The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

To DocuSign or Not to DocuSign

I’m trying out a new system for signing paperwork with my clients. It’s called DocuSign and instead of the usual chaotic method where I email paperwork to my poor clients and they scramble around looking for a printer and scanner or fax machine and the whole process takes hours, this system is set up to allow people to electronically sign documents and send them back to me in minutes.

So basically, the way it works is that I upload my documents to the ‘envelope wizard’ and then I mark, with little virtual sticky tabs, where my clients are to sign or initial (it even has a feature for checking boxes). I then input my clients’ email address and it sends all of this over to them with a tutorial and explanation of the process.

I had a little user error issue (on my part) with the placement of the sticky tabs the first time I used it, but otherwise it was extremely intuitive and quick.

I have two issues with DocuSign as a whole at this moment:

1. I usually feel more comfortable explaining documents that I’m having my clients sign in person the first time. When I’m writing a first offer with a client (especially a first time buyer), there are a ton of nuances about the contract and process that I likely won’t have had a chance to go over until we are signing the offer. So that’s something that DocuSign can’t circumvent.

2. I’ve been told by my Wells Fargo gal, Tekla, that her underwriters won’t accept electronic signatures. So we will have to go back and have all of these docs for the transaction I’m currently working with her resigned in person (and tragically, BOTH sides are using DocuSign. *SIGH*). That seems like a giant waste of time and more effort than signing in person originally.

So while I love the quickness and user-friendliness of the DocuSign product, I’m not sure I’m completely sold. We will have to see.

9 Responses to To DocuSign or Not to DocuSign

  1. I can see where issue number 1 may be a serious DocuSign business model problem. The document-signing gab-fest is where you, and other successful Realtors like you, really bring your value to the customer. It certainly felt that way when you represented us. The time saved (and hopefully, the paper saved) by doing it remotely might be worth something, especially if you’re doing a transaction over long distance, but it sure won’t replace the face-time with a skilled and personable realtor.

    Issue #2 will go away soon, as the system gets more used to electronic signatures. They’re used in many other places, so it will work itself out.

  2. Hi Elizabeth! Thank you for your candid thoughts on using DocuSign.

    Regarding the document-signing gab-fest (to quote jt – such a fantastic phrase, I have to reuse it!), you can still do in person signing using the DocuSign system. You can still be there, with your client, as they place their electronic signature in the places you’ve marked, and explain the nuances of the documents.

    In this case, the value is in going paperless. With digital or electronic documents, you can’t accidently lose them and you can manage your documents from the DocuSign dashboard. You also won’t need to scan / copy / fax anymore either, which means documents stay readable.

    You also get the benefit from DocuSign’s document workflow. With “cc” functionality, you can make sure the other agent gets a link to the secured documents once your client has e-signed. You don’t have to drive the papers over or spend a few minutes filling out the fax cover sheet and faxing the signed documents over.

    Ultimately, what really matters is what works for your client. When clients are long distance, in separate states, don’t own fax machines, or time sensitive, DocuSign can make a huge difference. If your client wants an in-person signing experience, DocuSign supports that too.

    Regarding lender acceptance, our Chief Legal Officer, Ken Moyle, is working with industry groups and all the national banks. He’s also written a white paper about FHA and Lender Acceptance:

    Elizabeth, thank you for your thoughts and feedback. Real estate is a relationship based industry, and DocuSign is a tool to enable you to provide better service and added convenience for your clients as well as provide time savings for you. Client communication and contact is still highly valued.

  3. Elizabeth –

    Thanks for your interest in DocuSign. For times when you are signing a contract with your client ‘in person’ you have an option to consider using DocuSign. Some just don’t use ESIGN on the first contract because they want to work in person for some customers. However, you CAN get the best of both worlds with ‘In-Person Signing’. When you create an envelope and put your forms in it, select ‘in person’ as the signing mode, and use yourself as the witness. Then when you visit your customer you can walk them through the signing right online. Perhaps even print out the forms to review offline, but then sign online.

    One of the key things here is that if you have any workflow – like the signed document will be going to another agent, broker, etc. As soon as your in-person signing is done, it will automatically move to that next person.

    PLUS, you get to keep all your records online where they are secure!


  4. Thanks Elizabeth, I ran into alot of the same issues. I tinkered with DocuSign (They have an iPhone app that I was interested in.) But the issue that keeps lingering with me is whether or not the signatures are uphold-able in a court of law? In other words, I can’t seem to see any definitive proof that the person who used the tag is the owner of the signature. That’s where my compliance guy had issues.

    I’ve also been playing around with SignDoc ( ) which addresses this really nicely by capturing the biometric event of the signing not just the image. I was able to jump my “Compliance” hurdles with that one. (Perhapse your underwriters as well…)

    In any regard, I’d be interested in what you think as well –as I’m still trying to figure it all out.

    Thanks for the insight.


  5. Elizabeth, I love DocuSign! The face to face thing is easily remedied as you can explain a contract and still have them sign online. The documents are “clean” and much easier to work with. Often, I meet people at my office and prepare documents to be e-signed.
    Even if you choose not to use them for “first time” meeting, there are MANY situations where the program is a REAL time saver and a deal maker. Imagine being in a multiple offer situation where you or your client is out of town. A counter or addendum sent electronically is quick and effective.
    I have been using the program for a long time and would not be without it.
    Nope, not on their payroll. 🙂

  6. Mike, DocuSign provides a high level overview of its security and performance level:

    As an enterprise-class solution, DocuSign takes compliance very seriously. DocuSign provides for a certificate binding signature and authentication, an 100% audit trail with all events, a cryptographic process during signing, exact signature and initials placement and other features for legal enforceability and ESIGN compliance.

    Please do let us know if you have other concerns!

  7. I would like to use the DocUsign app on the iPhone. My problem is having the blurb added onto the end of the document. I have no problem with the information being included as part of the email.

    What would be usefull would be the ability to choose whether or not to have it included in the document.


  8. Good suggestions , my business recently found to merge pdf ! It’s pretty simple to navigate and it’s powerful ! I found out that they offer a free trial ongoing

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