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5 Reasons Electronically Signed Documents Might Just be Better than Pen-and-Ink

May 02 2014

esig binaryFirst, let's acknowledge the elephant in the room: we're biased. Our users have had the option to send documents for electronic signatures through our transaction management solution for several years now, and we obviously think signing documents electronically is a necessity. But we've got some great reasoning to back up our position. Here are five of the best:

1) According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 31% of today's buyers belong to Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1979) and 28% of buyers are even younger, belonging to Generation Y (those born between 1980 and 2000). Consumers in this age group love technology and incorporate it into almost every aspect of their lives. They're going to expect equal savvy from their REALTOR®.

2) Real estate isn't strictly local. Most real estate professionals have experienced at least a few out-of-state or international buyers. Sending real estate documents for electronic signatures is far superior in these situations. They're flexible, so that signers can live hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Creating a session takes about 5 minutes, and if the signers are on stand-by anticipating the contracts, they can have them signed within 10 minutes of receiving them. Potentially, all documents can be signed within 20 minutes without all participants being in the same location.

3) Digital signatures are as secure as pen-and-paper signatures, if you choose a proper solution. Our digital signature solution is secure, encrypted, legally enforceable per the 2000 ESign Act, includes a complete audit trail, and locks documents after the signing session is complete. This means that our technology tracks who signs the document, when they sign it, and even where they sign it (by capturing their IP address).

Our solution goes even further than what is required by the ESign Act. All completed signed documents include a digital certificate, making the documents self-reliant. That means signed documents stand alone and do not require logging into our system or another system to show that the signatures are valid. When the document is opened in Adobe Reader, the certificate appears showing the document is valid and has not been modified since the signature was applied.

4) As you know, the life of a REALTOR® is infinitely mobile, constantly on-the-go. Digital signatures complement this, especially when they're cloud-based. This means that you can work on contracts from home, from your office, or from your favorite shop – anywhere that has an Internet connection.

5) Digital signatures keep things tidy. You don't have to worry about mountains of paperwork at your desk, in your car, overflowing your briefcase. This looks better to clients and will certainly feel better to you. I know that I can't work as effectively in an untidy space – I'll bet you can't either.

So, there you have it – our rationale for preferring digital signatures to pen-and-paper signatures. We also love that they're a perfect fit for our forms/transaction management solution. A form becomes a living, breathing document when it's signed. By adding digital signatures to our solution, we can truly serve our clients full circle - from the very beginning of a transaction to the very end.