Filling out homeseller disclosures in California is about to get a digital upgrade thanks to a new partnership between transaction management company zipLogix and software and legal provider Sellers Shield.
The two companies have developed Smart Seller Tools, a service that allows sellers to fill out their disclosure forms online. Members of the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) can now offer their clients free access to Sellers Shield, which the companies touted in a statement as “a simple, turn-key solution that guides home sellers through the disclosure process, preventing critical mistakes that can cause lawsuits.”
Caitlin Owen, a customer success specialist at Sellers Shield, told Inman the company decided to move into California after having success in Texas, where it already offers digital disclosure forms. Sellers Shield works with 51 brokerages and between 2,000 and 3,000 agents in the Lone Star State, and is available to about 25% of Texas agents, Owen said.
She also said that agents have approached Sellers Shield “asking for a value proposition” and a way to “separate them from other” Realtors. The company has already begun working with brokerages in Fresno and San Diego as it expands into California.
Sellers Shield joins Glide, which was already operating in California and also offers a digital disclosure service. Glide works with zipLogix as well and is free to C.A.R. members in multiple counties across the state.
Homesellers begin using the system via an email invite, which is branded according to their agent. They’re then guided through a series of questions, and Owen said the form relies on conditional logic to respond to the seller’s specific circumstances. The system also includes legal tips, videos and other resources meant to help sellers fill out disclosures accurately and in a way that minimizes liability.
Owen also explained that agents are legally required to remove themselves from the disclosure process. However, when sellers fill out forms on paper without any guidance they can make mistakes or skip questions. Sellers Shield’s digital disclosure is meant to eliminate those problems while also removing any agent liability.
“It’s a very seamless user friendly process,” she said.
In addition to digital disclosures, Sellers Shield is also now offering its legal protection services in California for the first time. The service functions like a kind of insurance, offering sellers legal representation if claims are made against them after the sale.
Sellers can opt-in to the legal protection service, with fees starting at $299 for one year and $20,000 worth representation. Additional tiers offer legal protection for a longer period of time.
In a statement, zipLogix CEO Scott Strong said that he believes “California real estate professionals and their listing clients will immensely benefit from this interactive seller’s disclosure process designed to prevent lawsuits.”