The signing of a real estate contract is just the beginning of the journey. Whomever is running the transaction from there is a critical cog in the wheel. So what makes for a great transaction manager?
There are many people involved in the real estate transaction process. One will normally take the lead in coordinating and managing everything. This may be a Realtor, attorney’s paralegal, real estate assistant, an investor, the processor at the mortgage company, or a third party transaction coordinator. This is sometimes best left to a pro who is being paid by another party in the transaction to keep costs down, but having control is also incredibly valuable. Official or not, this transaction manager makes sure all the other parties are doing their jobs on time, have ordered necessary inspections, and are all on track for the closing. So what makes a great transaction manager?
Know Their Jobs
Do they know their role and how to excel at it? Do they know what elements are involved and what they need to make sure is done. Do they know who to ace all of the requirements? For example; if there is a condo or homeowners’ association involved, approval may need to be obtained. If income and asset documents need to be turned into underwriting, are those being requested and provided sufficient enough to meet requirements?
Whomever is heading up transaction management needs to enjoy communicating with people, and needs to be good at it. They have to be happy to check their inbox, listen to voicemails, and pick up the phone, even though it may not always be pleasant. They have to know how to empathize, connect with, and manage, all types of people and personalities. This is not a job for the introvert.
Far too many real estate deals fall apart at the last minute. This is can be stressful and financially catastrophic for those involved. It can also seriously impact reputation. In many cases, this is completely avoidable if experienced transaction managers are proactive about tackling issues. This includes foreseeing problems with title, loan conditions, IDs for closing, and more. It can now take months to obtain some paperwork from the IRS. In other cases title and lien issues should be recognized in the first few days of closing, but aren’t always addressed. A good manager knows how to recognize potential issues, and alert the right parties early.
Foreseeing issues and telling people about them is only half the battle. A great transaction manager also knows how to find solutions. This means knowing mortgage underwriting guidelines, lender requirements, how to read title and appraisals, and also how to get exceptions or provide substitutes. This is where a transaction manager can make or break dozens of real estate deals a year. When you find someone who excels in this area, pay them well.
Cool Under Pressure
The transaction manager is in the hot seat all day every day. Everything that goes wrong is going to be brought to them, and they are often going to be held responsible for it. They have to deal with stressed out and angry buyers, sellers, agents, and everyone else who has a commission riding on the deal, often across multiple deals, all on the same day. Few people are built to handle this position, never mind excel at it. They’ve got to stay cool, keep a sense of humor, and be able to continue to act effectively the whole day, no matter what comes.
Just enjoying talking to people, being fast to answer the phone or send emails, or understanding the industry isn’t enough. The transaction coordinator has to be great at communicating. They have to be very clear. They have to translate loan conditions and contract terms effectively the first time to both industry pros and complete novices. And they need to know how to add the right amount of gracefulness or severity to their messages to different people and depending on the scenario.
The transaction coordinator is a pivotal role in the real estate closing process. Know who makes a great person for this role, find one, and compensate them well.