Who is 'COVID Essential' When Closing on a House?


If I hear “unprecedented times” ONE. MORE. TIME. I may just lose my mind a little. I’m being facetious, of course, but this COVID thing has got everyone just a little crazy. That’s ok. I understand. We need to be respectful and have a healthy caution for the situation. At Shepard Law, we have been very cautious, very clean, and very considerate. We’ll meet you where you are and make sure you’re comfortable with the standards we are following. If you want us to be more stringent than normal, we will. If you don’t want to wear a mask, we won’t make you. If you want to bring your Aunt Joanne and have a mini party at closing, we’re pretty cool with that too.

When it comes right down to it, this is more than likely the single biggest transaction of your life. You’re spending a lot of money and you’re finalizing the legal requirements for owning your HOME! (pause here for a second….YAYAYAYAYA!!! You’re buying a home!) It’s very exciting, really cool, and SUPER important. We work for you, so we want you to know that we celebrate with you. We also understand the gravity of what we’re helping you accomplish. This is a big deal. We want it to be correct.

We’re all human, so mistakes may happen. But at the end of the day we’re doing our best to make sure no mistakes happen (and if any do, we’ll fix them) so to minimize the risk there are certain people who are absolutely essential to making sure your closing is correct.

According to the North Carolina government, we are in phase 2.5 of opening the state back up. What does this mean? In the scenario related to closing on your home, it means we have to limit the number of people in our building to 25 people or less (no problem) and ask that people wear cloth face coverings where physical distancing is not possible. In-person meetings should be limited to no more than 10 people. For more detailed information from the NCDHHS, click here.

Even meeting these guidelines, we can make sure that everyone who is important to the closing may be present at the closing. We don’t ask anyone to wait in the car. Come on in and sit down. We have planned it out so that we can meet the guidelines and still make sure that (1) everyone is safe, (2) everyone is comfortable, and (3) everyone who should be there is there.

So, who should be there?

  • Captain Obvious here, but you, my Buyer, should be there. And if you, my Buyer, are married bring your spouse. Even if the lender tells you the spouse is unnecessary. There are few exceptions in which the spouse does not need to attend closing. So to avoid a last minute delay or panic attack, go ahead and bring him or her. If your spouse simply cannot come give us a call ahead of time and we’ll figure it out.
  • Not so obvious: Your Awesome Agent should be there. We absolutely believe that the Realtor© is essential to your closing. Look, you interviewed and planned and worked with someone for weeks (or maybe months) to find the house, nail out the agreement, go under contract, negotiate repairs and on and on. Who is better situated to make sure all the invoices are correct, all the details from the contract and all the addendums made it into the final closing disclosure, understands how high the emotions are and what the hot buttons are but your trusted agent? He or She should be there. If your agent can’t be there because of an unavoidable conflict, we can work with them beforehand to make sure all is well. But there isn’t (in my opinion) a good reason for COVID to remove them from the room when they aren’t sick and haven’t been exposed.
  • Your Loan Officer is also really important, and we welcome them in the room if they’re able to attend. If they are not, they are usually available by phone, or a support person from the lender can step in if a question or mistake presents itself at closing.
  • The attorney has to be there. This should also be quite obvious, but it isn’t always. You have the right to have an attorney present at your closing. Again, if there is an unavoidable conflict, we’ll work it out ahead of time. But most of the time an attorney from our staff will be the one sitting with you at the closing table to explain the documents and the math. It’s the right thing to do and we’ll make every effort to make it so.
  • Last, but certainly not least, bring with you the people who will help you understand what you’re signing and help you to feel comfortable. If you’re super stressed, then bring the people who will talk you off the ledge and throw chocolate at you when you need them to. Understand that whoever is in the room with you will hear all your private details, and remember that the attorney works for YOU, not your dad or your Aunt Joanne. But if you would feel more comfortable with a support person in the room, by all means bring them with you. It’s a big deal, but it should also be a celebration.

There you have it, my Buyer. You WILL get to the end of this transaction, and you have the right to have with you the people who were important to helping you get you there. And as always, if you have questions or concerns, please ask. We’re on your team.