Can E-Signatures be used in Real Estate?

November 9, 2019

In today’s busy real estate market, transactions are becoming faster and more efficient every day. A big part of this and what is ultimately making the home sale process more cost effective, is using electronic signatures.

What is an Electronic Signature?

In New Zealand, an e-signature must;

adequately identify you as the signatory and adequately indicate your approval of the information to which your signature relates, and

be ‘as reliable as appropriate’, given the circumstances in which the signature is required.

(Section 22 of the NZ Electronic Transactions Act 2002)

Companies like Adobe and DocuSign have established methods for sending documents digitally via email or online portal to the respective parties and collecting signatures in a secure way. These are often verified via your email login or other secure authorisation.

Is signing Real Estate Contacts Electronically Legal?

Yes, you can digitally sign things like sales and purchase agreement, agency agreement and other real estate agent contracts thanks to the NZ Electronic Transactions Act 2002. 

New Zealand Law states that it is legal to use electronic signatures. Once you find a real estate agent, they might ask you to sign digitally.

It is starting to become common practice for NZ Real Estate Agents to use e-signatures however, you should be careful to understand how secure the system is that your provider is using and ensure there is sufficient tracking. If you are unsure, ask your agent or the company asking you to sign digitally.

Additionally, The Real Estate Authority state that:

“REA’s view is that it is acceptable for you to obtain a person’s signature to a contract and other documentation electronically. The legislation that governs the use of electronic signatures in New Zealand is the Electronic Transactions Act 2002 (the ETA).”

Using E-Signatures with your Real Estate Agent

Throughout your process of finding a real estate agent in New Zealand, there will be a number of times you will be required to sign legal documents. Signing documents like Agency Agreements or Agent Contracts can be done digitally and you can feel comfortable with this knowing that these are secure, legal and becoming common practice.

Before you sign, you could check;

  • The platform used for the e-signature is a recognised and trusted one
  • That you e-signature is tracked and stored for you records.
  • That all parties involved are comfortable using e-signatures.
      

Technology in Real Estate – PropTech

As access to technology continues to advance, we are starting to see advances in Real Estate processes. Technology in property, also known as PropTech is proving to reduce costs increase efficacy in many areas including;

  • Creating and Signing Tenancy Agreements
  • Doing Credit Checks
  • Posting Properties to multiple platforms at once when selling or renting to get the most visibility possible.
  • Signing Sales and Purchase (S & P) Agreements
  • Service providers like Aframe are using technology to help sellers find real estate agents
  • We have seen in recent months the introduction of E-Tendering for home sales and online auctions.

Sign up now at https://aframe.co.nz/

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