Are You Still Printing Contracts?

Real Estate Agent with The Boutique Real Estate Group

(I am not being paid by docusign for this endorsement).

Printing contracts and meeting clients to sign them is time consuming. When I became a Realtor, I wanted to do things and offer services that most agents weren't doing. I use docusign. It's super simple to use, and my clients LOVE it.

Have you ever had to meet up with your clients at a time that wasn't good for you, but docs had to be signed and time was ticking away? This morning, my clients wanted to counter an offer we received the night before. We discussed the price and terms, and I went into zipforms and created the counter, uploaded it to docusign, told docusign where my clients need to sign, my clients received an email to sign the counter offer, and when it was complete, I emailed the offer to the other agent. This all happened in about 15 minutes, just enough time for my wife to make me breakfast.

  • Convenience for both you and your clients
  • Time-saving because you don't have to drive to get signatures or wait for faxes
  • Cost effective, it's only $19 per month

Isn't it time you offered your clients even more service? Some of your clients may be reluctant if they are technically challenged, but most of them will love how easy and convenient it is. I still have clients sign contracts physically, but I try to have most of them done the convenient way.

I surprised at how many agents don't even know what docusign is, not to mention, how much easier their job can be if they used it. All I can say is, you have to try it at least once before you dismiss it as a tool you don't want to use. There's a free trial, so you have no reason not to give it a shot!

Comments (132)

Jeremy Lehman
The Boutique Real Estate Group - Garden Grove, CA
Jeremy Lehman

Looks like I need to take a vacation day to read through all of these comments! Thanks for all the great input. I don't want to undermine the importance of going though the contracts with our clients, and doing that face to face can be very important. That is a big part of our role with our clients. Choose the features that work best for you, and use the product to be more productive.

The agents in our business are notoriously reluctant to use technology. If you were around...remember when the MLS's switched to on online format. Agents were kicking and screaming. The fact is, eSignatures are certainly not a necessity, YET. I imagine they will become manadatory in our business in the future. So many have pointed out some of the reasons, such as cost effectiveness, saving paper, and speeding up the transaction, but what about the legal aspects? The fact is, it's arguable that eSignatures are more valid than "wet" signatures. Why?...when was the last time you checked your clients ID when they signed your documents? Don't lie either :) The signatures are at least attached to an IP address and email address in this case. You can also go a step further and pay to have them verified.

*Remember, technology will not replace real estate agents, Real estate agents that USE technology will. Can you tell I have a real estate technology training backround?

@Chris Olsen, Yes, you can have the other agent and their clients sign the same way you have your own clients sign.

Mar 29, 2010 05:49 AM
Peter Rozsa
Cupertino, CA - Cupertino, CA

Electronic signatures, like someone else said, is a LAWSUIT waiting to happen!

The signature is not the signers's own, but a computer generated one. IT WILL NOT HOLD UP IN A COURT! I asked our own legal hotline, and two other contract attorneys!

You can be lazy and save a little bit of time, but wait until the first signer will claim it's not their signature! And you can't prove otherwise, and you can't claim "but they received the email and electronically signed it!". Try to use that as defense in a court! The plaintiffs attorney will make minced meat out of you!

 Also, in many states like NY, every contract must have a wet signature: no faxes, no electronic signatures.


Mar 29, 2010 07:01 AM
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

I have been scanning, saving as a PDF, and emailing to my clients for lots of years now, so e-signatures would be an improvement, but they may not be worth the added costs and the hassles for when they are not acceptable.  But, if I did not have the email options, I would do it for sure rather then fax or always meet in person.

Mar 29, 2010 07:17 AM
Eliese Pivarnik
Colorado Group Realty, LLC - Steamboat Springs, CO
CRS, GRI, ABR, RSPS, Colorado Group Realt

I love DocuSign.  I use it for everything.

Mar 29, 2010 07:47 AM
Dan Pinson
International Realty Partners - Phoenix, AZ

I'm starting to see Docusign signatures occasionally now and think it's about time to start using it myself. I currently use Adobe Acrobat Professional and Efax to transmit documents for signatures. I agree with the other posters about an initial face-to-face discussion of contracts.

Mar 29, 2010 07:57 AM
Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches

I haven't used it yet, but you have some great endorsements here at AR.

Can you explain EXACTLY how Docusigns works?

Mar 29, 2010 08:54 AM
An Bui
DocuSign - Seattle, WA

What a great start to my week – this amazing blog post with over 100 comments! Wow! I wanted to address the major themes and questions from the comments, as everyone brought up some great points!


Reasons To Choose DocuSign

Among the top reasons to choose DocuSign for your Real Estate ESIGN provider is that NAR has named DocuSign  the official and exclusive provider of eSign services through the NAR Member Benefits® Program!  This recognizes DocuSign as the best service for the complexities of Real Estate transactions.  What’s more, if you sign up for the DocuSign REALTOR® Edition, you’ll get the option to adopt an exclusive REALTOR® branded e-Signature, an intuitive, secure REALTOR® branded dashboard, with real-time document status updates, REALTOR® branded email communications templates, and a 20% savings over standard DocuSign rates on both editions – DocuSign REALTOR® Basic and DocuSign REALTOR® Standard.


In addition to DocuSign’s relationship with NAR, we also enable you to get your life back – you’ll no longer have to chase faxes, missed initials or signatures!


Personal Touch

Electronic signature from DocuSign doesn’t mean that you’re giving up the personal touch.  For busy buyers and sellers, using DocuSign’s electronic signature services demonstrates that you’re sensitive to their schedules. DocuSign also has an in-person signing feature, so that you can meet up with your clients, get their signatures and keep it in the DocuSign system. This eliminates the need to scan and upload!


DocuSign lets you focus on your most important value to your clients – the expert in Real Estate. Your knowledge of your area, the tools for the job, and the personal attention you provide are FAR MORE IMPORTANT than your role as a paper clerk!  Cut out the paper and focus on what you do best – you as the expert.


DocuSign Brings eSignature to your Mobile

DocuSign has “Designed for Mobile” functionality to allow anyone to sign on their phone in an interface specifically designed for smaller screens. There is no app to download, it runs in your mobile browser, and it works with Apple iPhone, Windows Mobile, Google Android and RIM Blackberry. It also enables your signers to eSign from the kids’ soccer game, in line at the grocery store, while pumping gas… anywhere they have access to their mobile email!


For those who DO have an iPhone, there is a really nifty application out there that allows you to do even more – review status, and even send from templates.  Yup, there’s an app for that.




DocuSign vs Tablet Screen

DocuSign can work on a PC, laptop or Tablet PC on both Windows and Mac. Did you know that if you want your handwritten signature to be your DocuSign signature, you can upload your custom signature?


With DocuSign, you don’t have to be face to face as you would need to be when capturing a digital signature via a tablet screen. This feature is very convenient when your signers are busy, traveling, or simply across town from each other!


Scan and Email vs DocuSign

It is possible to scan and email a document, but this process lacks the audit trail, encryption, and ESIGN compliant features that keeps your transactions safe and secure. Scanning a signature and emailing it takes more time and technology (scanners, etc) and has less legal evidence of who signed, etc.


With DocuSign, you’ll get an eSignature service that is ESIGN compliant as well as a Certificate of Completion and complete audit trail for each document, ESIGN Consumer Consent Manager, and integrated signer authentication. DocuSign is browser-based for Mac, PC & mobile devices and the only requirement is Internet connectivity.


DocuSign also provides reporting, custom storage folder structures, search and sort envelopes, and automated reminders/expirations, providing you with the utmost visibility into your transactions and saving you time from not having to print and scan!



Signer’s Learning Curve

DocuSign is incredibly easy for signers. All they have to do is log into their email, read the message, and click the link. Once they’re in the system, they simply have to check the ESIGN Consumer Consent, adopt a signature, and click the yellow stick-e-tabs to eSign or initial, placing their signature and initials wherever you instruct them in the document.


Once all the stick-e-tabs are clicked, they simply have to click the complete signing button.



Templates are available to new and recent subscribers with DocuSign Standard. You also have access to templates if you’re on the older DocuSign Professional Advanced plan. If you’re using DocuSign Basic or DocuSign Professional, you can always upgrade to DocuSign Standard if you want template functionality.


Templates allow you to place ALL the signature, initials, and other tabs for ALL your signers with ONLY ONE CLICK!  Yes, once you use templates you will never go back!  DocuSign is the ONLY service available that can automatically place tabs on all your documents automatically, no matter what documents you load.  (Probably one of the reasons NAR chose this eSign service as the standard)


Banks, FHA and DocuSign

DocuSign has been working with the banks and FHA to get written documentation in place to enable the acceptance of electronic signature in real estate transactions.


Ken Moyle, DocuSign’s Chief Legal Officer, has written a blog post about the FHA and Electronic Signature Acceptance – the bottom line is that FHA does accept eSignature!


Identity theft, Security

How do you know who signed?  DocuSign provides a robust system with several tiers of security.  First, our data centers are hardened and comply with the strictest standards.  We actually run two separate data centers – one in Seattle and one in Chicago, hosted by Savvis, a worldwide infrastructure provider. In terms of signer authentication, DocuSign supports the following authentication methods:


  1. Email – validate and record the signer had access to a known email address
  2. Access code – A PIN or Password that is provided to each signer to access the document in order to sign
  3. ID Check – a Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA) process provided through DocuSign from RSA.  This presents a set of questions only the signer could know.





In addition, we offer many other tools - OFAC, Age Verification, and STAN PIN for student lenders.   It is not required that you add additional layers of signer authentication to your process, but if you need it, it is there.


Each document deposited into the DocuSign system is individually encrypted with government standard encryption algorithms (AES 256 bit), and a digital fingerprint is created.   Every time the document is accessed, it is analyzed to be certain it has not been tampered or modified.  We also capture all aspects of signing in the audit trail, including email, IP address used, and exact time of signing. Any authentication methods requested are also captured.


All of this goes on behind the scenes, so you get the benefit of the most secure processing and handling, with the easiest and most familiar signing interface available. You get nothing like this from any other service or process on the market.



Other Questions about Using DocuSign’s eSignature Services

Can the other agent's clients also sign or is just on your side?  If not, how does the other party sign and return?


This is a great question, and it has a few answers, all in the positive.  Yes, both sides can sign using DocuSign.  It depends on the situation:


  • The other agent has DocuSign, and you don’t know the other agent’s signers – Simply tag up the document for your signers, add the other agent as a ‘CC’, and they will get a copy as soon as your signers complete signing.  The other agent can then also use the ‘Forward’ tool, and place tabs for their signers, and complete the transaction, adding you as the final ‘CC’.
  • The other agent has DocuSign and you DO know the other agent’s signers – Simply tag up the document for all signers.  Put the other agent in sequenced AFTER your signers, and BEFORE the other signers so they can review it. Everyone gets a copy when the transaction is complete.
  • The other agent does not use DocuSign – Simply tag up the document, get your signers to sign, and when done email (or forward) the signed document to the other agent. They can print it out and sign on paper.  Combined ESIGN and hand signed documents are fine.




I'm assuming the buyers/sellers sign then fax it to the system which puts it into the system in the sky making it available for you to obtain then resend via email?


No faxes required. Save your time and save a tree with DocuSign. Once you’ve set up a document for signature in the DocuSign system, DocuSign will send an email notification to your buyer / seller, notifying them that you have requested their signature via DocuSign.


They click the link which pops open a secure browser. They click on a consent notification, agreeing to do business electronically as well as adopt an electronic signature. Once they’ve signed and initialed where you’ve indicated with DocuSign’s stick-e-tabs and clicked the complete signing button, DocuSign will notify you that your signer has completed the signing process.


You can log into DocuSign and download a copy for your records. If you have DocuSign standard, you can set up DocuSign to automatically forward completed documents to the other agent on the transaction!


Thanks again for the questions and comments – if you have any further questions, please let me know or take a look at the DocuSign Electronic Signature Blog!


Mar 29, 2010 09:16 AM
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Jeremy, Thanks, I'll check it out and perhaps give it trial run.


Mar 29, 2010 09:33 AM
Brian Morgenweck
Power Realty Group, LLC Bergen County, NJ - Hackensack, NJ
Broker/Owner, GRI, CRS, ABR, SRS


Invite someone in right from Docusign!

Nice touch...

That's engaging.

Mar 29, 2010 11:14 AM
Don Kanare

Docusign is pretty intuitive, but for long contracts where you need signatures and initials on 20 to 40 pages it's very time consuming to drop and drag all the signature boxes.  I see it being more useful for counter offers and other 1 and 2 page documents where it's quick and easy for both agents and clients.

Mar 29, 2010 11:58 AM
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

Once you try DocuSign, you'll never leave.

I do use them for the initial offer, and once my clients use it, they don't want to do anything different.

Even though I'm in Washington, DC, I still find agents who don't like it, and of course, short sale lenders and reo sellers insist on "written" signatures. In those cases, I will have the client "sign" with pen/paper next to the DocuSign, and fax back.

Two best advantages are the time saved from not driving to meet to get "signature" and the clarity of a contract when it hasn't been through 12 fax iterations.  I'd still think that less than 5% of realtors are using this system.

Mar 29, 2010 01:02 PM
Heather Fitzgerald
REALTY WORLD-Harbert Company, Inc. - Greenwood, IN
REALTOR Greenwood Indiana Real Estate

I had a short sale negotiator refuse to take the docu sign signature and demanded the buyer sign personally instead, on our last short sale that closed last week.

Mar 29, 2010 03:00 PM
Joetta Fort
The DiGiorgio Group - Arvada, CO
Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder

If you 'go over the price and terms' of a Colorado contract, that covers about a tenth of what they're signing. Are you really representing them if that's all you do?

Mar 29, 2010 03:58 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I am giving this a lot of thought and think it's time to do it.  I've heard a lot of good things and have actually seen it in action.  It would be perfect for working when traveling.

Mar 29, 2010 05:27 PM
Jeremy Lehman
The Boutique Real Estate Group - Garden Grove, CA
Jeremy Lehman

@Joetta, not sure I understand what you mean, but in general, contracts, although crucial, are a very small part of representing a client. I'm not familiar with Colorado. Some states have lawyers to work out the contracts, and in that case, that really is all they do.

Mar 29, 2010 06:02 PM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I love Docusign and in general so do my clients.  It helps everyone and saves a lot of time.

Mar 30, 2010 04:30 AM
Keller Williams Realty GR West - Rochester, NY

I agree that this is a great program & I wish I could use it for real estate purposes. However, in NY State, electronic signatures are not allowed.  If they were, I would definitely use it!

Mar 31, 2010 10:44 AM
Nathan Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Davenport, FL
Your Central Florida Real Estate Expert

I've been thinking about maybe using docusign for a couple of months now but I've been waiting to see if anyone else was using it and see what their experience was. Maybe I'll look more into it now.

Mar 31, 2010 03:06 PM
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

This is not used much around here, yet. The comments gave me some ideas. Thanks.

May 11, 2010 05:25 PM
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL

Just checked out the docusign demo video and was impressed.  I plan on signing up soon.  BTW-they should be paying you for this blog post...

Sep 02, 2010 10:44 AM