Electronic Signatures Gaining Acceptance and Popularity In Residential Real Estate Transactions

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Electronic signature technology has been quickly gaining steam throughout the U.S. real estate community, and has now arrived in earnest in my home state of Massachusetts. Electronic signature software lets you send legally binding documents and get signatures anytime, anywhere from any Internet-connected device.

It’s mostly used with Offers and Purchase and Sale Agreements. I’ve been using DocuSign, and with a little learning curve, it’s been fantastic.

Realtors and attorneys who use electronic signature software can simply email encrypted contracts to their clients for signatures, rather than deal with travel, signing 4 original copies, and coordinating all the signatures. It’s especially helpful for out of state clients.

The Massachusetts real estate industry, traditionally conservative and slower to adopt new technology, has been lagging behind more progressive states such as California when it comes to adopting electronic signature technology. Plus, it hasn’t helped that technologically challenged attorneys are often involved in the drafting of the purchase and sale agreement.

In my informal survey of Realtors, the biggest questions were (1) are electronically signed contracts legal and valid, (2) how does it work: and (3) will lenders accept them?

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