How the real estate industry is benefiting from digital signatures  

The new cooperation between FP and IVD makes life easier for estate agents, property managers, buyers and sellers, tenants and landlords. Francotyp-Postalia (FP), the experts for secure digital communication, have six good reasons why it is possible to eliminate the use of paper.

Berlin, 9 September 2020

Digitalisation is the megatrend that will have the greatest impact on the real estate industry over the next five to ten years. This is what around 55 percent of those surveyed in Ernst & Young's Trend barometer¹ for the Real Estate Investment Market 2020 believe. The switch to digital signatures can be an important step on the way to further digitalisation. It saves effort, time and costs, which ultimately benefits the entire industry. This is because digital signatures can be used to make numerous processes from letting to service charge statements more efficient, fast and secure, making life easier for estate agents and property managers, buyers and sellers, tenants and landlords. To promote digital signatures, the Immobilienverband Deutschland (IVD) and FP Mentana-Claimsoft GmbH have entered into a partnership. The IVD uses the FP Sign digital signature solution to secure documents and processes in a legally compliant manner and recommends it to its members.

FP gives six good reasons to say goodbye to paper and switch to digital signing:

1. More efficiency: Tenants as well as landlords and estate agents are well aware. The process of creating a rental or lease agreement, which requires several signatures, is a long one. From desk to desk, to the post office and back: Obtaining all of the necessary signatures is a time-consuming process. With solutions like FP Sign, documents can be conveniently and quickly signed and then assigned to the relevant business partner for signing. This significantly increases efficiency.

2. Lower costs: The equation is simple - where efficiency increases, costs decrease. Processing service charge statements or purchase contracts on paper ties up resources, time and manpower. Digital solutions reduce expenses, accelerates the coordination process and makes it possible to manage everything from a single source and therefore with fewer staff. Material and postage costs are also eliminated, which saves money.

3. Maximum security: Paper is patient - electronic signature solutions are not. This makes it more secure than the paper form: They record every change to a document through a chain of certificates which assigns a unique identity to each participant. If one of the certificates is incorrect or outdated, the system will report this. Digital signatures are legally binding and transparent. FP Sign, for example, enables digital signing with different signature levels: In addition to advanced signatures, the qualified electronic signature is the highest available signature level according to the European signature regulation eIDAS. Attempts at forgery that exploit security gaps in PDF programs can be thwarted by using the latest version of the respective PDF reader.

4. Complete control: Estate agents, landlords and tenants - the more parties that are involved, the higher the risk that the signing process will come to a standstill. When documents are sent by mail, delays in the process are also difficult to track. Maintaining an overview of things can be difficult, which makes it impossible to react in a timely manner. In contrast, electronic solutions allow for complete control. FP, for example, offers a signature cockpit that provides information about the current location and status of a document at any given time.

5. More comfort for customers: Digital signatures can provide competitive advantages by offering customers a very convenient way to complete their real estate deals. Example for rentals: The landlord benefits from the digital and legally compliant handling of the prospective tenants' sensitive personal data. Landlords can also conclude legally compliant rental agreements without the need for face-to-face meetings and can rely on the guaranteed legal compliance of the digital signature. Prospective tenants are faced with less bureaucracy. They can then search for and find a new home with their smartphone entirely from the comfort of their sofa, and then sign the rental contract later.

6. Investment in the future: Paperless processing in the real estate business is the hallmark of a modern company and a response to the current trends. After all, anyone who forgoes paperwork, printers and faxes in their everyday work as a real estate manager, agent or housing company for accounting, contracts and handover protocols is helping the environment and reducing their long-term ecological footprint. The digital assistant also fulfils the demand for contactless signing options, which has grown due to the corona crisis.

¹Trend barometer Real Estate Investment Market 2020, Ernst & Young Real Estate GmbH January 2020:

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About Francotyp-Postalia (FP):

The listed and globally operating FP Group with headquarters in Berlin, Germany, is an expert in the secure mailing business and secure digital communication processes (FP = "Secure Digital Communication"). As market leader in Germany and Austria, the FP Group offers digital solutions for companies and public authorities as well as products and services for efficient mail processing and consolidation of business mail with its "Software/Digital", "Franking and Folding/Inserting" and "Mail Services" product segments. The Group achieved generated revenues of about 210 million euros in 2019. FP has subsidiaries in ten different countries and is represented by its own distributor network in a further 40 countries. With a company history spanning almost 100 years, FP possesses a unique DNA in the areas of actuating elements, sensor systems, cryptography and connectivity. FP has a global market share of more than twelve percent in franking systems and, in the digital sector, has unique, highly secure solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT/IIoT) and for the digital signing of documents.

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