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Developing Process and Procedure Documentation in Real Estate

    an aerial shot of a neighborhood, representing the importance of developing process and procedure documentation in real estate

    In a real estate brokerage, brokers have a myriad of responsibilities including the oversight of transactions, office operations, hiring and training agents, and a number of other crucial functions. In order to assure a brokerage is complying with local, state, and federal laws, brokers must provide themselves and their agents with the tools needed to do their job effectively and within bounds of legal compliance. Comprehensive process and procedure documentation are paramount to the smooth running of a real estate brokerage. This documentation lays out the processes and procedures a real estate brokerage must abide by to ensure it is not violating any laws and that the brokerage has a uniform structure to follow to eliminate any confusion. Having real estate brokers and agents that know what they are doing every step of the way not only helps a brokerage avoid liability but also builds a strong reputation amongst clients. 

    Real estate laws can be quite tricky to navigate as there are federal, state, and local laws that a brokerage must take into account. For instance, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 is a federally imposed law that bans discrimination on the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, or sex, however, there may also be additions to this law depending on the state or even city. For this reason, it is important that a brokerage stay up-to-date on real estate laws on the federal, state, and local levels. It goes without saying that brokers must also make their employees aware of these laws as well. A streamlined way of doing so is by making sure that your process and procedure documentation are in line with current laws so your agents have a great resource to refer to. However, given that real estate brokerage must abide by federal, local, and state laws, it can be time-consuming to keep up written procedural documentation. In this regard, a technical writer can be the most efficient asset for a broker as they have the technical knowledge and skills to write up comprehensive and easy-to-follow process and procedure documentation.

    Developing Procedure Documentation in Real Estate 

    A real estate brokerage’s written process and procedure documentation helps to standardize the tasks required of the employees, reducing the chance of operational mistakes, some of which can have legal consequences. Thorough documentation would include sections on the following:

    • Written office policies
    • Delegation of duties
    • Professional conduct
    • Regulatory compliance 
    • Records management requirements 
    • Organization and administrative procedures

    Written office policies provide the agents and other employees of the brokerage guidance as to how to carry out their expected duties. Outlining the delegation of duties helps to establish what tasks fall to who that is within the bounds of the law as some tasks can only be done by the broker. Written documentation of regulatory compliance is fundamental as it provides agents and the broker knowledge of laws that apply to the brokerage. These include fair housing laws, antitrust laws, and any relevant state and local real estate laws. Written documentation of these important topics allows for real estate agents, under leadership from the broker, to establish successful relationships with their clients and follow real estate law. 

    Common (and Avoidable) Violations of Real Estate Law

    Written documentation provides immense help to brokers and their agents as they can refer to this documentation to assure that they are within legal bounds. In California, a common violation of real estate laws occurs in trust fund record keeping. In this instance, brokers often commit trust fund violations because they lack the knowledge to properly maintain adequate records. Such information needed to do their record-keeping properly must be included in procedural documentation to avoid violations associated with trust fund laws. California’s Department of Real Estate has even noted that a simple remedy would be the maintenance of  proper office procedures. Such negligence can incur hefty consequences including disciplinary action taken against a broker’s license. Seeking the assistance of a technical writer can help standardize office process and procedural documentation and help you avoid common violations of real estate laws. 

    How EDC Can Help You

    Without proper documentation of processes and procedures in a real estate brokerage, agent-client relationships can get strained if the agent does not have proper resources on how to carry out their job. If an agent does not appear knowledgeable, this can reflect quite poorly on the real estate brokerage leading to a bad reputation among clients. Additionally, inadequate resources can lead to unintentional violations of real estate laws which can put a broker’s license in jeopardy. For this reason, it is essential that a broker ensures that they and their employees have the necessary knowledge to remain within legal bounds and keep clients happy. This requires proper written documentation so that a broker and agents have the tools they need to refer back to. EDC’s technical writers have decades of experience working with a variety of clients in software companies, financial institutions, and even real estate agencies. Our technical writers can help produce in-depth, well-researched documentation to help brokers and agents stay on top of legal compliance and maintain an organized operation. 

    Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or sales@edc.us

    Written by Diana Guerra

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