From state to state, the laws vary, but every real estate transaction has paperwork associated with it. In fact, they have to, so unfortunately, paperwork will always be involved in any real estate transaction. That’s right; we may be moving towards a paperless world (even when it comes to real estate!) but for now, there still can be a lot of paperwork brokers need to keep track of.
And paperless doesn’t necessarily mean that transactions will be hassle-free. If paperwork isn’t printed, that can also be a nightmare – what happens when you can’t find a file in your email? Or a signed contract where you’re sure you saved it on your mobile phone? Whether the paperwork is printed or not, the following five tips will keep any brokerage from losing sleep over paperwork nightmares:
Develop a Strong System
One of the biggest problems a broker may face (doesn’t matter whether it’s a large office or a small one) is the problem of control. Let a bunch of birds out of a cage and they may all fly in different directions. Real estate agents are not birds, but the analogy stands. Creating a good, strong, easy-to-use system is the key to the success, longevity and preservation of a real estate brokerage.
Depending upon the state in which you work, the list of correct real estate forms required for your real estate transaction file will vary. In California, for example, a simple purchase of a single-family home requires somewhere between 40 and 50 different forms. The challenge that brokers face is this: how do I stay current and assure that agents are collecting those forms, preparing them properly and including all of the right forms in the transaction file?
Create a strong infrastructure
Are you a paperless office? Do you operate in the cloud? Or, do you require your agents to turn in a paper copy of their listing and sales files? No matter how you operate, make sure that the system for creating and reviewing transaction files is easily accessible and clear to all agents and staff.
Big or small, it doesn’t matter. Many offices face challenges in keeping up with the newest real estate rules and regulations. State forms and contracts change regularly. Make sure that the checklist of documents you require for each transaction is clear, concise and up-to-date.
You know what they say: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Even the top-producing agents require constant and continuous training. Agents need to be regularly trained on the forms, and how to use them. That’s the job of the broker and the brokerage.
Review all files
File review is a key component to ensure that transaction files are error free. Whether the broker or a designee reviews the transaction file, this is a key component of success in real estate. Since all the birds may be flying in a different direction, a strong review component will create teachable moments for the agent and for the entire agency.
Taking the time to control the infrastructure of your business by creating workable systems and training programs will lead to better qualified agents and, of course, more closings.
Melissa Zavala is the Broker/Owner of Broadpoint Properties, Head Honcho of Short Sale Expeditor, and Chief Executive Officer of Transaction 911. Before landing in real estate, she had careers in education and publishing. Many folks say that she is genetically pre-disposed to success with short sales. In fact, last year she and her staff obtained over 500 short sale approval letters.
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