Troy Palmquist is an indie broker in California with more than a decade of experience. His regular column, which covers a range of helpful tips for agents and op-eds on industry happenings, publishes Thursdays on Inman.
Disclosure forms can be complicated and littered with questions your client may not understand. While each state has its own rules and regulations on how the disclosure process should work, there’s a relatively new platform from a San Francisco startup called Glide that’s worth a look.
Before I get into the details, let me give you some background. I started my career doing disclosures in triplicate or buying forms from my local Realtor’s association. Personally, I am old school and love paper. But I also recall frustration over the occasional incorrectly checked box or incessant use of my nearly extinct Wite-Out bottle.
But I would rather use a nifty piece of software at a disclosure meeting with my clients than sending them a form to complete on their own any day. And thankfully, Glide helps me to do that.
Now let me be perfectly clear before we dig in. This is not an advertorial for a sponsored product or a glowing review. It’s simply me putting the spotlight on a company that is attempting to untangle an often knotty process we all have to engage in as agents.
The team behind Glide want to make it simpler, safer and easier to prepare seller disclosures. They are trying to do this by enabling homesellers and their agents to enter the required disclosure information on forms electronically.
The software enables users to edit, upload, and organize documents, among other things. The platform even enables clients to signal that they don’t understand specific questions, which then gives agents the opportunity to clarify what’s needed. It also offers various forms of industry specific integrations. Readers can find out more about that here. The company offers an online demo, as well as Webinars and explanatory videos on its Web site.
CEO Sebastian Tonkin and technology entrepreneur Henry Liu co-founded Glide in 2017 in San Francisco, according to their bios on LinkedIn. So far, the product is only available in California, although Glide plans on expanding nationally.
The company describes itself in the following way on LinkedIn:
“Glide is a seed-stage startup focused on improving the conventional home buying process for mainstream consumers. We provide real estate agents with a modern, online transaction experience that delights clients and keeps deals on track — making it easy to automate paperwork, check status, integrate with service providers, and close more deals. Our founding team has experience developing large-scale web applications at Google, Square, and Zenefits and we’re back by investors including David Sacks, Social Capital, Global Founders Capital, Max Altman, Brett & Scott Crosby, and the National Association of Realtors.”
If you’re a member of a local Realtor association in California, you may be able to claim access to the service as a benefit. You can check which associations offer it as a benefit here. More than 20,000 California agents have used the product, according to Glide’s blog.
Glide has also recently partnered with CRES – a leading real estate E&O provider — to offer $25,000 in optional add-on disclosure protection directly to sellers. Of course there are a number of plans and features to choose from. One such offering landed in my inbox as I was writing this post. It’s called Seller’s Protection Plan Plus+.
According to Glide, “In addition to receiving a licensed California insurance policy, sellers have direct access to an experienced real estate attorney to answer difficult, disclosure-related questions as recommended in the Disclosure Information Advisory. Sellers can choose to enroll in this policy as part of the Glide product experience, once all disclosure forms are completed. If they choose to enroll, the agent will be immediately notified and all parties will receive instructions on how to access attorney services and review plan details.”
Now this is great and all, but I want to be brutally honest and go on record that I am not an advocate for sending the client a disclosure form and letting them fill it out on their own.
I believe it is every agent’s responsibility to sit down with the customer and go through the disclosure form line by line. Glide should not replace the disclosure meeting, but rather enhance it, make it better, easier, faster, smarter. Isn’t that what we are all working towards anyway?
Also, the company could also work on its customer service. But overall, it’s a neat idea. With all the IPOs going on in the Bay Area, it’s hard to imagine a better time for this service to get traction.
Which property disclosure method do you prefer? Are you using a tech platform in your state to get the job done? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or catch me at Inman Connect in Las Vegas next week.
Troy Palmquist is the founder and broker of The Address in Southern California. Follow him on Facebook, or connect with him on LinkedIn.