7 Tips to Simplify Real Estate Transaction Management in 2021

How many times have you thought about simplifying your real estate transaction management process this year? 

For many real estate companies, improving their real estate transaction management has been a top priority in 2020.

But switching systems and processes can feel daunting.

With the new year a few weeks away, now is the time to take action.

If you invest a small amount of time now to build a better process, it will pay dividends in 2021 and beyond.

In fact, it’s probably the best investment you can make in your business right now. It will save you thousands of hours, many sleepless nights and lost deals.

That’s why our advice is to start the new year with simpler, easier, and better real estate technology.

Getting started this month will ensure your company can stay on track, close more deals, and delight more clients in 2021.

The good news is that it has never been easier to simplify your process—here’s how to get started.

Video: Tips to Simplify Your Real Estate Transaction Management Process

7 Tips to Simplify Real Estate Transaction Management:

#1. Know what you need to simplify

For more than ten years at Paperless Pipeline, we’ve helped real estate companies simplify their transaction management workflows with better software. During that time, we’ve learned a lot about what real estate professionals need and what actually helps streamline their processes.

Real estate transaction management is a process—and it’s often a poorly defined one.

Start by taking a hard look at your processes and tools to see where you’re wasting time, where things are falling through the cracks, and what needs to change.

For many brokers, teams, and real estate transaction coordinators, we see three main problems:

  • Ambiguous responsibilities and vague processes
  • Too many ways for things to fall through the cracks
  • No purpose-built tools to support real estate agents and admins

Try this:

Identify all of the steps that need improvement. Ask your admins and agents to do the same. Compare the points and determine what you need to fix to improve agent production, company performance, team happiness, and overall growth.

Consider these areas:

1. Document Storage

2. Task Management

3. Real Estate Compliance

4. Checklists and Templates

#2. Clarify real estate admin and agent responsibilities

Even with the most successful brokers and brokerages there is often a lack of clear staff responsibility. 

Sure, everyone knows their title, but often the precise roles they fill are too broad. This leads to uncertainty when roles overlap and frustration when there isn’t clear responsibility for critical tasks.

In other words, many real estate companies end up with “too many cooks in the kitchen.”

Your real estate company must be set up with clear responsibilities for each role. This includes the brokers, transaction coordinators, agents, accounting, marketing, operations, HR, and other support staff.

Here’s an exercise to determine if your real estate company needs to improve role clarity. Consider one real estate agent in your office:

  • Do they interact and expect similar things from your admins?
  • When they have a question, who do they ask? Does it depend on different factors?
  • Do they clearly understand the role of each person in the transaction process?

The chances are pretty good that the answer to one of those questions is no. This is even true for many offices who feel confident in their current processes.

Real estate transaction management is a complicated process. It relies on key dates, milestones, document reviews, contingencies, and many people working together. Any lack of clarity can undermine the whole process. 

#3. Define the best process for all real estate transactions

With responsibilities clearly outlined, defining your real estate transaction management process is critical. 

A transparent process means that everyone knows their role and understands how it helps the transaction process. It also means that whenever questions come up, there’s a clear answer and a single source of truth.

With a single source of truth and clear responsibilities, every issue and challenge is the responsibility of a specific person—nothing falls through the gaps.

Common challenges will immediately be flagged to the right person and be resolved, so your transactions will never be derailed.

You should be asking questions like:

  • Who was supposed to remind the client of that update? 
  • What’s the status of that transaction?
  • How are admin informed of new listings and sales?

Most importantly, well-defined transaction management means that technology can be used to improve the workflow—and produce a single source of truth.

When a real estate office is missing a clear process, agents tend to turn in documents late and in varied formats. This means that when a question comes up regarding a transaction document, admins have to search in many different places to find an answer—if it even exists.

On the other hand, when processes and responsibilities are clear, everyone knows exactly where that document should be. If it’s not there, the agent didn’t submit it correctly. If it is there but it’s not accounted for, the admin hasn’t reviewed it.

By clearly defining your process, you’ll easily identify these bottlenecks so the problem can be resolved quickly. 

Try this:

Write out your process. Be specific, and include how a transaction gets started, where documents are sent, when they’re due, and who will review them as they are turned in. Paperless Pipeline provides a clear process that everyone can follow and check in on whenever they need to.

#4. Eliminate inconsistencies

Do tasks and documents feel like they are always falling through the cracks? Do you feel like you could improve your compliance processes? Is agent management a full-time job?

If so, it’s often because there are just too many cracks in the process. Think of these cracks as inconsistencies in your real estate transaction management process

For example, many brokerages accept documents in person, by email, fax, e-sign software, scanner, etc., without helping admins and agents understand how to manage each method effectively. 

Documents end up in different formats, and critical information is lost. 

Eliminate these inconsistencies once and for all by streamlining your workflow.

  • Give agents a single email address to send documents to
  • Program that email address into the office scanner
  • Cc the address on all electronically signed documents

 This way, all documents will land in one place no matter where they came from.

It’s easy to build these processes and support your company, admins, and agents with real estate transaction management software.

You can develop clear training resources for your entire company to help ensure that your process is understood and deeply ingrained in your company’s culture.

Try this:

Set up a free trial of Paperless Pipeline and test your process for 14 days. Within 60 seconds an admin can create a transaction, alert an agent about what’s due, automatically sync tasks to everyone’s calendar, and send reminders.

#5. Implement software that supports real estate agents

Too often, brokers try to make agents perform better by giving them more tools, more logins, and more options. But a new CRM won’t fix an underperforming agent—it just adds more confusion.

The same applies to real estate transaction management. Packing more options into one software platform doesn’t produce a better agent—it only provides more clutter.

The goal is to create simplicity for your agents so they can do what they do best: sell real estate. 

The best solution is real estate technology that’s purpose-built for real estate transaction management and supports agents rather than asking more from them. In other words, technology designed with real estate agents in mind.

Consider the tools agents already have and what their core function is. Rather than adding more to their toolboxes, focus on providing them with critical information that is easily accessible when they need it the most. Alerts can be set up on agents’ personal calendars and via their inbox to make sure they’re always kept fully up to date. 

Try this:

Integrate your agents’ calendars with Paperless Pipeline and automatically sync only the most important tasks. Turn on Task Reminders and Closing Reminders for extra notifications that alert agents at exactly the right time.

#6. Test software with admin and agents before purchasing

There’s only one way to know if software will be the best fit for your company: Put it to the test.

Testing can sometimes feel like a waste of time but it will save you money, time, effort, and frustration.

Don’t be lured into buying software based on a demo—you’ll only find out if it works once your team gets started.

Some systems look great but aren’t the best fit. That’s why we offer a 14-day trial so you can see the power of Paperless Pipeline in action.

A free trial provides you with the chance to run real transactions through a system, allowing you to test it out with your admins and agents. Most importantly, you can see for yourself exactly how it will help save money and increase production.

Testing software before purchasing isn’t just a best practice for real estate transaction management systems. It’s true for CRMs, accounting suites, and anything else that requires consistent use.

Try this:

Take your list of things that need improvement (the list from Tip #1) and try software with those items in mind. Solving those specific problems will make the difference you, your agents, and your admins are all looking for.

#7. Get set up in December and be ready for January 1st

We often hear real estate brokers, admins, and transaction coordinators say that they want to start with their new real estate transaction management software on January 1st. This is a fantastic goal, but it actually means they need to get started a few weeks before.

In order to be ready for a January 1st launch, here are the three easy steps to complete before then:

That’s it. 

Admin training, additional setup, help and support are all included and offered at exactly the right time to keep your entire company on track and ready for the New Year.