FOR MOST BUILDERS, EXPEDITING A PURCHASE and sales agreement once it's signed is a manual, time-consuming process. Sales managers typically have to send documents by courier, which can take a day or two, or send faxes, always dicey because faxed sales agreements tend to get lost and can be difficult to read.

Now, there's software from DocuSign that lets a sales manager and home buyer electronically sign off on a sales and purchase agreement online over a Web interface and send the documents directly to the builder's back office for processing.

Quadrant Homes in Bellevue, Wash., tested DocuSign over the past several months and plans to roll out the software at all 13 of its communities in Washington state. In initial tests, Quadrant scanned in paper copies of the signed sales agreements and electronically transmitted the documents. The plan is to execute the entire process electronically by summer.

“In the past, if a sales manager finished a deal on Friday, our back office wouldn't see the deal until Monday,” says Bill Boucher, Quadrant's vice president of communications.

“Now, when the customer signs on Friday, the back office gets the documents within seconds,” Boucher says. “Before we had DocuSign, pages faxed over would be missing or not legible, we would have to refax and reconcile documents. That's all gone.”

Boucher says another excellent feature of the software is that DocuSign won't e-mail documents over to another department until the home buyer answers all the questions listed on the agreement, making it virtually impossible for either party to leave the room without signing all the required documents.

E SIGNOFF: DocuSign lets users easily send a digital signature over a Web interface.
E SIGNOFF: DocuSign lets users easily send a digital signature over a Web interface.