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Important Law & Form Changes Effective January 1, 2022

Changes to Working with Real Estate Agents Disclosure Form and Pamphlet

Effective January 1, 2022, the Commission's Working with Real Estate Agents (WWREA) disclosure form and accompanying Q&A pamphlet have been amended.

A broker must enter into a formal buyer agency agreement "before preparing a written offer or communicating an oral offer," according to the July 2021 Disclosure Form and Brochure. Both the disclosure and the brochure have been updated to reflect the language of Commission Rule A.0104(a), which requires that a broker representing a buyer enter into a written buyer agency agreement no later than the time one of the parties to the transaction makes an offer to purchase.

Any remaining copies of the disclosure and brochure from July 2021 may be used by a broker without penalty.

While the disclosure form and brochure have been updated to better match the rule's text, we recommend that a broker get a signed buyer agency agreement before producing a written offer. A broker who does not have a formal agency agreement with their buyer when they submit an offer has broken the regulation, could face disciplinary action, and is at risk of not being paid for their services.

Emergency Video Notarization Law Has Expired

The North Carolina General Assembly established a statute permitting remote notarization and live video oaths at the start of the pandemic (e.g., Facetime, WebEx, Zoom). The statute has expired as of 12:01 a.m. on December 31, 2021, after many extensions.

The General Assembly is debating House Bill 776, which would make remote electronic notarization permanent. House Bill 776, however, has not yet passed as of this writing. As a result, on December 31, 2021, the legislative authority for remote notarization will expire.

ALL notarial acts, traditional and electronic, have reverted to the previous statute, which requires the principal or principals to be physically present. When the legislature reconvenes in January, there is still a potential that the emergency provision or permanent authorization may be reinstated, but we can not foresee what will happen.

When discussing and planning transactions with customers and clients, brokers should be aware of this shift. This is especially important for clients who are refinancing as these closings are most frequently completed by a notary signing agent instead of an attorney.

We keep up with things like this at Skyline so that you don't have to!

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