document management

MLS and Association consolidation has delivered a path to solve many problems for Realtors® and brokers operating in markets where there is overlapping market disorder. With the exception of the San Francisco Bay Area, most large NFL cities have removed the need for Realtors® and brokers to subscribe to multiple MLSs, pay duplicate fees for MLS services, and manage listings in multiple systems. There are plenty of markets that should continue to purse consolidation discussions, but by and large, the MLS industry is on the right track and that is cause for celebration. However, real estate forms continue to be cloistered by the same antiquated policies that listings faced a decade ago. It’s time to rethink forms licensing to Realtors® and brokers, and for the betterment of serving consumers through the transaction process. We call for a standard license agreement and data standard that allows all transaction management systems to integrate Association, MLS and Broker forms with “live” data that can be, with the broker or agent’s opt-in permission, securely shared across software applications. Where Forms Come From When WAV Group works with brokerage firms to integrate their transaction workflow across multiple markets of Associations and MLSs, the first question we address is “Who is the forms provider?” It’s a difficult question to answer because “it depends.” Forms come from multiple sources in each marketplace. The State Association of REALTORS® The best news for Realtors® is that, for the most part, real estate transaction forms are available through a branch of the National Association of REALTORS®. Typically, there are forms that are crafted by State Associations of REALTORS® that cover the buyer and seller representation agreements and contracts for most transactions. To some degree, there are also a number of common disclosure documents that are applicable statewide. The State Association normally includes the forms license costs in member dues, contributing an enormous value for membership in the REALTOR® Association. These forms are copyright protected by the State Association. The value of the forms needed for a single transaction more than justify Association membership. The Local Association of REALTORS® Before the digital age, Realtors® would drive to the local Association of REALTORS® to pick up their forms packet for a transaction. The local Association was in the printing business. It is important to understand that this was a key source of revenue to the local Association (along with lock boxes and […]

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Associations Rethink Forms Licensing Policy

by Victor Lund on November 29, 2017

Document Management

If you were in the real estate business before the days of email, you may recall the experience of driving to the local Board of REALTORS® to pick up a forms packet for a transaction. Alternatively, your brokerage may have had a forms file with every type of printed form that you might need. Simply stated, forms were printed until pioneering State Associations of REALTORS® learned to share them electronically. Today, electronic forms management is a member benefit for all Realtors® as a member benefit of The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). When Realtor Associations learned about this policy and product offering from the National Association of REALTORS®, they started to internalize and rethink their forms licensing program. Why Do We Love Standard Forms? Ages ago, and in some States of America, you had to hire a lawyer to do the documents for a real estate transaction. For the most part, this is busy work for Attorneys. In most States, licensed real estate professionals can complete forms and they are reviewed by their broker and processed by a title company. Most States have taken on the responsibility of creating standardized forms that handle the variety of transactions encountered by most Realtors. Standard forms have all of the legal terminology needed transactions, so the agent fills out the information about the subject property and the information about the party they represent on each form, along with things like price. The standardized forms make the contracting process simple, easy and fast. The Realtor fills in the blanks, gets signatures, and its done. Copyright is Owned by the Forms Author The use of the word “standardized” is a little misleading when it comes to forms. Written works of any kind fall under the protections of the federal Copyright Act of 1976. According to the Act, copyright is available “in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device,” United States Constitution 102(a). When you look at a form, you will notice a copyright statement on the bottom of each page. This tells you who owns the copyright. This is usually your State Association of REALTORS® who updates the forms from time to time as necessary. They invest a lot of the membership treasury in the […]

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Legal contracts are a critical part of real estate. Real estate professionals need to be sure they’re providing tools to customers that protect their clients’ interests as well as their own.   WAV Group with the cooperation of Docusign and Instanet have put together a set of best practices you can use to evaluate the Electronic Signature solution you may be using. Click HERE to download the information HERE. It’s not always easy to sort out what those tools are, however. A simple search for “electronic signatures” on the App Store or Google Play will yield dozens of results. How can you know which solutions to trust and which to avoid? Knowing what questions to ask and what elements are most important in an eSignature solution is a great place to start.   From a legal standpoint, the following two items are most important: Authentication –  How do you match the person with the signature? Encryption – Once a document is signed, can you demonstrate that it hasn’t been tampered with? WAV Group moderated a session with two of the real estate industry’s leaders in Electronic Signatures – Docusign and Instanet.You can view our recorded webinar, Not All eSignature Platforms Are Created Equal to learn more about this important topic. We can look to banks to find out more about how to evaluate solutions. Many larger banks now provide requirements or recommendations on the type of support electronic signatures must have to be legally viable within their programs. They want to be able to see the entire “story” of a document–where it’s been, who has signed it and more. This can be accomplished via a certificate of completion, a transaction summary that demonstrates authentication procedures, time stamping, audit trail and more. All of these are evidentiary bits that support the integrity of the transaction in case it is ever challenged. As an industry, we want to be sure that we are providing tools to our customers that will protect our interests as well as theirs. This paper will provide an overview of criteria that electronic signature solutions need to meet in order to be legally viable. We also want the reader to walk away  with a better understanding of what questions to ask when choosing a solution and how to evaluate those programs with a better understanding of what questions to ask when choosing a solution and how to evaluate those programs. Click […]

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LPS automates court cases

by Victor Lund on March 15, 2012

I guess that if you are a technology company that has been spending a lot of time in court rooms, you may as well make the best of it, and fix the court system while you are there. Just kidding. In all seriousness, LPS and CoreLogic have largely escaped all damages for thier role in supporting the bad decisions of lenders. That is a good thing. But LPS did just land a huge deal in their courthouse management systems. They were awarded the contract for managing documents on 425,000 court cases that roll through the Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller’s office each year. This type of throughput of paper makes a real estate transaction look like a sticky note. Here is the press release.

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