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Northwest MLS brokers Give Glowing Reviews to Authentisign®

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Oct. 21, 2011) – Initial users of a new online e-signature service launched earlier this month by Northwest Multiple Listing Service are praising its features and benefits.

“Authentisign is a client convenience that has given ‘service’ a new meaning,” said Elizabeth Erickson, owner and designated broker at Gallery Homes, LLC in Mukilteo. She started using the new document signing tool the first day it became available.

Erickson’s initial transaction involved a pilot who responded through a mobile device from airports around the world, starting in Colorado and concluding in Norway. “I guess I’m just too old to not be in awe of that!” she confessed, noting it took her about 10 minutes to upload the documents and start the signature process.

Authentisign, a product of Instanet Solutions, is a secure online document signing service enabling multiple parties to participate and sign documents electronically. The service can be used anytime by registered users to sign documents online, replacing the need for faxing, scanning and emailing, or meeting face-to-face, thereby saving both time and paper.

Joel Semanko, another early user of the service, praised its ease of use. The broker/owner of Semanko Realty Group, LLC in Mount Vernon said he has used it for offers and counteroffers involving local clients as well as buyers from Vancouver, BC and Texas. “My clients love the convenience and user friendliness,” he remarked, noting the dashboard that enables viewing the signing history and progress is very helpful.

Northwest MLS’ latest technology upgrade allows its members and their buyers or sellers to log into a secured website using a specially created identity to access and review contract documents. They then place their electronic signature on the document where required and as prompted by email notifications and “invitations.” After the document routing is complete and every participant has affixed signatures where indicated, all parties receive a final electronic copy of the document with all required signatures.

Authentisign is usable across multiple file types and various platforms, currently including PCs and Macs; tablets may also be used for collecting signatures. The signing service, developed in 2005, is FHA approved, ESIGN compliant, and fully integrated with most Northwest MLS forms.

The service recognizes different types of participants, allowing brokers to choose whether each participant is a signer (buyer or seller), a reviewer (listing broker, selling broker, or attorney), or a recipient of the final signed document (listing firm or selling firm).

Tom Hurdelbrink, Northwest MLS president and CEO, said the tight integration of Authentisign with the MLS’ existing forms platform, together with the set-up wizards, step-by-step prompts, and support will enable members to facilitate efficient and secure paperless transactions for their clients.

“It is a given fact that nothing in the home buying process can replace the value of a personal relationship with a skilled and knowledgeable real estate broker,” Hurdelbrink emphasized, adding, “When the consumer is ready to take action, the efficiency and convenience of Authentisign cannot be beat.”

Erickson, the broker in Mukilteo, said she subscribed to a different service earlier this year at the prompting of clients in California who were relocating here. The retired couple, described as “not particularly tech savvy” (kind of like me,” Erickson quips) had access to online document signing with agents who listed two of their properties California. They lamented Erickson’s cumbersome system, telling her “We wish you had available what our agents here have, where we just open an email and click on where we’re to sign and it’s just done!”

“I was scanning and emailing PDFs of the purchase agreements and then inspection addendums that required signatures at various times,” Erickson recalls. “My clients had to print them off, drive to a Kinkos to scan and resend to me.”

Now, Erickson uses electronic signing for local as well as out-of-area clients. She says the local use of e-signatures for “that one needed initial” on a final addendum for clients just across town is extremely convenient for them too. “They can just sign it when they get home at midnight and eliminate having to meet up somewhere for a single initial.”

Electronic signatures have been allowed since 2000 when Congress enacted the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (“ESIGN”). Such signatures ensure the integrity of a signed document by confirming the time and date the document was signed, recording the IP (internet protocol) address of the person who signed the document, and by verifying that the document has not been changed since it was signed.

Because Washington law restricts the preparation of real estate contracts to licensed real estate brokers (and attorneys), Authentisign is only available to real estate brokers. Clerical staff, unlicensed assistants, and appraisers do not have access to it.

Instanet Solutions (www.instanetsolutions.com), a leading provider of real estate technology, has approximately 390,000 licensed, paid, user accounts of its various real estate focused products. The company, based in London, Ontario, began delivering residential real estate technology in 1990.

“Authentisign has enhanced my company’s professional image in this high tech real estate industry,” Semanko reported, adding, “I hope the entire membership will use this service — it’ll make it easier to serve all parties in the buying and selling transactions.”

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 22,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state.

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