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A Real Estate Professional’s Guide to E-Signatures

esignature tablet woman

Property sales might be the end goal of real estate, but it takes a lot of paperwork to get there – starting with the bids and contracts facilitated by real estate professionals.

Today, most of that paperwork is started in electronic form. Wouldn't life be simpler and transactions happen quicker if those documents could just stay electronic throughout the signing process? That's why e-signatures are becoming increasingly popular in the real estate industry. They allow buyers, sellers and all other parties involved to sign a document digitally and securely, saving time, money and resources.

The Different Types of Electronic Signatures

Every real estate professional has something to gain from using e-signatures, but it's important to note that not every kind of e-signature is a good fit for real estate documents.

There are two types of electronic signatures – dependent e-signatures and independent e-signatures. Both are legally accepted forms of electronic signatures, but the technology behind the two is significantly different.

A dependent e-signature remains on the server of your electronic signature vendor, and the image of the signature is placed on the document. Because the vendor has the evidence of the signature, you would need to obtain that evidence from your vendor if the legitimacy of the signature is ever questioned.

An independent e-signature, such as zipLogix Digital Ink®, embeds the evidence and validity of the signature into the signed document itself, and this type of electronic signature is also called a digital signature. Because the legal evidence of the signature is digitally contained within the signed document, there's no need to depend on your e-signature vendor to keep your signed documents on file or to provide you with updates to the file over time. Independent e-signatures also use tamper-evident technology to immediately detect any potential fraud; robust identity authentication to make sure only authorized individuals have access to documents; and comprehensive, independent audit trails to track and record every part of the signing process.