Telephone Log Helps Document Your Transactions

If you write down everything involved in a real estate transaction, you'll have documentation to defend yourself if sued.

January 1, 1998

I keep not only an up-to-date transaction file but also a telephone log that summarizes what’s said in all calls pertaining to a transaction.

In my transaction file, I have an escrow check sheet with all the information regarding the sale of a property and a space for dates. On the back of the check sheet is a log and notes section. In that section, I document every telephone call, giving the date, the name of the person I talked with, and a one-line description of what was said.

Here's an example of some log notes from one transaction:

9/4--(Countrywide)--Needs case number from VA, then order appraisal; needs factual credit.
9/4--Doris (selling agent)--Says minor problems with physical inspection, will fax report and requests.
9/7--Doris--All paperwork went back to escrow by messenger.
9/11--Karin (inspection)--Tuesday @ 10 a.m.
9/11--Steve (appraiser)--Called for seller's transfer disclosure statement, contract & plat maps for 9/12 @4:30 p.m.
9/16--Denise (escrow)-- No loan approval, as VA hasn't sent something, plus missing verifications.

My phone log and notes have been referred to many times. A couple of times attorneys have asked to look at my notes to help them make a decision about whether or not to sue.

The notes are helpful. My wife and I have been in real estate for 20 years, and we have yet to be sued.

Gary Pesselt, broker White House Properties Woodland Hills, Calif.

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