Online leasing is the future of property management. But to ratify a contract, all parties must still sign it.
This article discusses the options for electronically signing a lease and other rental documents online so that you can run a more efficient rental business.
It’s important to note that “digital signatures” are different from, and generally more secure than, “electronic signatures,” although both are legally binding. An electronic signature tool places a signature image onto a document, and digital signatures are digitally linked to a specific individual and carry additional metadata, which can be useful to determine whether a document has been tampered with after signing.
We can use electronic signature tools in real estate, and doing so makes our lives much easier.
- Can be accomplished remotely
- Easily accessible, as most online tools work from a mobile device
- Legally binding, according to the ESIGN Act of 2000
- Can speed up the signing process
- No more illegible fax copies (AMEN!)
- Most tools automatically deliver copies of the signed document to both parties
- Myth: It’s not a real signature.
Response: What is a signature other than a mark performed by an individual? The medium is unimportant.
- Myth: It’s illegal or won’t hold up in court.
Response: No, read the ESIGN Act of 2000.
- Myth: I’ll lose all my documents if the company closes down.
Response: Back up your files, or store them elsewhere. Every digital signing company allows you to save your files to another location.
My 3 Favorite Tools for Lease Signings
HelloSign does a fantastic job of integrating with Google Apps and gives you three free signings per month — perfect for a small landlord. The downside is that your tenants will have to also sign up for an account in order to sign.
SignNow is a bit more robust and offers unlimited signings for as low as $5/month — still a bargain. Plus, it does not require a tenant to sign up for an account. Believe it or not, I’ve had tenants gripe about not wanting to sign up for another online account.
DocuSign is a full-fledged signing system designed for professionals of all types. It is the industry leader among real estate agents, lawyers, and settlement companies — but it’s also more expensive. For me, having only five properties, I wouldn’t use most of DocuSign’s extra features.
I can see both SignNow and DocuSign being used by professional property managers with multiple employees needing to conduct electronic lease signings. All three of these three lease-signing tools are wonderful, but they aren’t the only providers.
Top 10 Electronic Document Signing Tools
Here are the other the electronic signature tools that have earned my respect. This is certainly not a complete list of providers, but they are my favorites nonetheless.
|1||Free for 3 docs/month||iOS, Android, Web|
|2||From $5/month||iOS, Android, Web, Mac|
|3||From $10/month||iOS, Android, Web, Windows|
|4||From $10/month||iOS, Android, Web, Windows|
|5||From $10/month||iOS, Android, Windows, Mac|
|6||From $3/month||iOS, Android, Web|
|7||From $19/month||iOS, Android, Web, Chrome|
|8||From $12/month||iOS, Android, Web, BlackBerry|