Haus Schwatz: Cati's DC Real Estate


How I Got Converted Into An Ecstatic Believer

Oh, come on--of course I'm not talking about religion here!  I'm talking about electronic signatures. 

Last week, as an inspired discussion on the Evers & Co all-call email list unfolded about the usefulness of subscriptions to such a service, I wasn't entirely convinced yet. 

I thought many clients or other agents would be sceptical of the validity of computer-generated signatures.  I thought it might be complicated to figure out.  I thought it would be more work than sticking a contract or changed pages in the scanner and walking the other (possibly remote) party through the signatures on the phone.  I thought it wasn't worth the extra expense.

Then, just at the right moment, I came across this ActiveRain post and discussion.  Yes, there were sceptics who commented on the post, but then there were others who were raving.  The blogger, Suzanne Alberti,  was a representitive of DocuSign, which happens to be the same service that my colleagues wanted to get a group deal for.  It's also one of the two that is endorsed by our local association and workes directly with Zipforms Online, the contract forms generator we use.

After reading the post, I thought it wouldn't hurt to sign up for the free trial DocuSign offers on their site, and I started playing around with it, uploading random bogus files from my hard disk and prompting myself under a different email and fake i.d. to sign or initial them here or there.

Guess what?  It was kind of fun, and it was pretty easy.

That was that.  Then I abandoned my game for more important things, like... work. 

Said work, however, provided one of those no-fun moments on Tuesday when I received a call from another agent.  She was mighty upse, because some paperwork I had delivered to her was missing an important signature page as well as a couple of initials.  She couldn't process them.  My client was about a thousand miles away.  Time was of the essence.  Scanning was an issue.  Computer or mobile device access was not.

Well, you can guess where this is going.  I logged into my trial account, uploaded the missing pages, dragged around those little sticky notes, and--voila!--within half an hour everything was executed and done.  How cool was that.

And that's how I got converted.

© 2012, Catarina Bannier


Comment balloon 14 commentsCatarina Bannier • September 30 2010 05:23PM


We are looking into this as well and it sounds great.  Thanks for your testimonial!

Posted by Peggy Chirico, REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate (Prudential CT Realty) about 8 years ago

Peggy--thanks!  (And I'm really not on their payroll!)

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) about 8 years ago

Hi Catarina,

I've been using it for about a year now, though the office isn't fully onboard yet.  While it's very convenient and allows for better document handling, one unexpected benefit is that clients are very pleased. They love not having to find a fax machine or not having to scan, or worse, not having to deal with traffic to meet the Realtor.

My experience tells me that some lenders still want wet signatures, so, even now, we go back to the 1960's once in a while.


Posted by Claude Labbe, Realty for Your Busy Life (Real Living | At Home) about 8 years ago

Catarina - I'm glad you've tried out DocuSign and liked it. Let us know if you have any questions! 


An - DocuSign Social Media

Posted by An Bui (DocuSign) about 8 years ago

Cati, OK, I guess I will have to break down and try this.  I can't le you out tech me!   Well, hmmmm.  You already have.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 8 years ago

sitting here right now, trying to get an offer signed.  One spouse got it, the other didn't.  Urgh.

Listing agent on the road in California, one of the sellers traveling, too.  So that should be an ideal scenario.

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) about 8 years ago

An -- thanks so much!  And yes, I'm using it right now to deliver a contract across the country.  Still struggling a bit with some aspects (order of recepients; why does it kick out their email addresses over and over again; is there a way of combining forms from zipforms with uploaded docs all in one folder?).  But it's quite cool.

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) about 8 years ago

Claude-- I didn't mean to ignore you!  And yes, I can see how your clients would love that you offer this option.  Last night, I wrote a whole contract this way, got it signed and then delivered it to the other agent who is on vacation across the country.  He forwarded it to the other parties from his own smart phone, and by the morning we should have the last initials executed.  It was a bit of a challenge to keep all the elements from different sources (zipform, scans, etc,) together and to understand how the order of the recipients works, but I'm sure next time it's a lot quicker.

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) about 8 years ago

Oh Cati-  I second Pat's comment.  Can't be the only remaining Luddite in the office.  I'll look into it (did you go for the full version, or the pay as you go?).

Posted by Marcie Sandalow, Bethesda Chevy Chase DC real estate (Marcie Sandalow, Compass 301.758.4894 ) about 8 years ago

Marcie--you and a Luddite!  Ha!  (Then again, look at all those elderly ladies in the office now with iPad meetings...)  No, seriously, I'm not totally sure what I'm going to go with.  I signed up for the free month of the unlimited version, and that seems great once you have more or less figured it out.  I think if we don't want to miss the boat on the company discount, we'll have to decide this week, though.  Somebody said that the pay-as-you-go option (you buy a bunch of "transaction credits" that don't expire) only works with zipforms but not with individually uploaded documents (like scans or things that were emailed to you).  Not sure that's true--may have to pass this on to the eSign experts who chimed in here. 

David--Yes, I think I will feel that way, too!  In fact, DocuSign got them the house.  There was no way we would have done this at 2 am (which is when we finished) if we hadn't all been on our own couches!  The house had come on the market the same day (Monday), was lovely and -- underpriced.  Our offer was presented Tuesday morning, and we had a verbal agreement that afternoon.  The Sellers were supposed to come in at 8 am Wednesday to sign (why didn't I offer to add them to the Docusign "envelope" right away??!!), but that was called off when another (and, as it turned out, much better) offer was emailed on Tuesday night!  We ended up getting it, anyway, but it was a tough process, and again, the electronic signatures saved us because I couldn't have tracked the parties down in time.

That said, I'll probably hand in the check for the annual contract today...

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) about 8 years ago

I'm wondering wether to sign on board to use it.  Noone  in my office does, but they are looking into rolling it in sometime in the future.  How do you save the documents?  Do you rely on their servers or do you do have a system of your own in place for storing?

Posted by Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528, Real Estate Salesperson (Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956) about 8 years ago

Leah, for this most recent transaction (with the parties in four different locations at times) it has been such a life saver for me that I will from now on suggest it to anybody who is open to it. 

That said, i do rely on their servers when it comes to tracking signatures and/or deadlines (it's great to have exact timelines for everything), but I save every finalized document as a PDF file as well, even if it has been printed out.  The final contract I will always print out for the file, anyway, but this way you don't have to print every stage and change--which sometimes amounted to tons and tons of paper.   We don't have mandatory attorney review in our three jurisdictions here but instead use a mass of pre-worked-out forms.  In Montgomery County, MD, even the most basic offer (!) without any special addenda, that might never get accepted is nearly 50 pages to begin with...

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) about 8 years ago

Catarina -  I could have used this today.  My client had to run to UPS to have them fax me 20 pages of a contract to buy a foreclosure.  Then there were two pages with missing initials. Both he and his wife had to sign them and bring them back to UPS as their scanner wasn't working and they don't have a fax machine.  They plan to buy multiple properties and are often traveling, so this makes a lot of sense.

Posted by Gail Robinson, CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT (William Raveis Real Estate) about 8 years ago
Catarina, thank you for sharing your experience. I haven't decided to convert yet. So far scanning, fax and email are working for me. But I will keep them in mind if I find myself in a similar situation.
Posted by Jose Dias, Sell Your Home in Scottsdale-Phoenix-Peoria-Glendale-Goodyear (Home Sellers Help in Scottsdale-Phoenix-Peoria-Glendale) about 8 years ago