New state laws often take place on August 1 and since real estate is highly and I do mean highly regulated on the state level we usually end up with new rules and that means new real estate forms and changes to existing forms to reflect new laws. There is a forms class for real estate agents and brokers taught by the Minnesota Association of Realtors that goes over the changes.
I really wish all agents would attend the forms class. Instead they like to tell us what is “legal” and what is not. Each brokerage has it’s own unique interpretation of the forms and they like to hold the other party hostage until they get their way.
Several forms have been changed because of electronic signatures. They are legal in Minnesota and they have been legal for years. This language was added to some of the contracts: “Electronic signatures: The parties agree the electronic signature of any party on any document related to this transaction constitute valid, binding signatures.” I won’t know for sure until I go to the forms class but my guess is some agent told another agent that he/she has to have a written signature because that is how one party signed. The party who signed electronically was probably in Outer Mongolia and the agent representing the party who signed with a written signature decided it wasn’t “legal” to have one of each type of signature and held all parties hostage until he/she got a written signature.
At any rate being the rebel that I am I use a product called EchoSign for electronic signatures. My clients love it and I started using it when I discovered that I was not smart enough to figure out how to use the special software they make for real estate. I will go on record as saying I am a raving fan of Echo Sign. When I am fortunate enough to have a client sign documents in person I have them signed on my iPad with a real signature right on the screen. I have had entire transactions where nothing has been printed the documents were either signed electronically or I had them signed on my iPad. Clients get electronic copies of the files and so does the lender and the all other parties who need copies. EchoSign was recently acquired by Adobe and so far they have not wrecked it.