FAQ – “I am receiving more and more electronic signatures from other agents. Some are from well-known applications like DocuSign or AuthentiSIGN, but others just seem to be initials that have been inserted with some sort of PDF annotation app or software. Do I have anything to worry about?”
In this video Steve Jamieson, Managing Broker of RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside, explains the implications of electronic signatures. Also read the notes below and refer to the links for a better understanding of electronic signatures on real estate contracts in British Columbia.
Here’s a brief summary:
Legal in BC, but not mandatory
Refer to your Professional Standards Manual for information about E-signatures, Electronic Agreements and Electronic Tablets.
Note that email communications are not sufficient as a replacement for a wet signature or an electronic signature.
Electronic signatures are fast becoming the “new normal”, but you will have many clients who are not comfortable with the idea. A seller is not obligated to accept an electronic signature in place of a “wet” signature. This decision whether or not to proceed with considering a Contract of Purchase and Sale that as been signed electronically must be made before negotiations begin. The conduct of the parties can infer consent. Refer to the Electronic Transactions Act (BC) Part 2, Section 4 – “Use not mandatory”
Products such as DocuSign, AuthentiSIGN and EchoSign are widely used in the real estate industry and other industries in most provinces of Canada. When used properly, these are the safest methods of signing electronically as each of these products provides security and an audit trail. DocuSign and AuthentSIGN are integrated with WebForms software provided by CREA for real estate contracts. This facility has been available since 2013. Note that while electronic signatures are acceptable in BC, not all Canadian provinces are on board.
That being said, while alternative PDF annotation software is technically acceptable, it is not recommended. Advise your seller accordingly.
Please note: The Frequently Asked Question video series is used for training purposes within our group of RE/MAX offices. If you are licensed at a different brokerage, you must refer to your own Managing Broker for advice.