First Ever e-Signature Used for Exchange of Contracts of Residential Property

In the click of a mouse the property industry may be experiencing the beginning of yet another online disruptive business.

On Thursday 6 April at 15.59pm an e-signature was used for the first time to sign the contract for both the sale and purchase element of a residential transaction.

The industry has been using computer technology for years, however this is the first verified e-signature used in a transaction. Source: Winkworth

Lawyers for both the buyer and seller uploaded the agreed contract to electronic signing system Bonafidee, which was then sent to the vendor and purchaser for them to sign electronically. The transaction was overseen was Convey Law, who checked over the legal documentation then exchanged contracts.

Convey Law’s Legal Director Gareth Richards gushed over the landmark deal, “Agreeing contract terms is often undertaken over the telephone by conveyancers and, in many circumstances, the document that you receive from the conveyancer on the other side of a transaction can look very different from the contract that you have sent out.”

“This is definitely a significant step in the right direction in relation to e-conveyancing and we are delighted to have been a part of this Conveyancing Association initiative in revolutionising the conveyancing process.”

E-signature tech firm Bonafidee is based in Royal Tunbridge Wells and was founded by systems analyst Steve Toms.

Toms was delighted with his firms involvement, “innovative technology is now being used by conveyancers to help speed up the house buying process…paperless processes not only save time and money but also add rigor and compliance with an audit trail that records the actions taken during the signing process.”

The deal is a bellwether for UK property, which has experienced wide scale disruption from online-only competition over the past 2 years. Companies such as Purplebricks in the agency universe, LendInvest in the financing universe and Trussle in the brokerage universe are all forcing traditional players to change their entire business models.

DealMakerz thinks this landmark e-signature conveyancing deal is a the long overdue push the legal industry needs to modernise the way in which customers purchase property. Ensuring the conveyancing process is as efficient  as possible will be beneficial for everyone involved; nearly 30% of sale fall throughs in the UK are now attributed to slow sales progression and conveyancing issues.

In an age where it’s possible for investors to purchase London properties using Bitcoin, DMZ thinks deals verified with an e-signature should become not commonplace but standard industry practice from 2018 onwards.

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