Buying a Boston condo in 2019

Welcome to Downtown Boston, and to the 21st century of real estate, where you can take a virtual tour of a home via drone, use a smartphone app to check out prices of neighboring homes on-the-spot, and, as you head into the buying process, a series of electronic signatures makes the paperwork a breeze. You can even do it while your on your beach vacation.

Electronic signatures may be less sexy than drones and GPS, but they have influenced the way Boston Midtown real estate agents do business more than any other technology over the past decade. And, like with every technology, there is reason to take caution and double check what you are doing.

Here’s the good news

First, the great news — e-signatures speed up real estate transactions considerably. In the past, you could spending days waiting for documents to come back to your real estate agent’s office with the proper signatures; now the wait can be reduced to a few hours or even minutes. According to a recent Inman News article about how mortgage lenders are now also embracing e-signatures, banks have reduced the amount of time it takes to process mortgage closings from 1.5 hours to 15 minutes. Not only do they save millions in paper, storage and personnel costs, but borrowers can also access their financial records online. (It also saves an awful lot of trees!)

Be careful

Knowing what precautions to take with electronic signatures starts with knowing how it works. Various providers offer digital signature services, and they differ in security. The REALTOR standard is DocuSign Electronic Signature Service, and it’s worked for millions of transactions across all 50 states with very few disputes over authenticity. It is the electronic signature program my team uses.

If your Boston downtown real estate agent uses a different service, check into whether it embeds signature audit trails in the document. This is the method by which the software ensures that it’s really you providing the signature. The electronic signature service your agent uses should also employ encryption and third-party verification. You don’t have to understand how all of this stuff works — but your real estate agent should!

Once you know that you can trust the service that’s collecting your electronic signatures through the home-buying process is reputable, you’re halfway there. The other thing I advise my clients to do constantly is to read the paperwork. When it’s on the screen rather than on paper, it’s all the more tempting to scroll through it to the “sign here” parts. While it may be okay to do that in some instances, it’s still a good idea to know what you’re signing. You are responsible for what you sign, electronic signature or not!

All in all, I love e-signatures and my clients do too. Here are a couple of snippets from my Portland real estate agent reviews:
“The electronic signature tools John uses made the process a lot more convenient and efficient.”
“Electronic signatures made signing a last minute document a snap and you have a copy for your records”

There you have it! Welcome to the digital era, where real estate in downtown Boston is at the forefront. Let me know if we can help you today.

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