Real Estate Transaction Checklist: The Expert Guide

Managing a real estate transaction from listing to closing is no small task—in fact, it involves hundreds of tasks bound by strict deadlines and legal requirements.

A real estate transaction checklist is the best way to keep track of the closing process—whether you’re managing the transaction yourself or using a transaction coordinator to do it for you.

This article explains everything you need to know about real estate transaction checklists. In it, we cover:

Free Real Estate Transaction Checklist Overview

The free real estate transaction checklist above will help you ensure a smooth transaction. It contains two options: one for a buyer’s agent and one for a listing agent.

The buyer side real estate transaction checklist has four phases:

Active buyer: Steps to set the buyer up on your systems, verify loan documents, and find out what property type they want.

Making offers: This is where you help your client make and negotiate offers on properties they want to buy. 

Under contract: This is all the administrative requirements that need to take place between the purchase agreement being signed and the closing date. You’ll then attend the final walk-through of the property with your client. 

Post-closing: Critical marketing and compliance steps.

The listing side real estate transaction checklist has five phases:

Prospective listing: This phase is where you sell yourself and convince your potential seller to work with you.

Pre-listing: Here’s where you gather all the property details you need to write and post a compelling property listing. 

Active listing: In this phase, you’ll market your client’s property and get as many viewers and offers as possible. You’ll help host open houses and post adverts where most buyers will see them.

Pending: Once a purchase agreement has been signed, it’s time to take down the property listing and complete a number of critical tasks before the closing date. This includes hiring a title company, collecting an earnest money deposit, and ensuring that your client signs all necessary documents, including the final closing statement.

Post-closing: Mark your listing as sold and then perform a series of critical marketing and compliance steps.

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

The spreadsheet-based real estate transaction checklist above is useful if you’ve just started out.

But more established brokerages and those with multiple agents and admins could still struggle to track transactions. 

Can you guarantee that your staff will use it when they need to? What happens if someone forgets to check off a task?

Disorganized brokerages lose time searching for lost paperwork and missing deadlines. 

For many real estate companies, these problems stem from:

  • Poorly defined processes
  • Reliance on paper checklists 
  • Ad-hoc systems
  • Unclear workflows few people can follow

These issues ultimately lead to:

  • More work for everyone involved
  • Stunted company growth
  • Frustrated clients 
  • Legal penalties

Unfortunately, problems stemming from inefficient systems are common because developing new and effective workflows feels daunting. 

In response, many brokerages use the same confusing paper real estate transaction checklist and manual processes to finish the job.

Ensuring consistency, compliance, and satisfaction in the long term becomes increasingly challenging.

Solution One: Hire a transaction coordinator

For many top-producing brokers and real estate agents, hiring a transaction coordinator is the most effective way to manage their transactions.

A transaction coordinator ensures an efficient and organized transaction process using precise workflows and real estate checklists. 

They use effective time-saving processes that often take years of experience and practice to develop. 

They help your real estate agents provide an exceptional experience to buyers and sellers.

Solution Two: An automated and customized Real Estate Transaction Coordinator Checklist

What if you can’t afford a transaction coordinator or you prefer to manage deals yourself? 

The good news is that with the right system and a good real estate transaction checklist, any agent, broker, or team can start working more efficiently and eliminate mistakes. 

Specific checklists and workflows for any deal scenario allow your real estate agents and admins to: 

Automatically see only the necessary tasks. 

Make contact information easily accessible. 

Organize deals more clearly.

Better categorize relevant paperwork. 

Quickly view transaction status information whenever they need it.

Setting up new systems will ensure that all transactions are consistently and appropriately managed to help all professionals involved in the deal. 

How a Real Estate Transaction Coordinator Checklist Can Give You the Edge

It takes more than a written list of tasks to coordinate real estate transactions and ensure that every requirement is properly fulfilled.

Although there are generic templates you can search for and download from the internet, none are specific to the real estate transaction your agents will close. 

These free templates have limitations. Often you will spend more time trying to figure out what you don’t need, compared to what you do. 

With an electronic checklist you can: 

Identify which transactions are missing essential documents.

Easily spot a real estate contract or another critical document with missing or incomplete information.

Use priority labeling and easy filtering to never miss critical due dates on any transactions.

Automatically sync transaction due dates with your preferred calendar system and receive automatic reminders about upcoming tasks.

Let the system set important due dates based on business and calendar days before or after listing and closing dates, contingency dates, options dates, and more.

Use message templates and tags to inform agents about important transaction updates.

While a list of every document required to close a transaction is vital, this alone will not meet the needs of busy brokerages or real estate agents.

An electronic platform enables you to go beyond just marking off completed steps or items received. It allows you to meet clients’ needs and stay organized.

Use purpose-built systems for ease & effectiveness

The checklists that come with most transaction management software are built by engineers who have never worked in the real estate industry.  

These checklists don’t provide accurate and specific workflows for real estate transactions and are frustrating for agents. 

But if your workflows and checklists are part of a system intentionally designed for the transaction management process, your essential tasks will be precise. 

This ensures that you have everything you need and makes it easier to find and retrieve the required documents and information.

Customized to suit your requirements

Different types of real estate transactions each have specific requirements. 

Transaction management software that supports specific customization will help you to develop and refine unique checklists. 

You should also ensure that the system allows for:

  • Critical due dates
  • Contingencies
  • Milestones
  • Options for automated deadlines
  • And more

Manage real estate transactions from anywhere 

Real estate professionals often work and process documents away from the office. 

An electronic checklist that can be accessed from anywhere (and at any time) allows agents to input information that busy brokers, admins, and real estate transaction coordinators can reference them whenever they need to.

Create Expert-Level Transaction Coordinator Checklists in 4 Steps

This section discusses best practices to help you create workflows and checklists for every stage and type of deal. 

If you’re not currently using a system, check out our real estate transaction management software. It can help you to manage and automate these workflows, as well as scale them across a growing team. 

Step 1: Define the stages of your real estate transaction process

Start by writing down how a typical transaction moves forward and what may throw it off course. 

It’s often helpful to think about the different deal stages or 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, consider those stages where something changes the course of the deal.

If you’re a Paperless Pipeline user, once your stages are fully mapped out, you can create them in your account as transaction statuses. 

Customizing your transaction status will help transaction coordinators, admins, and agents move deals from one stage to another without confusion. 

It also allows 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

It’s important to tailor your checklists to the transactions you often use and account for all necessary tasks, documents, and requirements.

If you’re a Paperless Pipeline user, after you’ve identified the types of deals your agents are most likely to encounter, you can add each to your account as transaction labels.

Adding these specific transaction labels will ensure that the unique requirements of each deal 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 you created earlier, write down all the administrative tasks that need to happen before, during and after each step.

Think through every step carefully—from staging and putting up the sign, to creating a commission disbursement, and collecting funds.

Step 4. Create your transaction coordinator checklist

After adding your custom statuses and labels, you must match specific tasks for each variation. 

Start with the most common or straightforward type of deal and stage progression.

Here’s a typical example:

Transaction type: A purchase of a residential (post-1978) property that doesn’t fall through, and 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 include:

  • Listing documents
  • Communication requirements
  • Option periods
  • Due diligence deadlines

Once your first transaction coordinator checklist is built, you can then copy that checklist and use it as a template. 

You can then add new tasks to your template for other conditions, such as a lead-based paint addendum and make a copy of that too. 

Automate Your Transaction Coordinator Checklist with Paperless Pipeline

Paperless Pipeline helps you keep every real estate transaction on track by automating your checklists. 

For example, every real estate agent and admin is sent a daily digest of all the tasks they need to complete as well as their deadlines.

This makes life easier for your transaction coordinators and it ensures no more important tasks fall through the cracks, allowing you to focus on growing your business.

Try Paperless Pipeline today for free—no contract, no credit card, and cancel whenever you like.

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