And the short answer is...probably not.
Proper signatures on correctly prepared real estate documents are key to a successful real estate transaction. But with new technology (and the authorization of the Electronic Signatures Act of 2000) electronic signing is reducing the need for "pen on paper" signatures for many of my real estate clients.
E-signatures are set up for the client through one of several third party systems and can be used for everything from listing agreements and full contract purchase offers to those last minute contract addenda.
My client receives a secure email which opens to a pdf version of the transaction documents. The client can review the documents and then simply clicks in the appropriate areas to insert his signature electonically. Once completed, the signed document returns to me (again as a pdf file) which I can then send to the other real estate agent, turn in to my broker for his files, and retain for my own files. Saves gas and trees, as we can eliminate a lot of driving and unnecessary paper printing. I have done entire Tucson home transactions with out-of-state clients without ever meeting face to face!
While some foreclosure and short sale transactions still require ink on paper signatures, even that world is slowing changing. So don't be surprised if you can sign important docs on your next home sale or purchase while sitting home in your jammies!