No more signing on the dotted line?

No more paper. No more fax machines and no more wasting time. They are the simple demands of property buyers who are ‘shocked’ and ‘frustrated’ by the traditional process of signing on the dotted line.

However, that may all change in Ontario soon. A private members’ bill to ament the Electronic Commerce Act to allow for the use of electronic signatures in real estate transactions has gone through a second reading.

Despite all provinces, except Manitoba and New Brunswick, excluding electronic signatures involving the purchase and sale of real estate, many agents are reportedly defying the laws to accommodate the real-time needs of their clients.

“First-time and young buyers are really shocked and surprised that we simply cannot allow an online signature, especially as almost all of their daily transactions are online and they don’t see how real estate should be any different,” says Roch St-Georges, an Ottawa-based broker.
While admitting that ‘older’ clients still prefer to use fax and physically see and sign all documents, St-Georges says the industry needs to move forward and suit all demographics.

“It adds a number of hours to my own workload for every transaction. I can understand how some people may be worried about security but as shown, the paper trail is as open to security issues and I believe online transactions are better in that respect.”

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