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You know better than anyone that when the time comes to close a deal, paper begins to fly! Offers begin going back and forth and this can become time consuming and complicated. As with many other industries, the real estate industry continues to move towards going paperless. According to 680 News, in March of 2013, Canada’s PC Government made it clear that they believe it is time that Ontario approve the use of electronic signatures for real estate transactions. In fact, Ontario is one of the last provinces still manually signing and closing real estate deals.
On June 12, 2013, OREA applauded the passage of the 2013 provincial budget which included provisions to make electronic real estate agreements a reality in Ontario. The budget included an amendment to the Electronic Commerce Act (ECA) which will extend the legal protection of the ECA to include electronic real estate agreements. You can view the Act here http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_00e17_e.htm.
In September of this year, OREA posted an update on the amendment to the ECA forecasting that we will likely see electronic signature capability in 2014.
Some real estate sales professionals have commented that they feel that the ability to sign electronic forms will interfere with face-to-face relationships and engagement with clients, while others have surmised that it could lead to an increase in fraud.
We actually believe it will be quite the opposite. This amendment will certainly lead to new technology and successes for real estate sales professionals across the province. New capabilities will mean that you can do more on the go, service your clients better and close more deals. As Henry Ford famously said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself!”
With the introduction of mobile applications, such as ViMO (Virtual Mobile Office), real estate sales professionals will be able to use their tablet in a client meeting instead of preparing and carrying the necessary documents ahead of time. They will also be able to have the client sign their documents electronically. Instead of going back and forth between the client’s home and their office, they can send the documents to the real estate sales professional instantly.
This amendment is a progressive step in the right direction and will lead to more success and prosperity for all.