The role of Digital Signatures in Real Estate & property sales

  • October 11, 2022
  • Reading Time: 3 minutes
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Having set up a real estate agency business in Ireland in early 2018 called Auctioneera, we initially set our company tagline as “a new era in estate agency.” The business of real estate (also known as auctioneering), was seen as a traditional model in Ireland, some might even go so far as to say “archaic.” This was underlined by the fact that the bulk if not all, offers on properties were logged manually in an offline manner and similarly contracts were signed physically in offices. As a regulated industry in Ireland, estate agency as a business requires rigour and as part of regulatory guidelines, any seller (vendor) who engages an estate agency to sell a property must be furnished with a contract outlining the finer points of the sale agreement between the two parties. This is known in the industry as a letter of engagement. Traditionally, property sellers would visit the offices of their chosen real estate agent and physically sign the contract (letter of engagement) thus enforcing the sales process. The emergence of digital signature technology and the acceptance of the industry regulator of this presented an opportunity for us to progress our business more efficiently.

We felt that by infusing technology throughout the process of selling a property that not only would reduce the cost of business in the long run but also improve the timescales of property sales.

One of the first things we looked at was the signing of the letter of engagement. By implementing digital signatures, we completely removed the necessity of the client having to physically attend our offices to sign the contract of engagement. Ease of use was very important and happily we found this in the Cygnature platform as it works seamlessly in our operations and is the main starting point for our clients’ acceptance of us as their chosen real estate agent for the sale of their property.

At Auctioneera, we sell property via private treaty sales and also by auction. Where a seller chooses to sell by auction, having a digital signature supplier like Cygnature in place means that if a bid of the reserve price or greater has been received, we have the ability to immediately digitally sign contracts on behalf of the seller and the highest bidder; these are legally binding on both parties. Again, the existence of digital signature technology from Cygnature removes the necessity of people physically attending an office location to sign contracts in order for them to be enforced.

Now that we are ongoing clients and users of Cygnature, we envisage a long standing relationship into the future. We selected Cygnature as our service provider over other options because it is cost effective and transparent in terms of pricing. We find that Cygnature’s interface is more user-friendly than other digital signature providers; we know this because we have tried and tested many others. The Cygnature dashboard is also more user friendly in terms of document navigation without the need for the input of any customer support.

On a more technical level, because we used API integration, other digital signature suppliers couldn’t provide us with the ability to name an uploaded document. This was important to us on an operational level and helpfully, Cygnature’s API fulfilled that need.

Other features that we find extremely useful operationally in Cygnature are optional signers, the ability to add observers and being able to attach supporting documents. Furthermore, we find that the fact that documents don’t have an expiry date or auto-delete if one party doesn’t sign like they do with other digital signature providers is extremely helpful to our operations, overall.

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