How Did We Get Here? DocuSign Theory Revisited

While pondering life and best strategies to get an offer accepted in 2018 when there are often between 10-15 offers on every property my clients want to buy, I began to wonder “how did we get here”? Things didn’t used to be like this. The market has been gradually getting more competitive for years, but jeez, this is ridiculous! The market was terrible in 2008-2010 and listing agents had to almost beg buyers to make offers. Representing buyers in that era meant showing more homes, but knowing that you could almost certainly get the one your buyers wanted. Offers were generally signed by hand and faxed or scanned back to the agent. It was tedious, paper-heavy, and sometimes it meant meeting a client who didn’t have access to a printer or scanner, but I didn’t mind. It was an offer that was very likely to turn into a sale and because we had to jump through so many more hoops, buyers were normally only making offers when it was REALLY worth it. Despite the melancholy foreclosure memories and (not so) short sales, those days seem like a welcome respite from the craziness of today when offering 10% over asking with a solid, pre-approved buyer with reasonable close of escrow and contingencies may not get it done, though the offer would be written much faster.

In 2012, I wrote this post in response to the increasing number of offers on properties as DocuSign and other electronic signature programs have increased the ease and efficiency in which they are made. This has only gotten more pervasive in the past six years and makes me believe more strongly in my theory that DocuSign (and technology in general) is in large part responsible for the rapid rise in real estate values. Granted, the economy and consumer sentiment has improved in all areas, so this is just one reason for the rise, albeit one that may be given less credit than it deserves. Other technological advances that have contributed to the upward churn of the real estate market include high quality, digital photography on a whim, the multiple listing service, which collects all local listings in one easy to use database, and online real estate search portals combined with widespread use of high speed internet and portable devices. Of all of these, I think DocuSign is the most powerful as it turns the desire for immediate gratification into simple, executable action. You don’t even have to put on your pants to buy a house and if that isn’t the American dream, I don’t know what is!