Real Estate Records Retention

If you’re:  a) a busy Realtor who’s been in business for at least a couple of years (I qualify easily on both counts); and b) do everything by the book (“check,” again), it doesn’t take long for large areas of your home (or at least your basement) to be consumed by real estate documents.

That’s because agents are supposed to keep their records for six years.

Storage “Catch-22”

Yes, I know that optical storage would dramatically reduce that space.

But, the trick is finding the time to scan in all those doc’s and handwritten notes.

I don’t know about other agents, but in the course of a 4-6 month listing relationship, I’ll typically accumulate several dozen pages of long-hand notes (all on my trusty, yellow legal pads).

That’s in addition to the 30 or so pages of the finally accepted Purchase Agreement, and perhaps 3-4 times as many superseded versions — plus all the paperwork that makes up a modern listing contract (especially for involved Counter-Offers, I like to keep previous drafts to document the related issues).

Challenge #2:  Classification

Of course, step #2 efficiently organizing all that info, either electronically or in paper version (also known as “analog”), so that it can efficiently accessed (the whole point of the exercise).

I count at least four ways to categorize deals, after-the-fact:  1) by client (last name); 2) by date; 3) by property type (single family, townhome, etc.); and/or 4) location (city, zip code, etc.).

Increasingly, there’s yet another way to track transactions:  how they’re staged.

I’m one of the Twin Cities’ biggest proponents (and users) of virtual staging, and am now adding drone photography for my upper bracket listings.

When I market new listings, I like to consult my notes from previous deals.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

Leave a Reply