In this tele-seminar Michelle explains why systems are important to our business. How a Transaction Coordinator can be your best ali in getting leveraged and increasing your sales.
This short but informational call is perfect for anyone wanting to learn more about what a TMC does and how a transaction coordinator may be just what you need to help you get more out of your day.
Michelle: Welcome! Thanks so much everyone for joining me this afternoon. Hopefully we get a few more on the line and as they come through, if you have any questions, we have a small group now, just feel free to jump in. If not, you can definitely hold those till the end. The only thing that I ask is that you just be mindful if anybody walks into where you are, that there are others on the line so you can hit star six on your keypad and that will actually mute your line. So if you have to take another call or the dog barks or whatever, it will definitely help your end of the conversation. So with that let’s go ahead and get started.
Again, my name is Michelle Spalding and some of you know me and others should learn a little bit more about me and how we got starting doing the fun stuff that we do here. Prior to starting TMC in 2005, I worked for a law firm for more than 10 years and was a paralegal there and all we did was real estate transactions. I counted not long ago and figured that over the course of my 15 year career, I’ve been involved with probably about 18,000 residential real estate transactions. So, there have been some fun things, there have been some kooky stuff and there’s just been a lot of learning as I go through the process – some of the needs that clients have, that agents have, that the people that we communicate with have and how keeping all that together is really what our goal is, just getting this thing over the finish line, getting everybody to the table and more importantly, I think, getting them there with a sense of satisfaction in the entire process.
I believe that buying a house or moving out of your house is something that’s very obvious to you, your family and your friends, and that as a buyer or a seller in that situation, people are going to ask, ‘Hey! How did that go?’ and when they get asked that question, our goal at the end of every transaction is that they can’t say enough about how wonderful the experience was, that their agent kept them informed, that their agent had somebody that helped them etc. So part of why TMC was formed and that’s part of our mission is you know, really to provide this superior service and at the same time free our agents up to get out and list more homes, sell more homes and have a life outside of their business.
In 2005 what I saw was a real need and I’d been seeing this for a little while at the firm I worked at, where we had some agents that came to us, brought us deals and you know you’d be friends, your title person, and I started asking them, ‘Hey I didn’t see you last month.’ or, ‘it’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen you, or had a deal from you.’ Jokingly but in all seriousness, I asked them, ‘hey are you guys stepping out on us? You seeing somebody else for you title services?’ And the answer, resoundingly, was no. What they explained to me that they had trouble with, was once a deal got under contract, especially if it was one that occupied a lot of their time, they weren’t returning their lead calls as fast as they should’ve and they weren’t going out and doing things to drum up as many leads as they would like and therefore there was a lag sometimes in their business once a deal went under contract until the next contract came though, because they were so focused on getting the one in their hand to the table and getting it closed. So I went to the attorney that I asked, that I worked for and said ‘I have this idea, let’s coordinate deals’ and he said no. So I started my own business so it’s been a lot of fun ever since then. Of course I got in about the time that the market shifted and it’s been interesting but we’ve also held in there and have really helped a lot of our clients expand their business in an economical way by outsourcing and only paying for something when they need it.
I like to remind everybody that most of us have had that feeling where there just isn’t enough time in the day or enough of us to go around. And when I do a presentation in an office this is where I usually ask everyone to raise their hands if they can feel that same feeling or have felt that same feeling before, and resoundingly usually everybody raises their hand. Then we are reminded, that everyone has the same 24 hours in a day and it’s really what we do with that time, that separates us from other people. I like to say that the rich and the poor have exactly the same time in a day, it’s the leverage that they use enables them to get more done in a day. Using Oprah as an example because she is so well known and everyone knows that name, she is not updating her Facebook page, she is not tweeting on Twitter, she is not making status changes to her website – there’s somebody else that does that in support of her vision of getting her information out to people. So keeping that in mind as you we go through this conversation here today, not everybody of course wants to be Oprah but everybody wants to have certain things done and knows the importance of having those done and oftentimes the best person to do it is not us. Which leads us to systems.
Systems are really what make a great business successful and each of us as real estate agents, have our own business. We work with a firm obviously, but we have our own business. And it’s very important that we remember what we do is our own small business, and in order for our small business to grow and to enable us to do the things that we seek out in having a business, we need to create systems. Sometimes systems are as simple as the email template that will be use to communicate with our client when we have reached a certain milestone in maybe their listing or in their transaction. Other times it’s a system on how to get that transaction from contract to close. There’s a number of different things that we all do daily in our business, and systems are what help us make sure that those things get done.
If you haven’t read a book by Michael Gerber called the ‘E-myth Revisited’, I highly recommend that you grab that when you are out at your book store, if there are any of those left anyways, or you jump on Amazon and get that or check it out at the library. It’s called ‘the E-myth Revisited’. It’s actually in its 63rd printing and what it does is show us is how to create systems and how to incorporate those into our business. Kind of on a side note Michael is a huge hero of mine. I really admire his work and the teachings that he has and I was able to speak on the same virtual stage if you will, I was part of the same Tele-seminar series with him several years ago so it was a lot of fun. So E-myth Revisited talks a lot about systems, and what a system is is actually a procedure or process for obtaining an objective. It’s about being in control, and having other people help you get things done is obviously being in control. Having somebody competent gives you the time to work on the things that actually make the phone ring and helps you be able to put more deals together. I was speaking at an office a few months ago and one of the leaders in that organization reminded the group that no more money was made after a contract is written. In other words, you can’t go back to that seller and say, ‘oh, I’ve done this much work now I want little bit more for my services.’ No, you have to go out and continue to feed the pipe and bring in new business, for your business, in order for more transactions to close.
So, What TMC does is actually bring technology together with people to provide resources to realtors by providing them with a dedicated coordinator who is going to be their coordinator on each and every transaction that they have, seeing it through from contract to close. What we do is, we work with you to create something customized for your business. Every individual that we work with, every business that we work with is a unique business, and there are certain things that you do that somebody on the other side of the state or on the other side of the country does differently, and we want to respect the way that you like things done in your organization and do things the way you like them done. Everything we do is very proactive and not reactive.
Part of our process of creating a custom template here for you to match your business is to create a list of documents and a list of tasks that we are going to handle for you in a proactive way, never waiting until you call or somebody else does and say, ‘Do you have this or have you done that?’ It’s letting you know, ‘Hey we got this done already for you,’ giving you the updates instead of having you ask us to do things. What your coordinator really does is take paper, answer questions, manage others and solve problems. Now what I mean by manage others is that we’re all only as strong as our weakest link, and anyone involved in the transaction that’s not pulling their weight and not doing the things that they are supposed to do, that extra work falls back on you. I’m sure that we all can agree that there has been a mortgage broker or a cooperating agent that’s not really been as responsive and as forthcoming in providing information, and you have to call 45 times instead of 3 times to get the information that you want. That’s what I mean by managing others; Your coordinator is the one who makes these 45 calls to find out, Oh, The appraisal is being done tomorrow or the appraisal did come in okay, those kind of things, and that also helps solve problems for you. Giving you the time that you need to go and do other things.
Now what I want to do real quickly is kind of just walk you through what our process is. An overview of, of course again we customize everything for you, but of what your coordinator would do and how they would be able to help you in your business. When you initiate a transaction with your coordinator, you send it directly to her. She already has created your custom branded webpage, which is where your buyer or seller are able to log in and see exactly what’s happening in the process. The coordinator will start off by introducing herself to everyone in the transaction as your coordinator. She’ll call your client, the lender, the title, the cooperating agent etc. Again, ‘Hi, I’m the coordinator for this particular agent. I want to give you my contact information and make sure that you know that it’s okay to communicate with me.’ Your coordinator also at that point sends them a complete copy of a contract, making sure that title has everything they need, letting them know that we’d like a preliminary HUD as soon as possible, to send over the title commitment etc. Also with the lender making sure that the lender has a full and complete copy of the contract, and then letting the lender know that we need to know when the appraisal’s ordered, when that appraisal value comes in and we know that we are okay and that, by the way, according to the sales contract the loan commitment is due on this day; please make sure that we have a copy of it by then. Here your coordinator coordinates all the inspections, making sure that access to the property is available, works with the buyer or seller, whoever is responsible for making sure utilities are on if that’s necessary, and then making sure the reports are made available as quickly as possible to you and anyone you’ve asked us to forward that to.
Your coordinator works on getting mixing documents, and getting their signatures on them as well. So in the course of getting a contract signed if there’s an initial missing someplace or signature missing, your coordinator will help make sure that that gets signed off on and that everybody that needs that document gets that. She also will work with you if during the course of a transaction an addendum needs to be created. You create the addendum and send it over, she’ll circulate it, get all the signatures, and then make sure it gets circulated to everyone that’s supposed to have that. She’ll be working to track the deadlines and report any issues to you immediately. Using the loan commitment as a scenario, we will call the day before, and maybe even two days before depending on who we’re working with, to make sure that the loan office or the mortgage broker is on schedule to get us that loan commitment when it’s due. We’ll report to you the updates that we’re getting, and the vibe that we are getting from that mortgage broker as well. We’ll work with the buyer to make sure that they have hazard insurance. If we’re the seller’s side of a transaction, then we’ll be working to push that buyers agent to make sure, ‘Hey! Don’t forget it’s hurricane season. We got somebody out there on the coast in the Atlantic. So get your buyer to get that insurance right away so that there is no delay in our closing.’ If there are repairs that were necessary, as part of the agreed upon after the inspection, your coordinator will work to make sure that we get those receipts and if any of them are to be reflected on the HUD that the title gets those, or just to make sure that we have evidence of those for the file. She’ll get the home warranty and make sure title has it, no matter whose side is supposed to order it, we’ll make sure that we get a copy of that for the file as well.
Manage other parties, when I talked about that a minute ago, means making sure that they are on task and then reporting back to you all if there is a situation so that you can get engaged and we can kind of ping off of one another, and I kind of say good Cop, bad Cop. Sometimes our coordinators have to call somebody 45 times to get the information and then we get a phone call from our agent that will say, ‘Hey finally that person called and they asked me to call you off,’ meaning that the coordinator has called so many times to get the information that’s necessary, because this person’s not been responsive in replying to any of us. They get kind of frustrated and come back to our clients and most of our clients simply say ‘Well If you’d have given it to us 2 days ago when we asked for it, She wouldn’t have had to call you that many times. Thank you so much for giving me what we need, next time return the call sooner.’ Unfortunately that happens more often than we’d like but it does happen sometimes.
Your coordinator, like I said will track and make sure that title has everything that they need. If a title issue comes up, title will report that issue and will work to resolve it, but your coordinator will make sure that if there’s something that we can do to help resolve an issue, she’s helping to make sure that that gets done and also that closing takes place and everything is made nice and smooth. Loan commitment, we talked about that, making sure that she gets that and then of course she’s available to answer questions at any time. By providing this online place for the buyer or seller, whoever your client is, to log in and view the transaction, your coordinator gives up to the minute information to them, up to the minute information to you and of course, as well, is there to answer phone calls that come inbound from anyone involved in a transaction and with respect to, ‘do we have certain things, can you forward me a copy of the contract.’ All those things that pull you away from maybe making those lead generation and lead follow up calls, your coordinator can handle taking care of for you.
As we get closer to closing, there is a lot that has to happen. Pre-closing walkthroughs, making sure that everyone knows where to go, what time to be there, what to bring, who to bring and all of those things, that’s one of the tasks your coordinator handles as well. As we get the settlement statement, a lot of our clients have us go over that with the buyer or seller, or at least make sure that they know how much to bring and have a copy of that, and then of course after closing we see this thing all the way through to funding. Not just knowing that you’ve gone and everyone have signed, but that the funding is taking place, checks have been mailed and that the deal is complete and final. Once we are complete with that, we get a copy of the final executed deed, final executed HUD and on a quarterly basis we send to you an archived copy of everything we’ve done for you. A digital copy which will include all the notes, all the tasks, of course the time and date they were completed, the documents as well, so that you have a nice digital copy that you can add to your backup system, should you have the need to have any of those documents or any of that other information available.
A lot of people have a basic understanding of what we do and what I’ve just gone over is pretty much an overview. Like I said, every transaction is unique. Some are harder than others and some are more fun than others, but at the end of day everybody is really just looking for a seller to sell a piece of property, and a buyer to buy this piece of property and make that their home. Doing something new for any of us sometimes is a little bit of a challenge but what I encourage everyone that I talk to, when they ask about our services, is to look back at your goals from earlier this year. If you had an extra 15 to 20 hours for every single transaction that you have closed, do you think you would be on track with your goals or even further ahead with them, or maybe even have more time for doing some other things in your business, some other things like family time, quiet time, quality time doing something else? That’s what else I would like you to think about as you consider how somebody else helping you with your transactions, might impact your business in a very positive way. So that’s pretty much my overview, and I will turn it over to you all for any questions that you might have. Now don’t all speak up at once.
Guest: Oh, we had to figure out how to turn ourselves up, we were muted.
Michelle: Oh no problem, no problem. Well thank you so much, star six, I should’ve said that thanks so much. Do you have any questions?
Guest: I don’t, I mean you and I have worked together before and I can attest to the fact that everything that you have just said is 100% true, and you and I talked at the beginning of this call that I was just kind of getting back on to refresh what’s available. Things are picking up, so it’s just, this was a good time for me to listen and think, ‘okay, that’s what they can do,’ it was a good reminder because the past couple weeks I can think back of things that you brought to my attention that if I had somebody working on this, they could have been more proactive because their job is to follow this transaction where as my job is to get leads and lead generation, so I just appreciate the overview and a reminder.
Michelle: Well thank you, thank you! Give me a scenario if you don’t mind, you don’t have to go into great detail or anything, but what was a challenge that you faced that you probably could have had one of our girls that worked with you to handle if you don’t mind?
Guest: Oh I can think of several, the fact that if an investor client who, if I had engaged the transaction coordinator on that transaction, that instead of me having to follow up because it’s you know regretfully there is an escrow dispute that instead of my time you know, she could probably follow up and be very proactive and I do know, from experience that your staff is very much you know like little bulldogs. They will not let go until they get their answer they do great job because of that.
Michelle: It’s funny that you mentioned bull dog! One of my girls were actually given the title if you will, or the analogy, of being a pit-bull in a poodle costume. In other words she will chomp down and hold on tight but will just kill you with kindness until she gets what she needs.
Guest: Right, right, there is never any hint or any kind of animosity or anything like that. They are always following up in a professional manner and playing a little bit of that good cop, bad cop like ‘Hey, I need this,’ and they are right – they do need it, they don’t ask for something they don’t need.
Michelle: Right. Thank you! I appreciate you speaking up on that. One of the things too, that I failed to mention that I also want to bring up right now is that puts you in a different role with your client. It’s kind of that doctor nurse role for us, and your client is the patient. And using this analogy, if we were to go to a doctor’s office and there was only the doctor there, we might be kind of worried maybe, ‘is he is going to do everything right, if he going to miss something?’ But knowing that when you’re out making a listing presentation with somebody or you’re trying to convince them to work with you in buying their new home, letting them know, ‘Hey, I am going to be checking in often, I am going to be available to you, but I have a nurse, i.e. a coordinator, who is going to be tracking everything to make sure that nothing gets missed.’ You are getting a team approach to making sure that this happens, and a lot of my clients have successfully used that to secure listings when they go out to do a presentation, letting them know they have some assistance. I’ve got one client who used us from day one who said that was how she got first listing. She told them she had a team, and she beat somebody else out for this listing and has been using us since day one in her business and can’t imagine doing anything differently, and what she did was look around at what others in the office were doing and model herself after those producers that she wanted to be, and found us as a great way to help her do that.
I don’t hear anybody else from the line with any questions. I promised everybody that I would do this in thirty minutes or less, so I am going to go ahead and, with your permission Jennet, record, this is a recorded call and I will make this information available to anybody who wants to hear this later and those that missed it because they were hopefully on the line doing some lead generation follow-up, or maybe even out showing something. I am going to go ahead and wrap it up if I don’t hear anybody else ask me questions.
All right well thanks so much everybody for joining, you all have a wonderful day, look forward to working with you and answering any other questions you have, feel free to get me a call offline.
Guest: Thank you so much Michelle.
Michelle: Thank you! Bye.