Landlords, real estate agents and other professionals execute contracts these days completely online. They may still phone the parties who will be signing the contract, but may never actually meet them face-to-face. How is this possible? It happens through the use of electronic signatures, eSign for short.
How Does eSign Work?
eSign, also called digital signature, allows parties to review a contract, add their official signature, and then send the contract to the next party – via email – who must sign. Companies that provide this service can track signatures as they are added to a document. This report, known as an audit trail, is a chronological log of who signed and when they signed. The service provider compiles this trail using a computer-generated, “universally unique identifier” number, and the trail serves as proof of contract execution.
Many landlords delay eSigning until after they have first emailed a copy of the lease to the tenant, so that the tenant can review it. Then, the landlord initiates the eSign process.
When a landlord or agent is ready to eSign a state specific lease agreement through ezLandlordForms, here is how the process works:
• Landlord adds his or her eSignature* by typing in the signature line, or writing in a signature, or uploading an image of the signature that has been saved on the computer.
• After eSigning, ezLandlordForms automatically emails the lease to the tenants, so that they may add their eSignatures. Since the audit trail is chronological, tenants will receive the eSign request email one at a time. After the first tenant adds his or her eSignature, the second tenant will receive an email, and so on, until all parties have eSigned.
• When everyone has eSigned, each party will receive an email that contains a link to the signed document. This way, they can download the contract to their computer. Additionally, the lease in the landlord’s ezLandlordForms account will be updated, so that all signatures and the audit trail will be visible. The eSigned lease will be retained in the landlord’s account.
*ezLandlordForms requires the landlord to eSign before the tenants. If tenants do not eSign the lease, the signing process ends and the contract is invalid. The tenants cannot access the lease terms to make changes or edit terms; they can only add their eSignatures.