Electronic Signature for Real Estate Contracts: Benefits and Best Practices

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Staying competitive in your industry requires awareness of the new tools and best practices. For example, going digital or paperless through electronic signatures can streamline your workflow and give you an added layer of security over traditional contracts.

Adopting electronic signature and document management tools reduces errors by 80% in transactions. In this article, learn more about how to use them in real estate contracts.

Electronic Signature vs Traditional Signing Solutions When Signing Real Estate Contracts

The traditional signing method – handwritten signature – is one of the preferred ways of some customers when signing contracts. However, electronic signatures are also becoming more popular because of their convenience and cost-effectiveness. Let’s weigh each method.

Advantages of an electronic signature or eSignature

Electronic signatures, or eSignatures, are a digital way to sign documents. You can use them to sign anything from tax forms to legal contracts. Here are the advantages:

  • Convenience in any transaction: You don’t need to be in the same room as the person you’re signing a contract with, such as a buyer of a property.
  • Saves time and transportation costs: Send the document electronically to the client, and they can sign it from wherever they are. It can save time and hassle, especially if the client you’re signing with is in a different city or state.
  • Secure storage of data: Agents can safely store digital signatures without fearing losing or tampering with important client information.
  • Flexibility when processing papers: Brokers can sign legally binding contracts through a secure web browser from anywhere, providing greater flexibility for those who often find themselves traveling away from home or office.

Traditional methods, such as faxing or mailing documents, risk being lost or stolen en route. It could lead to serious problems if there’s a dispute about what was agreed upon in the contract.

Disadvantages of traditional signatures

Some businesses and organizations don’t accept them yet. If you’re trying to sign a contract with someone who doesn’t use eSignatures, you may have to fax or mail the document instead.

Here are the other disadvantages:

  • Delayed processing of transactions: Hard-copy documents often have to be physically transported or faxed between parties, thus delaying the process.
  • Inconsistencies on strokes and handwriting: Conserving accuracy across multiple-page contracts becomes difficult when using a handwritten signature due to variations in writing shapes and sizes.
  • Lost in translation: If the handwriting is poor or hard to read, the meaning could be lost in translation and cause legal disputes.
  • Risk of alterations: Alterations could easily be made to the document’s text after it has been signed by hand. It creates even further uncertainty about what was initially agreed upon and raising doubts about validity or enforceability.

The main downside of traditional signing methods is that they can be less convenient than eSignatures. You need to be in the same room as the person you’re signing with (or at least have access to their signature).

5 Benefits of Using eSignatures for Real Estate Contracts

Electronic signatures can radically change the way you process transactions with clients. Here are some of the benefits.

1. Faster turnaround times

eSigning real estate contracts can significantly speed up the process. With traditional paper contracts, all parties must sign the document in person and then mail it back to the other party or parties. This can often take weeks.

All parties can sign and return the document with electronic signatures almost instantaneously. It can save much time, mainly when time is of the essence.

Say there are multiple buyers interested in purchasing the same property. You can use eSignatures to expedite the contract signing process so that one buyer does not have an unfair advantage over another.

2. Reduced errors and mistakes

Using eSignatures for real estate contracts eliminates the need for a manual signature, which can be time-consuming and prone to mistakes. Additionally, eSignatures provide a secure way of transferring documents between parties, ensuring they are encrypted during transit and storage.

Say two parties are in negotiations regarding a property transaction. The agent handling this transaction could send out an electronic version of the contract for both parties to sign using eSignatures.

This would avoid any miscommunication or misunderstanding between both parties. It provides each party with a copy of the agreement that is securely stored online and accessible at any time if needed.

3. Enhanced security

When a contract is signed electronically, it is stored securely on a server. This means that any attempt to tamper it is almost impossible. In addition, electronic signature platforms typically have strict authentication requirements that users must meet before signing a contract, like a signer ID verification.

That feature helps to ensure that only authorized individuals can sign a contract. An electronic signature is a digital representation of your signature, which is unique to you. Forging an electronic signature would require access to your computer or device and your signature file.

eSignature platforms offer an additional layer of security called two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA requires you to enter both your username and password and a second factor, such as a fingerprint or code sent to your phone, to log in.

This security feature makes it much more difficult for someone to access your account and forge your signature. Also, eSignatures offer role-based access control (RBAC). As an administrator, you can grant different levels of access to various users, depending on their roles.

4. Maintains consistency in compliance

The use of eSignatures ensures that the contract is legally binding, as it includes authentication information such as

  • biometrics verification
  • timestamping, and
  • audit trails

This information helps to ensure that all parties involved agree to the terms and conditions of the contract.

Biometric verification requires users to provide their personal information, such as a fingerprint or voice recording. It’s an additional layer of security and prevents document tampering.

Electronic signatures contain timestamping, allowing for reliable tracking of the date and time each party signed a document.

Lastly, electronic signature platforms also include an audit trail that tracks who accessed the document and ensures that only authorized parties can access it.

5. Cost savings

Traditional paper contracts often require printing, copying, and mailing costs. These costs can add up quickly, particularly for large contracts. In addition, many electronic signature platforms offer discounts for bulk signings.

In a traditional real estate transaction, each party must sign and mail or fax a paper copy of the contract to the other party (or parties). This would require using stamps, envelopes, and possibly even overnight shipping.

With electronic signatures, there is no need to print or mail anything – each party can simply sign electronically from their computer, tablet, or smartphone. It can save a significant amount of money on supplies and shipping costs.

8 Best Practices for Using Electronic Signatures in Real Estate Contracts

If you’re 100 percent sure to transition to electronic signatures, then make the most of these best practices.

1. Choose a reputable and reliable electronic signature provider

Google the best ten electronic signature providers. Compare the services and read reviews thoroughly. There’s no better way to do this than doing your research. Try the services until you discover which one fits your needs.

2. Get consent from all parties

All parties involved in the contract must consent to use electronic signatures. You can do this by having each party sign a separate document consenting to electronic signatures. Include language in the contract stating that all parties agree to use electronic signatures.

3. Use strong authentication

Check if the provider offers strong authentication measures to ensure that only the intended signatories can sign the document. You can do this by using Two-Factor Authentication, which requires a unique code sent to your registered mobile number to verify the login to the account.

4. Keep records of all signings

It is essential to keep records of all signings, whether they are done electronically or in person. These records must have the date and time of the signing, and the IP address of the signatory if possible. This will help prove that the signature is valid if there is any question.

5. Activate the signer verification feature

If the electronic signature provider offers a signer verification, use this feature to your advantage. The signatories must upload an ID or a selfie with the ID to verify their identity before signing the contract.

6. Have a backup plan

Despite all of the security measures you can take, there’s always a possibility that something could go wrong with an electronic signature. Have a backup plan in place. You may always have hard copies of the signed document or use multiple signing platforms for a backup.

7. Educate yourself and your team

Educate yourself and your team on how the platform works and what best practices they should follow. You can also attend your provider’s onboarding session to learn how your electronic signature tool works.

8. Follow industry regulations

There are specific industry regulations that you need to follow when using electronic signatures for certain types of documents. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these regulations to ensure compliance.

How to Choose the Right Real Estate Contracts Electronic Signature Solution

There are plenty of options out there. How will you know which one is for you? Here are five things to remember when choosing a real estate contract electronic signature solution.

1. Ease of use: The last thing you want is a complicated system that takes forever to learn. Look for a solution that is easy to use and can be up and running quickly.

2. Security: Ensure the system complies with all international data privacy laws and regulations. This is crucial if you’re handling sensitive information like personal financial information.

3. Scalability: If your business is growing, you’ll want a system that can grow with you. Look for a solution that offers different levels of services. So, you’re not paying for features you don’t need – but can easily add them as your business expands.

4. Customer support: When something goes wrong (and it will come at some point), you’ll want to reach someone who can help you fix the problem quickly. Ensure that the company you choose offers excellent customer support.

5. Price: Of course, price is always a consideration. But don’t sacrifice quality and features for a lower price tag – it will cost you more in the long run. Instead, look for a balance of price and features that meet your budget and long-term goals.

Using Fill to eSign Real Estate Contracts

If you want to switch to electronic signatures when processing contracts, consider checking out Fill. Aside from being one of the most highly rated apps on the market, here are the other reasons why it’s an effective tool:

  • Ease of Use: The drag-and-drop template builder makes it easy for you to create contracts from scratch. Or you may also customize the templates according to your daily tasks when creating contracts.
  • Automation: From requesting signatures to tracking document status, Fill uses automated processes to simplify signing and submitting real estate contracts. It can notify you when the clients complete the signing process.
  • Security: Fill uses bank-level encryption standards and advanced digital signature technology to ensure secure transmission and storage of contract documents. All documents are securely stored in the cloud, with access only allowed through authorized accounts.
  • Mobility: With the mobile app, authorized users can access all their signed documents anywhere at any time. Use a smartphone or tablet device such as iPhone or iPad while on the go or away from the desktops.

For anyone looking for an efficient, secure, and cost-effective way of managing contracts, Fill makes all things possible.

Try Fill now and see how it can help you take your real estate business to new heights.

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