Are digital signatures changing the real estate game?

When you reflect on just how much the Internet has changed real estate in the past fifteen years, it’s really pretty remarkable. Buyers can now research the neighborhoods with ease, focus their house hunts based on a myriad of criteria, have results delivered to them, and take virtual tours of homes that peak their interest. And that’s just the opening act.

Smart agents have embraced online technology and found ways to use it to their advantage. Mobile technology, for example, has granted the freedom to be there for one client while keeping all the balls in the air for everyone else. But after the open house and the negotiations, when it comes to finally buying a property, a lot of agents are still doing things the old fashioned way: sitting down in an office or standing in an empty kitchen of a newly-purchased home, signing everything by hand.

It shouldn’t be that way.

Paper takes time

Because so many real estate agents still use classic, pen and paper signatures, their sales take more time. A lot more. Every signature, every contract, and every addendum requires a drive to the office or a series of faxes. That time adds up, even in the smoothest of circumstances. But what if there are sticking points and lengthy negotiations? Or what if you have a buyer who was dithering for months before finally deciding, only now you’re on vacation, a thousand miles away? What if you can’t send documents from, say, your hotel in Paris? Do you fly back and seal the deal or just hope they don’t change their mind?

REALTORS® can avoid these hassles by managing their transactions online.

Digital signatures mean faster closes and more flexibility

Digital signatures remove the need for signing in person, faxing agreements back and forth, or sending contracts through the mail. That means faster closes. Here at DocuSign, we’ve seen 60% of real estate documents get signed within one hour.

You can be at an open house across town, signing the paperwork on one home while you’re showing another. You could be picking up your kids from hockey practice, reviewing an addendum, or sitting next to a pool working out the final kinks with a hesitant client. In other words, you can meet your customer wherever they are, wherever you are, and get things done immediately.

More than that, signing real estate contracts online means easy access. Your paperwork isn’t locked away in some file cabinet at your office; it’s in the cloud, accessible at any time for any reason.

It’s important to note: current legislation may prevent the use of digital signatures in some provinces.

Glenn Shimkus is responsible for leading DocuSign’s presence in the real estate industry. He was previously the co-founder and CEO of Cartavi, which was acquired by DocuSign. He is a technology enthusiast, gadget aficionado and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the fields of document management, mobile applications, and cloud computing.

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