Real Estate Contracts Using Digital Signatures Like DocuSign
Real estate contracts using digital signatures like DocuSign can be an excellent tool, or it can be a real pain. Yesterday was a prime example. We received a purchase contract on one of our listings in the morning. We sent it out for digital signatures. Our seller had signed it but evidently didn’t click on the finish button. This stalled the entire process. I contacted our seller, but he said he had completed the process and could not finish it. I logged on to DocuSign, and it was not complete. What to do?
Though he was the only legal signature required for his corporation, he also has a silent partner. He informed me he wanted them both to sign the agreement as well. We uploaded the second signer and sent it out again for signatures. Still, no completion alert came in the email. The second attempt had also stalled yet again. Also, the purchase contract had now expired. It is feeling a bit like Groundhog Day at this point.
Signing real estate contracts using Digital signatures like DocuSign was undoubtedly proving to be a challenge for our sellers. DocuSign email also can only sign one person at a time before it is automatically sent to the next person to sign. I always sign first, so I know it went out. The second signer, the managing partner, seemed to be having issues. Or, perhaps he wanted to see his partners’ signatures before he signed? I decided to upload the purchase contract yet again and add my extension of time addendum, which included verbiage: “this is an as-is sale, the roof and pest damage would not be repaired.”
Third time is the charm. I decided to place the second partner of the corporation into first place as a signer, so the managing partner would sign last. it is now 6 PM as the partners were busy during the day. This time It worked like a charm. The purchase agreement came back fully signed. We are now in escrow. Technology is helpful, but it can not replace human interaction. DocuSign could not know to add on another buyer. It does not resend when stalled with the second party. Also, it is not intuitive, so it could not figure out what was needed as there was another factor that had not been communicated; the managing partner needed to see the second partner’s signature, before feeling comfortable to sign.
Maybe someday DocuSign will be able to ask questions and complete the process without human intervention. These are not new glitches, and they’ve not corrected this glitch in the last 17 years. I was the first Realtor to use a laptop and digital signature in my office. I had a buyer friend, Jason Smith, and he worked in the technology field. He wanted to buy a home in the Phoenix Field area of Fair Oaks. He said, ” You do use digital signatures, right?” I replied, ” I do now.” I logged on and used it for the first time. Jason signed the offer, and within two hours, including showing the property, I had the proposal sent to the agent’s email. The offer was accepted within 10 minutes. I knew at that moment, my life as a Realtor was about to change in a big way.
Before DocuSign-type technology was available, I had been delivering offers in person or by fax. I no longer use a fax machine. My transaction coordinator has e-fax in the event a client who is not comfortable with digital signatures needs to fax. The moral of this story, technology can expedite; however, in this case, I could have driven to the two partners’ homes, obtained the signatures and scanned them to the buyer’s agent in less time than the digital process had taken yesterday.
If you want to buy or sell using digital signatures, call us as we never give up. We will sign you in person or use fax if needed, whatever it takes. Call Weintraub & Wallace Realtors at RE/MAX Gold, 916-233-6759.
— JaCi Wallace