The Growing Trend of Digital Signature Tools for Real Estate
May 10, 2018 |
For new real estate agents, there’s nothing more exciting than getting a real estate contract signed by a home buyer or a home seller. Signatures make it official, and after appraisals and inspections and an escrow period, you’ll have a commission check. Yes! What about digital signatures?
Experienced real estate agents know something that new agents don’t: Not all contracts turn into a sale. They fall through. They expire. Someone breaches the contract. If devoting a few hours to gather signatures on a contract that may or may not turn into a sale is not a productive way to spend time in real estate, what can you do? Begin using digital signature technology that is approved and used by all parties; i.e. the banks and the closing companies.
Digital Signatures in Real Estate: A Quick Overview
Even though digital signatures were recognized as legally binding as early as the year 2000, Fannie Mae and banks were slower to accept them. While most lenders and closing companies accept digital signatures today, many county recording offices still require in-person signing at the closing table. Even when pen and paper signatures on county documents are required, digital options will still work for the initial purchase contract, the inspection documents, and seller disclosure statements that real estate agents use.
Digital Signature Software Features
When you begin comparing digital signature software companies, consider all of the following features:
- Security & Backup Ask about security and data backup. If the software goes down, is there a backup solution in place to retrieve stored documents? What type of security features are in place?
- Integrations How does the tool work with other common document storage tools like Dropbox or Google Drive?
- Transaction Management Tools If you rely heavily on transaction management software, look for integration options that make it easy to upload your digital signature forms. DocuSign is popular in the real estate community because it offers expert assistance to help with the transition to digital document management. They have assisted real estate companies with massive rollouts and can manage adoption programs for brokerages of every size.
- Storage Like all cloud technology, there are storage limits. If you max out on storage, how easy is it to upgrade?
- Form Compatibility Many real estate associations use electronic real estate forms like zipForm®. Make sure your digital signature software is compatible with the electronic forms.
- Mobile Friendly Real estate agents aren’t the only ones on the go these days; tech-savvy clients will appreciate mobile-friendly signature options.
- Support If you or your clients require assistance with the tool, what type of support options are available? Are you comfortable with a chat/email-only support team, or do you prefer to speak to someone on the phone? Residential real estate isn’t a Monday – Friday industry; is support open available on the weekends?
DocuSign is the tool of choice for many real estate agents and firms, and they’re also a REALTOR Benefits® Program partner. A leader in digital signature solutions, they have branded plans available for individual agents and broker plans for real estate companies. They’re backed by big players like Wells Fargo and Microsoft; DocuSign is well-respected in every industry.
Dotloop also offers broker and agent packages, along with real estate team options. Large brokerages like RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, and Century 21 trust Dotloop. Like DocuSign, they offer digital signature services to other industries such as finance, insurance, and healthcare.
GoPaperless is endorsed by multiple local Realtor Associations and like DocuSign and Dotloop, they are utilized by large brands like Century 21 and RE/MAX.
Utilizing a digital signature tool to deliver real estate services is an excellent way to deliver a higher level of service to your clients while making your life easier. Research the options thoroughly and look to the future when selecting your tool of choice. The best option will be easy for clients to use, grow with your business, and help you deliver excellent real estate services.