Technology is redefining how a Realtor does business. Gone are the days of faxes and up next on the chopping block is the good ol' pen to sign on paper.
So, there are lots of companies out there trying to pull away as the leader in this market. I enjoy playing with all of these tools and have drawn some lines in the sand this week and wanted you to know about them:
** Disclaimer: I don't work for, nor have been encourage to write for any company or party involved here. This is just a tech-agent's experience with these programs and I WELCOME and ENCOURAGE your feedback below!
I use an iPad EVERY DAY. It's essential in the field and I LOVE IT! Our office at RE/MAX Revolution in Kansas City is leading the way with movements to go paperless. Currently we use an online storage system for the entire brokerage called Skyslope (basically it's Dropbox for agents, with the ability for the front office to audit the file in real time and provide a check list of missing items... VERY COOL!) and it uses a Docusign-like program called "Digisign" (but more on that later).
Rarely do I get ink signatures on paper anymore, unless a bank requires it. I use PDF Expert and Docusign Ink for the iPad to get signatures as the client is standing in front of me. When they aren't with me, I use Docusign to email them the contract for their "click to sign" signatures. It's a little piece of heaven every time I get to do one of these!!
I store files digitally in Dropbox (my former "metal filing cabinet") and I also upload a version to Skyslope for the office to have a copy.
This system is just amazing. It was one of the first into this digital signature market and has a LOT going for it. I HAPPILY pay $15/month for this and it's vital for business.
PROS: Example: We just got the signed resolution back from the Buyer and now I need signatures for my Sellers (one is at work, the other is on a business trip in China). I have the sellers sign via email, then when they both do it, the document will AUTOMATICALLY copy the Buyer's agent, my clients, me, my broker, title company, lender, the front office and put a signed copy in the job folder in Skyslope, ready for audit.
Now that's slick.
CONS: Templates are a bit fussy. Check boxes are weird. Um, that's about it.
I love Skyslope, but these guys basically ripped off Docusign and called it something different. (This is Pepsi to Docusign's Coke). Not quite as many bells as Docusign but still solid and it is FREE with Skyslope. My archives are in Docusign so it makes it a hard break-up to go with these guys. PLUS, there is a new kid on the block named CARTAVI that only plays with Docusign (more on that later).
My brain says to go with Digisign and save the $15/mo but my heart says to stay with Docusign.
PROS: Free. I know how to use it since I use Docusign already. Integrated with my Skyslope.
CONS: I feel dirty since they totally stole the Docusign product and I like to support the originators. Won't play with Cartavi (hang on, I'll talk about that in a minute).
Oh my. This is the "Little Engine that SHOULD" but just can't. I've done two transactions with this system and that is more than enough for me to make my decision. It's a clunky web-based system designed by committee and not quite able to get the deal across the finish line.
(Do you know where this review is going?.....)
This is my best way to explain what Dotloop is trying to do: Jay goes and lists a house today. I come back to the office and immediately set up my Loop at dotloop.com for this listing, including contracts and supplements pre-populated where I want signatures from all parties. A buyer's agent is ready to write an offer and logs onto my dotloop address for this house. He fills in his client's info and it auto populates and everyone signs. Then I get an email that someone has gone to sign it and all is wonderful in the world.
Even simpler explanation: You go TO the document. Docusign sends the documents TO YOU.
I'm a tech guy and love giving companies like this the benefit of the doubt. It's bleeding edge and I want to figure it out and be the ambassador to other agents. BUT BUT BUT, the program has to be a benefit to me in my business. Period.
Short answer: I don't recommend using this system. At all. Ever. (if you disagree, please comment and tell me why).
The issues: When any change is made to a document, such as adding the effective date after all signatures are done, it will ERASE all signatures and ask you to get them all over again since "a change has been made." Tech support told me that I have to download the finished contract, then RE-UPLOAD it to add the effective date. Um, no.
More issues: OK, I have all the contracts, counters, addenda, resolutions and amendments. They all live at dotloop.com and now I'm ready to get them to the title company and my Skyslope. Buy how??? Tech support says I have to manually save every PDF to my computer, then email them to the parties. Um, no.
Even MORE issues: NO AUTOMATION from one signature to the next and NO automatic copying to other people. So after my client signs it, I get an email asking me to log back on to dotloop.com and assign the document manually to the next person. Um, no.
PROS: Good idea, bad execution. They have a pretty logo.
CONS: Everything else.
This is my new project. This sounds like what Dotloop SHOULD be. I'm going to do a test transaction to see how the workflow is and will report back. It has an iPad app so they have actually thought through how to do a "paperless transaction."
These guys have partnered with Docusign (I like them already!) so that validates them in my book and tells me they are worth a try. Basically Cartavi will be the online ROOM (that's what they call it) for the transaction and Docusign is the way to get the paperwork signed and makes up the stuff IN the room.
PROS: Well thought out. User friendly.
CONS: $10/mo plus $15/mo for Docusign makes it a bit of an expensive solution, but for the time saved, it's worth it.
So today I'm still Docusign. I hope to be on board with Cartavi by the end of the month. I'm sad our Region is trying to have all agents adopt Dotloop and wonder how long that will be the case. What is your experience?