I wrote this post in 2009 and it's still great information. I've added a couple of more rules....
Truth be told, it doesn't matter how many transactions you have, but how many you successfully close and are paid on (It Ain't Over Till It's Over, Baby!).
Remember, transactions you are paid on but come back later to bite you in the you-know-what as lawsuits or if you have to come out of pocket to pay for something later DO NOT COUNT as successful closes!
Brokers are great at teaching agents how to create a pipeline of business, but are sometimes challenged when providing information on transaction management.
Throw in the fact every transaction usually requires a different set of rules makes it even more difficult to teach.
So here are a few basic rules you should incorporate into all of your pending sales;
1-Disclose, Disclose, Disclose! Make sure disclosures are incorporated into ALL transactions (yes, I said ALL-including REO's and probate). These should be signed off by the buyer PRIOR to removing inspection contingencies. This is the best method of avoiding litigation.
Don't know what disclosures are required? Ask your broker or go onto your state or local Association of REALTORS® website to obtain a list. When you are in court, your excuse that you didn't know is going to fall on deaf ears.
2-Be a team player-Not someone who takes prisoners along the way. Win-win negotiations will always keep buyers, sellers and agents happy L-O-N-G after the transaction is over.
3-If you don't know something, ASK your broker or the other team members to help you. This is no time to try to "fake" your way through and refuse to listen to advice. The rest of the team will pick up the fact that you are a rookie anyway, so be upfront about it before you screw up the deal and make life harder for the rest of the team.
4-Inspections, Inspections, Inspections! At minimum, most properties should have a home and termite inspection of the property. Strongly encourage buyers to order these inspections and if they decline, then have them sign a disclosure indicating you have recommended inspections, they are declining, and they will not hold you responsible for anything that comes up after close.
5-Pay attention to what's going on with the buyer's loan. If you don't understand something, then ASK! DO NOT write up a contract, counter or addendum that negotiates dollar amount terms unless you have first spoken with the loan officer. ASK the loan officer for specific language to use so you don't waste time and embarrass yourself in front of your clients because a contract had to be re-written and re-signed.
NEVER remove a loan contingency until you have confirmation from the loan officer that all prior-to-doc conditions have been met AND approved.
6-Include a home warranty in the offer. An inexpensive way to avoid litigation and complaints from the buyers after close.
7-Use good grammar and check for spelling when writing offers, counters, addenda and sending emails. Certainly it looks better to your client and the rest of the team when you appear to at least have a high school education. If English is not your first language, then for heaven's sake, take some classes. You're running a professional business and should project competence to all team members in your communications.
8-Save your emails. Without a doubt, this is the easiest and best method of providing documentation on a transaction.
Now go out there and kick some real estate butt!