Real Estate Is Tough On Trees

/ Posted in Business Law, Featured Articles, Real Estate

Completing a real estate transaction is tough on trees. The amount of paper required for our file alone (not to mention the realtor’s file/mortgage broker’s file/other lawyer’s file/ect…) is significant. Sale files are not that bad but purchase and mortgage files can get quite thick.

In an effort to do our part to help reduce paper use, we have started providing copies of the third party documents and client reporting packages in scanned format, which when possible reduces the amount of copies required from 3 to 1. We have often thought about attempting to go paperless, but the stumbling block was determining how to get a client to sign documents if you don’t print them. We are familiar with online signature capabilities, as all Land Title documents must be submitted electronically. However, setting up clients for this feature would add more time and complexity to a real estate transaction that many would think unnecessary, or for less technologically savvy clients, it could be a scary and frustrating process.

In an article published by the National Post and confirmed in the CREA website, it appears that the Canadian Real Estate Association is moving forward with DocuSign to create a way for clients to sign real estate documents electronically. We’ll have to determine what precisely is involved, as it appears that realtors and their clients may have to pay a fee to use this service. If this can gain traction among realtors, and if the third parties involved in a real estate transaction (lenders and the Law Society being the key players) permit use of this system, it could be the first step towards a paperless real estate transaction. It will surely take some time to get it there, but it is encouraging that within a decade we could really be moving to a paperless transaction.

This is great news for our forests, but it will have negative impact on many law firms’ bottom lines as the photocopier can be a firm’s biggest biller…but not at Montgomery Miles as we do not charge clients for copies and try to avoid printing anything if possible.

image courtesy of scotbot

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