Electronic signatures became legally binding in Ontario real estate transactions on July 1, with an amendment to the Electronic Commerce Act. Ontario joined Québec, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island as provinces that allow e-signatures in real estate transactions.
For Sahil Jaggi, an agent with RE/MAX Realtron and owner of Mink Homes Inc., the use of electronic signatures makes the whole process extremely efficient.
“It saves a lot of time, especially with international investors in play,” he told REP sister site, CREW. “It reduces a six-step process down to a two-step process.”
Jaggi says the use of electronic signatures is an option for people who are limited by not having fax machines or are on vacation and not in town.
While it may not be the preferred method for everyone, Jaggi thinks with the industry becoming forward-thinking and mobile, he can definitely see electronic signatures becoming the norm.
“With many of the younger generation of agents using electronic signatures more and more, I believe in five to 10 years it will completely replace faxing and scanning,” he said.
Electronic signatures can also be a deal-saver, according to Jaggi. “The aggravation of the back and forth can sometimes lead to a deal going sideways. Having the option of electronic signatures can overcome those obstacles, because all (the client) needs is an Internet connection.”
But before you unplug your fax machine, Jaggi says to remember not everyone is on board.
“With older clients it’s not the apprehension of using electronic signature, but rather the usability. They’re just a little confused about how to do it, so that’s why they still prefer fax and email.”
Electronic signatures are slowly creeping their way into Canadian real estate transactions, but sales reps shouldn’t trash their fax machines just yet.