Dotloop vs Docusign for Paperless Workflow - And the winner is...

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Revolution

Docusign vs Dotloop for Digital Signatures in Real Estate (and Digisign and Cartavi)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 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 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 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? 


Posted by

  Jay O'Brien, Kansas City : Social Media Guy (RE/MAX Revolution)Jay O'Brien
RE/MAX Revolution, Kansas City, Missouri


Comments (50)

Jay O'Brien
RE/MAX Revolution - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate

Stacie, no I haven't used Transaction rooms or EZ Transaction manager. I will have to look into those!

Oct 27, 2014 02:25 AM
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

Cartavi is now called Docusign Transaction Room. In two adjacent counties the Agents each use different products so I am learning both. 

Oct 27, 2014 11:15 AM
Carol Carter
Jeannie Doole & Associates RE - Newnan, GA

Use Transaction Desk for our Real Estate Forms and Authentisign for electronic signatures. Once it's time to submit executed Real Estate Forms, I create a loop and I upload them into Dotloop. This is actually much easier than printing them out and turning them in. Plus it saves on paper. We also use dropbox so that everyone on our team has easy access to all the active transactions from their computers, tablets or mobile phones.

Jan 22, 2015 02:48 PM


Any updates in April 2015? I had been using Docusign was was quite happy with it. Now my brokerage has gone to only using dotloop. It seems quite tedious in comparison. But maybe better than the older versions?
I'd love to hear if you've used it more and what you thought of it now.


Apr 17, 2015 12:29 PM
Jay O'Brien
RE/MAX Revolution - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate

Thanks for your comment! Actually, I've been re-looking at Dotloop and trying to see if it's worth giving a shot. The main problems still exisit as I've noted in this blog. A few tweeks have been made but nothing that makes me want to switch from Docusign. Rather, I'm looking hard at Transaction Rooms from Docusign (formerly Caravi) which has merged with Docusign to provide a Dotloop experience. I'm pretty happy with that solution but still testing. Would love to hear any other experiences you're having!

Apr 19, 2015 12:06 PM
Tom Cox

We just made the commitment to Docusign + Transaction Room (fka Cartavi) Plan on adding Zip Forms. There are several reasons we are doing this. Our deepest regret is giving up Paperless Pipeline which is a wonderful system, but doesn't sync with Zip Forms. Zip, Docusign, and Transaction Room offers a nearly seamless system of paperless forms, immediate documentation and synchronization with the broker and any team/personal administrative assistants.
We hope this is as well accepted by our agents as we believe.

Apr 19, 2015 12:19 PM
Sven Josh
Real Estate Abroad - Camden, DE
Real Estate

you may want to try if you're looking for a free alternative to major online document signing software. It is free for personal use and got some cool features.

Jun 22, 2015 12:04 PM
David E. Hall


I use docusign. Do you know how to make a clear template of a property disclosure that is void of "over-lapping boxes and lines" which make it hard for the signer to enter text?

Aug 24, 2015 09:14 PM
Jay O'Brien
RE/MAX Revolution - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate

David, I clone documents in Docusign which is like creating templates. I've not had problems with overlapping boxes and lines but I enter the text for the client, not letting them enter text at all, just have clients sign. Hope this helps!

Aug 27, 2015 05:01 AM
John Mosier
Realty ONE Group Mountain Desert - Prescott, AZ
Prescott's Patriot Agent 928 533-8142

I had a terrible experience with Docusign. They billed me for two years and I was never able to get connected with a customer service function to get the billing fixed. They tried to autobill me for the third year. I had to report my credit card as stolen and report the third year as fraud.

It seemed to me that Docusign "farmed out" their billing/collection activity and made no provision for servicing a customer with a problem like mine.

Jan 21, 2016 04:01 AM

I've not used any, Lol... I'm a new realtor. My question is how do you get your contract into the loop or Docusign to begin with? Do they house the forms already, or do we upload them after we have filled them out?

Mar 08, 2016 10:29 PM
Shannon Doyle
Eugene Realty Group - Eugene, OR
Principal Broker Serving Lane County, OR

I use Doc-U-Sign and Paperless Pipeline and that's a winning combo for me! Tried Skyslope, terrible system full of kinks, as an alternate to Doc-U-Sign. Big mistake and glad to have gotten back to Doc-U-Sign!

Apr 15, 2016 08:18 AM
Nikolas Mazzola
Shorebreak Real Estate - San Diego, CA
Full service Real Estate Brokerage

My issue is zillow owns dotloop. Zillow is creating a monoply in our industry and eventually to compete with higher volume agents you will need to pay one of zillows companies either for advertising, now facebook, TC you name is at they monopolize our industry. I hope there is always a different option then a zillow company!


Oct 28, 2016 05:03 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Hopefully NAR's involvment will modify the cost on Docusign and now ZipForms is a basic service included in your membership to the old Cartavi should be a part of this.

Oct 28, 2016 06:53 AM
Steve Kelly

Dot Loop.. to add insult to injury, is having server "issues" .. this is the second time in about 2 weeks, except this time its been down for going on 6 hours so far. I am signing up for Docu Sign

Feb 28, 2017 02:18 PM
David Kerner

Which program will allow for initial templates for huge contracts that require an initial on each of a 100 that you don't have to manually apply 100 initials each time you create a new contract?

May 18, 2017 03:43 AM
Tom Cox

The purpose of an initial on a page, paragraph, or phrase is to assure that the party to the contract has seen that verbiage. I certainly would hate to tell my client to "blanket" initial 100 pages.

May 18, 2017 03:46 AM
Jay O'Brien
RE/MAX Revolution - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate

I think David's question is how to APPLY the field to 100 pages automatically, not have it signed automatically. As far as I know, there isn't a way to have that automatically happen the first time. If you have set up a 100 page contract in the past in Docusign and have a NEW 100 page contract, you can COPY that old envelope, then REPLACE that old file (rather than upload a new file) and it will retain the fields you have placed. 

May 19, 2017 07:59 AM
Antonio I Barraza

So after 4 years where do you stand now, Jay? Still with Docusign?

Jun 29, 2017 06:13 PM
Jay O'Brien
RE/MAX Revolution - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate

Still with Docusign! Sat in on a Dotloop class a couple months ago and I feel they have made good strides but I haven't worked it into my business. Docusign is dependable and works great still!

Jul 19, 2017 11:33 AM

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