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Nebraska REALTORS® Work to End Contract Notarization Law

By HOM Editorial Team
July 2015

The Nebraska REALTORS® Association is working hard to get rid of unnecessary legal requirements for contracts used for the sale of a home.

In most states, when the buyer and seller sign a contract in the sale of a home, the contract is valid without being notarized. But in Nebraska the contract is not binding unless the buyer’s and seller’s signatures are notarized. If their signatures are not notarized, the sale is voidable and either party can back out of the deal. This is especially troublesome for the buyer in the current housing market, because competing offers to buy a home have become common again. If a contract is voidable, the buyer is at risk of having the seller void the contract to accept the offer of a higher bidder.

The notary requirement causes many problems for buyers and sellers. Finding a notary on short notice is often difficult or impossible. Some buyers and sellers have tried to sidestep the problem by using an electronic signature service. But Nebraska courts have ruled that an electronic signature service does not satisfy the notary requirement.

The Nebraska REALTORS® Association is working to abolish the notary requirement. The association supported the campaign of state Sen. Joni Craighead, a licensed Nebraska REALTOR®. Through her actions and the association’s lobbying efforts, a bill ending the notary requirement is currently scheduled for a vote in the state legislature. It is hoped the bill will become law in 2015.

The Nebraska REALTORS® Association will continue its work to make real estate sales in Nebraska more efficient for everyone.

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