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A buyer’s options if she is unable to attend closing

By ERIC FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law | May 27, 2021

Eric Feichthaler

Dear Mr. Feichthaler:

I am excited to be purchasing a new home in Cape Coral next week. I am financing about 50% of the purchase, and unfortunately, I am going to be travelling outside the country at the time of the closing. Can I proceed by having a neighbor sign for me?

— Johanna

Dear Johanna:

First, I am happy to hear you are going to be travelling outside the country. As we exit the pandemic and its restrictions, travel will again become a more common activity.

In your case, you likely have several options. First, to answer your question, you can designate someone to act as your “attorney in fact” through a Limited Power of Attorney. This document, which re-quires two witnesses and a notary public, will empower your designee to sign all documents relating to your purchase. Although our firm as closing agent will accept this for all purposes, you will want to confirm with your lender that they will accept someone else signing for you as attorney-in-fact.

Other options include using Florida’s newly authorized “Remote Online Notary,” where it is possible to notarize documents without your physical presence before a notary. You will want to check with your attorney regarding the requirements for “RON.”

Finally, depending on timing, you may be able to move the scheduled closing date so you can be physically present. This will allow you the opportunity to carefully review the documents, ask questions, and have a greater ability to resolve unexpected challenges.

I wish you the best in the purchase of your new home, and safe travels!

Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for over 33 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Southwest Florida to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continues his service to the community through the Cape Coral Caring Center, Cape Coral Historical Museum, and Cape Coral Kiwanis. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for over 20 years, and they have four children together. He earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar. He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell for professional ethics and legal ability, and is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.

Mr. Feichthaler can be reached at eric@capecoralattorney.com, or (239) 542-4733.

This article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice to anyone. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting on any matter of legal rights and obligations.