V-Close from Home

Vanguard-Law-Group For Sanjay Soni, trudging down to a lawyer’s office to sign closing papers for a mortgage transaction is what he calls “old school”.

That’s why Vanguard Law Group, where Soni is Managing Partner, came up with a new way of doing things.

In July of last year, the real estate law firm launched a novel service called V-Close. V-Close allows Ontario real estate clients to sign all necessary paperwork for a purchase or sale transaction from the comfort of their own home or office. It works like this:

  • A mobile Commissioners of Oath visits the client at their home or office
  • He/she brings a laptop that securely links to a lawyer back in the Vanguard office
  • Via live video conferencing, clients are walked through all the documents
  • Clients may interact with the lawyer and ask questions before signing, just as though they were face to face.

“The Commissioners come to you, even on evenings and weekends,” explains Soni.

While he admits they initially expected their biggest demographic to be younger more tech-savvy clients, Soni says their biggest audience has turned out to be those who are busiest. “The reality is this is about convenience, not technology,” he said.

He’s also the first to admit that Vanguard doesn’t offer the cheapest closing services. Its biggest selling feature is the convenience of having a lawyer come to you.

About 95% of Vanguard’s clients never step foot inside their Mississauga office. And with their mobile ability, they can service nearly every corner of the Ontario. In time, Soni expects to add AB, BC, MB and SK.

From a cost standpoint, Vanguard is reasonable for the speed and service it provides:

  • Purchases up to $500,000 are $1289 all-in (including title insurance) plus HST. This is for the full V-Close service with a remote Commissioner of Oath.
  • Mortgage refinances under $500,000 are $699 all-in (including title insurance) plus HST. Additional payouts after the first two are $30 each. Vanguard uses remote signing agents for refinances, as opposed to a Commissioner of Oath.

For refinances, Vanguard’s cost is very competitive with other remote signing services (such as title companies FNF and FCT). Most brokers will tell you, however, that lawyers maintain an edge over title companies in closing speed.*

* This last paragraph is our opinion and not that of Vangaurd Law Group.

Steve Huebl, CMT

  1. IC Savings has been using Vanguard’s services for the last 6 to 7 months on Refinances. The service has been great from a Lender perspective and the feedback from the Borrowers and Mortgage Brokers has all been positive. Great job by Sanjay and his entire team.

  2. Wow, you make the biggest investment of your life and you can’t take the time to drive over to see the lawyer. I am glad my mortgage broker clients still come and see me.

  3. Just used Sanjay for the first time on a refinance and everything went excellent. Great communication from Sanjay’s team, quick turnaround and very reasonable pricing. Will definitely use again.

  4. There is little benefit to meeting a lawyer in person. ID verification can be done by signing agents in the comfort of your home and you can ask the same questions to a lawyer by phone.
    By the way, I’m a broker and I would rather not see my clients. It wastes their time and it wastes mine. My clients receive oustanding service in a fraction of the time it would take to drive to a broker.
    This is 2011. If Mark Cuban can buy a $41 million jet online, people can get a mortgage online.

  5. There is no substitute for meeting someone face-to-face since effective comunication is more than just verbal. Taking the time and effort to meet in person says something positive about you, your company and your commitment

  6. Hi Mike and Banker,
    Thanks for raising this point for debate.
    Many people undeniably prefer face-to-face meetings for the reasons Banker mentions.
    Others favour the speed and convenience of arranging a mortgage “virtually” (i.e., by phone, fax and email).
    The ideal method depends totally on the client and broker/banker in question.
    As a point of fact, there are countless outstanding brokers and bank reps across the country that close hundreds of mortgages without ever physically meeting a client. (Clients still must validate identification and sign in front of a signing agent.) Depending on the firm people do business with, clients can and do receive the same great service and advice with online mortgage professionals as they do in person.
    In any modern relationship business, it’s hard to generalize about which is the “best” model. The ideal broker/banker is simply the one who is most reputable and provides the best advice, the best rates, and the most convenience to the customer. That could very well mean a local or online mortgage professional. It depends on the client’s inclinations.

  7. For me, it’s about knowing your clients and making them feel important/special. To do that, you meet them in person.
    As for older clientele, you know, the ones with assets and money, they expect it!
    As for younger people, they expect it too so next time your kid asks you to come see their pee-wee hockey game “in-person”, don’t say, sorry Son, that’s old school, the neighbour will take you and let me know how your game went.

  8. @Banker
    Comparing a mortgage to watching your flesh and blood play sports is a straw man argument. Furthermore it is absurd to generalize that service is inferior unless it’s delivered in person. Billions in advisory services are provided remotely and that number has been growing in leaps and bounds.
    I agree with your point about older clients but they are not the ones getting the bulk of mortgages. The reality is that younger buyers demand convenience. Convenience, low rates and good advice can all be provided today without ever setting foot in a branch or broker office.

  9. This service would make alot of sense if it was in fact the lawyer who attedned. Sending someone without legal training is not something the law society will allow to go on very long.

  10. One and a half years later it is still going on. So much for your theory. Maybe, just maybe, legal training isn’t required for a signing agent.


    As a client, you have very minimal contact with an actual lawyer; only the hour used for the V-close section. You are dealing with a law clerk most of the time.

    That would be fine, except that law clerks are not the most responsive to emails or well trained in handling issues.

    I had to draft emails for the person on occasions.

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