4 Tips For Creating And Using Electronic Signatures In The Real Estate Sector
As we described in a previous blog post, digital documents are revolutionizing the real estate industry. The process of signing documents such as sales agreements, lease agreements, and other legal documents can now be completed electronically while minimizing pitfalls and delays. Compared to paper-based processes, electronic signatures provide a faster and more efficient way to sign documents. In this article, we outline four tips for creating and using electronic signatures in the real estate sector.
Table of Contents
1. Choose the right electronic signature platform
The first tip for creating and using electronic signatures is to choose the right digital platform. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of providers in the market today. However, it is likely that only a few providers will be suitable for your needs. Most importantly, you need to choose a platform that is easy to use, secure, and complies with all relevant regulations in your country.
Some of the most popular electronic signature platforms used in the real estate sector include DocuSign and Adobe Sign. These platforms offer a range of features such as document tracking, custom branding, and integration with popular software such as Microsoft Office and Google Drive. It is also worth looking into platforms that offer mobile apps, facilitating signing documents on the go.
2. Follow local legal requirements
In most countries and regions including the United States, Canada and the European Union, electronic signatures are legally binding. However, there may be specific legal requirements in your country that you need to follow when creating and using electronic signatures. For example, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) in the United States require that electronic signatures be used in a way that ensures the integrity and authenticity of the signature.
In most cases, asking the platform whether the signature complies with local laws is sufficient. This is especially the case if the platform can reference local laws and how they comply with them. In other cases, it may make sense to seek legal assistance from a lawyer.
3. Ensure security of electronic signatures.
Security is always important when dealing with signatures in the real estate sector. Unfortunately, fraud is a regular occurrence in the industry, and needs to be managed. For example, a fraudster may pose as your counter-party and sign a sales agreement and demand payment to an account they control. This can result in sending a payment to a fraudster, instead of the seller.
Thus, ensuring that signatures are secure and cannot be tampered with is very important. One way to ensure security is to use a platform that offers encryption and authentication features. Encryption is a process that ensures any communications between two parties are not accessible to third parties. Authentication is a way to verify the identity of the signer.
Lastly, it is worth using a platform that offers audit trails. Audit trails maintain a permanent record of all the actions taken during the signing process. Such processes may include when a document was opened and by whom, when and where a document was signed, etc.
4. Train your staff on electronic signatures
The final tip for creating and using electronic signatures in the real estate sector is to train your staff on how to use electronic signatures. As the process of signing digital documents is still relatively new, some staff may be unfamiliar with the process. It is thus essential to provide proper training to ensure staff can use electronic signatures correctly.
More specifically, training should cover how to create, send, and sign documents using electronic signatures. It should also cover any relevant legal requirements and security measures that need to be followed. You can also consider providing regular training sessions to ensure that your staff remains up-to-date with the latest developments in electronic signatures.
Source: Unsplash/Lewis Keegan
Like digital documents, electronic signatures are another game-change for the real estate industry. While the process of signing documents in the past was slow, expensive, and subject to significant security risks, this is now changing. Most users can easily sign a document in a few minutes, making this process far smoother.
In conclusion, electronic signatures offer significant benefits for the real estate industry, including improved efficiency, reduced costs, and enhanced security. By following the four tips outlined in this article, you can create and use electronic signatures in a way that maximizes their benefits while minimizing the risks.
By following these tips, you can successfully integrate electronic signatures into your real estate business and enjoy the many benefits they offer. With electronic signatures, you can streamline your document signing process, reduce costs, and improve security, allowing you to focus on what really matters: closing more deals and growing your business.
Emily Shaw is the founder of DocFly. As a software developer, she built the service from scratch and is responsible for its operations and continued growth. Previously, she studied engineering at the University of Hong Kong and mathematics at the University of Manchester.
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