Dear David: I’ve been out of the real estate market for years and was surprised when my Realtor suggested I sign my offer using an electronic signature. Is that even legal? – Pen & Ink
DEAR PEN: Yes, using an electronic signature is permitted on real estate documents, though whether or not you use one really depends on your comfort level.
Like traditional ink, the electronic signature is safe, permanent and legally binding. Signatures are generated using tamper-proof software. As the real estate industry grows increasingly digitized, offers and documents are increasingly shared between Realtors and their clients via email. A growing number of my clients prefer electronic signing as it allows them to review documents at their convenience (rather than at a face-to-face meeting) which is ideal when there are multiple parties in different locations, or when scheduling is an issue.
That said, comfort with technology is a personal thing. There are plenty of clients who still prefer to meet in person and sign in ink, which I am always happy to accommodate. Remember, it’s your Realtor’s job to ensure that you are informed and comfortable with every aspect of your real estate transaction and there are many tools available to help them create an experience that works for you.
I want to re-do my back deck while the weather is still good. Do I need a permit? – Handyman
DEAR HANDYMAN: A permit is required in some cases, so before you get started, you’ll want to contact your city’s building division to check on regulations governing deck height and lot line allowances. In the City of Kitchener for example, a deck that is under two feet in height does not usually require a permit; but if the deck is more than two feet above grade at any point, specific property line setbacks need to be respected and a permit is required. A quick call to your city office will shed light on how to proceed.
We moved during the summer. Last night, we turned on the year-old furnace in our new home and found it wasn’t running smoothly. I’m worried about the cost of repairs. Help! – Cold & Concerned
DEAR COLD: There are a few things to check before you call an HVAC repair service. A furnace as new as this one may be covered by its original warranty — and that warranty may extend to you as the new homeowner. To see if such a warranty exists, place a call to your Realtor, who may be able to connect with the seller’s Realtor on your behalf.
Ideally, the discussion about existing warranties should have taken place when you purchased your home. At that point, it could have been written into your Purchase Agreement that all existing warranties pertaining to workmanship and materials in the home be provided to you. While hindsight is 20/20, it’s worth investigating what might be available before opting to bear the full cost of repairs on your own.