When the National Association of Realtors asked real estate agents last year to rank the technology tools their brokers offer that they were most satisfied with, electronic signatures or esigning technology was at the top.
Moreover, NAR found the number one software tool that brokerages most often encourage their agents to use is esigning (83%), ranking higher than Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) software (82%), electronic contracts/forms (80%), or even the Multiple Listing Services (79%).
According to NAR research, in 2016, esigning wasn’t even a top-five technology. However, today, one in three agents (33%) collect esignatures daily or nearly every day – another 44% use esigning at least a few times a month.
Why has esigning emerged as an agent’s go-to tech? 3 reasons have helped propel esigning to the top.
1. It’s a time-saver, eliminating waste
“Time is money,” Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1748, and this adage still rings true. Before esigning, agents wasted enormous time and productivity chasing down physical or “wet” versus “digital” signatures.
Before esigning, think about the total waste caused by missing signatures. With 5-6 million home sales transactions a year, there are 10-12 million “sides.” If a single signature was needed in only one in 10 transaction sides, more than 1 million clients would need to be tracked down. That’s likely tens of millions of miles agents spent in their cars chasing down clients for signatures, a waste of time. The negative impact on the environment? The EPA says the average car emits about 404 grams of CO2 per mile. So, one million miles would generate over 445 tons of CO2. And the total time wasted? At least hundreds of thousands, if not millions of hours, collectively.
Clients must sign and initialize dozens of documents during a real estate transaction. It was easy, before esigning, to miss an initial or signature. But esigning with smart documents means never having to miss a signature or initial again. Agents use esigning because it saves them and their clients time as the tech is incredibly accurate. Franklin was right: time is money.
2. It’s ultra-convenient
The pandemic and working remotely accelerated real estate agents’ learning curve to embrace digital transactions fully. Offering esigning was no longer a luxury that gave clients flexibility. It became a necessity. Every client could now remotely sign when and from where they wanted.
Offering the convenience of esignature technology means they also could sign on any device: their mobile phones, a tablet or a laptop or desktop computer – from just about any place a client could get an internet connection.
Agents use esigning because it is convenient for them and their clients, and agents never have to worry again about their clients taking a last-minute vacation or being in two different places simultaneously.
3. It’s safer
In the early days of esigning, many agents didn’t trust digital signatures. Conventional wisdom was that somehow, digital signatures were not as secure as wet signatures. However, just the opposite was true.
It’s much easier to forge paper documentation and signatures than to hack digital documents or alter esignatures. With reputable providers like Form Simplicity, Bank-level security is built-into esignature software, on par with what the Federal Reserve uses for cybersecurity. Digital files for real estate transactions are incredibly well encrypted. That protects the seller, the buyer, their agents, and everyone else with an interest in the transaction, from the title company and the insurance firm to the bank providing the financing.
Agents use esigning because it is safer and protects them, their brokerage, and their clients by preventing fraud and keeping all signed documents completely secure and unalterable.
The bottom line is that esigning is better for everyone – including our planet. Agents today are more productive than ever because of esigning and the digitalization of the real estate transaction process. Agents also are using the safest technology to protect themselves and their clients. Using technology like esigning isn’t just a better way to do business. It’s the right way.