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Real Estate Transaction Checklists for Transaction Coordinators: The Expert Guide

Managing a single real estate transaction from listing to close is no small task—in fact, it’s hundreds of tasks bound to strict deadlines and legal requirements. 

For many top-producing real estate brokerages and teams, the most effective way to manage the hundreds, and often thousands, of separate transactions is with the help of an experienced transaction coordinator and the precise workflows and checklists they provide. The services that an expert transaction coordinator offers help to ensure that the agents whom they support can provide an exceptional experience to buyers and sellers.

These precise transaction services, which have become invaluable to brokerages and their agents, are built upon effective and time-saving processes that often take years of experience and practice to develop. However, with the right system, and an expert’s knowledge, any transaction coordinator, brokerage, or team can shave years off the process and start using accurate workflows and checklists like the very best transaction coordinators.

Before you can begin developing or refining an effective system for managing and coordinating transactions, you first have to evaluate your company’s current ability to track transaction timelines, due dates, contingencies, required documents, and reminders.

Is Your Real Estate Company Coordinating Transactions As Well As It Could Be?

Any level of disorganization and time lost searching for items that have fallen through the cracks, more often leads to crucial missed details and poorly managed deals.

For many real estate companies, these problems often stem from a lack of defined process or a reliance on paper checklists and ad-hoc systems. These types of transaction coordination processes offer unclear workflows that few people can follow and lead to more work for everyone involved. Worse, the lack of precise structure to transaction management limits the opportunity for company growth and leads to frustrated clients and possibly even legal penalties. 

Unfortunately, problems that stem from inefficient systems are commonplace because developing new and effective workflows can feel like a daunting task. In response, many real estate offices move forward with the same confusing paper checklists and manual processes that haphazardly get the job done. Eventually, however, they find that it becomes increasingly challenging to ensure consistency, compliance, and satisfaction in the long term.

The solution: Automated and custom electronic checklists like those utilized by elite transaction coordinators.

Specific checklist workflows for every deal scenario allows your agents and admins to see only the necessary tasks automatically, more clearly organize deals, better categorize relevant paperwork, and quickly view transaction status information—whenever they need. Setting up new systems to ensure that all transactions are consistently and appropriately managed will help everyone involved in the deal. 

This guide will teach you how to create transaction checklists used by the top transaction coordinators. Whether you’re a new TC looking to develop checklists for the first season or if you’re a real estate company looking to build precise checklists like the TC pros—start with this guide.

How Real Estate Transaction Checklists Can Give You the Edge

The ultimate tool for coordinating every step of real estate transactions and ensuring that every requirement is properly fulfilled is more than a written list of tasks. There are plenty of seemingly complete generic templates that you can search for and download off the internet, but none are specific to the exact transaction that your agents will close. These free templates may be easy to find and free to use, but they have some severe limitations that impede your effectiveness—and often you will spend more time trying to figure out what you don’t need, compared to what you do. So how can an electronic checklist help?

With an electronic checklist, you can: 

  1. See which transactions are missing essential documents.
  2. Easily monitor which contracts and other required documents are missing or incomplete.
  3. Never miss a mission-critical due date on any transaction with task priority labeling and easy filtering.
  4. Automatically track your transaction’s critical due dates, sync them with your favorite calendar system, and receive automatic reminders about upcoming tasks.
  5. Stop manually adding due dates and let the system set critical dates based on business and calendar days before or after listing and closing dates, contingency dates, options dates, and more.
  6. Use message templates and tags to keep your agents informed with important transaction updates.

While a list of every document required to close a transaction is vital, this alone will not meet the needs of most busy brokerages – no matter how detailed the list. Instead of a tool that merely allows you to mark off completed steps or items received, an electronic platform can provide other benefits that enable you to meet clients’ needs best and stay organized.

Use Purpose-Built Systems for Ease & Effectiveness: 

It’s often known that a tool that seeks to do everything doesn’t do anything very well. Unfortunately, many checklists systems are afterthoughts to products or features built by engineers who have never worked in the real estate industry.  Systems like these generally cause frustration from those that need accurate and specific workflows for their real estate transactions. Conversely, if your workflows and checklists are part of a system intentionally designed for the transaction management process, then your essential tasks will be precise. This ensures you have everything you need and makes it easier to find and retrieve documents and information as needed, whether during a transaction or later on for compliance purposes.

Customize to Suit Your Needs and Requirements: 

As different types of real estate transactions each have their specific requirements, an electronic tool that supports transaction-specific customization will help you to develop and refine unique checklists. Ensure that your system allows for critical due dates, contingencies, milestones, and options for automated deadlines and more.  

Manage Transactions from Anywhere: 

It’s essential to think about where your team might use the checklists and systems that you develop. As real estate professionals, your agents often work and process documents away from the office. An electronic checklist that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, allows agents to input information that busy brokers, admins, and transaction coordinators can reference as they need it.

Ready to develop new checklists and transaction workflows that will delight agents and admins alike? Continue reading for best practices that will help you create workflows and checklists for every stage and  type of deal that you and your agents will need.

Create Expert-Level Transaction Coordinator Checklists in 4 Steps

Step 1. Define the Stages of Your Real Estate Transaction Process

Before you sit down and start listing every document required for a single-family residential property sale in your state, start by writing down how a typical transaction moves forward and what may happen to throw it off course. It’s often helpful to think about this in terms of the deal stages or the transaction statuses.

Listing deals may follow a similar flow, but they might look a little different depending on your location, style, and preferences:

Next, write down other stages that may be less common, but may still require additional action. In other words, think about those stages where something changes the course of the deal.

Once your stages are fully mapped out, you can create them in your Paperless Pipeline account as Transaction Statuses. Customizing your transaction status verbiage will help admins and agents move deals from one stage to another without confusion and allow the system to apply checklists with appropriate and necessary tasks automatically. Learn more about adding Transaction Statuses here.

Step 2. Identify the Types of Deals

Deal stages are critical, but it’s also necessary to focus on the types of deals that you’re likely to coordinate and manage. You may not run every possible kind of real estate transaction, but it’s important to outline those that you might frequently manage to ensure that you account for all conceivable tasks, documents, and requirements.

After you’ve identified the types of deals that your agents are most likely to encounter, you can add each to your Paperless Pipeline account as Transaction Labels. Adding these specific transaction labels will ensure that the unique requirements of each deal type are added to your transactions. Learn more about adding Transaction Labels here.

Step 3. Write down the Tasks and Dates Required For Each Situation

Using the list of dates created earlier, write down all required tasks that need to happen before, after, or during each stage. From staging and putting up the sign to creating a commission disbursement and collecting funds—think through every step.

Step 4. Create Your Checklists

After you have added your custom statuses and labels, you will next need to match specific tasks for each variation. Start with the most common or straightforward type of deal and stage progression. Here’s a typical example: a purchase of a residential (post-1978) property that doesn’t fall through, does not have a septic system, well, pool, or HOA requirements. 

With that deal in mind, outline every task and document required for each stage of the deal. For example, you may want to include listing documents, communication requirements, option periods, due diligence deadlines, and more. 

Once your first checklist is built out, you can then copy that checklist and use it as a template. Add new tasks to your template for other conditions, such as a lead-based paint addendum. Make a copy of that checklist and add well and septic documents, along with any specific tasks for your agents’ deals that require those additional items.

By making copies of the original checklist, and adding what’s required, you will soon develop a list of tasks so specific that you can easily automate the process with Paperless Pipeline. By setting up rules in your system, you can seamlessly have a Pending Task checklist apply to a Condominium deal in Houston, Texas, where your agent represents the listing side, or a Pending Task checklist apply to a pre-1978 residential transaction that also has a pool and well where your company represents both the listing and buying side—automatically.  

Paperless Pipeline can further help automate and simplify the process. Not sure where to start? We’ve created a downloadable ready-to-use real estate transaction checklist to guide you through the entire process. Click here to download this helpful tool now.

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