The Best of the Legal Hotline: Electronic Delivery

 Tracy Rucka and Debbi Conrad  |    November 06, 2008

The following practice tips are provided for brokers using electronic delivery of documents in residential real estate transactions or other transactions involving consumers. These pointers walk you through the process of obtaining consumer consent electronically and explain the use of Addendum D for agency agreements and with offers to purchase. The Consent for Use of Electronic Documents and Signatures in Consumer Real Estate Transactions (Consent) and Addendum D – Electronic Document Delivery needed in this process are available on the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association E-Commerce Resource page ( and on zipForm®.

To implement email delivery of documents and the use of electronic documents as well as electronic signatures in transactions involving consumers, the following must occur:

  • Consumer consent must be obtained electronically. The electronic consent allows consumers to demonstrate they can receive, save and send documents electronically and to consent to the use of electronic documents, electronic signatures and email delivery.
  • The parties authorize electronic delivery and identify the email address(es) for use in Addendum D.

Using the consumer Consent form electronically and using Addendum D with the contracts will satisfy these requirements. Once electronic consent has been obtained from the consumer, the listing, buyer agency agreement or offer may be modified via Addendum D to allow electronic delivery.

Why must consumer consent be obtained electronically? 

The consent form contains various consumer protections mandated by federal law and advises consumers of their rights if they choose to receive, via email, documents that are otherwise required by law to be in writing. Consumers are advised their rights to ask for paper documents instead. Consumers are also asked to verify that they can receive, open and save, for example, PDF documents on their computers. Finally, by completing and returning the Consent by email, consumers are consenting to the use of electronic documents (like PDFs), email delivery and electronic signatures.

How does a REALTOR® send the Consent to the party? 

The agent should complete the broker’s contact information on the consent and save it so it is ready to send to clients and customers. The agent may send the consent by email as a PDF or a Word document attachment, or send the consent language as text in an email.

  • PDF: If the agent sends the consumer a PDF consent document as an attachment, the consumer must print the consent, complete it and scan it in so that it can be saved on the consumer’s computer and returned to the listing agent as an attachment to an email. 
  • Word attachment: If the agent sends the consumer a Word document consent as an attachment, the consumer can complete the consent, save it on his or her computer and return it to the listing agent as an attachment. Note: Just because a Word document consent is used does not mean that the party is not consenting to the delivery of PDF documents. Rather, it depends upon the language within the consent. 
  • Copy form into email as text: The easiest way for an agent to obtain electronic consent is to copy and paste the consent language into the body of an email and send it to the party. The party must then click on “reply,” type in the party’s name and email address, and send it back to the agent.

What is the purpose of Addendum D? 

Once consent has been completed electronically, Addendum D is used to state the parties’ agreement in writing that email delivery is acceptable and to identify the email address(es) that may be used. Addendum D contains a lot of blank lines, but not all lines are used each time the Addendum D is completed.

Listing: If Addendum D is used with the listing contract, “offer to purchase” and “buyer agency” are stricken from the first line. The agent must then fill in the date of the listing and the property address. On the bottom of the form, the sections for the buyer and the cooperating broker are irrelevant and may be crossed out. This is a listing, so there are only a seller and a listing broker.

Buyer agency: When Addendum D is used with the buyer agency agreement, “offer to purchase” and “listing contract” are stricken from the first line. The date of the buyer agency agreement is written in as well as the address of the property, if known. The sections for the seller and listing broker do not apply and may be crossed out.

Offer: When Addendum D used with the offer to purchase, the parties should indicate whatever email address they want to use for delivery of transaction documents and notices. Just like when parties list a fax number for delivery, the email address may or may not be their own. They may use the email address of their attorney, accountant, real estate broker or anyone else, if they so desire.

How does a REALTOR® execute a consumer consent with a listing contract or buyer agency agreement? 

When the listing agent visits the seller to take the listing, the agent should bring a laptop, if possible. If the seller also has a computer, the agent can email the consent to the seller and the seller can complete/sign the consent and immediately email it back. If the seller’s electronic consent cannot be obtained on the spot, the agent should explain that the agent will email the consent to the seller and that the seller should complete the consent and email it back as soon as possible.

  • The listing agent should complete the top of Addendum D for use with the Listing Contract (cross off “Offer to Purchase” and “Buyer Agency Agreement,” and fill in the date of the listing and the property address or description). 
  • The listing agent should fill in the email address that will be used for electronic delivery to the listing broker with respect to the listing contract, and then initial the form.
  • The seller should fill in the email address the seller wants to use for electronic delivery with respect to the listing contract, and then initial the form and check the box to indicate that the seller has given electronic consent.
  • The listing agent should then incorporate Addendum D into the listing contract to make it part of the contract. (Make certain to reference Addendum D in the listing contract.)
  • Note, if there will be a delay in obtaining the seller’s consent, Addendum D may be added to the listing later by attaching it to a WB-42 Amendment to Listing Contract.

When using Addendum D with the Buyer Agency Agreement, follow the same procedures as above with the listing contract, substitute listing contract and buyer agency agreement.

How does a REALTOR® use Addendum D with an offer to purchase? 

The Addendum D the listing agent and the seller have prepared for offers may be:

  • MLS: Mentioned in MLS remarks and posted in “Associated Documents” or “Other Documents,” if that feature is available. 
  • Open house: Copied and made available at the property so that prospects attending showings or open houses may pick up a copy to use when writing an offer.
  • Inquiries: Mentioned to any agent or buyer calling to inquire about the property. They should be told that the seller has completed Addendum D and consents to the use of electronic delivery with offers.
  • When writing an offer: Incorporated into an offer.

How does a REALTOR®, acting as a cooperating broker, initiate an Addendum D for buyer customers? 

Use the same procedure outlined above for consumer consent with the listing to obtain the buyer’s electronic consent when the Broker Disclosure to Customers is executed.

What if the seller has not initiated an Addendum D? Can an agent working with a buyer, either as a customer or client, use Addendum D in a transaction? 

Yes, either party may consent to the use of electronic documents and delivery. The cooperating agent should complete the top of Addendum D for use with offers (cross off “Listing Contract” and “Buyer Agency Agreement”). The buyer must complete Addendum D with the email address the buyer wants to use for electronic delivery with respect to any offers, and then initial the form and check the box to indicate that the buyer has given electronic consent.

Addendum D then can be used with the offer, which may be written to request that the seller complete the seller’s portion of Addendum D as a condition of the seller’s acceptance of the offer. 

Debbi Conrad is Director of Legal Affairs and Tracy Rucka  is a Staff Attorney for the WRA

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