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.
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.
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!
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!
My company closes hundreds of transactions a year and we have never experienced a wire fraud incident. However, a conversation with one of my title company reps offered a real life horror story and got me thinking a little more carefully about it.
In May 2015, NAR issued a warning about wire fraud to its members.
Criminals are hacking into agent and escrow officer’s email accounts and posing as an employee of the title company or you instructing the buyer/seller to wire funds into a different escrow account. Once this money is sent, it’s difficult to locate it. Worse, the hackers insert a phone number to call them to verify the wire information is legit! Note that free email like Yahoo and Gmail and easiest to hack.
There is also the question of who is responsible when this happens…The agent because their email was hacked or the escrow company because they sent sensitive information to the agent?
To avoid this situation, some title companies are now using secured emails (require a username and password) to send out sensitive information to team members. This usually includes wiring instructions, estimated and final settlement statements and even deposit receipts which may include escrow numbers, escrow officer information and buyer’s names.
There are now wire fraud disclosures incorporated into many of the local and statewide disclosures.
Best practices is to alert your client when escrow is first opened to be careful with wire transfers. They should ONLY call the escrow officer that was initially assigned to the transaction to confirm the instructions prior to wiring.
Let them know that delivering a cashier’s check to the title office is the safest method of assuring the money gets into the right hands.
Do not forward sensitive information to other team members.
Finally, consider switching your free email account to a more secured domain to reduce potential hacks.
We'd like to welcome Elizabeth to EscrowCoord.com! Looking forward to assisting her with her pending and pre-sale transactions!
It happens…buyer and seller re-negotiate the sales price or add credits after inspections have been completed.
Just a year ago, we would address these changes on an addendum, send to the escrow office and lender (hopefully before the loan docs have been prepared) and we were good to go!
Now, every change must be approved by the buyer FIRST before loan docs can be ordered. Here is the tricky part. They must be allowed 3 days (Sundays and holidays excluded) from receipt of the Closing Disclosure (CD) to review the change before anything can happen.
This is a result of a new lending law that commenced in October of 2015. “Know Before You Owe” rule helps borrowers understand the loan terms before they sign loan documents.
This cooling off period can have some detrimental effects on the closing date if re-negotiations are occurring close to the closing date.
Buyers and sellers who have an urgent need to close on time require agents to coordinate action items and offer guidance to ensure there are no delays.
Here are some tips to avoid the time crunch:
1-Order inspections the day you go under contact so reports are received early during the transaction
2-Get seller disclosures in the hands of the buyer ASAP
3-Push the lender to order the appraisal ASAP
4-Re-negotiate terms, if needed, as early as possible during the transaction
Finally, ensure your clients understand how the process works so they can make better decisions during any re-negotiating process.
We are proud to team up with Marissa Reyes, Broker for Green Heights Realty in South San Francisco and look forward to helping her build her business!
We are excited to assist Ash Golani, Broker with his pending and pre-sale transactions!
A recent issue came up with HOA documents that had expired and changed without the agent’s knowledge during a delayed close of escrow.
Specifically a new pro forma budget with an increase in dues had been generated since the original package had been ordered and delivered to the buyer. Fortunately the increase was small but it brought to mind how challenging it can be to track HOA updates and changes with the governing body.
Creating a system that would remind us to check the HOA docs for any impending expirations/additions/changes (like the insurance certification, budget, financials, HOA certification and new newsletters and annual meetings) proved impossible as we needed to know when meetings take place, if there was a change to the meeting date, if the budget and other documents came out early or late, etc.
Many HOA’s using online services make it difficult to check for updates and may even charge additional fees.
Finally, a delayed closing make it difficult to create a timeline check for possible changes to the documents along the way. You know how delays go-suddenly docs are in title and we are closing the next day!
Our California purchase contracts do not specify how current HOA docs should be (other than the most recent 12 months of minutes). Furthermore, the CAR HOA forms 2 and 3 (which provide a list of documents for the HOA to check) specify that Brokers have not and will not review the documents for completion.
Some agents are now including a statement on their Receipt for Documents cover page:
Buyer(s) is/are aware that Homeowner's Association documents associated with this transaction may expire, be updated or changed by the HOA without agent or seller knowledge. It is the buyer’s responsibility to confirm all information is up-to-date.
Another helpful tip is to remind your seller to forward any correspondence from the HOA to you.
We are currently looking an experienced Transaction Coordinator with a home office and able to work independently with our outstanding virtual team.
Team leader Diana Turnbloom is a 30 year veteran who will teach systems that save you time and earn more money! YOU choose who you want to work with and how many transactions you want to close! Our company is rapidly growing and we are looking for talented individuals who have worked a minimum of 2 years as a TC and personally closed 100+ transactions.
We are a paperless company so you must be competent with computers and software (Real estate programs, Excel, Outlook). We will help transition (and bonus) any current clients you are working with.
You will be paid per transaction closed and you can earn up to $50k or more annually!
Please submit an overview of your work experience to firstname.lastname@example.org including transactions types and contracts you are proficient working on plus why you think working as a virtual coordinator is a good fit for you.
We want to give a warm welcome to Kim Cole and her team of East Bay experts! We'll be Coordinating many of her Oakland transactions and are excited to be part of her team!
We want to thank Fred Karpik for hiring us for his new Brokerage, Fred Karpik, Broker. Fred works in San Francisco and we are excited to be part of his team!
I just received an addendum regarding a buyer's verification of property condition (final walkthru) to occur 5 days prior to seller vacating the property. In this case the seller is renting back the property for 30 days after close of escrow.
Be aware that final walkthru’s are typically performed prior to close of escrow to ensure all repairs have been completed and the property is in the same condition as when the offer was first written. IF there are issues (agreed upon repairs not made, house is trashed), the buyer then has the option to HOLD closing until these matters are corrected.
You’ll need to discuss this with your buyer and determine what they are comfortable with;
1-If no repairs were requested and the house well kept, buyer might opt to wait on the walkthru until after close but before the seller moves out (Make sure your buyer signs a waiver and an addendum outlining this for the seller to sign).
2-If repairs were requested, have a final walk thru prior to close and if the house looks to be in good condition or the rent back is short (2 day rent back after close), don’t bother with a second walkthru.
3-Have 2 final walk thru’s. One prior to close and a second one prior to seller vacating (offers the best protection). An additional addendum for the 2nd walkthru will need to be created.
If the buyer opts for 2- then an addendum is not needed as the verification of property condition is already addressed in the CAR RPA.
Protect both the buyer and seller by clarifying these terms at the beginning of the transaction negotiations.
We are proud to announce Trish Hall will be using our outstanding services for her busy real estate practice. We look forward to assisting her buyers and sellers!
With more homeowners converting property into family trusts, LLC’s and other partnerships flipping houses, who owns the property is now an issue that needs to be confirmed ASAP.
We find in our practice about 5% of the individuals who signed the contract, have no right to sell the property, the signature does not match the vesting deed, or it’s missing additional required signatures based upon the instructions of the LLC or partnership.
What’s the big deal?
1-You’ve got to have the right names/entity on the contracts/disclosures BEFORE you prepare the paperwork. What if you don’t? You’ll need to re-prepare the documents and have the seller re-sign!
2-You’ve got to have the right person signing the documents who has the authority to sign/sell the property! What if you don’t? You’ll need to re-prepare the documents and have the right seller sign documents and complete disclosures (Like the Transfer Disclosure Statement)!
Get it right the first time! Contact your favorite escrow/title company and request a copy of the vesting deed. This tells you who the legal owner is.
Next, confirm the information with the seller. Ask these questions;
“Before I prepare the listing paperwork, I need to know how you are holding title. I also want to confirm the spelling of your first and last name.”
“Is the property held in a trust?”
“Are you the trustee/partner/authorized signer and is there anyone else who is part of the agreement besides yourself?”
“What is the title of the Trust/LLC/Partnership/Corp?”
Once you have confirmed ownership-then it’s time to prepare the paperwork and get the right signatures from the right people.
There is one more step! The escrow officer will need copies of Trust/LLC/Corp before the seller signs closing papers to determine who has the authority to sign and sell the property. We always start working on this as soon as soon as a listing agreement is signed because there can be delays getting approval.
Don’t waste your and team members time! Confirm the person signing the contract has the legal authority to do so.
I had a buyer’s agent (non-represented side) deliver a final walkthrough form (Verification of Property Condition) to our office several days after close of escrow. Not only was it delivered after close, but the buyer’s signed the document after close at well. We did not return a seller signed copy back and the Transaction Coordinator for the buyer side asked, “Why not?
The more I tried to type out a simple response, the more I realized that it’s complicated! It was a GREAT question! So after much thought and conferring with several agents we Coordinate for, I came up with this response.
1-Per the BRE, all signed documents relating to a transaction must be completed and in the file prior to COE. To ensure we have a good paper trail, then ideally we want buyers and seller signatures dated prior to this
2-It’s challenging and frustrating to obtain signatures from parties after close of escrow. As a courtesy to team members, we strive to deliver documents at least 2 days prior to close to allow the other side time to obtain signatures. Sometimes, the file has been closed/uploaded/downloaded/burned to a CD, or put away so it’s a hassle to re-open the file.
3-In the event we cannot deliver a document for signatures prior to close of escrow, we then explain the situation and special request 1X for signatures (in other words, apologize profusely for the late delivery and beg them to have it signed or mark it “buyer/seller declined to sign”). We always save our email request as documentation.
4-We find it’s customary that if a buyer signed Verification of Property Condition is delivered blank after close of escrow to the seller, the seller signature is optional because;
1-it’s delivered after close (buyer opted to close anyway without the seller’s signature)
2-it’s blank so the seller does not need to acknowledge anything and
3-the seller signing or not signing it does not have an impact on the document from a legal standpoint. If the buyer’s agent really needs it signed, then they typically provide an explanation for this or ensure it’s delivered prior to close.
5-In this situation, not only did the buyer side deliver the VP several days after close but also the buyers signed it after close. The contract used stated the final walkthrough was to be completed prior to close of escrow.
6-Every office/agent has their own rule regarding document signing after close. It also depends on what type of document it is (Seller signing off on a receipt for a report-vs-an addendum clarifying a term). From a legal standpoint, buyer/seller don’t HAVE to sign anything.
Signatures after close can be complicated! Some questions to consider for your protocol;
Does signing after close implicate that we did not do our job as agents? For example, does an inspection contingency that was supposed to be removed in writing per the contract before close is subsequently signed/removed after close of escrow create more problems than not removing it?
Are we better off doing the job half wrong and possibly opening up further issues or since the transaction closed anyway, we can infer there was a “meeting of the minds” and agreement to close in spite of the incomplete paperwork?
We have many agents who use our Transaction Coordination (TC) services even though an in-house Coordinator is provided through their broker.
We offer more comprehensive services so busy agents can focus on what they do best…showing properties, listing homes and writing offers.
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of activities to accomplish during a pending sale! If you’re a top producing agent with 10 or more pending sales, you don’t have time to waste chasing down paperwork and performing administrative duties.
EscrowCoord.com systems by-pass agents’ involvement. Because of our extensive knowledge and experience, we often solve problems that most agents can’t.
Many in-house Coordinators who have poor systems and support, are limited in time to do much other than send out a list of missing items to you at the very end of the transaction. Running around in the last minute trying to gather the required paperwork so you can paid is frustrating.
Our outstanding TC services take over most of the pending sale activities. Agents produce more sales, which means we get to work on more transactions…It’s a win-win!
Compare us with your current Coordinator services.
EscrowCoord.com TC Full Service
- Open escrow (contact escrow officer for escrow number)
- Create a team and action worksheet (timeframes) to distribute to team members
- Loan Docs/Pre-Approval/Approvals
- Contingency Removals
- Natural Hazard
- Home Warranty
- Escrow/Title Reports/CCR’s HOA docs
- Title and termite reports
- 4 minimum file audits for BRE/Broker compliance
- Prepare and Deliver
- Documents for e-signatures
- Communicate with other team members (updates, doc requests and problem solving)
- Deliver timely reminders for key due dates
- Deposits/Increased Deposits
- Contingency removals
- Create an electronic file for closing (contracts/disclosure/reports/final HUD1/emails)