Q: I recently signed a contract for the purchase of a home. I am traveling abroad soon and have given a financial power of attorney to a family member. I also gave them a durable power of attorney. Now I hear the title company in our purchase of the home may need a specific power of attorney for our purchase. Is it possible to provide a power of attorney electronically and have the document notarized electronically?

A: So much has changed during the coronavirus pandemic with respect to how real estate is bought and sold. Because of the pandemic, many real estate industry practices have changed. One change in particular has to do with remote online notarization. But first, we need to talk a bit about your power of attorney documents.

You were wise to try to set up a power of attorney document for yourself before traveling abroad. And given some of the details in your question, we suspect you have a lender that is setting up a loan so you can complete the purchase of your home. Mortgage lenders often want to see their borrowers have a specific power of attorney for the specific home purchase.

Sam recently had a lender that wanted the document so specific to the transaction that the lender wanted a definitive list of documents that the borrower was going to sign delineated in the power of attorney. That lender is an anomaly, as most lenders will agree to accept a power of attorney that refers specifically to the property being purchased and contains language regarding the signing of loan documents and related documents for a home purchase.

If you have a lender and that lender wants a power of attorney tailored to your purchase, we understand what you are going through. Given all of that, the next question is whether you can sign a document and have that document notarized online.

We’re happy to say there are some places that allow home buyers to have documents for a home purchase signed and notarized online, rather than require what is known as a “wet” signature. (We wrote more extensively about wet signatures at the beginning of the pandemic.)

You set up a time with a settlement agent, remote online notarization company or a party to your home purchase transaction, and you simply sign your documents online. The notary watches you sign, usually through a video call using technology such as Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams, reviews your identification documents and records the transaction. The resulting document is an electronic document that has been notarized and even witnessed by third parties through this online process.

But here’s the bad news: Most lenders will need to see the actual documents and will want to see the original signed and notarized documents. They may still not accept electronic signatures for some of these documents. So please check with your lender and your settlement agent to see whether remote online notarization can work for you. It’s possible that it can work, but we don’t know for sure. We hope the pandemic brings some of these electronic improvements to the industry to allow buyers and sellers more flexibility in signing documents.

As a fallback position, you should know that you can have the power of attorney prepared for you and sent to you via email. Once you have the document, you’ll have to get a hard copy printed out and sign it wherever you might be in the world.

That may be the easy part. The next part can be tricky: If you have access to a consulate of the United States, you can make an appointment and have the consular office notarize the document for you. If you can’t get to a consulate, you might be able to get the document legalized or authenticated by a government official or office that would be recognized in the state where your closing will take place and be acceptable to the settlement agent and lender.

If you get the settlement agent and lender to accept the legalization or authentication of the document by the agent abroad, then you’ll have to overnight the document back to the United States, because that original document will have to be at the closing.

We hope you can use the online method, but if you can’t, at least there’s a way for you to give that power of attorney to someone else while you’re traveling abroad.

Ilyce Glink is the author of “100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask” (4th Edition). She is also the CEO of Best Money Moves, an app that employers provide to employees to measure and dial down financial stress. Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Contact them through her website, ThinkGlink.com.

Read more in Real Estate: