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For more than 300 years, contracts for the sale or lease of land in Ontario have required ink and paper. Beginning July 1, 2015, electronic signatures can now be accepted on digital real estate agreements, deeds and mortgages in Ontario.

This is big news for a thriving real estate market in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), where the average price of a detached home just rose over $1.052 million Canadian dollars. However, before you begin emailing contracts, take note from Toronto real estate lawyer Bob Aaron, via thestar.com:

Even though electronic signatures will now be legal in the real estate context, those signatures are only effective if it can be proved that the signatures are reliable for the purpose of identifying the person signing, and the attachment of a signature to the electronic document is also reliable.

Since the law does not define how to determine whether a signature is reliable, it is up to individual real estate agents and lawyers using electronic signatures to satisfy themselves that the legal requirements have been met.

I expect that the use of electronic signature platforms like DocuSign (docusign.com) will become popular among real estate agents and lawyers anxious to jump on the electronic bandwagon.

Constellation has partnered with DocuSign to offer integration between the world’s leading provider in electronic signature management and our new home sales software. Builders using our flagship NEWSTAR Enterprise homebuilder management software along with NEWSTAR Sales save valuable time and organization headaches, and rest assured that their sales contracts are saved securely.

To see NEWSTAR and DocuSign, please request a demonstration. Note that we are also working to integrate DocuSign with our other sales software for homebuilders.

Announcement from the Ontario Real Estate Association.