What is real estate transaction management? The most common way to look at it is a process to smoothly move a client through the transaction and closing. The better way to look at real estate transaction management is a valuable future business referral generator. Before digging into the subject, rest assured that you can make this work with a transaction coordinator under your control as well as doing it all yourself.
Rule #1: Communicate their way.
A major hamburger chain had a very effective commercial about letting the customer “have it their way.” It works the same for your communications with a client during the transaction process. The best way to know what they prefer is to ask them, but you can often figure that out based on how they have been communicating with you during the listing or home search process.
Action #1: Do it their way end-to-end.
Most of today’s younger generations are doing everything online, and much of that on their smartphones. Texting is their primary way to communicate with each other and that’s likely how they’ll want to work with you. The older clients, many later baby boomers, will often be big email users, and they may hate texts or using those tiny phone keyboards. Some clients will let you know they prefer more phone and in-person discussion because that’s how they’ll have been contacting you. Whichever of these methods is their preference, make a note of it and work with them their way from contract discussion to sending them their closing appointment information. Sure, sometimes you will need to meet in person for documents and easier explanation of complicated stuff, but most of your daily communication can be done their way.
Rule #2: They don't know what they don't know.
Huh? Whether they’re a first-time homebuyer or seller or they have past transactions under their belt, there are things that they do not know. Maybe things have changed, notably closing documents after the housing crash and new rules and regulations. Don’t assume that someone who has bought and sold houses before will not need some information.
Action #2: Know their experience and tailor your communication.
You don’t have to get crazy about this, but you do not want to drop a ball by not giving basic information to a novice. You also do not want to seem condescending when communicating with someone who has been through it before. Just be conscious of their experience level when sending them notices and explaining documents and processes. The first-time buyer or seller will appreciate deep explanations, or at least they will not be offended by them. For the more experienced, you can still send them notifications of deadlines and document explanations, but you can do it a little differently. Maybe a reminder to check out the inspection report carefully for action by a dated deadline would look something like “I know that you’re aware of the need to take a hard look at the inspection report with time to react before our response deadline of “date. I just know that you’re busy, so wanted to let you know that I’m available to discuss the report at your convenience.”
Rule #3: Use technology to everyone's advantage.
There are some amazing transaction management software and online resources out there. They make task tracking, deadline management, and document sharing easier than in the past, and very efficient. Use them, documenting everything along the way. The ability to share documents online is powerful, and there are many notices and documents that can be delivered that way without your personal presence. At the very least, you can send that inspection report as a digital file for the client to review in preparation for meeting with you to discuss it.
Action #3: Provide a Post Transaction document dump.
Actually, “dump” isn’t the best description. Once a transaction is closed, there is an awesome service you can perform that your clients will not only appreciate, but they’ll also tell others about it. Along the way, convert all of the documents to PDF files, and then combine them after closing into one large document. PDF files are easily searchable, and your clients will appreciate a year from now the ability to look up something they need without pawing through file folders. There are many reasons that a transaction document will need to be referred to in the future, and this provides them with a great tool. If you feel that emailing this is too bulky, today you can buy small thumb drives for under five bucks. Put the documents on one and then deliver it on a visit to their new home a couple of weeks after the closing.
Do these things and you’ll create customers for life that send you other customers. If you do use a transaction coordinator or service, take control and make sure that you stay personally involved as well. Don’t just dump the clients on the coordinator and see them again at closing.