When it comes to real estate, it’s one of the industries that have great transformation from the use of technology. While property sales may be the aim of real estate agents, there is a lot of paperwork that is involved from securing the bids, contracts facilitated by the agents. Today, much of the paperwork goes through electronic ways but somewhere, documents that have been prepared have to be printed and signed manually. Life would be simpler if the transactions and document signing processes are automated. It could make it easy and quicker for the processes if the documents remained in electronic form throughout the process of signing.
eSignature has stepped in to offer solutions to real estate agents and their clients in signing documents. Many real estate agents are now increasingly using eSignature solutions. An eSignature real estate company allows sellers, buyers, and other parties to sign documents electronically and in a secure way thereby saving money, time, and resources.
Types of eSignature Solutions
Real estate professionals have many ways of gaining from the use of eSignature, however, it is to realize that not all e-Signature solutions are ideal for every real estate document. Two kinds of electronic signatures exist – independent and dependent eSignatures. While both are accepted legally, however, the technology applied differs significantly.
A dependent eSignature is stored and remains on the server of the eSignature vendor. The signature’s image is inserted in the document. Since the vendor has the signature’s evidence, you will need to get that evidence from the vendor if the event that the legitimacy of the signature is questioned.
On the other hand, independent eSignature embeds the signature’s evidence as well as the validity of the document signed. This kind of eSignature is referred to as a digital signature. The legal evidence of the eSignature is electronically contained in the signed document. This means there isn’t a need to rely on the eSignature vendor in order to keep the document that has been signed on file or to offer you updates to the document file.
Tamper-evidence technology is also used in independent eSignatures to help immediately detect if there is any potential fraud. This kind of eSignature uses a robust authentication to ensure only authorized people can access the document. It has comprehensive and independent audit trails that help with tracking and recording each step of the signing process.
A brief History of eSignatures
eSignature technology isn’t new. On July 25, 2000, the first paperless house sale was done using only electronic signatures. Both the financing and sale of the house were involved in the signing process and the transaction took about five minutes of recording. In some industries, digital signatures of documents can improve the turnaround time up to 80 percent. That being said, not all real estate agents have taken advantage of this technology, almost over 19 years later.
While there is a technology that streamlines the document signing process, there are still people who have decided to stand in line to burn gas driving down to get that signature or use notary stamps.
The Shift to Digital Signatures
The adoption of digital signatures has been slow partly because government agencies and organizations working closely with governments have lagging to adapt to the industry. However, the avenue for realizing the benefits of eSignature solutions has already been set. In 2000, the federal established the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN), a legal framework that recognizes eSignatures as a solution legally binding. Bank of America came to accept eSignatures in 2012 when it began using them within pre-approved short-sale documents. Surprisingly, county governments seem to be taking a similar path to government and quasi-government agencies because they are still slow in adopting the technology. Businesses need to take a forefront position in using eSignature technology because it is going to transform their operations and eliminate the setbacks and challenges presented by the traditional method of signing documents.
eSignatures for Real Estate Agents
If governments and real estate brokers fully embrace eSignature technology, it can allow clients to quickly complete the sales, purchase, and financing documents using their computers and tablets or even smartphones. The agent only needs to pull the documents, create the space of signing, enter the email address of the client and send it. The client receives email notification or sees the document in whatever form it is created, say PDF or Word, with the areas for signing flagged. Alternatively, eSignature software guides the clients on the steps to follow through the signing process. The electronic signatures solutions for real estate can highlight or flag any signatures and initials that are missing. After the client signs the document, he or she simply tap “send” and the duly electronically signed document is automatically transmitted back to the agent.
If the client can access email, he or she doesn’t have to lick stamps or fill out the FedEx envelopes or event drive all the way seeking the agent for a missed initial or something of that sort. Already, before the recipient of the document sends it back, he or she asserts that everything has been done the right way. Today, eSignature platforms are designed to be intuitive with ease-to-use interfaces ensuring that the people signing the documents have an easy time and a great experience without issues of navigating the platform.
The widely available eSignatures for real estate agents packages also feature automatic notification of the involved parties when the document has gone through a particular step. They can monitor how the documents are moving from one step to another ensuring that they are in the big picture about the progress of signing. If additional signatures are needed, the parties will be notified. Besides, real estate agents can integrate eSignature solutions with standard workflow software and programs thus reducing the chances of errors and allowing the management to monitor and assess in-progress documents when they move to completion.
The best eSignature programs provide third-party IP numbers verification to create an audit trail for each signature and to help verify the identity of the signer. The signed documents are stored in secure cloud environments to allow for on-demand retrieval in an easy and cheap way.
How Real Estate Benefits from eSignatures
When real estate agents move from paperless to the digital signing process, they benefit in many ways. The eSignature solution allows mobility whereby a user can sign the documents from anywhere and at any time. This is one of the biggest advantages of using eSignatures in the real estate industry. Since most eSignatures have cloud-based support, a user is able to sign the documents conveniently from a tablet, mobile phone, laptop, PC, and other gadgets meaning the signing process does have to be in an office environment. You could be away from the office and you receive a notification that you have to document to sign, you simply log on to the platform and sign the document, and then send it back.
Another perk that comes with eSignatures for real estate is speed. Time is very crucial when it comes to transacting and signing contracts in real estate. A 10-minute delay to have a client offer signed can cost a buyer the deal. As the real estate agent, you need to embrace eSignatures to speed up the process of closing deals.
Once a document is sent to a client, it is signed quickly and sent back. This eliminates the bottlenecks seen with faxing, emailing, mailing, and printing of forms and contracts.
eSignature programs also allow efficiency and accuracy in signing documents. You can create mandatory fields for parties to sign. The document won’t be sent back unless it has been completed. This eliminates the need to resend documents for resigning because they are incomplete or the time spent on revising paperwork. Besides, eSignatures reduce the need for handling and filing paperwork so that you use that time to do more important tasks.
Another benefit of using eSignatures is that it reduces the cost of signing documents. You don’t need to use ink, incur shipping costs, or buy paper and postage or envelopes. There are no related administration costs for the manual signing of documents or having someone deliver the documents at a fee.
Security is also an integral part of eSignatures. The real estate documents have sensitive information and probably present the most important transactions to the life of the clients. With cybercrime increasing, real estate agents have to be vigilant to protect their clients’ documents and data. Independent electronic signature software for real estate professionals allows great security for the documents. If the validity of the signed documents is questioned, the real estate agents and their businesses can know the documents are legally binding and defensible since there is evidence of the eSignature embedded into the document. The document is valid can be presented in the courtroom is there are any disputes coming their way.
eSignature Vendors Aren’t Created Equal
the pasting of crude signatures on documents may be one thing, but keeping a digital chain of document’s custody with sufficient verification steps occurring down the signing process and ensuring the validity of the signatures is a different thin. Provision of security for sensitive information as well as compliance with state and federal legal frameworks on eSignatures technology is something that fosters the growth of the technology in real estate. You can’t just alter a signature you have placed on a document unless the platform is illegitimate. If you do that, it means also anyone else can do it during the process of signing documents, and it can present a huge security loophole in real estate document signing processes. Any eSignature platform that allows such alterations to be made does not fit in the big dollar contracts involved in real estate deals, so real estate agents should only trust eSignature platforms that are concrete, secure, cloud-based, and properly monitored.
The real estate deals involve purchase agreements, the closing of deals, mandatory disclosures, title assurances, regulations, and other documents that mean a lot of document signing and placing of initials. Traditionally, a real estate agent would spend his or her precious time driving down the streets to track down the clients. They would also spend a lot of money to prepare and send documents to clients using FedEx. The process has been tedious often worrying about any mistakes and errors that could mean resending the documents for correction and resigning. That has experienced has, however, changed with the introduction of eSignatures. No delays, no security threats, no ballooned expenses, and no hassles when signing documents.
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