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Brad comments today on required paperwork.

Nevada law requires that real estate brokerages retain certain documents for each transaction. Among the required paperwork: Duties Owed, Consent to Act, listing agreements, purchase and sale agreements, leases, certain disclosures, HUDs, etc.

I have always, since the inception of TRR, had a policy of following the law to the letter. Regardless of how many other brokers in town talk about the “gray area”, regardless of how many other brokers in town do not care about adhering to the law, I have never wavered.

On every single file that passes through TRR, there are required documents, and our office manager, Emily, is charged with ensuring that we get what we need. And, the documents must be accurately signed and initialed, as well. It is our policy that commissions are not released until files are completed. In my opinion, all responsible brokers ought to have this same policy.

Furthermore, on our web site, there is an associates-only page that our staff can access, in order to ascertain which documents we will need, whether the transaction was residential, commercial, rental, referral, etc. That way, the associates know in advance what is mandatory, and they can prepare accordingly.

The point I wish to make today is that TRR seems to be on an island in this regard. In other words, we seem to be relatively unique in our requirements. And, so many other brokerages seem not to care much about the required paperwork at all.

Literally countless agents have come to me for help in gathering the necessary documents. This takes the cooperation of title companies, inspection companies, and other real estate companies, as well. The latter seems to be the sticking point.

On many, MANY, occasions, my associates have contacted agents in other brokerages with whom they have completed real estate transactions, and requested signatures, initials and paperwork, only to be told that their broker does not require it, or that they will not release it.

Nevada law is very clear: if a real estate brokerage represents a party to a transaction, then that company is required, by law, to obtain and retain paperwork in their files for a minimum of five years from the date of the last activity in that file.

Yet, I have to get involved countless times, to track down other agents, and if they fail to comply, their brokers, in order to obtain what we are legally entitled to have. Then, when I finally reach a person who is able to provide what we need, I have to beg, cajole, negotiate (and sometimes, sadly, even threaten), and explain why it is that we need what we need.

This week, one of my associates came to me for help with a rental file. He had been requesting paperwork from the listing broker for a rental transaction for SIX MONTHS! (My associate represented the tenant). And for all this time, his requests were ignored. So I contacted the broker of record, and had a lengthy conversation with her about what we needed and why. She told me that in her 27 years (27 years!) as a broker in Las Vegas, no other broker had ever explained to her what the law required. She said that several times she had been contacted, but refused to provide any paperwork to other companies thinking that she didn’t need to, and no broker ever pursued the matter. Until me, that is.

So, I took the time to explain that when a real estate company represents a party to a contract, the broker is entitled to the pertinent paperwork. Of course that’s true! Isn’t it common sense? What in the event of a dispute? A complaint? A lawsuit? It should go without saying that the company is responsible, and therefore, must have the proper records.

In this particular situation, the broker mentioned that this was a “referral”, not a rental. WRONG! TRR showed the property, and legally represented the tenant (hence, Duties Owed), and that is not a referral. A referral is simply passing the customer from one agent or company to another without legal representation. Her response? She said I was right: that she never thought of it that way.

She even went on to tell me that if I were going to enforce the law this way and retain paperwork for all my transactions, I would be “rocking the boat”, as she put it. Well, rock on.

I have a pretty good success rate of obtaining paperwork from other companies in town, but why should I have to get involved at all? When one of my associates requests something, it should be granted without delay, just as it is when another company requests something from TRR.

Even when it upsets other brokers or agents, even when it takes some extra work, I will always make sure that we have what we need to properly close out every single file that goes through my office. I am going to protect my customers, my associates, my reputation and myself in every case. As long as my name is on the door, compliance will never take a vacation.

Date posted: November 4, 2010