Contract Law: Electronic Signatures & Paperless Transactions

Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

You are always looking for ways to organize your work, make your paperwork less overwhelming, and make the buying or selling process easier for your client. Using electronic signatures and paperless forms offers many helpful benefits.

Electronic Signatures

The days of juggling many schedules to try to get everyone in the same room to sign closing documents are coming to an end. As of 2000, the ESIGN Act became a federal law that legally recognizes electronic signatures. This has had a powerful influence on real estate transactions.

Imagine your buyer, Ron, is a national account manager for a pharmaceutical company and travels every week to a new city. He has found an amazing house that meets every need on his checklist. He makes an offer, and the offer is accepted. He lets you know he will be out of town for the next four weeks, including the week of closing. During the buying process, there are several legal forms that must be signed by the buyer and seller.

In the past, you would have to track down Ron to sign the forms. If he were in another city, you may have to overnight the forms to him, have him sign them in front of a notary public, and overnight the forms back. While this may work for one set of documents, it can really slow down the process if you need him to sign five, six, or even more sets of forms while buying a house.

Luckily, you can use a document service that allows Ron to electronically sign the documents. He can provide verification of his identity online and sign all the forms with an electronic signature. This form of signature is legal and binding, just as if Ron had signed the physical paper with a pen.

Even if Ron were in the same city as you, you would waste time trying to track him down each time you need his signature. With an electronic signature, he can sign a document in a few minutes, and you can access the signed document in a matter of minutes, rather than hours or days.

Paperless Transactions

Papers, files, copies, printed forms in piles all over your desk...it gets overwhelming! Does your office have rows of filing cabinets with copies of documents and paperwork? How much time do you spend sorting through files to find a paper you need? Your life is about to get a lot easier.

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