Real estate transactions are moving at a faster than normal speed with the hot real estate market we have been seeing in the Kelowna area. While this can be a necessity in some markets, it also makes it even more important to be aware of the time requirements around completion of the transaction to ensure all pieces can be done within the contracted times. One of these requirements is the signing of closing documents required by the lawyers and notaries to register and complete the purchase or sale. Throughout the contract process, realtors and parties frequently use electronic signatures to help things move faster and keep contracts clearer.
While electronic signatures have made things much more efficient in a number of areas, they have not yet made their way to use for Land Title Office purposes. As a result, this means that we are not able to have clients sign their closing documents using AuthentiSign, DocuSign or other similar programs. In the majority of cases, it is a necessity that the buyer or seller sign documents in the physical presence of a lawyer, notary, or other approved witness in accordance with the Land Title Act and the Evidence Act of Canada. As a result, it is important that buyers and sellers consider this requirement in their plans surrounding the completion of the purchase or sale transaction. In some cases, a lender will have specific requirements about the execution of documents and will not permit the client to sign documents remotely. In others, there may be specific requirements associated with such signing including the use of an approved notary or lawyer as the remote witness of documents.
Providing as much advance notice as possible can help mitigate the inconvenience of having to physically sign documents with a lawyer or notary. In many cases, we can arrange for early signing of documents to accommodate travel plans, a unique work schedule or, at a minimum, the lender can be notified of the requirement to try to avoid last minute issues with signing which can be stressful with the closing date fast approaching.
In some cases, a client might consider the use of a power of attorney for the signing of documents on a real estate transaction if they will not be physically present for a signing appointment. While this can be convenient in some cases, it does also add additional cost if the power of attorney needs to be prepared and/or registered, and can also be a time consideration as it could take up to two weeks to have the power of attorney registered at the Land Title Office. In addition, lenders frequently will not permit mortgage documents to be signed using a power of attorney. If it is expected that one will be needed, it is best to make arrangements early to ensure it will be permissible and also to either have an appropriate power of attorney signed and registered or, alternatively, to have an existing power of attorney registered with the Land Title Office. Advice should be sought from the lawyer or notary acting on the transaction and also from the lender to ensure the proposed plan is workable on all fronts.
As with most things, early preparation can help reduce stress and limit the opportunity for last minute challenges to arise prior to closing.
If you have any questions regarding the above or the process of buying and selling real estate in general, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our lawyers practicing in the area of residential real estate transactions. We would be happy to help!
Author: Una Gabie
This information is general in nature only. You should consult a lawyer before acting on any of this information. This information should not be considered as legal advice. To learn more about your legal needs, please contact our office at (250)448-2637 or any of our lawyers practicing in the area of real estate law at the following:Una Gabie: firstname.lastname@example.org Jennette Vopicka: email@example.com Danielle (Dani) Brito: firstname.lastname@example.org