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E-Signature: 10 Years and a Great Impact

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RISMEDIA, January 8, 2011—In the 10 years since President Clinton signed the Electronic Signatures in Global National Commerce (ESIGN) Act, electronic signature and cloud computing technology has exploded into nearly every aspect of the real estate business. Here, Tom Gonser, founder and chief strategy officer of DocuSign, Inc. discusses how real estate professionals have been able to help their clients close deals quickly, seamlessly and efficiently.

Tom Gonser
Founder and Chief Strategy Officer
DocuSign, Inc.

Last year, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Electronic Signatures in Global National Commerce (ESIGN) Act, signed by President Clinton on June 30, 2000. The ESIGN Act ensured that a signature, contract or other record relating to a transaction would not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability solely because of its electronic form. This Act was the genesis of electronic signature technology, and became instrumental in facilitating interstate and foreign commerce by reducing or eliminating obstacles to commerce.

Since the Act was signed, electronic signature and cloud computing technology has exploded into nearly every aspect of business—helping us complete simple NDAs and employee onboarding to complex purchase orders and sales contracts. Every industry, every market, everywhere has been positively affected by e-signature technology, helping businesses streamline processes, reduce costs and increase revenue.

Of all the markets, there is one where e-signature technology has had the greatest impact, changing more lives than nearly any other technology—real estate. No other sector has reaped greater rewards than our industry.

Time, money, ink, paper and aggravation are eliminated. And, deals are done faster, better and are more secure when completed electronically than with paper. There is no downside to using e-signature technology.

Recently at a DocuSign customer event in San Francisco, I spoke with Richard Fisher, a broker with Morro Bay Realty in California, who told me that he transacted a real estate deal in just hours using e-signatures. The husband electronically signed the documents at 30,000 feet while in flight to Southeast Asia as his wife signed the same documents upon her return to Mexico City. By the time the husband arrived in Malaysia, the transaction was complete. The entire deal was—literally and figuratively—transacted in the clouds.

Before the ESIGN Act, this transaction would have cost hundreds of dollars in overnight charges and taken a month or two to complete. Considering the time-consuming paper-signing process, these buyers would probably have lost the home to another buyer using a local real estate agent who could taxi the paper documents from Point A to Point B. With e-signatures and cloud computing, Morro Bay Realty was able to quickly complete the transaction in hours. Everyone benefitted—the buyer, seller and the real estate agents.

As evidenced here, there is no downside to using e-signature technology. In this competitive market, you need every tool to succeed and e-signature technology is clearly a must-have for every real estate professional’s toolkit. Try it. You’ll agree.

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