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The Painful Paradox of Digital E-Signatures

p>After being broadly introduced earlier this year, the digital e-signature for real estate contracts remains an enigmatic and clunky technology.  Having used it a few times with clients who abhor the terrible tedium of real estate paperwork as much as I do, I still find the technology odd and can totally understand the push back from other agents against accepting it in lieu of an actual signature.

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At the risk of sounding like a Luddite, the digital e-signature concept seems to be a typically ill-conceived product of group think.

 As an odd technological stop-gap solution that tries to bridge the archaic world of real estate and the tremendous efficiencies of current technology, the digital e-signature simply tries too hard to please both sides and ends up failing both.  It's not a digitized signature nor a true digital contract.

The application itself is difficult to use, doesn't keep track of changes, and is riddled with simple and blatant errors.  The whole contract seems silly when a client can digitally sign and initial 10-15 places with a single click.  Why bother with so many digital signatures?  And the output feels as flimsy in appearance as an elementary school hack job.  Since the authentication relies merely on the email address inputted by the agent or whoever enters the data, there seems to be enormous potential for malfeasance.  There are dozens of better authentication methods but I suspect the use of the current CAR forms limits those applications.

Rather, I think a far better solution is something similar to the multiple key authentication and transaction processing that's being used by banks for commercial accounts.  Once the application is completed in person, and notarized if necessary, then it can be used across multiple transactions on a single secure website.  The main point is authenticity and I just don't get that sense from the current digital e-signature technology.

While this may sound like tech bashing, I'm just really looking for some faster improvements so I can stop wasting so much time reprinting and rescanning so many documents.

Michael Cheng

Michael Cheng