The EscrowCoord.com team is proud to welcome McGuire Real Estate! Serving the Bay Area with 5 offices, we are excited to provide outstanding Transaction Coordination services to their agents.
If you’re thinking about hiring a Transaction Coordinator, here’s some tips to help you find the perfect candidate for your business.
After being in the business for over 30 years, interviewing and training hundreds of TC’s, I have a pretty good system that helps me to identify the top prospects.
Most of you don’t have the time nor ability to train someone new.
If this is the case, then always ask how many years the TC has been working as a Coordinator (real estate agent work does not count) and how many transactions have they closed in the last two years. Experienced TC need less direction and hand holding. They know what they need to do, are better problem solvers and can multi-task.
Ask how they organize their day. What are the priorities?
Do they use any systems? Are they experienced with the various broker platforms such as Skyslope, electronic signature programs, etc.? A good TC is super comfortable with technology.
Ask them specifically what services do they provide and have experience in?
Some Coordinators only process paperwork that’s delivered to them. If you’re expecting them to do more, you’ll need to discuss this.
Share a list of what you would like your TC to take care of for you.
Ask for references!
Your TC may have closed a lot of transactions but may not have a good system to ensure DRE/Broker file compliance.
At EscrowCoord.com we’ve been in the business 30+ years. In 2018, we successfully closed 680 transactions. All of our Coordinators are experienced and certified through an in-house 2 week training course to ensure their skill set is the very best in the industry. Call Diana today at 925-305-9625 to find out more about our outstanding TC services, or visit EscrowCoord.com.
Buyer Inspection Waivers (BIW) are a pain to many agents-One more document that needs to be explained to a buyer-Ugh!
However, this handy little disclaimer protects the agents, seller and even the buyer!
Let’s take a look at what a California BIW is: It explains to the buyer their right to have inspections. There’s even strong encouragement from the agent to have inspections. Why is this important? Because there may be hidden problems with the property that either the seller or listing agent are not aware of and did not disclose. A professional inspector may be able to identify problem areas.
Using a pest or home inspector (at minimum) may help to identify any red flags and enable the buyer to determine a fair price for the home based upon its condition. Other inspections may also be deemed necessary from these initial inspection reports.
For example: if the foundation is determined to be damaged with an estimated repair cost of $20,000, the buyer may either ask the seller to pay for the repair or reduce the sales price to compensate for the damage.
If the buyer declines to pay for inspections, then waiving that right in writing makes it clear they understand the consequences of doing so.
Here is the tricky part- EVEN IF THE SELLER HAS PROVIDED A HOME INSPECTION REPORT, if the buyer opts to not order their own inspection, they should sign a BIW. This ensures the buyer understands that they still have a right to order their own inspection;
Broker recommends that Buyer obtain a home inspection, even if Seller or Broker has provided Buyer with a copy of a home inspection report/disclosures obtained by Seller or a previous buyer
On the flip side, NO waiver is needed if a seller provides a pest inspection report;
Broker recommends that Buyer obtain an inspection for wood destroying pests and organisms (whether paid for by Buyer or Seller)
So now you know!
Tired of working as an in-house Coordinator? Overwhelmed with responsibility, lack of support and constant interruptions? Or are you not getting enough business in your current office?
EscrowCoord.com offers a unique opportunity for TC's to control their business using state of the art systems and fabulous team support! We've been coordinating Real Estate Transactions in California for nearly 30 years and have an outstanding reputation in the industry.
YOU choose who and how many agents you want to work with to reach your earning goals. Use our time saving bullet proof systems, to increase your productivity, earn more money and enjoy more time off!
We have an immediate part-time opening for a Coordinator with a minimum of 2 years' experience, who has worked with a minimum of 5 agents and closed at least 100 transactions over the last 12 months. You also must be computer savvy and comfortable working in a paperless and virtual environment. To apply for this exciting position, please submit a resume and cover letter outlining your TC experience, software skills, contract knowledge and desired number of annual transactions to firstname.lastname@example.org
A great transaction team works diligently on a pending sale with the understanding there’s an end goal result…the property will close and everyone gets paid.
Sometimes, we have hiccups that cause our transactions to come to a screaming halt. During this time, it doesn’t make sense to have half the team barreling forward on action items if there is a chance (more than 50/50) the transaction is NOT going to close.
Notifying your team to HOLD the file does not mean cancellation and everyone should abandon ship!
Being mindful of others and keeping the team updated helps in two ways:
1. Team members appreciate the HOLD notification and will move their energy towards other more viable transactions.
2. Your buyer/seller/YOU are not being hammered (with what appears to be insensitive requests) to complete stuff (like a lead based paint disclosure) during a stressful time!
Here’s my list of reasons to HOLD a file:
1. Buyer and seller are going through some heavy negotiations with regards to repairs and are threatening to cancel the deal
2. Buyer’s loan denied
3. Issues with title that need time to be resolved (trust, ownership, bankruptcy)
4. Short sale that has NOT been approved yet by the bank
5. Incomplete purchase or listing agreement contract that buyer/seller is declining to sign.
Don’t worry! As soon as ALL CLEAR is given, your team will be back on board to get your transaction closed!
Diana and her team of Transaction Coordinators offer 30 years of real estate experience and thousands of successful closing to enhance your transaction team. Call today to discuss your needs!
Hooray! You finally decided to hire an assistant to help you with your busy practice. You’re anticipating a new life balance by shifting responsibility of busy work over to your new team member. Uh oh, you discover you’re not saving any time at all. In fact, your days have become longer and more complex trying to train AND take care of your business. Your assistant is sitting around most days doing nothing, finally gets frustrated and quits. What went wrong?
I’ve interviewed and trained numerous assistants and have discovered the Secret Sauce of hiring and training to get them up and running as soon as possible. Here’s your list:
1. Hire someone with real estate experience! If you truly need an assistant, then you are too busy to train someone from the ground up! Real estate is extremely complex. The more the new assistant knows about the basics of our industry, the faster they’ll be able to help you.
2. Create a list of duties you want the assistant to perform. Be specific! Your assistant will appreciate this. Keep the list small and easy to master to start. My list is around 20 items and very specific such as:
- Input listings into MLS and maintain current information
- Deliver brochures to properties and pick up agent cards
- Attend home and termite inspections
Written step-by-step instructions is extremely helpful to the assistant as well.
3. Once you’ve established assistant duties, take the time to train on each topic until you deem proficiency. I typically set aside at least 4 hours to train 3 days a week so there is time for the assistant to get a clear understanding of the activity and I can still get my work done. Don’t give them too much information at once! We want to build proficiency, since this helps the assistant to feel better about their competency.
4. Once the assistant is fully trained on a task, LET THEM PERFORM SOLO.
5. If you have a Transaction Coordinator, be sure to introduce your assistant and ensure there are clear roles each will perform so there’s no overlap or confusion. For example:
- Assistant will email completed contracts the TC
- Assistant will email MLS sheets to the TC
We love working with assistants and helping create time savings systems so they can perform more tasks for you!
Call Diana today to find out how our easy-to-implement Transaction Coordination services will enhance your Top Producing Team.
A recent transaction involved a buyer who is a licensed real estate agent representing himself in the transaction. We were representing the seller.
A red flag was no statement from the buyer indicating they are licensed and representing themselves. Here’s the lowdown;
Agents must disclose their licensing status when conducting real estate business, even if they are representing themselves because “they are held to a higher standard.”
So in the above scenario, the buyer should have presented an agency disclosure OR written the following statement on the offer or addendum to the seller;
“Buyer is a California Licensed Real Estate Agent representing himself”
An interesting side note is that a real estate agent cannot conduct in any real estate business without identifying the broker that they hang their license with. So for an agent who is a FSBO, he must identify on any advertising or other business who the broker is.
Take this a little further, any rental agreements that a licensed agent/owner is preparing for himself, must have the broker identified.
It might be prudent for brokers to have a standing policy that all contracts and rental agreements are to be reviewed by management since there may be liability if the agent performed actions considered illegal or unethical.
If you are an agent whose license is inactive or suspended, you will still need to clarify this as well.
At EscrowCoord.com we take care to ensure the right documents are in the file at close! Since 2010, agents and brokers have been delighted with our professional and top quality services. Call Diana today to see how we can help you!
A warm welcome to Hunter Miley, broker/owner of Total Property Solutions. We are excited to assist him with his income property sales! If you are a property management broker, call EscrowCoord.com today to assist you with sales.
Oh boy! So many things to worry about when your client is under contract! What’s the most important stuff to focus on? Put the following on your calendar:
1. Deposit Due Date. Buyer is out of contract if funds are not placed into the escrow account.
Buyer’s agents-Get the deposit in there ASAP! This shows the buyer’s “good faith” and seriousness about purchasing.
Seller’s agents-No deposit in escrow? Contact the buyer’s agent immediately. Buyer may not have the money, is thinking about backing out, or their agent isn’t aware of the timeline.
2. Inspection Contingency Removal Due Date. Buyer is out of contract, if not removed by the due date.
Be sure the buyer has reviewed ALL reports and disclosures prior to removing this contingency.
3. Loan Contingency Removal Due Date. Buyer is out of contract, if not removed by the due date.
Ask the lender when the appraisal appointment is scheduled, when they anticipate and have loan approval, when loan docs will be ready for signing, and when will funding occur.
4. Repairs. Confirm with the seller that repair requests have been completed at least one week prior to close.
5. Closing Date-Buyer/Seller is out of contract if closing does not occur.
Confirm with the lender and escrow officer five to seven days prior to close that we are on target to close. If there are delays, then an extension to close addendum must be agreed upon and executed.
Confirm the seller is ready to move out and close.
Having an experienced Transaction Coordinator can help you keep track of important timelines! At Escrowcoord.com, we track due dates, help with paperwork, communicate with team members, solve problems and more! Contact Diana Turnbloom today!
Something I learned a long time ago from a seasoned, top producing agent was to always under-promise and over-deliver when working with buyers and sellers.
In my 30 year career in the business, I’ve seen the best agents with the most stellar intentions, crash and burn in their client’s eyes, because they said the “P” word…”I PROMISE.”
When uttered, invariably something goes wrong! Is it bad Juju to say the word or something else that’s going on?
Here’s an example to help break it down:
An agent promises her buyers they can move into their home on Friday as per the contract. Everything is looking good until suddenly the day before close, the sellers have an issue and can’t move until the following week!
The buyers are shocked and distraught since all moving plans are coordinated and their agent PROMISED them they could move in!
They’re now angry and looking to blame someone. The pressure is on for the buyer’s agent to fix it. What does the agent do? Harass the rest of transaction team because she made a PROMISE. She’s now under pressure to follow through.
The energy of the team has suddenly changed from everyone working towards a positive common goal… “To close,” to attacking, blaming and resentment. I find when the team is in this mode, unintentional mistakes occur (things that normally would never happen in a transaction, suddenly THIS transaction is hammered with problems!).
The reality is there are too many factors (and people) involved in a transaction for an agent to promise anything! The house may burn down, loan is denied, or sellers suddenly become un-cooperative. Promises put too much pressure on EVERYONE on the team to fulfill a sometimes impossible demand-“I promised this to my client, now you have to fix it.”
The best approach is prepare your client for potential problems so they are mentally ready to switch gears (have a Plan B).
“We are shooting to close by Friday. I can’t promise you this will happen, but the team and I are working hard to get it closed on time!”
It’s rare that a transaction doesn’t have problems. You don’t have to be a naysayer but do prepare your client for the possibility that things may not always flow smoothly.
Let your client know that you are there to support and find answers. If it DOES close on time, you and the rest of the team will be the heroes!
A very important piece of disclosure to a buyer is if the HOA is involved in a pending litigation. What is it and how does it impact a buyer?
Simply said, the HOA is being sued or is suing someone on behalf of the HOA community.
There are two common suits that HOA’s are involved in.
One is towards a contractor who allegedly performed less than stellar work on the property and now there is damage as a result. The HOA attempts to get the contractor to pay to fix the problem.
The second one is against the HOA. An example would be someone is injured on the property, or employees suing.
For example, an HOA attempts to sue a contractor for a large decorative community pond that is failing allegedly well before its life expectancy. This suit settled in favor of the contractor and as a result, the HOA attached a “special assessment” to each homeowner to pay for attorney’s fees AND to pay for the ponds to be fixed. The cost can range upwards to several thousands of dollars per owner over a course of several months to years. Of course, if insurance was involved and paid out a settlement, then most likely those premium will go up as well.
A prospective buyer should be advised of this potential cost if a settlement has not been reached. This prepares them for the possibility of increased HOA dues.
A buyer’s lender wants to know this information as well. A pending special assessment could tip the ratios resulting in an inability to qualify for a loan.
Where to find this information? Most HOA’s are pretty upfront about this and will provide documentation when docs are ordered directly from the HOA. Also check out the HOA Demand (sometimes HOA’s will only release this to an escrow officer), to see if there is any pending litigation or special assessments coming up. I like to have the buyer sign this to ensure full disclosure.
Another area to look for clues about this in in the Real Estate Transfer Disclosure the seller completes. There is a question about known lawsuits against or by the seller or common areas. If the answer is yes, then there should be documentation fully explaining the situation.
Looking for a new TC team to help you with your transactions? The amazing Coordinators at EscrowCoord.com are all experienced and certified so you receive the very best service. Call Diana today!
“No big deal, I just want to add my grandma to title when we close so in case I die…”
A wonderful gesture and good practice for many of us.
In the old days, the escrow officer would simply prepare the grant deed and other paperwork adding the second party to the, well…party!
Ah, but things have changed now. We worry about add-on buyers who have never looked at the purchase contract, disclosure and reports. Suddenly, after close they become the decision makers for the property and are not happy with the condition it was sold in and go after the seller and agents for non-disclosure. Could it happen? Anything is possible! Where is the compelling evidence that the additional buyer was being added for title purposes only? Did you write an addendum clarifying this?
The California Association has created an Assignment of Agreement Addendum that clearly states add-on buyers must sign the contracts, disclosures a reports (no signing a blanket statement that they have received all documents).
How will this impact you?
First, a second round of signature requests must take place, additional auditing and if your broker has a document platform like Skyslope, re-submitting docs into the system. A tremendous amount of time is used to complete this seemingly simple request especially if the disclosure package is large!
Second, even with the second buyer signing all documents, there may be risk that the add-on buyer could go after you.
Third, some lenders may not allow an additional buyer be added to the party. You’ll need to check before implementing.
What’s the easiest method to add another party to title? Complete it AFTER close of escrow. The escrow officer can help set it up for the buyer.
Looking for an experienced Transaction Coordinator that can help with your transactions? We know our stuff! Contact Diana Turnbloom today!
SFGate wrote a lovely article regarding a Special Project we are working on. We are excited to be part of the Kim Cole and Wardenclyffe team and coordinating this new construction project!
Are you looking for a Transaction Coordinator for your new development, commercial or residential income property project? EscrowCoord.com can help! Call Diana today!
For many small boutique brokerages, the broker may know what’s needed for files, but has never created a list for others to follow. Here’s a super easy method of building out a Doc Sheet for Single Family, Townhouse or Condominium resale transaction
Start by separating out minimum must-have items needed to write an offer and a listing agreement. This includes any in-house required documents that should be signed at this time.
Next, move onto the “wildcard” documents that are needed for transactions such as probate, short sale, REO, representative capacity signature disclosure and trust advisories.
Now, we’re ready for disclosures. This should be separated out for listing side and buyer side and should include the minimum needed plus any in-house required documents.
Finally, create a list of “wildcard” disclosures that are not included above such as City or County advisories, 1031 Exchange, Parking and Storage, Tenant Estoppal, HOA docs etc.
And that’s how you build out a requirement list!
At EscrowCoord.com we help set up docs sheets for brokers AND work on transaction files for your office. Contact Diana today to find out how we can save you time and effort!
Best Practices for Real Estate Auditors Equals Happiness for Everyone!
Having set up systems and tested effectiveness for real estate brokerage auditors, I’ve learned the perfect balance between under and over auditing files.
In an earlier post, I shared the importance of hiring an experienced auditor or TC that can manage high volumes of transactions.
Here, I’ll share why over/under auditing can create chaos and confusion for agents and TC’s.
When an auditor waits until 1 or 2 days prior to close (or worse AFTER close) to audit files, there’s not enough time for the team to locate requested docs and get them signed. This is especially problematic for the busy TC or agent working on multiple files with a tight schedule. Don’t under-audit!
A good auditor knows that auditing DURING the transaction allows team members time to gather requested docs prior to close.
But what happens when an auditor over-audits (audits every few days)? They don’t allow time for the other team members to gather prior requested items! The TC or agent is forced to review the same requests multiple times wasting time. With extremely high volume months, the over-zealous auditor will not keep up with demand. I’ve seen this happen to multiple auditors…when files are closed without an audit, it’s a disaster.
So what’s the sweet spot number for file auditing? 3-4 times MAX. Stick to it and you’ll have a 99% completed file at close and be able to audit high volumes of files.
Complete audit #1 when the property is first listed. Audit #2 occurs with contract acceptance (to determine if there are missing terms and additional items that are required for the file) and Audit #3 is finished 3 days prior to close. Complete Audit #4 on day of close and you’re done!
Here’s some final tips:
Don’t harass staff! If they’ve attempted to get a signature or a document and the client/agent declines or there is no response, either let it go or have the broker/manager get involved directly.
Be sure to communicate why you are rejecting a document. Understanding what you want will fast track correcting it.
Be consistent with document requirements. It’s challenging to get the right docs when it’s a moving target with every transaction. Create a cheat sheet of requirements that all parties have copies of to keep things fair.
At EscrowCoord.com we perform a minimum of 4 audits on all files to ensure final closing files are complete. To find out more about our outstanding TC services, contact Diana Turnbloom today!
A warm welcome to this outstanding Pacific Union team locate in Sonoma. We look forward to assisting Maurice, Matt and Stephany with their pending sales!
Several of our larger accounts have hired a company Auditor to audit paperwork on behalf of the broker. I’d like to share some insights into this relatively new role in the real estate industry.
California BRE states that all files must be audited by either the broker or a licensed individual who is assigned to perform the task. Due to increased and more complicated paperwork requirements, many large brokerage operations are opting to create an auditing position just to complete these tasks.
The auditor works with agents and TC’s performing audits on transaction files to ensure broker/BRE compliance.
They may also responsible for updating agent/TC’s on any changes or additions for file requirements, ensuring everyone has the latest version of in-house documents as well as answering general questions.
There are several systems that must be set up in order for an Auditor to effectively perform duties and work well with staff.
1. Auditor Requirements. In addition to having a current real estate license in good standing, the auditor should have experience working on multiple files and performing audits. When interviewing, look at experienced TC’s first as a top candidate. They should be able to manage high volumes of transactions and have closed a minimum of 200 transactions. This ensures they have enough knowledge to independently determine if additional disclosures are needed on any given file.
2. Broker document requirements (Broker Doc Sheet) is essential for the Auditor to understand what is needed for files. If one has not been established, then a round table meeting to hash out the requirements should be completed ASAP.
3. File management. Ideally, for an Auditor to work at multiple sites, all files should be virtual. Using a document management program like Skyslope helps place all files in one location where they can be accessed by all. Skyslope also allows back and forth communication between the Auditor and TC/agent.
Consider these tips prior to creating an auditing position for your company.
Need help setting up your Transaction Coordination department? Call Diana Turnbloom today to help with systems and staffing.
One of our larger brokerages asked for feedback on how to better process their files. I always appreciate offices who check in with us to see the how policy and procedure that is often created at the top levels of management work for those of us in the “trenches” of the business.
Feedback when used effectively creates positive changes in systems, a better flow of information, files processed in a timely manner and happier agents and TC’s!
A big concern for most companies is how to keep their eye on paperwork and ensure the agents are using the right forms for each transaction.
There are two simple solutions which I’ll discuss individually below:
ZipForms Broker Edition- A must-have if you want document management control. Here is what this little gem allows you to do:
All agents use the broker account to download docs using a sub-account that cannot be seen by anyone else than the broker and administrative staff.
The broker can create multiple templates for listings, pending sales and disclosure packages. In-house documents can be uploaded into the templates and swapped out anytime updating is needed. This saves everyone a TON of time!
Instead of sending out updated in-house documents or new disclosure requirements to agents hoping and praying they’ll get them completed and signed, everything is ready to go for the agent/TC in ZipForms Broker Edition.
TC’s love it because it’s a single access account with docs they need for all agents. Agents love it because there is no confusing document updates they have to remember to include for signature.
DocuSign Real Estate PLUS Broker Edition-This handy program allows you 100% access to agent’s files. Anything that runs through the platform can be seen and accessed. Bonus to your agents, you pay for their DocuSign! Each agent has a private login account that they use. TC’s love the single access account. Auditor’s love it because they can access any documents that are run through the system. If the document did not get into the final closing file, it very well may be in DocuSign.
Both of these products are well worth the price to give you piece of mind and ensure you know what’s going on with files and BRE compliance.
An important note! Products are only as good as how you set them up. You can have a great product but because of the way it’s been structured, it’s difficult for agents and staff to navigate or understand. Knowing how your staff works enables you to build a system that flows well and makes sense. Be sure to consider this or you’ll be inundated with complaints, no one will use it or worse, you’ll have to hire someone to work it because no one else understands your logic! Gahh!
Are you looking to upgrade systems in your office but don’t know where to begin? Diana Turnbloom is an expert at bridging real estate technology with real estate people. Her approach and ability to explain and simplify processes for companies enables individuals from the top management to assistants, office managers and Coordinators to save time and streamline steps. Call Diana today!