Mr. Viteritti asked for his experience with real estate transactions since March of 2020 when COVID-19 started to have a dramatic impact on Eastern Long Island’s real estate market.
JV: What are some of the lingering effects of the ways you have had to adapt to the impact of COVID on your real estate transactions?
DD: While many of the offices have reopened, practices that evolved as a result of COVID have continued. Documents are prepared and exchanged electronically; signatures are acquired electronically except when original documents and signatures are required by law, for example, deeds and recordings of those documents with the County Clerk’s Office.
JV: Do you expect this practice to continue even though offices are opening and interested parties will be permitted to gather around a conference table for in-person closings?
DD: Yes. This is far more expeditious for all parties including buyers and sellers. Many issues that have been contentious at “in-person” closings are avoided in advance by the parties to the transactions.
JV: The Statute of Frauds requires that contracts for the transfer of real property be in writing. How is that being handled and are electronic signatures permitted?
DD: The electronic signature is permitted if there is a clause in the contract agreeing to accept electronic signatures. The seller’s attorney scans the contract to the buyer’s attorney and the buyer’s attorney scans the contract signed by the buyer back to the seller’s attorney and the seller then signs the contract. The deposit submitted by the buyer is deposited into the seller’s attorney’s escrow account.