Generally, real estate documents are signed and the transactions are closed at a predetermined settlement location, such as an escrow firm, a title company or an attorney's office. If the time or place is not convenient for one of the parties, then a courtesy signing may be arranged, in which documents are forwarded to and signatures are taken by another office or party who is not handling the actual settlement. If, for example, a real estate transaction is closing at a title company in California, but a seller is in New Jersey, the documents may be sent to that title company's affiliate in New Jersey for signature. That office will perform a 'courtesy signing and return the signed documents to the California office for the closing.
Courtesy signings can take place at traditional mortgage, escrow, attorney and title company offices. But a courtesy signing can also take place in a home, hospital, or anywhere convenient. A courtesy signing is always conducted by a courtesy signer. A Notary Public typically performs the role as several of the documents may need to be notarized.
The fee for this service may be absorbed by an escrow, title, or mortgage company, or charged to the client upon the closing of their transaction. It is usually best to make these courtesy signing arrangements with the settlement officer well beforehand to ensure the transaction closes on time.