Retaining Electronic Copies of Documents

QUESTION: I am the Broker-in-Charge at a large firm. I know that the Real Estate Commission Rules require agents to retain any records pertaining to a real estate  transaction (whether completed or not) for three years after the successful or unsuccessful conclusion of the transaction or the disbursement of all trust monies, whichever  occurs later. I am concerned about the storage of so much paper. Is it sufficient for our firm to keep electronic copies of the documents?

ANSWER: Yes. The Real Estate Commission Rules do not require the retention of original documents, or even paper copies. However, the digital copies must be immediately available upon request in the event there is a spot audit by a member of the Real Estate Commission’s staff. These digital copies must be completely legible, including any  hand-written notes or marks. One suggestion is to maintain digital copies on your computer system but also to have a back-up copy stored on disks in the event you  experience problems with your computer.

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