As a real estate broker, even the smallest transactions you oversee are worth a significant amount of money. Additionally, real estate transactions are often fraught with emotion and can sometimes become contentious or argumentative. For these reasons, and because you are required to do so by law, it is crucial that you practice consistent record-keeping practices.
Real estate professionals in the State of Tennessee must abide by the Tennessee Real Estate Commission’s rules. A relatively recent rule update by TREC addresses electronic records specifically. To reference the rule, it is number 1260-02.40, and it states that Tennessee real estate brokers are required to maintain records from any and all transactions for three years.
As most real estate professionals have switched or are in the process of switching to electronic record keeping procedures, TREC now recognizes the importance of official rules governing such records. Realtors are permitted by law to keep all of their records in electronic form as long as they can easily be accessed within a 24 hour period after they have been requested by TREC. As keeping your electronic records organized is imperative to being able to meet this requirement, you should consider investing in an online storage program.
While you can utilize a free online storage system, it’s in your (and your clients’) best interest to use an electronic filing program that is capable of encrypting all of your documents. As a real estate professional, all of your records are considered sensitive in nature and they all include the personal identifying information of your clients. Consider one of the following programs in order to keep your e-files safely encrypted while simultaneously organized and easily accessible:
IDrive: Along with being an Editors’ Choice for online storage services by PCMag.com, IDrive is also quite affordable for all that it offers. You’ll have no problem accessing your files from anywhere, via desktop computer, smart phone or laptop. Real estate professionals love that they can store up to a full terabyte of documentation, and that it will all be safely encrypted with 256-bit encryption that is not stored on servers.
SpiderOakONE: If you’re looking for the beefiest security for your electronic records, SpiderOakONE will meet your qualifications. Reviewed by tech professionals as one of the best data storage services on the market, its Zero Knowledge policy guarantees that you and only you will be able to access your stored (unlimited size) files. Not even the company’s employees will be able to access your data, as you will be the sole possessor of the encryption key. It’s a costly program, but if you’re working for a large firm or with high profile clients, it is worth the investment.
Microsoft OneDrive: For a functional storage program that puts user-friendliness at the forefront, Microsoft’s OneDrive enters the stage. Beyond being easy to use, their interfaces (optimized for both web and mobile use) are attractive and they perform seamlessly with Microsoft Office. Another attractive feature of OneDrive is their ability to store photos at high resolutions, which is a fantastic feature for real estate professionals, who often have many photographs within each file saved.
Regardless of which program you choose, stay consistent in backing up your files on a regular schedule so that everything is accessible in electronic format when (and if) you need to refer to it at a later date. Still have hard copy paper documents? Take a picture of the document or scan it into your computer and you can create an electronic version of it in seconds.