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Electronic Signature legal on Massachusetts real estate contracts and documents?

Hello. I'm one of those people who likes to do things electronically and wirelessly, for both convenience and because I enjoy using technology. My wife and I are working on finding a house in Massachusetts but I'm on the road quite a bit, travelling to other states for my sales job. If she finds a house while I'm travelling and we want to move on it fast is it legal for me to sign any documents or contracts such as an offer to purchase using an electronic signature? What does Massachusetts law say about this? Thanks.

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Under the Massachusetts Uniform Transactions Act (Chapter 133 of the Acts of 2003, codified at Massachusetts General Laws. Chapter 110G), or UETA, real estate contracts may be signed electronically and are then valid and binding contracts. Similarly, federal law recognizes the validity of electronic signatures. With respect to enforceability of the contract, the UETA simply states: “In a legal proceeding, evidence of a record or signature may not be excluded solely because it is in electronic form.”   In fact, the practice is slowly becoming more and more common, perhaps in recognition of the fact that Americans, like you, are mobile and tech savvy.  Many real estate attorneys now include riders in their contracts that specifically recognize the validity of electronic signatures.  The technology is fairly simple and easy to use. See, for example, Docusign, EchoSign, and eOriginal.

One note of caution, however, don't let the ease of electronic signatures and document transfers distract you from the importance and permanence of what you are doing.  Remember, for example, that a signed Offer to Purchase Real Estate is a binding contract, even signed electronically by someone in another state.   Good luck with the property hunt.

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