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Destroying Files

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rtubbs

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
I'm seeking suggestions on what's the best way to destroy old files. Beginning in 2003 I plan to keep my files only as long as required by USPAP. I'm a pack rat and don't like to destroy anything but my attic is to the limit. Do you:

1. take them to the county land fill?
2. shred them (professionally or by hand)?
3. monday morning garbage pickup?
4. burn them?
5. ???

I do not intend to attempt to burn to cd's. I want to keep the last 5 years of files in my office and no more. I'm curious to know the cheapest, most convenient and most legal way to get rid of them.
 

George W Dodd

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
burn barrel :D

cheap and easy.

News media run a story about files found in dumpster by local real estate firm, so might not be a good idea.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
One of the most valuable assets of my business is my old files. I have neighborhood descriptions, floor plans and market data which goes back over twenty years. This is quite useful when I am given an assignment in a neighborhood I have worked in years before. It also is invaluable when doing retrospective appraisals. Why would you want to destroy valuable old files?
 

Dave Doering

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Missouri
I agree with Walt. We are in the information business and old files are a good source of information. We routinely search our files of old appraisals to compare with information on sales reported in MLS. It is invaluable to have this as a basis for verifying the accuracy of comparable sales information. When descrepancies exist, we know to dig deeper. Further, with the growing use of various drive-by appraisal formats, it is conforting to have at least one "first-hand" source from which to arrive at an opinion of value.

My advise is to hang on to your files. They are your stock and trade.
 

rtubbs

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Walt & Dave, in the last 10 years I have done no more than two (2) retrospective appraisals. I also have not had the ocassion (or didn't take it) to pull files that were older than 5 years. I do keep, and will always keep, my MLS books going back to 1976. They require little space and I believe they would satisfy any need that I might have to obtain data that was older than 5 years. I hate to get rid of the oldies but I need the space and I see no redeeming value for the ancient ones.
 

BenLuby

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Georgia
What about keeping page one of the 1004's and the sketches? If you ever get work in an old area again, you have the truly pertinent information you need, and what better source for accurate measurements than your own old files?
 

airphoto

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
I've been keeping only my inspection notes, stapled to the original order or invoice .. actual appraisal computer files remain on CD ..
 

Pat Butler

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Started archiving everything to CD a few years ago. Other than that, started shredding everything older than 7 years. When I complete an appraisal I also scan in any reusable data such as builder's subdivision data into a separate PDF file. That file now has over 15,000 pages and is indexed using Acrobat Catalog. When I used to keep the actual hardcopy files I had stuff stored in my garage, in my brother in law's basement, and at a storage place at $75 per month. Lot easier with CD's....
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
I will easily spend more in the next month in time and bucks to an assistant to pull old files for a lawsuit than I ever made doing retro appraisals. If you want to keep them, then after 5 years exchange your comps and data with a buddy. Then you can honestly say you don't have them.

I kept lots of files, removing some data, but I see the pitfall now when some jackass in a Brooks Bro. suit can require you to waste days looking for a non-existant conspiracy you supposedly are engaged in with some bank. 2 of the plaintiffs I have never met, never appraised their property, or any that they were buying. I appraised a tract 2 years prior to them buying that for someone else. All that 6 years ago last month.
 

Charlotte Dixon

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Delaware
I don't know the answer, but I'm just plain "scared" to throw any files away. Like Ron, my basement is lined with boxes and now I'm stacking. I have 600 or so files a year, and have been keeping them for almost 10 years......Just can't part with them! I thought about throwing 1 year away at a time, after our 10th anniversary. But, to shred them would take forever and probably, shredding 3 months of files would burn the shredder up! Besides, to dispense with any of these files is like cutting off my arm! :cry: I'm just not ready yet! :lol:
 
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