Posts Tagged ‘e-Sign Act’

NJ Allows Electronic Signatures for All Real Estate Contracts and Agreements

September 5th, 2013 No comments

On August 9, 2013 the NJ Legislation approved A3818 that offers clarification to the NJ UETA laws that allows for electronic signatures on all real estate transactions. We applaud and support this legislative effort which now enables real estate professionals and consumers the ease to legally e-Sign and execute documents over the Internet, anytime and from anywhere.

Opening and closing deals digitally has been the focus of Settleware for more than a decade and excited that this amendment now streamlines the entire real estate process and will eliminate most, if not all, of the inherent stress that buyers/sellers endure while processing the largest transaction they are mostly likely ever to make in their lifetime.



NJ Assembly Approves e-Signatures on Real Estate Contracts and Agreements

May 25th, 2013 No comments

Received a very nice birthday present on May 20, 2013 – the New Jersey General Assembly approved legislation clarifying state law to allow the use of electronic signatures in real estate transactions. The legislation, which was initiated by NJAR®, codifies this allowance in to state law so it is clear electronic signatures can be used in real estate transactions.  Current federal law allows the use of electronic signatures in real estate transactions for the sale, lease, exchange or disposition of any real property. The bill must still be approved by the full State Senate before it can reach Gov. Chris Christie’s desk to be signed into law.

For full legislation:


Settleware® Partners with FormsRus

October 29th, 2012 No comments

Settleware® Partners with FormsRus

For Immediate Release

Electronic signature and e-Notary leader partners with formsRUs providing Settleware’s pioneering and patented e-Sign service to more than 100,000 real estate agent members.  Settleware streamlines cumbersome process by eliminating all associated paper-based friction and allows parties to securely process contracts and agreements in the Cloud-anytime and from anywhere.

October 29, 2012, Newport Beach, CA – Settleware Secure Services, Inc., the visionary electronic signature leader, announced today that it has partnered with, a leading provider of an online forms management system specializing in real estate associations, to bring its associations and members secure e-signature capabilities.

For over a decade, Settleware has been a pioneering leader in the area of electronic signatures. Based on patented secured technology, Settleware’s real-time signing solution fully automates contract execution – collapsing to minutes a cumbersome process that often takes days or weeks.

“We are thrilled about this partnership with,” stated C. Richard Triola, President & CEO of Settleware. “With their expertise and expansive footprint and, as purchasers of real estate become increasingly tech-savvy, industry professionals will need the tools to function in a fully electronic, compliant and paperless environment. in conjunction with our on demand service provides this tool,” Rick continued.

The formsRus online forms management system provides users with the capability to create, manage, organize, work on, mark-up, share and store forms files electronically. With the addition of e-signature capabilities, users will be able to take a document from creation through execution and to final storage in an entirely electronic format – eliminating the need for paper.

Matt Maynard President of stated “ With our ongoing commitment to improving workflow and eliminating paper-based processes, Settleware was a logical and synergistic addition to the formsRus platform.” He went on to say “By licensing Settleware’s e-Sign platform and intellectual property, our customers will be able to further capitalize on the cost-savings and efficiencies derived from working in a truly electronic environment – well into the future.”

Real estate associations that have currently deployed formsRUs and their respective 100,000 member agents will have immediate access to Settleware’s electronic signature services.

About, Inc., an Ohio corporation headquartered in Columbus, OH, provides innovative online document forms management solutions that help businesses reach their potential by putting all of their company/association forms securely online. This leads to businesses becoming more efficient, using less paper, and collaborating more effectively. More information about and the online forms management system is available at

About Settleware Secure Services, Inc.

Settleware® has been a pioneering leader in the area of e-signatures to the Real Estate and Mortgage Industry since 1999. Its patented secure electronic signature solution has been certified by County Recorders, Secretaries of State, MERS e-Registry and Fannie Mae – providing the only end-to-end transaction in a pure compliant, electronic and paperless environment. Cloud computing services reduces time frames and eliminates paper-based delays by enabling users of its technology to securely send, e-sign, return, track and e-Vault any contract and agreement requiring  signatures or initials. If you would like to learn more about Settleware, call 888.632.3833 or send an email to Join the discussion by subscribing to the Settleware’s blog at and become a Friend on Facebook.




Mastering the Real Estate Eco-System

October 16th, 2012 No comments

Settleware® Secure Services, inc.


 E-Book: Mastering the Real Estate Eco-System

Chapter One: The Early Days – Why We Do What We Do

As we continue  to espouse the security and benefits of electronic real estate/mortgage transactions we’re surprised to see the audience amazement when they learn that we have been beating this drum for more than a decade. In the late 90′s (formerly, we had a clear focus to streamline the entire real estate and mortgage transaction by connecting all parties, documents and vendors over the Internet – without a single piece of paper. The enabling ‘glue’ – electronic signatures.

The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act), signed into law on June 30, 2000 by President Clinton, provides a rule of validity for electronic records and signatures for transactions in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce. The E-Sign Act allows the use of electronic records to satisfy any statute, regulation, or rule of law requiring that such information be provided in writing, if the consumer has affirmatively consented to such use and has not withdrawn such consent. Subject to certain exceptions, the substantive provisions of the law were effective on October 1, 2000. Record retention requirements became effective on March 1, 2001.

Operating three independent escrow offices in Orange County, CA , each separated by a 20 minute drive-time, we were challenged by the distance to ‘match’ up personalities between our real estate professional partners and our seasoned expert escrow officers. We often heard “I don’t want me or my clients to have to drive all that distance to sign docs”.  AHA moment!!

The internet was coming into its’ own, escrow officers had no clue what a ‘ mouse’ was  - what’s an email? Time to create a novel concept and competitive differentiator – connect all parties, processes, documents and vendors over the internet, real-time, without any human touching a single piece of paper, fax, scan, courier or even a stamp, removing all the associated ‘paper-based’ friction and compliance issues (ready to close only to find missing documents, signatures, initials, pages, etc.) US & Int’l patents issued and pending.

Actually, let me take you back a few steps further. I have been a licensed real estate professional in CA & NY, since leaving Wall Street in the late 70′s. (OK, I’m not really 39-again) While practicing in NY in the early 90′s we made the futile attempt the mirror the CA real estate closing settlement process and eliminate the need for the antiquated ‘sit-down’ closing, which was typically scheduled at the last minute, at an inconvenient time and location for all parties, especially  buyers and sellers. The transaction was already stressful enough and now all parties needed to scramble to get to the ‘table’. Sitting down in a room with all the principles and lawyers (each one representing their respective buyers, sellers, lenders and title company) the process then became the art of 11th hour negotiations. Anyway, you get the picture-it was ugly and in desperate need of change. Cutting to the chase- legislatures (mostly attorneys) put up the wall and roadblocks to protect their turf so we needed to pivot.

By electronically connecting principals, documents and all participants we could then process real estate transactions all over the World from a single location. So the journey began. We clearly understood the complicated Eco-System – we needed to collaborate with every service provider that ‘touched’ the transaction, knowing that if we didn’t have 100% buy-in we would not see complete adoption anytime soon. Lenders said ‘if you get title to issue insurance on the e-transaction and secondary investors (Fannie Mae, etc.) to purchase the loan/note we’re in’, Title mentioned ‘if you get the County Recorders to accept e-Recordings we’re good’ , followed by MERS e-Registry ( e-Vault) and Secretaries of State (e- Notary). In 2002, Detroit Red Wing star, Ladislav Kahn, e-signed a real estate escrow agreement, on the ice while he was practicing for the Stanley Cup playoffs (they won!) In 2004, partnering with Home Loan ( Lending Tree) we processed the first paperless, electronic and all digital deed of trust in Orange County, CA – a savings of $330.00 for this one single step of the transaction was gained by all stakeholders. WOW- what a no Brainer!

Next step, as you may be aware not all lenders portfolio their own loans so we needed to have a secondary investor like Wells Fargo, Countrywide or Fannie Mae purchase these loans electronically. Working closely with American First Credit Union, Countrywide, Fannie Mae and MERS e-Registry we successfully registered and sold an electronic promissory note in 1 minute and 37 seconds (most likely the highest liability document that any consumer will execute in their lifetime). Security was the highest priority, not only for this entire pilot team but for the Industry as a whole-we could not tolerate a single incident of fraud or it would set the Industry back for years! Amazing- lenders could shave off 10-14 days of interest charges, get the funds same day and loan it out again.

In Chapter Two, we’ll discuss the real estate implosion, robo-signing and how the Escrow Settlement providers are now ‘taking the field…

October, 2012

Rick Triola, Founder


White Paper – Paper is Killing your Business

September 24th, 2012 No comments


Still dreaming about a ‘Paperless Office’? You heard the promises and for years we have touted the benefits from a extensive study (Accelio) : it costs $160.00 to process a typical paper-based transaction but only $6.00 if that same transaction was all digital – a $154.00 savings per transaction!  You also heard that “green is the new black” and by removing paper you would be greatly contributing to save our environment. No longer is ‘going paperless’ the mantra for tree- huggers alone (Mortgage Bankers Association – “for every mortgage we kill a tree”), now, companies, regardless of size, can simply enjoy immediate and substantial savings without any large upfont costs!

As electronic signatures continue to go mainstream we have come to realize that most enterprises still don’t have a clue what ‘paper’ is actually costing them in the long run. This white paper will address what most managers already surmised but never took the initiative to quantify – the actual costs around these current but soon to be antiquated processes.

Wikipedia: A paperless office is a work environment in which the use of paper is eliminated or greatly reduced. This is done by converting documents and other papers into digital form. Proponents claim that “going paperless” can save money, boost productivity, save space, make documentation and information sharing easier, keep personal information more secure, and  help the environment The concept can also be extended to communications outside the office.

Let’s begin with the end in mind – paper is expensive and killing your business! In the early years of electronic commerce, the sentiment that caught most attention was “if your not on the super-information highway, you will be road kill alongside it!” and today, “if you don’t migrate to pure digital and 100% paperless workflows your competitors will drive you out of business with price and efficiency” or better understood, you just won’t be able to compete. Almost a decade ago, at a real estate tech conference, I was asked, “Do you think technology will replace the real estate agent? ” I responded “No, but someday soon the real estate agent with technology will replace you.” Same holds true today, regardless of Industry segment.

Companies of all sizes and sector are understanding that reducing their paper is not just good ’corporate socially responsibility’ but the actual realized cost savings is immediate and provides efficiencies for all stakeholders. Elimination of the associated paper friction and costs such as copying, printing, postage, disposal, recycling and storing can be as much as 30 times the purchasing cost. In other words, a typical ream of paper that costs $5.00 could actually cost up to $150—not including labor.

Ok, back to the real cost of paper, we have scoured the research, analytics and the numerous ways to measure all the factors, including, faxing, scanning, delivery, receiving, non-public information compliance, copying, toner, environmental impact, handling, overnighting, labor, misfiling, keying/re-keying, storage and on and on. So let’s break it down to simple and understandable components.

Just the Facts - According to Gartner and others:

•  It costs $20 to file a document.

•  $120 to search for a misfiled document, that is if you can find it.

•  It costs approximately $250 to recreate a lost document.

•  The average document is copied 9 times.

•  Gartner Group reports that Corporate Information is doubling every 2.5 years.

•  Gartner also says pages per employee is increasing at 10% per year.

•  Organizations now maintain 30 times more data than in 1999

•  The U.S. annually spends $25-35B filing, storing and retrieving paper.

•  The number of pages consumed in the U.S. offices is going up at the rate of 20% per year.

•  Typical office workers spend 40% of their time looking for information.

•  Professionals spend over 500 hours annually reviewing & routing files, and another 150 hours looking for incorrectly filed documents.

Cost of Handling Paper

For example, a survey published by with regard to a modern law office shows:

•  90% of documents is paper

•  70% of time is spent processing paper

•  7.5% of documents is lost

•  15% of documents is misplaced

•  30% of documents contain obsolete information

•  One four drawer file cabinet holds 15K-20K of pages, costs $25,000 to fill and costs $2,000 per year to maintain.

The Real Cost of Paper  (RCC Consulting)

“..When you consider the real cost, paper is extremely expensive. A number of factors must be taken into account to measure the cost of paper and the savings that can be achieved by implementing a paper reduction program. These factors include copying, faxing and storage costs. Let’s look at a typical office with 100 employees to calculate the total cost of paper. Let’s assume that this office purchases approximately 10 million sheets of paper or about 50 tons. This seems like a lot but if you look at your own purchases you will find that 10,000 sheets of paper per person is a reasonable number and could even be conservative for most offices. The cost of this paper is relatively minor at .003 cents per sheet for a total cost of approximately $30,000.00. Now let’s look at how that paper is used. Generally this paper is used for photocopying (45%); printing (35%); faxing (5%) and mailing (5%) with 10% being wasted. Approximately 30% of this paper ends up in filing cabinets. 95% of this paper will have to be disposed at some point.”

Now let’s look at the costs associated with each of these activities:

- Photocopying and printing generally costs about 3 cents per page. This price includes the capital cost of the equipment, toner, and maintenance but not necessarily the time spent waiting at the copier for your turn.

- Fax costs can vary depending on the distance the faxes are sent but in most organization fax costs can be about 40% of the monthly telephone cost. In our office let’s assume the annual telephone cost is $50,000. If fax costs are 40% this would be about $20,000 per year. Since 5% of the paper or 500,000 sheets are faxed annually this equates to 4 cents per copy for telephone costs.

- 5% of the paper or 0.5 million pages are mailed or couriered. If we assume that 10 pages are included in each envelope this would be 50,000 envelopes sent out each year. Assuming that 90% are mailed and 10% sent by courier this means 45,000 are mailed with an average postage cost of 60 cents and 5,000 sent by courier at an average cost of $10.00 per delivery. In addition the cost of each envelope is 5 cents.

- Then there’s storage costs. Let’s assume that each drawer of a filing cabinet holds 7,500 sheets of paper. One year’s worth of paper could be stored in 100 filing cabinets. This is calculated by taking the total paper times 30% divided by each 4 drawer cabinet which would hold 30,000 pieces of paper. Each filing cabinet takes up 3 square feet and let’s assume that office space leases for about $60.00 per square foot. This comes to a total cost of $18,000.00. Adding the cost of filing folders and tabs etc., our cost might be $20,000.00 or approximately .0067 per sheet. This assumes that the filing cabinets are cleaned out each year and replaced with new files. In most offices, files generally have to be kept for seven years, however some files can be moved to archives. Since this cost is relatively small, let’s assume the long-term cost of storage is $10,000.00 per year, for an average of 5 years for a total life cycle cost of $50,000.00. This gives an average cost of .0167 for the 3 million sheets in long term storage. Assume disposal costs of .001 per sheet for the total 10 million sheets.

Activity Activity Cost Per Sheet No. of Sheets Total Cost
Paper purchases .003 10,000,000 $30,000
Photocopying .03 4,500,000 $135,000
Printing .03 3,500,000 $105,000
Faxing .04 500,000 $20,000
Mailing .06 450,000 $27,000
Courier 1.00 50,000 $50,000
Short term storage .0067 3,000,000 $20,000
Long term storage .0167 3,000,000 $50,000
Disposal Costs .001 10,000,000 $10,000
Totals $447,000                                                                                                                                         2001 RCC Consulting

The above table shows the total cost for 10 million pieces of paper as $447,000 or approximately $4.47 cents per sheet. This does not include the labor to purchase the paper, photocopy and distribute the documents, retrieve the printed paper from the printer, apply a signature and take it to the fax machine, place the documents into an envelope and place postage on it or filing, retrieving, archiving and disposing of documents. In addition, if an electronic copy is desired, the cost of scanning the document back into the system. Costs may vary in different offices, but the cost of paper is clearly significantly higher than first appears. Even without attempting to determine the cost of labor a paper reduction program can have significantsavings for any organization. A reduction program should easily achieve a 50% savings in paper within the first three months. In our typical office of 100 employees this means well over $200,000 in savings in the first year. The first step in implementing a paper reduction program is to determine the baseline for measuring the savings. A proper baseline measurement will help to obtain employee buy-in to the program as well as justify any software purchases to achieve the full benefits of a paper reduction program.

Calculating and Cutting The Cost of Enterprise Printing

Printing has become a costly area of IT operations for today’s large enterprise. According to Gartner, “Printers, the supplies associated with them and the support required to keep them operating represent 5 percent of the typical IT budget.” Furthermore, printers combined with other output devices – copiers, faxes and scanners – represent a significant portion of not just IT budgets, but also total annual revenues. Gartner estimates that “These output equipment fleets could cost an enterprise between 1 percent and 3 percent of revenue.” Many professionals in large enterprises may find this surprising, because few realize just how much they spend on printing or, even more important, what they can do to reduce these costs. A study by Lyra Research indicates that few network managers and IT departments track printing costs at all. But, an accurate assessment of costs is essential to reducing them. By carefully evaluating the total cost of owning printers and other hardcopy solutions – the cost to buy them, plus the cost for supplies and support over the life of the devices – the large enterprise can establish a solid foundation for a plan to significantly reduce costs. CAP Ventures goes further, concluding that, “It is those companies that cannot consider hardcopy to be a core asset, but nevertheless produce large volumes of hardcopy, that are in the greatest danger of wasting money by not considering a total cost of ownership model in relation to their hardcopy output devices.”


The cost of paper in today’s enterprise, regardless of size,  is likely to be far more than the enterprise estimates. To accurately calculate paper total cost of ownership, the enterprise must take into account a variety of factors that represent both direct and indirect costs.

So if you’re dreaming of a paperless office? Settleware will get you closer – in real-time!

  • Use the Internet for business rather than paper
  • Better overall customer experience and loyalty – “Making it easy for your customers to do business with you”™
  • Do more with less
  • Instant delivery and arrival of information
  • Contracts, agreements or applications signed, tracked and stored in one single step
  • Low costs – no need to bring parties into the process because you can securely send direct to an email – protecting non-public information
  • Simple to learn – Simpler to use™
  • Cloud Computing: No downloads, installations  or IT staff required
  • Increase revenue by having more time available for more business and closing business faster
  • Socially accepted – your customer is already using e-Signing- making purchases on Zappos, Amazon or at their local supermarket, even filing their tax returns.
  • Competitive advantage and marketing positioning
  • System maintains an audit trail and helps your organization comply with regulations
  • 24/7 access to your secure e-Vault and files with visible audit history at your fingertips
  • Supports both electronic and handwritten signatures