Tales from the Transaction - But like, what do you DO?
Updated: Jan 23, 2021
The title "Transaction Coordinator" can be a little misleading. There is plenty of coordinating going on, trust me. But sometimes the title alone can lead to missed expectations from all different sources. I've often heard the service described as, "When you open escrow, you just hand them the file and they take care of it." Ummmm, no. Not really.
According to the California Association of Realtors website a Transaction Coordinator (also known as a "TC") is: A person who assists the agent and broker in the processing of the real estate file. Gathering all information, paperwork, and following up on the contractual items. Putting together the final Broker file of the real estate transaction.
That definition can leave a lot open to interpretation & it also has a similar definition to an assistant. So what does a Transaction Coordinator do? The scope of duties for a transaction coordinator will vary depending on the person doing the work.
The minimum effort required would be to:
Make sure all items on the broker checklist are accounted for in the file at closing
Make sure all items on the broker checklist are fully executed
Notify agent of time frames and deadlines in the contract
Send out documents for signatures at the agent's request during the transaction
Helping escrow and the lender with any documents or reports they require
Some TCs are also licensed real estate agents. That can be helpful because they are allowed to consult more with your clients about the paperwork they are signing and some will even attend an inspection or walk through on your behalf as well. This takes even more off of your plate, but some may also feel like it's handing off a little too much.
The mark of an excellent TC isn't just in the tasks they perform, but in their knowledge and experience. That is where the true value lies. The concept of a TC is to allow an agent to leverage their time and focus on tasks that actually bring in more money or business like lead generating, negotiating and showing homes. Agents aren't really known for details and excellent paperwork. They prefer human interaction and fresh air. When looking to add a TC to your business, it's important to consider just who will be helping on your file? Who will represent you and your clients? Who will look out for you and your broker? A skilled TC will not only make sure that all the "t's" are crossed and the "i's" dotted, but will also have a deep understanding of the contracts and be able to use that knowledge to protect you and your clients.
So what should you look for in a great TC? The truth is, that really depends on what will work best for YOU. Think about the things that set you apart as a real estate agent. There are thousands of licensed real estate agents that can help a client buy, sell and invest in real estate. But there are certain things that YOU do to go above and beyond that basic job description. In the same way that no two agents are alike, each TC is different.
Here are some of the things that would make for a
successful transaction coordinator:
Systems - Whether they utilize a program or have developed their own, a TC is only as good as the software they rely on. It's possible that a part time TC working on a handful of files could keep track of things in their head or in a day planner, but a successful and experienced Transaction Coordinator will have systems they rely on to be efficient and leverage their own time.
Education - Real estate is a live beast and things are constantly changing and updating. New lawsuits and rulings passed every day. A sign of a great TC is one that keeps up on their education to make sure they have the most up to date information for their agents and their files. You don't have to be licensed to take classes with CAR and there are always classes at the association and even outside the industry that could bring value to you and your TC. Just make sure your TC isn't always away doing training. The knowledge is only useful if they are around in implement it in your files.
Customer Service - This is a very important element of a great TC. Since your TC will be a reflection of you to your clients and vendors, it's a good idea to get a sense of their customer service style. Most of your clients won't have the daily experience of buying and/or selling real estate, so you don't want a TC that gets frustrated easily or talks down to people that ask "common sense" questions. Your TC should have a high tolerance for repetitive questions or people that aren't familiar with real estate or even technology.
Tech Savy - A successful transaction coordinator doesn't necessarily need to have the latest and greatest in technology, but you want someone that can jump from platform to platform and that knows enough to walk a client (or even you) through troubleshooting (i.e. how do I get this DocuSign to work?). Some of the most successful TCs are almost entirely paperless and utilize a lot of different elements to stay that way from DocuSign to Zipforms to the MLS to even simple email functions. You don't want to be slowed down because your TC doesn't know how to access the item you sent.
**Side Note: A higher price does not always mean you are getting a more qualified TC, but it is fair to say that you won't be paying a bargain rate for a high quality TC.**
At the end of the day, the thing that makes a Transaction Coordinator successful is whether or not you found them helpful. Were they able to take enough off of your plate? Did you feel comfortable knowing that things were being taken care of and watched when you weren't around? Do your clients and vendors give you positive feedback?
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