When you are buying or selling a home, you may encounter a transaction coordinator. This can be confusing for some people, especially if you are expecting to deal exclusively with your real estate agent.
So today I’m going to answer the question:
What Is A Real Estate Transaction Coordinator?
Also known as real estate transaction managers, a real estate transaction coordinator is responsible for the administrative duties surrounding homes sales and purchases. They are in charge of organizing and reviewing all of the documents and ensuring all legal and financial requirements are met.
This is a fairly broad description, so let’s dive into the details of what a real estate transaction coordinator does, the importance of their duties, and how you may come into contact with them.
What Is A Real Estate Transaction Coordinator?
Coordinating a home sale can be a surprisingly complex task. Even the easiest purchase can involve a number of professionals and generates a mountain of documentation. For a real estate agent who is managing one sale, this administration can take hours. Once you are managing a few sales, the admin is a full-time juggling act in itself. For this reason, when a real estate agent or broker is in a position to hire their first employee, this person is often an admin assistant.
There are many elements of a home sale that can only a licensed real estate agent can handle. As a result, an administrative assistant can only do so much. When the workload steps up a notch, a busy agent really needs a real estate transaction coordinator.
What Does A Real Estate Transaction Coordinator Do?
The term “Oversees all administrative, legal, and financial elements of home sales” is a deceptively simple way of describing the duties of a real estate transaction coordinator. Let’s take a look at the details of the role, beginning with what they do on the seller’s side of the transaction.
A seller’s first contact is usually with their real estate agent. Through careful interviewing, the homeowner will have chosen a real estate agent or broker who aligns with their working style. Then, the real estate agent will begin to work with the seller and the transaction coordinator to begin marketing the home.
The real estate transaction coordinators role in this is:
From Listing To Contract
- Open a file with the property details, a basic, initial photo, and the contact details of the seller. Ensure that this is updated throughout the sales process to include buyers, buyers agents, lenders, etc.
- Where applicable create a web-based copy of the file, keep it updated and arrange secure access for those who need it. Ensure access is revoked when necessary.
- Coordinate with the sellers and any other professionals such as photographers, stagers, sign company, etc. to:
- Have minor repairs made to the home.
- Clean, decorate, and stage the home before the listing photographs are taken.
- Have a lockbox and/or real estate signage installed.
- Prepare all of the listing materials. These can include:
- The listing agreement
- A comparative market analysis.
- Researching previous MLS listings.
- Reviewing online information about the property.
- Ensuring the seller’s disclosure is accurate and complete.
- Writing the listing and associated marketing materials.
- Collect signatures on the listing agreement, disclosures, etc.
- Upload the listing to the MLS and any other marketing websites and keep the listings updated.
- Book viewings, follow-up with the seller and the prospective buyers, and respond to feedback.
- Arrange open houses:
- Coordinate with the sellers and the agent to arrange the best time and date for the open house.
- Invite other brokers and real estate agents.
- Identify potential buyers and ensure they are aware of the open house.
- Book refreshments and ensure the open house has appropriate marketing materials and a guest book.
- Follow-up with attendees
- Provide feedback to the sellers
- Pass appropriate documents to the broker to ensure file compliance.
- Ensure all information is accurately recorded in the brokerage/real estate agent management systems.
From Contract To Closing
- Coordinate appraisals, home inspections, etc.
- Assist in negotiations and ensure that all changes to the contract are accurately recorded and approved by both sides of the transaction.
- Oversee the logistics of any repairs and follow-up inspections.
- Ensure all file documentation is up to date, accurate, and complies with all legal and financial requirements.
- Attach amendments to the contract where necessary
- Make sure all documentation has all of the appropriate signatures and initials.
- Open an escrow account and check that the correct deposit is made.
- Open a title search, keeping it up to date if this is done inhouse or regularly checking with the title search company if it has been outsourced.
- Distribute copies of the sales contract for the home too, depending on instructions, the buyer’s agent, the buyer, the seller, and the lender.
- Schedule the closing day meetings for the seller and check, ore-closing, with the title company, lenders, etc. that there are no issues.
- Ensure lockbox and signage is removed.
- Keep the seller regularly updated.
- Schedule and carry-out client follow-up communications, including sellers forwarding details, “just sold” marketing materials, etc.
Many of the duties can be written in a few words, but that simplicity is deceptive. While many of these tasks are administrative in nature, they need an extraordinary set of interpersonal skills in order to be successful.
What Are The Personal Attributes Of A Real Estate Transaction Coordinator?
Qualifying as a licensed real estate agent is only part of the equation for a sucessful career as a real estate transaction coordinator. Just as with many other jobs, this role requires a very specific personality. Namely:
- Proactive: You must be able to carry out tasks without being reminded. You are the memory and knowledge depository for the rest of the team, so you can’t be the type of person who needs prompting to get on with things.
- Trustworthy: It goes without saying that you would have access to peoples home, knowledge of when they are occupied or empty, access to escrow money, bank details, personal details, etc.
- Detail Oriented: Are you more of a “big picture” person? Then a job as a real estate transaction coordinator is not for you. This is a role for someone who thrives on spotting any little detail that is out of place and correcting it.
- Personable: A real estate transaction coordinator has to communicate with a wide range of people. In an environment where building a network and maintaining positive relationships is critical, the real estate transaction coordinator must be able to get on with everyone. Or at least know how to give the other person the impression they’re getting along well!
- Adaptable: One minute it’s sitting at the computer inputting listing details, the next it’s calling a seller to arrange for an appraisal on a different listing. As a coordinator you have to be able to jump from task to task, on separate listings and keep track of it all.
- Self – Confident: A real estate coordinator has to be able to stand their ground when making arrangements on behalf of the seller. Not only that but they need to be able to keep unruly real estate agents in check.
How Does Someone Become A Real Estate Transaction Coordinator?
In the majority of states, a real estate transaction coordinator must be a licensed real estate agent. This is to ensure the transaction coordinator has the same knowledge and authority as a real estate agent. The reasoning behind this is two fold:
- The transaction coordinator must be knowledgeable about the details and legal requirements of a real estate transaction.
- If a real estate transaction coordinator is a licensed real estate agent, they can be held to the same legal and ethical standards as an agent in the transaction.
It is really the second point that leads lawmakers to maintain the “licensed real estate agent” requirement.
As the central hub of all that is going on in a sale, the real estate transaction coordinator has access to privileged, and confidential information. If an unscrupulous real estate transaction coordinator were to, for example, insist on using a home inspector who provided them with a kickback, they could lose their real estate license, and thus their livelihood. If they do not have to be licensed agents, it is much more challenging to hold them to account for any unprofessional, unethical, and yet technically legal, behavior.
If you are a buyer or seller who has been contacted by a real estate coordinator part way through the sales process, don’t make the mistake of thinking you have been handed off to an admin officer while the real estate agent who promised personal service forgets all about you.
A real estate transaction coordinator is a qualified professional who plays a crucial role at the center of the sale by keeping everything in order, on track, and on time. Without the real estate transaction coordinator your agent would not have the same amount of time to spend with you, marketing your property, networking to provide the best possible service to you, and generally ensuring the top-notch, personal service you are getting.
If you are or are considering becoming a real estate transaction coordinator, now that this is an essential role, without which many, many sales would overrun their timetable, have last-minute dramas or fall through altogether.
About The Author
Geoff Southworth is the creator of RealEstateInfoGuide.com, the site that helps new homeowners, investors, and homeowners-to-be successfully navigate the complex world of property ownership. Geoff is a real estate investor of 8 years has had experience as a manager of a debt-free, private real estate equity fund, as well as a Registered Nurse in Emergency Trauma and Cardiac Cath Lab Care. As a result, he has developed a unique “people first, business second” approach to real estate.
This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.