Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Texas Real Estate - Do I Need to be in Town to Sign My Documents?

Texas Real Estate - Do I Need to be in Town to Sign My Documents?

Do I need to be present to sign the documents when I buy a house? Nope, you sure don't, and it's very common.  There are several different things that could happen. One could be that no buyers are present to close. When that happens, the entire closing package is either emailed to you and you print it out, or it's sent in a FedEx already to go. You will then need to take your package to a notary to get it signed.  Many banks notarize for free. A local title company could do it, maybe for a nominal fee. If you close your existing house at that title company, they'll probably do it for free. Many post offices or FedEx stores have notaries. They're all over.

texas residential real estate contract notaryThe notary would not be able to explain anything you're signing, but you could always call the closing title company to review all the pages before you head out to the notary. Or, if you obtained financing with a big bank, you could go to one of their branches and they might review the documents with you.

Another scenario that happens is one buyer is in town and the other is not.  The person out of town can give a limited Power of Attorney to the person in town and that person will sign for the other person. In Texas, the local title company will draw up the Power of Attorney, and it's specific to the property they are buying. The person out of town will need to get it notarized and return the orginal back by closing. Then, the person in town gets a good workout signing both names on each piece of paper.

When you're not here for the closing, the keys could either be kept at the title company until you come into town, or I can keep them, whichever is more convenient. I had a closing a couple of weeks ago and it turns out that the escrow officer from the title company actually lives in the neighborhood the buyer bought in, so she took the keys home with her as the buyer was getting into town after hours, and was still able to get the key and see her brand new house immediately!

We're in the 21st century, so things that happened back "in the day" aren't necessarily required anymore. We can always manage a way!

**Are You Packed Yet?**

donna harris Realtor Austin TX blog

Donna Harris, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Austin Skyline

Austin TX Real Estate and the surrounding areas of Lakeway, Bee Cave, West Lake Hills, CedarPark, Round Rock, Spicewood, Circle-C, Steiner Ranch, and everywhere in between... Hill Country Austin TX Real Estate and beyond. Whether you're buying or selling an Austin home, I'll be with you every step of the way. 

For real time Austin TX listings,click here.


** Multi-Million Dollar Producer Year after Year **
** Platinum Top 50 Finalist 2011 out of almost 9000 agents in Austin TX**
** Five-Star Professional 2011 & 2012 **
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Copyright© 2012 By Donna Harris, All Rights Reserved. You may re-blog with links back to this post.
* Texas Real Estate - Do I Need to be in Town to Sign My Documents?
* was first published on

Comment balloon 19 commentsDonna Harris • June 06 2012 08:47AM


Many ways to close Donna and you covered all scenarios. Some banks if there is a blank for WITNESS they will not do that then you have to go to like a mail place to find that person. Notaries usually no problem.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) almost 7 years ago

We have used a Notary many times to close, mainly to make it convenient for the buyer/homeowner. A POA is a great tool as well, in case you are working with someone that travels. Good information Donna. I think you covered it all.

Posted by John Cannata, Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance (214-728-0449 almost 7 years ago

Very useful information Donna.  I would like to add that buyers do not need to even be in the country to close.  Here in Miami we have a lot of buyers from overseas.  I have closed several transactions where the buyers are overseas, even in two different countries for the same transaction.  All each buyer has to do is to check with the US Dept of State website for the nearest US Embassy or Consulate, then follow their suggestions on how to get documents notarized in that country.  Often it involves scheduling an appointment at the actual Embassy or Consulate office. Easy peasy as long as people plan in advance, the sooner the better.

Posted by Kevin O'Rourke - Keller Williams Miami Beach Realtor, CDPE Miami Short Sale Agent 305-520-9436 (Keller Williams Miami Beach Realty) almost 7 years ago


Don't forget, clients vacationing abroad must go to the US embassy for a notary.  That can get complicated depending on the country and the transportation situation, and must be planned ahead carefully.

Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) almost 7 years ago

Donna, it has really been interesting watching how things have progressed over the past few years.  I love that we don't always have to be together or even in the same state to get property closed.  It opens up a whole new market for us.  Good job!

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) almost 7 years ago

And there are electronic signatures as well. We do what we have to do ro get the job done.

Posted by Robert L. Brown, Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic ( almost 7 years ago

Gary, Really? I've had it where another teller is the witness at a bank.

JOhn, Thanks!!

Kevin and Lloyd, I've closed two out of the country, but don't recall them going to the Embassy. Not sure where they went.

Mike, Huge market!

Robert, I don't know a single lender that will allow a digital signature on the final closing docs, and even with Cash transactions, the title companies want a live signature, and the original, not just a copy.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 7 years ago

Here in Manhattan with so many foreign buyer's, we do closings all the time where the buyer, seller or both aren't present for the actual closing and are using a power of attorney to close the transaction.

Posted by Morgan Evans, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Thank goodness the answer to this is NO! We have lots of closings where one or more of the parties are not present.

Posted by Joni Bailey, Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTORĀ® (101 Main St. Realty) almost 7 years ago

I've had plenty of accomedation signoffs down out of town.  It really is one of the great things of the modern world.

Posted by Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) almost 7 years ago

It is a shame to see a great post with all this spam on it.........too bad AR cannot somehow put new accounts into a pending status until the information is checked to be real..............Cheap Canada Goose Coats is obviously one ID I would NOT allow in.

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) almost 7 years ago

Barbara, I've clicked the "report a concern" on each one of them so that they can track the IP address, and then I'll delete them off when AR wakes up. It's only 5am there.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 7 years ago

Most of my clients are listings but the buyers also are usually from out of the area. I haven't even met some of my clients on the last few deals. It seems that none are even showing up at the closing so most of them are doing mail away. I only see in person closings when there is a large loan or a lot of documents that need to be explained and signed. Probably because most of the properties I've been dealing with are vacant,short sales or REO's. 

Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (eXp Realty) almost 7 years ago

Hi Donna, one thing that all buyers have in common is that they want to see that new home they just purchased as soon as possible. It is nice that you were able to work that out for your client.

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) almost 7 years ago

Great explanation. I've never seen so much spam on one blog post! Lenn Harley posted an interesting blog about agents signing for their clients. What do you think?

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) almost 7 years ago


Great post too bad about all the SPAM.  I frequently have clients sell or buy homes and are not present for closing.  My international clients just have to research ahead of time to be able to get a notary.  You have to be careful since depending on what country you are in not all have notary publics on every corner.  One of my Japanese clients had to go to the American Embassy to get their docs notarized.

Posted by Larry Story, Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate (Total Care Realty) almost 7 years ago

No matter what it takes we always have to get things done, and done right, Digitally or in person we will do what it takes! 


Posted by Adam Brett, The Adam and Eric Group, Fullerton's Finest (The Adam and Eric Group) almost 7 years ago

Spam has been taken care of...

Greg, I don't think it's a good idea for an agent to have POA for the signing of the client. I just see so many things happening that I wouldn't want my E&O to go through the roof because of one i not dotted or t crossed.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 7 years ago

I dont think Id want the responsibility as the agent to have POA.

Posted by John Cannata, Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance (214-728-0449 almost 7 years ago