Do brokers with ten or more agents typically employ a transaction coordinator to oversee documentation in files and records maintained on clients by their agents?

  • Yes. (79%, 38 Votes)
  • No. (21%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 48

Transaction coordinators and brokers

A sales agent employed by a broker is the agent of the broker. In turn, the broker is the agent of the client.

As an agent representing the broker, a real estate sales agent is authorized to prepare:

  • listings;
  • sales documents;
  • disclosure sheets; and
  • other documents on behalf of the broker.

The broker employing agents is required under the California Department of Real Estate’s (DRE’s) supervisory scheme to reasonably supervise sales agents’ activities.

Reasonable supervision includes establishing policies, rules, procedures and statements to review and manage:

  • transactions for which a real estate license is required;
  • documents having a material effect upon the rights or obligations of a participant to the transaction;
  • the filing, storage and maintenance of transaction documents;
  • the handling of trust funds;
  • advertisements of services that require a license;
  • sales agents’ knowledge of anti-discrimination laws; and
  • reports of the activities of the sales agents. [DRE Regulations §2725]

The broker may employ other licensees, such as an office manager or transaction coordinator (TC), to carry out their supervisory responsibility to review documents and maintain files. [See RPI e-book Agency, Chapter 5]

However, even though the broker employs the services of an office manager or transaction coordinator, the broker retains the overall supervisorial responsibility. Thus, the broker is to ultimately review the acts of the office manager, transaction coordinator, and in turn, each sales agent. [DRE Regs. §2725]

Transaction coordinator duties

A TC is a licensed or unlicensed individual who assists an agent or broker in processing documents, agreements and disclosures in a real estate broker’s file.

The TC deals with several critical administrative tasks to manage a client’s file, including:

  • verifying all documents and addenda have the required signatures and initials;
  • 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 move 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.

In short, 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.

Related article:

Form of the week: Transaction Coordination Sheets for the Seller’s and Buyer’s Agent — RPI Forms 521 and 521-1

Employing broker duties

A real estate broker is one who is employed for a fee by another, such as a buyer or seller, to carry on any of the activities listed in the license law definition of a broker.

These activities include:

  • selling, buying, offering or negotiating the purchase, sale or exchange of real estate or a business opportunity;
  • soliciting listings of places for rent;
  • assisting in filing an application for the purchase or lease of state or federal government-owned land;
  • soliciting, negotiating on behalf of or performing services for borrowers or lenders for real estate mortgages; and
  • selling, buying, offering, exchanging or performing services on a real estate sales contract or promissory note secured by a lien on real estate or on a business opportunity. [Calif. Business and Professions Code §10131]

Brokers are in a distinctly different category from sales agents. Brokers are authorized to deal with members of the public to offer, contract for and render brokerage services for compensation, called licensed activities. Sales agents are not.

Related article:

Management styles: how brokers run an office

All brokers are TCs

Some brokers tell themselves when they hire a TC, their file maintenance responsibilities end and they are absolved of oversight obligations. But overall maintenance responsibility still falls with the broker — not the TC. All files held at the brokerage ultimately belong to the broker.

A sales agent or broker’s actions are considered the acts of their employing broker. The broker needs to ensure proper file maintenance is being undertaken, even though that is part of a TC’s responsibilities.

The TC’s review of documents and file maintenance is not just a mechanical function. It comprises a meaningful review of the activities of every employed licensee regarding:

  • location of errors, such as in mathematical computations, and in contract and escrow provisions; and
  • completeness, accuracy and timeliness of disclosures.

The TC is primarily concerned with the smoothness and efficacy of transactions. The TC ensures the sales agent cures any unacceptable documentation at the earliest possible moment by bringing to the sales agent’s attention.

The broker, meanwhile, is concerned with documentation compliance according to DRE regulations and real estate code law and their employees’ actions, licensed or otherwise.

Thus, all brokers are TCs — but not all TCs are brokers.

While acting as a TC, the TC owes the employing broker a duty to supervise. It is the broker who, in turn, is responsible to the client for any breach in agency duty caused by the TC’s failure to supervise and correct an agent’s errors and omissions.

While most supervisory responsibility may be assigned to an office manager or TC, the agency duty the broker owes to a client in a transaction may not be delegated to others. [See RPI e-book Agency, Chapter 5]

Related article:

Marketing and closing efficiently with a transaction coordinator

Want to learn more about a broker’s use of supervisors? Click the image below to download the RPI book cited in this article.