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Wickr, Snapchat . . . They Raise Novel Record Keeping Issues

Apps whose messages self destruct after a few seconds offer a new way to communicate with clients. For that reason, you might see an increase in the use of apps like Snapchat and Wickr in real estate. Although the messages go away, they can still be copied and saved, by both the sender and the recipient.

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Courts in California and Missouri have recently ruled that these communications don’t have to be kept as part of one’s business record keeping. As Finley Maxson, senior counsel at the National Association of REALTORS®, says, “Both states have made it clear that these are not the type of correspondence licensees are required to retain in their client files.”

The rulings are a top story in The Voice for Real Estate for the week of January 25. Another top story looks at the surge in home sales, which increased almost 15 percent in December. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says the jump confirms the slowdown in sales the previous month was caused by the closing rules that took effect in October.

“The decline back in November we attributed largely to the rule on mortgage closings, the Know Before You Owe rule,” Yun said when he released the December sales figures last week. This latest data “is confirming that it was mostly delays and not cancellations.” Under the closing rules, lenders have to give borrowers a certain amount of time to look over documents before the closing, so finalizing the documents at the last minute is no longer possible. And if certain changes are made to the terms between the time the loan estimate and closing disclosure are issued, new time frames might kick in.

The video also looks at two other important developments in the industry: the life sentence handed down to the man who took the life of an Arkansas real estate professional, Beverly Carter, and the role a new NAR tech lab is playing in the design of smart home devices. NAR tech analysts at the lab are testing devices such as temperature and air quality sensors with the aim of helping manufacturers and research institutions make these devices more useful from a real estate perspective.

Watch the video on YouTube. 

Robert Freedman

Robert Freedman is director of multimedia communications for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. He can be reached at rfreedman@realtors.org.

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