Explained: E-Signatures for Estate Agencies

One of the main obstacles in a house buying/letting process is paperwork. As legalities and contracts are exchanged, the process of printing documents, scanning, revising, and either setting up an in-person signing event or emailing it to your client can eat up hours, even days worth of time.

As COVID-19 seems to be creating a new normal, and not going anywhere anytime soon, it’s becoming less common for agents and vendors to transact in-person, making electronic signatures (A.K.A. eSignatures) an ideal solution. 

When it comes to electronic signatures, we know that a number of letting agents have taken the plunge, while others are still undecided, mainly due to legal concerns and security.

In this article, we answer your questions about electronic signatures, to show you some of the benefits of using electronic signature software.

What are electronic signatures?

Just like a traditional wet signature, in commerce and under the law, an electronic signature is used by a signer to show they agree with the intentions laid out in a contract.

What can electronic signatures be used for?

Some of the uses for eSignatures for the property sector include:

  • Landlord contracts
  • Tenancy agreements
  • Terms of Business
  • References
  • Inventories
  • Brochure approval

Are E-Signatures legal? Will they stand up in a court of law?

The simple answer? Yes! Electronic signatures are not only admissible as evidence, but the fact that all of the circumstances around the signing ceremony can be verified independently means that it could be argued, almost any electronic form of signature has higher authentication criteria than regular handwritten signatures.

In addition to common law recognition of electronic signatures, the UK Electronic Communication Act of 2000 makes it clear that legally required “writings” can be signed electronically and retain their legal effect.

How secure is electronic signature software?

The security of an eSignature is undoubtedly a concern felt by some agents. With a paper contract, you have a physical item to carry and keep safe. With a digital document, the data may be stored locally or in the cloud with no physical assertion of ownership.

It can be argued that e-signatures are actually safer. Advanced encryption methods and a range of authentication options ensure that document integrity is not compromised. The software uses high-level security and adheres to tight data protection protocols, ensuring that all information processed is safe – whilst delivering positive experiences for your clients.

What are the benefits of eSignatures?

Using an electronic signature software accelerates agreements, eliminates manual tasks, and makes it easy to connect with systems agents are already using. Some of the main ways that eSignatures can help your agency are:

Instant: electronic signature software will decrease turnaround time, allowing you to get the signatures needed to closer more deals, faster.

Reduce paperwork and clutter: This software eliminates paper and automates the agreement process, allowing you to measure turnaround time in minutes – rather than days.

Cut document handling time by up to 60%: Allow your staff to re-invest their time and skills into more productive tasks, like improving the customer experience.

Easily Trackable: Track all contract changes, route all changes for initials, and get a complete and clean contract with negotiation history once all parties agree to the terms.

Overall, this update will improve internal processes, speed up business and slash your turnaround times, allowing you to spend more time doing the productive tasks that make your agency different.

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