Save Those Texts!

save-texts

In a world where the concept of “getting it in writing” has completely changed, all Washington REALTORS® should be retaining and storing their text messages as material correspondence in the transaction file.
Unfortunately, that’s not as easy as one would think.

In an industry where typing a few words in a box, giving the message a quick scan, and then tapping a tiny, upward-facing arrow can directly impact a real estate transaction, all brokers need a good way to save those messages to their transaction folders.

“Clients text their agents, and agents text one another regarding showings and offers,” Accurate Title points out. “What no one really thinks about are those text messages creating binding contracts.” In one recent court case, for example, two agents texted back and forth about a letter of intent for a commercial property sale.

Granted, this case is not from Washington State, none of the facts that led the court to this unusual conclusion are known and it is certainly not the case that parties can typically create a binding agreement by text message, the case stands as a stark reminder that what you say in text messages is important and because of that, you must save your text messages in your firm’s transaction folder. In addition to this making good sense, Washington law requires that you save your text messages if they equate to “material communications” in a transaction.

Here’s how the situation played out, according to Accurate Title:

  • After a price was agreed upon, text messages were sent regarding the signing of the document. The listing agent asked the buyer’s agent to have his client sign first.
  • They then arranged to meet to exchange the documents.
  • Before the seller signed, another offer was received and ultimately accepted.
  • The buyer in this case argued that the text messages sent between the two agents created a legally binding contract.
  • The court ruled in the buyer’s favor.

“Generally, contracts are not enforceable until they are made in writing,” the title company adds. “However, the definition of ‘in writing’ has changed given the common use of email and text messaging these days.”

There’s an app for that!

To avoid potential problems, brokers should not only be cognizant of the written texts that are being passed back and forth throughout the sales process, but they should also maintain good records of these interactions in their transaction files. Here are four tools that you can use to do this:

Decipher Text Message

https://deciphertools.com/decipher-textmessage.html

A desktop program, Decipher TextMessage lets you save iPhone text messages to a computer and then print them out (as needed). Once you back up your iPhone or iPad via iTunes, Decipher TextMessage captures all your text messages, photo attachments, and videos. You can then instantly save, archive, and print the messages.


Dotloop

www.dotloop.com

Dotloop empowers real estate professionals to transact and communicate with their clients via text. You can use it to share and edit documents, get eSignatures, export conversation history, and view receipts.


CopyTrans

https://www.copytrans.net/

Brokers can use CopyTrans to convert text message from their iPhones to PDF documents. It works with regular text messages as well as with iMessages, WhatsApp, Viber, and Line chats. CopyTrans also allows text messages to be exported into other file formats.


SkySlope

https://skyslope.com/

SkySlope is an app that organizes all of your contacts and conversations related to an existing deal that you’re working on. You can use it to call, email, or text any of the contacts from within the app, with all emails and texts tracked in the property folder for future reference.

Bridget McCrea

Bridget McCrea is a freelance writer who has been covering real estate, technology, and education since 1996. She can be reached at bridgetmccrea@gmail.com.



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