The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

My ESignature Hangover and Fannie Mae’s Double Standard

The US Government is clearly trying to ruin my social life with hypocrisy and confusing rules. I know what you’re thinking: Of course it isn’t. The government is totally straight-forward, always adherent to its own rules and asinine-redtape-free. Stop being so silly and treasonous by suggesting otherwise.

And yes, while I agree that usually the government uses the quickest and easiest path to accomplishing only fair and just things… oh wait, sorry, I meant ‘never’ when I said ‘always’. So maybe this story isn’t radically unusual taking into consideration the track record of who we’re talking about, but it’s still stupid and incredibly annoying. So I’m going to whine about it for a minute.

Way back many, many years ago, when Beverly Hills 90210 was still all about Kelly and Brandon and our naïve young eyes had not yet glimpsed the bitch-faced Naomi, in the year 2000, the US government released the ESign Act, which recognized esignatures as equally valid in the US court system as regular pen-to-paper signatures. In case math isn’t your strong suit, I’ll break it down for you: ELEVEN YEARS AGO, the government said, ‘Hey, these esignatures totally save paper and are actually more easily tracked and confirmed than regular signatures. It’s possible they even cause the infertile to bear children and maybe even cure cancer in koala bears. They’re that good. We’re totally for esignatures.’

You’d think, with such a ringing endorsement so very long, long ago, that esignature technology would be widely embraced at this point, right? You’d think it would make a Realtor-gal’s life a bit easier as she’s trying to write a contract for a buyer in between appointments with other clients and her sister’s bachelorette party on a Saturday night.

Unfortunately, you’d be grossly incorrect.

In fact, although the US government as a whole entity recognizes esignatures as just as good, if not better than regular signatures, apparently the government organization Fannie Mae, hasn’t yet gotten the memo about the poor baby koala bears with cancer. Fannie Mae specifically does not accept esignatures from buyers on their properties. In fact, just to twist the Knife of Hypocrisy a bit deeper into our backs, Fannie Mae has an addendum the buyer is required to submit with his or her offer that states (among 13 pages of other legal gobeldy-gook): An electronic signature by the Seller or its Attorney in Fact shall be given the same effect as a written signature.

Basically, what Fannie Mae is saying is, ‘We will use esignatures as much as we want and throw parties you’re not invited to but that will be discussed endlessly on Facebook the next day. You, however, are required to make your own paper out of the shavings you used a cheese grater to extract from your favorite dining room set and then copy the contract word for word using a pen that writes in blood siphoned direct from your own arm. Because we can.’

So, instead of quickly and easily emailing over the contract for my client to sign Saturday afternoon, my poor client and I engaged in a ridiculous dance of contract-signing that spanned 24 hours and included:

1.       A 51 mile commute between our two houses.

2.       A 30 minute trip to Bashas for my client where she attempted to fax the document (paying $1/per page) to my non-working crap-pile of a home fax machine because she didn’t get my text to send it to the efax account.

3.       My fax line ringing for 30 minutes straight while I tried to get a hold of my client and tell her to send it to the other number.

4.       My client’s boyfriend almost killing everyone in his frustration with the entire faxing incident.

5.       An eventual meet-up of me and my client the next morning in the parking lot of a Whole Foods halfway between our two houses to physically exchange documents like some kind of suburban drug deal on that show Weeds. I was so hungover from the bachelorette party the night before I could barely stand up and my client was still wearing her jammies.

It’s a conspiracy to ruin weekends, is what I’m saying.

4 Responses to My ESignature Hangover and Fannie Mae’s Double Standard

  1. 1. Precisely the reason we are buying a new house. (Also the reason I almost upped my offer ANOTHER 5k after the faxing debacle of 2011)

    2. 3. 4. When I finally checked my phone I couldn’t very well tell my boyfriend that we had been faxing to the wrong number for the last half-hour. Since it was taking so long I was already working on getting a discount on the $1 a page, which the entire thing ended up being comped – Possibly because I’m cute, possibly because Mike looked like he was gonna rip someone’s head off, possibly because I don’t think the manager was ever able to successfully fax the document. Actually, maybe I should have made them throw in a free pizza too! Sorry for the 30 min of EeeeEhoooBzzzTwh.

    5. Yeah, but you got the drugs I slipped in with the paperwork right?

  2. The clients boyfriend part so reminded me of Steve Martin in the grocery store with the hot dog buns in Father of the Bride. My apologies to him that I got a good laugh from his frustration. Had that been my husband he would have just spontaneously combusted.

  3. OK. I am peeing my pants here with laughter! How frustrating! We’re so behind that technology wave here as well. I have an e-signing pad that I just started using and I love it. I have no idea what Fannie Mae is. Is that a brokerage? A Bank? The name calls up bad images to this here Canadian who hears those two words and thinks of the US financial melt-down. So I’m assuming it must be a bank.

  4. Just a little tidbit of information that might be useful for the future. It’s not all Fannie Mae listings that won’t take it. I’ve closed several in which they did and have one going now that has all been done electronically. It’s actually the servicer who is the issue. They have varying interpretations of what Fannie will allow. Learned that from a Fannie REO agent a couple weeks ago. Old Republic will take them.

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