How to Write and Sign PDF Contracts on an iPad


*Update - I have updated this post as it remains extremely useful to many people and as the app store has developed, I've changed apps. Currently, the best app for this that I have found is PDF Expert and I have adjusted that further down the page. If you know of something that works better, please post a reply in the comments.

Previous Best App: 

Previously, the best app for this that I have found is TakeNotes and I have adjusted that further down the page and left the basic 'how to' if you want to use it. It still works very well, but does not fill in form fields the way PDF Expert does although it has a better user interface to create text box to add text.

**If you aren't interested in an iPad or you don't need to manipulate PDFs and/or sign them, you can probably skip this post. On the other hand, if you are a real estate agent or any other person who may want to get an iPad, but thinks that it is only a toy because all you can do is read the web (without flash ((which turns out to be less of a deal than I thought)), you may find this post interesting.

I was a doubter. I thought that it was really just a toy, but I really wanted an iPad anyway. Besides, I have a weakness for new electronic toys and I like technology and I like being an early adopter so I really wasn't able to NOT get one.

Now that I have one, I need it to make it work for business - and it does. I can search the GAMLS via (a well designed version of the GAMLS which many Atlanta estate agents dread using), I can read Word and Excel documents and I can write documents on Pages and export as Pages, Word or PDF. I can even create a flyer better than most flyers I see with built-in templates in Apple's $9.99 Pages app.

However, I was still skeptical about ditching my laptop. I'll definitely have more posts about how to make the iPad work for real estate, but understandably, the most important question seems to be centered around contracts and signatures and whether or not writing contracts and signing them would be possible.

The short answer is yes, you can write and sign contracts, but not without Apple's amazing App Store. Below is a tutorial on what you need to know if you want to use an iPad as your most frequently used computing device. It is my goal to do so and I am almost there. First, the contract writing tutorial.

Writing and Signing Contracts "How-To" for the iPad

What you need:

  • iPad
  • PDF Expert
  • An internet connection
  • A computer to set it up before you leave it ditch the laptop.

iAnnotate will allow you to sign your contract with your finger or a stylus. It's a powerful PDF editor. PDFExpert is the key to writing your contract. Buy this app from the app store and that's all the technology you need.

For PDF Expert: 

PDF Expert Can store your PDF files within the app itself. It seamlessly integrates with Dropbox to import/export documents so keep a store of the blank forms in a folder there or in a folder within the app itself.

For TakeNotes: 

Save to your computer all of the contracts you use frequently as background images in TakeNotes. I am going to upload my PDFs to the Takenotes Background Library via the Takenotes web server, but you can do so through a shared folder if you would like (As it turned out, using iTunes was easier once I learned how to do this). The Background Library becomes the source file that you will type on to input your contract information. Below is a screenshot of an uploaded Background Library PDF of a counteroffer form. You can enter as many text fields as you would like:

Takenotes ScreenshotAt this point, you have your PDF of choice uploaded to Takenotes and you simply select the one you need ie offer, counteroffer, etc...and type your text fields. Each text box like the one that says "Type Here" to your left slides around and increases or decreases in size by sliding your finger as easily as any other iApple-touch-device.

You can even create one time text boxes in all of the areas you need and then reuse the file over and over.

Once your PDF has been typed on to make the contract changes or offer you need, you simply email it as a PDF to yourself switch to the pen tool and scroll to the section of the docuement you need to sign and use your finger to sign.

Next, open Mail and open the attached PDF in iAnnotate. From iAnnotate, you need only use a custom pencil and to scroll down to where you and your client needs to sign. Once that's done, you are done!

All that is left is to email your document. There is a caution here and a couple of bugs, but it seems to work perfectly if anyone opens your annotated file in Acrobat Reader.

Go back to the TakeNotes main screen and click the "Share" button. The most convenient way for me is to share via email as a PDF. Make sure you turn "Create .Zip archive" off and then click export.

Here is a link to a PDF I created (This is a new link as the old one had the iAnnotate signature that some people couldn't see in the comments section). Please let me know if you don't see the signature. I will admit, I need to work on my fingermanship a little but you can order a stylus for iPad here and that should make for better signatures...

Good luck and happy contract writing from iPad!!!

One last thing - I think the image saves as smaller than 8.5 X 11 so when you print the image may be a little more pixelated. Make sure you adjust your print settings to print at a full page size.

One more last thing - Of you see any errors, please post them so others can learn.

Thank you,

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