(Alexander Spatari/Getty Images)

Recently, Stephanie Schonholz, Director of Industry Relations for StreetEasy, hosted a conversation with New York Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and select brokerage partners to discuss tech, real estate, and New York City.

Extending Remote Notarizations to New York

Earlier this year, Assemblywoman Rozic introduced a new bill that would extend remote online notarization to New York, which would permit for a process where signers appear before a notary via audio-visual technology, rather than being physically present in the same room. Before the coronavirus pandemic, remote online notarization was a consumer-friendly convenience, but in these uncertain times, it is now more important than ever. Across the country, 27 states have enacted similar remote online notarization laws, and StreetEasy, along with our parent company, Zillow Group, are proud to support Assemblywoman Rozic’s bill and efforts to modernize New York. 

Much of the work the Assemblywoman spoke about ran along the theme of lifting up the experience of millennials and looking for ways tech can improve our lives. As the youngest woman to ever be elected to the state legislature, some of the challenges she faces are around representing not just her district, but her generation. 

NYC Real Estate Is Ripe for Modernization

Schonholz opened the conversation explaining that NYC real estate is an arena that is ripe for modernization, as illuminated by the coronavirus outbreak. StreetEasy data shows that virtual touring options have boomed out of necessity during the pandemic. Listings with 3D/virtual options tripled on StreetEasy at the onset. As the pandemic progressed, we saw two to three times  as many sales and rental listings with 3D tours show up on StreetEasy. Now, the data shows that what happened out of necessity has radically changed consumer home shopping habits, possibly forever. Renters who watch a listing’s video or 3D tour are 122% more likely to contact an agent. With this kind of trajectory, it begs the question, what’s next for modernizing real estate, or New York broadly? 

“Remote online notarization was temporarily extended to New York through Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order,” explained Assemblywoman Rozic. “While I have been championing this change for years, we now have concrete confirmation that this is the kind of change that New Yorkers want and need. I am constantly looking for ways to improve the lives of my constituents, and making this change permanent is an obvious way to bring more efficiency to dozens of industries, including real estate.”

More than half the states in the U.S.  have enacted similar remote online notarization laws, and in a half dozen states where remote online notarization has not yet been enacted permanently, emergency short-term legislation has been issued. Right here in New York, Executive Order 202.7 has proven that remote online notarization works, as Assemblywoman Rozic said.  

Bringing a Better Quality of Life to NYC

Schonholz also asked about Assemblywoman Rozic’s work to champion bills for flexibility in the workplace. She discussed the impact those efforts may have had on New Yorkers, both pre-COVID and today.

“Workplace flexibility has been proven to result in a better quality of life and increased workplace productivity. I have introduced legislation to both increase flexwork options for many workers and to provide retaliation protection for workers who request such accommodations.”

How You Can Get Involved 

Curious about how to get more involved in the opportunities to progress the world of real estate? Assemblywoman Nily Rozic has a few recommendations and resources:

  • Ask your Assemblymember to support, and co-sponsor, A.4076B, which would allow for remote online notarization, which helps New Yorkers more easily and safely complete real estate transactions. 
  • Show your support for the bill on social media. 
    • Here’s a sample Tweet: (I am/We are) proud to support Assemblywoman @ Nily Rozic’s remote online notarization bill A.4076B, which helps make closings safer & easier.