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
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