The Pros and Cons of E-Sign in the Real Estate Transaction

In the world in which we live in today, if you haven’t been asked to electronically sign something, you’ve been hiding underneath a rock.  Our comfort level with E-sign has rapidly evolved in the last ten years. Electronic signatures in real estate transactions are fast becoming the norm instead of the exception.

For purposes of simplicity in this post, I am going to refer to electronic signatures and digital signatures as one in the same, although they are different.  Digital signatures are used in the real estate business and are much more secure than electronic signatures.  If you’re geeky and want to read about the differences, click here to learn more.

Before we touch on the pros and cons of e-sign, a common misconception needs to be cleared up.  I often hear from consumers and agents alike, “Are they legal?”  The short answer, “Yes.”

The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) was introduced in 1999 and has been adopted by 47 U.S. states (Pennsylvania is one of them), as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  UETA allows electronic signatures in real estate transactions as long as the parties to a contract agree to proceed electronically.

The ESIGN Act is a federal law passed in 2000 and grants legal recognition to electronic signatures and records if all parties to a contract choose to use electronic documents and to sign them electronically.

UETA and the ESIGN Act solidified the legal landscape for use of electronic records and electronic signatures in real estate transactions by confirming that they carry the same weight and have the same legal effect as traditional paper documents and wet ink signatures.

Now that they boring legal stuff is out of the way, here are the pros and cons:  Continue reading

Peak Behind the Curtain on Short-term Rentals

I’ve recently been asked by a number of people if I thought it was a good idea to rent their home through a national website to earn some additional cash.  After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Aside from your house being trashed while you’re away, here are three things to keep in mind if you are considering renting out your house on a short-term basis.

1. Legality

The rise in popularity of Airbnb and other sites hasn’t been without its controversy. There are concerns that short-term rentals threaten the jobs of hotel workers, and that a short-term rental doesn’t have to pass the same certifications and inspections of regular hotels. Finally, many investors are buying properties with the intent of renting them out, which takes housing off the market in areas with already limited inventory (check out this article from The Los Angeles Times to learn more).

Some cities have enacted restrictions against short-term rentals. You may need to register and get a permit or a license – or you may not be able to host at all. Check with your local government to make sure you understand the laws. Continue reading

REALTORS® Property Resource (RPR) – A Powerful Tool for Today’s Real Estate Agent

The National Association of REALTORS® data product is a powerful resource for real estate agents that know how to harness its information.  Here is a presentation that will introduce you to the program and give you an overview of its unique features and comprehensive reports.

All the best!

The Clock is Ticking

A User’s Guide to Meeting the 14 Deadlines in the Agreement of Sale

When a property goes under agreement, Buyers and Sellers typically breathe a collective sigh of relief.  Real estate agents on the other hand know that the true work is just beginning.

If a standard PAR (Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®) agreement of sale is used in a transaction, there are 14 deadlines that must be met in order for the parties to be in compliance with the terms of the agreement.  Missing any one of these deadlines can have dire consequences to the party that fails to live up to their end of the bargain. Continue reading

Folio for Gmail – Yea!!!

I’m not one to usually endorse services or products on my blog but I stumbled upon a Gmail extension the other day that I have to trumpet to my fellow real estate agents.  It’s called Folio.

Any agent that has ever processed a real estate transaction from start to finish knows that trying to keep track of all the paperwork, emails, conversations, deadlines, and notes is a daunting task.  The developers of Folio, Amitree, apparently felt your pain.  Here are some of the features that make this extension special:  Continue reading