A quick guide to employing a transaction coordinator to track marketing and client file documentation, allowing you to focus your time and talent on negotiating real estate services and sales.
Transaction coordination for more business
With current sales volume well below the pace expected in the upcoming real estate boom of 2019-2020, you likely have sufficient time on your hands to track down sellers, market properties for sale and manage the details of closings.
Today these habitual efforts maintain or enhance your share of sales in your local market. But will you be able to do everything yourself and keep your share of growth in sales volume and earn the additional fees when the boomtime hits?
The administrative tasks of tracking client files and complying with conditions agreed to in listing and sales agreements are vital to mitigate risks of damaging others. To streamline these routine tasks, consider employing the aid of a transaction coordinator (TC) to act as an administrative assistant preparing and clearing the paperwork for marketing a listing and closing sales transactions.
As home sales volume begins to build, you’ll need to prepare for an uptick in business — if you are to retain your share of sales in a growing market. Employing a TC as your personal assistant will free you from the burden of repetitive standard tasks and open up your time to locate and assist more sellers and buyers — an organization plan for success for all real estate sales agents.
The transaction coordinator’s role
A TC is a licensed or unlicensed individual who assists an agent or broker in processing documents, agreements and disclosures in a real estate file.
The TC closely monitors each stage of a transaction and handles all administrative tasks. A TC does not interact with clients or take part in negotiations; they are merely assistants to the agent they coordinate transactions for.
While some real estate agents may choose to contract with an independent TC, many large brokerages hire in-house TCs. Use of an in-house TC is optional and requires the agent pay a flat fee per transaction for TC services — typically ranging from $200-400.
So, what exactly does the TC do? The TC deals with several critical administrative tasks to manage a client’s file, including:
- verifying all documents and addenda are signed or initialed;
- confirming the required addenda and disclosures are included with the purchase agreement;
- delivering copies of the purchase agreement to the other agent, buyer, seller and lender (as instructed by the agent);
- ensuring all documents are provided to transaction participants;
- completing broker fee disbursement forms;
- coordinating arrangements with the title company, escrow, appraiser or lender;
- opening and updating the title search;
- maintaining the client’s contact information, property address and property photos;
- ensuring records are maintained with the agent’s employing broker;
- sending deadline reminders and keeping participants updated on the status of the transaction;
- following up with the escrow company, lender or other agents to the transaction, as needed;
- when working for a seller’s agent, sending reminders to remove the lock box and updating the status of the listing on the multiple listing service (MLS); and
- disbursing follow-up FARMing flyers on the agent’s behalf.
Ultimately, the TC’s purpose is to organize and track a client’s file from beginning to end, ensuring the transaction runs smoothly, all deadlines are met and records are properly maintained.
Use of software and checklists
Having a completed file is vital to a successful closing. To this end, many TCs use software programs created to help manage real estate transaction files, such as EZ Coordinator or DocuSign. These convenient tools allow a TC to store or transmit electronic documents and maintain contact with transaction participants by providing timely status updates.
A transaction coordination sheet provides you and your TC with a checklist of documents and deadlines necessary for a complete file — a step-by-step guide to closing the deal.
Two versions of the sheet exist: one for a buyer’s agent and one for a seller’s agent, both tailored to the specific transaction needs of each client.
The transaction coordination sheet includes:
- subject property information;
- the client’s name and contact information;
- the cooperating real estate agent’s and broker’s information;
- contact information for third party service providers (i.e., escrow, title, lender, inspectors, home warranty, etc.);
- a detailed itemization of all forms, documents and disclosures required along with deadlines for delivery and signatures; and
- detailed time frames and deadlines for due diligence and contingency removals.
When enlisting the aid of a TC, you’ll want to use the transaction coordination sheet to help navigate your client’s transaction from start to finish.
Keeping an orderly transaction coordination sheet allows you and your TC to provide clients with the information they need to meet their obligations by their contractual deadlines. Giving clients regular status reports — either through a transaction coordination program or from you, as the agent, directly — based on this checklist keeps all participants on the same page, and demonstrates you are organized and professional.
Benefits of using a TC
Relying on the services of a TC offers multiple advantages to your business practice, including:
- closer supervision of a client’s transaction;
- legal protection and risk management through compliance with proper disclosure disbursement and recordkeeping rules;
- more time to focus on negotiations and FARMing new clients; and
- improved client satisfaction through transparent and timely transaction updates.
As the designated person in control of organizing a client’s file, the TC provides more focused, centralized management of a transaction. Their close adherence to a checklist of tasks to be completed and deadlines to be met ensures you meet your duties to your client and close the deal.
This serves a dual purpose: first, it streamlines the transaction, prioritizing efficiency and timeliness. Second, it reduces the risk to both you and your broker by safeguarding you from contractual errors, such as failure to include a disclosure or eliminate a contingency.
The TC’s services further free up your time to concentrate on negotiations, client interactions and marketing. It is the TC who gathers all information and paperwork, follows up on the contractual items and provides updates; you merely need to meet with the TC on a weekly basis to review the file.
While all this helps ease your workload and increases efficiency, it ultimately benefits your client. Buyers and sellers want to be kept in the loop about their transaction and expect quality, professional service from their agent. The TC’s management of their file and timely updates demonstrate to the client their transaction is in good hands. This transparency and simplicity made possible through the TC’s assistance translates to client satisfaction, referrals and repeat business.
So, whether you’re closing a few deals or handling a high volume of real estate transactions — as may be expected in the coming boom — use of a TC to maintain client files is a risk-mitigating, win-win for all participants.