The real estate industry is on the cusp of change, with new technologies creeping into the everyday practices of agents across Australia. Yet, frustratingly, paper continues to pile up on agents’ desks and remains the bane of their lives. Making paperwork more manageable is at the top of most agents’ wish lists. The good news? This wish is now granted with esign.

The driving force of change

Real estate agents face an uphill battle when it comes to reputation, with clients innately mistrustful of an agent’s purpose. A recent Domain survey found that 67% of home sellers think agents promise sales they can’t fulfill, and 41% bemoan a lack of transparency. Any way that an agent can streamline the experience and make life easier for clients is going to help rub away this reputational tarnish.

It’s why more and more agents are turning to the tech industry with its promise of ways to remove friction in the agent-client relationship. The savvy amongst these forward-thinking agents is taking paperwork online to streamline property transactions. Instead of mailing forms back and forth – which is the way it has been done for decades – they are using eSignatures and email. Compared to the old way, it’s effortless.

Rewriting the rules

With eSignature technology, a vendor can sign an agency agreement on their mobile phone from the side of a footy field during their kid’s Saturday game. The agent doesn’t have to wait until Monday when the vendor is back in their office.

And the good news is that it’s easier than ever to access this technology. REI Forms Live has integrated DocuSign into its platform, delivering the speed and convenience of eSignatures to real estate agents around Australia.

“Using DocuSign within REI Forms Live makes signing agreements infinitely faster and easier. You can put your finger on any agreement at any time, with the added advantage of being able to transfer information from one type of form to another,” said David Howell, Dynamic Methods.

Are eSignatures legal?

The Electronic Transactions Act 1999 (Cth), supported by the Electronic Transactions Act 2000 (NSW), spells out what types of documents can be legally signed online rather than on printed paper – and it includes many documents used in the real estate industry.

In fact, using eSignature technology can reduce mistakes or the possibility of tampering with a form. It is easier to alter a page of paper than it is to change an encrypted, tamper-proof, sealed PDF. And with eSignatures and online forms, there’s no risk of multiple drafts of the same document getting confused.

It ticks compliance boxes too. If there is a change to legislation, any draft agreements are automatically updated – with clear alerts about the updates so the agent can’t miss them.

Saving time and money

“It’s a simple fact that an agent can’t list a property until the agency agreement is in place. Similarly, with property management a signed agreement must be obtained before a property can be let and rental income realised. Delays are like pouring away money,” said Howell.

For regional agents, taking agency agreements online has the potential to save thousands of dollars in time and petrol – no more driving around the countryside chasing signatures. And, for all, it saves the time and effort of storing and retrieving documents. Instead, all documents are securely stored online.

Getting started

Real estate agents that use REI Forms Live can get started with DocuSign in just a few clicks. “The process of sending out a form for signing is very easy. After finalising it in REI Forms Live, you click on the electronic signing button and walk through the process of adding your signatories. As an agent, you never have to worry about where signatories go – it’s all pre-populated within the forms available to you,” Howell said.

To find out more, contact your Real Estate Institute membership coordinator or visit www.docusign.com.au/real-estate

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