It is nice to see that a person or persons are thinking over at MLS because they are calling their mandated updates — decided without input from the membership — MLS enhancements. In some ways, though, the changes are enhancements. Are you ready? Because all listings supposedly converted two days ago. I only know this because I spotted a warning that other features might not work correctly because of the updates, um . . . enhancements.
One of the best changes are the increase of allotted letters and spaces in the marketing comments and confidential remarks in MLS. We were bound by 500 characters for so long. Not anymore. Now, with the new MLS enhancements, we can enjoy 1,000 characters for marketing and an increase from 300 to 1,300 characters for confidential remarks. We can yak away!
Because I’ve been using computers since the 1980s, online since 1991, I generally do not struggle with technology issues. In fact, I often discover back doors to overcome obstacles when glitches set in. There is usually more than one way to access data. But when an agent sent a Digital Ink document a few days ago, it took me a long period of time to figure out how to access a document, much less sign it.
The buyer’s agent had forwarded a purchase contract to me via Digital Ink. He is a new agent, licensed last fall, and I don’t think he’s closed a transaction yet. There were no signatures in the Digital Ink file. They were not set up to sign. But just dicking around with the program was a bit irritating.
Finally, I said to the agent, you should just use DocuSign. For digital signatures, when comparing DocuSign with Digital Ink, DocuSign is so much easier and more user friendly. Even my 95-year-old clients can sign a document with DocuSign. The buyer’s agent agreed, said his Millennial clients could not figure out how to use Digital Ink, either, and that’s why they couldn’t sign the contract.
Part of his problem, in all fairness for the DocuSign vs Digital Ink discussion, is he, like many others, want to synchronize MLS with their digital signing software. In my opinion, synching is a bad idea. The concept sounds like it’s easier and more stress free, but it is not. The reason is the data that is pulled into the documents such as a California Residential Purchase Agreement is pulled from an unreliable source such as Realist. Bad data in, bad data out.
I can’t even begin to take listing in Sacramento until I check Realist against Metroscan, to reconcile, and both pull data from the public records, which can also reflect wrong data. I have more issues with Realist than Metroscan. Names of owners are often reversed, especially Asian names. Or, not all of the owner’s names are disclosed. I always enter my information manually, so at least my documents are correct. Because I care more than the average bear about accuracy.
The other issue with synching with MLS data is it pulls every listing agent’s name into the contract, even if only one agent should be identified.
Later in the day, after I received the signed purchase agreement, the buyer’s agent sent me the contract in DocuSign. There were no signatures on the contract in DocuSign. I asked the agent why. Why did he send me the contract without signatures when I have the signatures? Answer: because I told him to sign up for DocuSign, LOL.
I feel bad for him now because he has two digital signature accounts. I prefer to pay for my own account so all of my data belongs to me. Having your own account also means when my brokerage’s account goes down for whatever odd reason, I can still access my own account.
DocuSign also has a mobile app and I don’t think Digital Ink does. It is very easy to access all of your settings in DocuSign and make the software perform exactly the way you want it to. My only beef, if that is a beef, is I can’t preset signatures to sign at a future date and future time. You know, drip the email to go out on a certain date. That would be helpful to me as a top listing agent because I could upload everything at one time and schedule the paperwork to go out on different days. Because I handle volume.
Or, a client is traveling and asks me to upload a contract on a certain day when I might be traveling. Sometimes I work from my house in Hawaii. I asked DocuSign if we could have this feature and their programmers shot me down flat. A girl can hope for someday. But for efficiency purposes, client happiness and simple peace of mind, you really can’t beat DocuSign.
Just ask Tom Gonser.
Most Sacramento Realtors do not know how one person can sell a home with two people on the deed. Perhaps it’s because they did not realize it was possible or never had reason to ponder the feasibility. Or, maybe they don’t really understand how title and escrow works. Of course, my title and escrow background has been instrumental to me throughout my 40+ years in the real estate business. I spent only a couple of years in the title industry and two more as an escrow officer, including as a certified escrow officer, but that training has been most beneficial throughout my long career.
The way it works in Sacramento is say you have a husband and wife, both on title, and one person is not available to sign the listing paperwork. Or, maybe it’s a family trust, and the successor trustee is in the process of transferring title to an heir, but that deed is not yet recorded. Can either of these people who appear not to possess full capacity sign a listing agreement? Of course they can. I am informed they can also sign a purchase contract. What they cannot do, without full authority, is close escrow, but as long as that happens prior to closing, it can work.
In the case of a married couple, one person already has an interest in the property. It’s how one person can sell a home with two people on the deed. I often take listings with just one signature from a spouse, waiting for the second spouse to either sign the listing paperwork or sign an interspousal transfer deed. It takes only one signature to put the listing into our Sacramento MLS. Didn’t know that? Well, you do now.
I checked with the title company in the case of an heir signing a listing agreement prior to recordation of the deed from the successor trustee, and that’s fine, too. As long as the deed records during the term of the listing and prior to closing. Actually, to really nitpick, delivery of the deed is what constitutes title transfer, not recordation. Didn’t know that? Well, you do now.
When I met with a prospective seller yesterday, her lawyer told her she could not sign a listing agreement until her husband signed off on the deed. Which is not true. But she might have also misunderstood. Often the case, people misquote or impose their own thoughts. Or, her lawyer might not be a real estate lawyer. I do whatever makes my sellers the most comfortable. Just because I know how one person can sell a home with two people on the deed, doesn’t mean it must be done that way.
Knowing when not to argue is a gift. Likewise, knowing not to give legal advice without being a lawyer is also good risk management. If you’re looking to sell a home in Sacramento and need an experienced Realtor, call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759.
Happy birthday to a certain birthday boy today.
Most California Realtors ask a buyer to sign the Disclosure Regarding Real Estate Agency Relationship when the buyer signs a purchase offer, but my philosophy lies more in accordance with the intent of the disclosure and we get it signed before showing property. On page two of the disclosure, in compliance with California Civil Code 2079.13 (k) and (i), in the fine print that nobody reads, it states: The selling agent shall provide the disclosure form to the seller as soon as practicable prior to presenting the seller with an offer to purchase . . .
If we are showing homes to a buyer, that’s a good time to get it signed, before we walk out the door. It establishes disclosure, although it does not confirm agency relationships. Agency relationships are confirmed in the purchase offer itself. Yet, we have a property manager with a real estate license in Sacramento who disagrees and has refused to enter sales in MLS under the selling agent’s name. This agent prefers instead to enter all the names of all the agents who have ever signed a Disclosure Regarding Real Estate Agency Relationship with this buyer.
MetroList has not yet enforced its own rules on one of my recent sales that say a listing broker needs to enter correct information from the selling broker. MLS Rules 10.1: Final sales shall be defined as recorded transfer of property. Final sales with the correct cooperating broker information and the correct sales information shall be entered into the MLS by the listing broker within three (3) business days of the final closing date.
The purpose of a Disclosure Regarding Real Estate Agency Relationship is to inform sellers and buyers that agents work in various capacities. An agent can represent the seller, the buyer, or both parties, under dual agency. It’s a disclosure, not an agreement. On the Realtor’s side, presenting the agency to buyers determines whether a) they trust, and b) they read. Further, it states: Throughout your real property transaction you may receive more than one disclosure form, depending upon the number of agents assisting in the transaction. The law requires each agent with whom you have more than a casual relationship to present you with this disclosure form.
Real estate law is such that ten agents could show a buyer property, yet only one agent is the selling agent noted on page 10 of the California Residential Purchase Agreement. Still, for no particular reason that I can see, we have a rogue Realtor who has refused to record the sole selling agent into MLS. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it. He says more than one agent signed an agency disclosure so he’s reporting all of those agents as the selling agents to MLS, regardless of the selling broker’s instructions. This strikes me as an odd situation that MetroList clerks appear reluctant to fix.
While I’m on a roll, I have a beef with the way the Agency Disclosure appears in ZIPForms. I have asked the California Association of Realtors (CAR) to consider changing the first field in its listing package in ZIPForms, but no representative from CAR has responded. I can’t be the only California Realtor to have noticed that when the template for the RLA loads into ZIPForms, the first document, the Disclosure Regarding Real Estate Agency Relationship, has such a teeny tiny field that it’s emphatically too small to read the seller’s name. It’s not my 20 / 20 vision.
Just goes to show that the end user might not have been considered when the fields were designed. They ought to test these things in the field with real people who use it, real Realtors. The fields change from blue to green with black lettering, which is also not easy on the eyes. Even if they just switched the order of the documents and made the Seller Representation of More Than One Buyer or Seller the first to load, it would help; that name field font is much larger.
One typo in the seller’s name on the Disclosure Regarding Real Estate Agency Relationship carries throughout the listing paperwork. It’s a PITA, but that’s the life of a Sacramento Realtor. Don’t get me started on agents who argue about how many agency disclosures a seller is required to sign . . .