Residential real estate transaction coordinators have typically worked as salaried employees for brokerages. This traditional method of employment made a lot of sense before the digital age, when coordinators were physically shuffling through stacks of transaction documents, scheduling and overseeing signings, and a litany of other tasks that, at the time, required in-person involvement. Now that the large majority of transactions are handled through email, Docusign, Zip Forms, and cloud-based transaction management platforms, the in-person requirements in the job description of transaction coordinators have been rendered obsolete, and coordinators can now handle entire transactions from the comfort of their homes. Coordinator’s jobs have evolved from physical to digital. This begs the question, “Does it make sense that the employment structure has remained stagnant and attached to the conventional method of employment when the job description no longer requires the constraints the conventional method carries?” The simple answer is no, but this employment structure has continued to persist in the industry largely due to a lack of alternatives. REBO, an outsourced transaction coordination service, has bridged this gap between transaction coordination employment structure and efficiency, and provides a superior alternative for both the transaction coordinators, and the brokerages they work with.
THE ADVANTAGES OF WORKING AS A TC WITH AN OUTSOURCED TC SERVICE:
- Backup on Every Transaction
Coordinators in traditional employment models are largely left to their own devices after opening escrow for an agent. This means any potential mistakes, blame, or unforeseen hinderances are squarely on that coordinator’s shoulders with no room for reprieve. If a coordinator becomes ill during a transaction, wants to go on vacation, or commits an oversight on a contract resulting in non-compliance, that coordinator is solely responsible. With REBO, multiple coordinators have access to every transaction, allowing for checks and balances, as well as relief in the event a coordinator is unable to continue their work.
- Incentive-based Pay
REBO pays their coordinators per transaction. That means no more working longer hours during the busy season for the same meager paycheck. Coordinators with REBO work as little or as much as they want, and receive their pay accordingly.
Other outsourced transaction coordination services exist, but generally hire their TCs as independent contractors that don’t receive benefits. REBO similarly hires coordinators as independent contractors, but provides the option for all benefits typically associated with salaried work.
- Training Program
REBO has instituted a training program for newer transaction coordinators. No experience? No problem. REBO will provide pre-recorded training videos as well as hands on instruction from seasoned coordinators to train coordinators how to manage transactions, communicate with agents, and stay in compliance.
- Well-Defined Role
Many coordinators are often roped in to additional duties by agents that aren’t in their job description. REBO makes it clear up front that a transaction coordinator’s role is to manage the transaction, not to act as an assistant.
Transactions have moved on from desert of technology the real estate industry once was. It’s about time the role of the transaction coordinator did as well. Given all the new services and platforms facilitating real estate transactions, there’s no reason a coordinator shouldn’t be reaping additional benefits not provided by conventional coordinator employment structures, and receiving all the relief and training they may need from the comfort of their home.
To learn more about working as a transaction coordinator for REBO, contact us through our website:
It’s no secret that successful Realtors often rely on marketing directly to FSBOs and expired listing owners. A lot of realtors who attempt to create business through these means fall short by two barriers:
- Finding the contact information of these potential clients
- Qualifying them as warm leads early in initial contact
Many agents elect to scour their local MLS to find contact info and cold call recently expired listings. The problem here is this is the go-to tactic for Realtors to attempt to convert an expired listing to a client, which means there will be heavy competition. It’s better for Realtors to either use alternative platforms or a service that vets these leads first and/or contacts them for you. These are better ways to go about this marketing tactic that will illicit greater conversion rates with less competition.
We will discuss how contact information can be found early for these home owners so you can get a head start on your competing Realtor counterparts, and how you can quickly filter, and convert these warm leads into clients.
1. Finding the contact information of FSBOs and Expired Listings
There are several ways Realtors can find and contact FSBOs and expired listing owners without going through a paid service. It’s more work, but for the penny-pinching real estate agent, this might be the desired route.
When you contact them, instead of delivering your typical elevator pitch for potential clients, try offering some basic services or advice for free to help them market. For example, offering to hold an open house for them will not only help you stand out amongst other agents that contacted them when they eventually decide to list with an agent, (which the large majority do), you might pick up some buyer clients that walk through as well.
Providing free advice or help is a good way to be non-intrusive and increase your chances of working with them in the future.
Keeping this approach in mind, let’s get into how you can find and contact these leads at no cost.
The Facebook Market is a good place to easily filter listed homes by FSBOs. Simply click the marketplace on the left-hand side, then click Groups. Type, “FSBO” in the search query after setting your search to your location and your feed will populate with a wide array of FSBO listings near you.
Same concept as Facebook Marketplace. Just set your search to your location, then select the ‘housing’ filter, then the ‘real estate – by owner’ filter. Remember to lead with advice or free help, not a pitch.
Other free FSBO contact information can be easily found on:
Local Newspaper Sites
Most paid services automatically find expired listings and FSBOs and upload them into your CRM. These tools are great time savers since they search your local MLS for you, and often provide the option to automatically leave a voicemail or text, prompting interested parties to call you back and saving you the trouble of contacting each FSBO and expired lead yourself one by one. They usually also provide their own scripts or other marketing materials for when those leads do call back. Here are some pros and cons for each FSBO/expired listings number providers and dialing services.
- Easy to search expired listing using their software. You can customize the search to find exactly the area you want to farm and input these leads into your search.
- You can label/add folders for any leads based on zip codes/search criteria.
- They have a built in CRM for which you can manage any follow-up task.
- A lot of phone numbers provided are invalid and or non-existent. You’ll have to use other services to cross check numbers like been verified or similar.
- They usually charge a setup fee and you have to install a software platform.
- No setup fee.
- More control over which expired listings you contact, as opposed to other services which just provide the list for you.
- Multi-line dialer tool.
- Their cloud-based platform isn’t very search friendly. You can’t search based on zip codes so it only pulls all the leads and then you have to manually look for them.
- Their CRM is non-existent, so there’s no automation involved with lead nurturing.
- A quick Google search will show their customer service department needs work.
- Offer probated leads in addition to FSBOs and expired listings.
- Verified email address option for contacting leads.
- Vets leads before handing them off to filter out expired numbers or “do not call list” numbers.
- More costly than other number providers.
- Expensive set up fee
- No free trials
- Video marketing tool built in.
- Full CRM platform.
- Cheap ten-day trial option.
- Built in power dialer.
- Expensive, (but not as expensive as Vulcan 7).
- No real vetting process in place.
- Triple line dialer tool.
- Multiple integration possibilities, even with other number providers and dialer services.
- Relatively cheap.
- Built in CRM.
- UX design is lacking in presentation and functionality compared to the other providers.
- Doesn’t filter out “do not call numbers,” which can lead to very unpleasant conversations and stain your reputation if the people contacted feel compelled to write an online review.
- Pay per minute option – good for Realtors that don’t heavily rely on dial generated leads.
- CRM integration with TopProducer.
- Doesn’t automatically track numbers or leads with CRM – lots more manual work on your part.
- Doesn’t vet numbers to ensure they’re not expired or on “do not call list.”
Different tools will work differently by market, but generally speaking, you get what you pay for. Vulcan 7 is probably the best service, but considering Espresso Agent’s cheap ten-day trial, you might want to try that first and see if it works for you before contracting Vulcan 7. If you’re stingy, and willing to learn a less than simple CRM and UX, Mojo is probably the best option for you.
2. Qualify warm leads early in initial contact
A lot of FSBOs and expired listing owners will remain unwilling to work with a Realtor. It’s important to identify these leads quickly and move on to optimize your time and business productivity. Be sure to establish the following criteria as soon as possible before deciding to pursue a FSBO or expired listing owner further. See that your leads are:
1) Willing to pay a full buyer’s coop off the bat.
-Nothing is worse than spending your time on a deal that eventually falls through due to a misunderstanding of how Realtors are paid. See that the lead is open to your commission rate.
2) Say they will consider hiring a Realtor if they can’t sell it in X amount of time.
-A willingness to hire a Realtor eventually means they probably will. Make sure you’re first in line.
3) Have a house in a price point that makes the follow up worth the time to actually spend the time following up.
-In other words, if it’s a cheap listing, it’s not worth your time.
4) Are realistic with sales price.
-Convincing a FSBO to contract you is hard. Convincing a FSBO to contract you AND significantly lower their asking price is a lot harder.
5) Have actual motivation to sell.
-Ask questions to determine their sale is a necessity like, “Are you moving out of state?” Or, “Did you recently become employed somewhere that makes your current living situation impossible?” Prodding for life events that implicate a home sale are a good way of going about qualifying in this case.
6) Selling in a buyer’s market.
-In seller’s markets, it is a lot easier for FSBOs to succeed on their own. You’ll have much more success if you restrict this technique to buyer’s markets.
Have you ever wondered how the most successful brokers manage to recruit and retain their top agents? Finding high-quality talent is indeed an art. However, armed with the right skills you too can identify and hire better agents.
But before you start drafting that job proposal, it is imperative to establish a clear value proposition to present to candidates. This proposition should discuss the advantages of working at the brokerage, offer competitive industry tools, describe the company culture, as well as detail efforts the brokerage will take to support an agent’s career.
This is the bait that top brokerages use to recruit qualified agents. They then deploy the following three best practices to convince principal agents why they should work with them:
1. Present attractive incentives offered by few other brokers
How important is your benefit or incentives package when looking to hire better agents? To put it frankly, extremely vital.
According to Wellable, 79% of agents looking for a new job said that a competitive benefits plan was definitely an influencing factor when comparing job offers. In a survey published by Randstad, over 50% of employees admit to leaving their former job for a new one because of better benefits. In a CBI report, 42% of businesses corroborate these findings by stating that “their ability to recruit has been improved by [incentives such as] their pension scheme.’’
And once you’ve secured this crème de la crème talent you’ll need to keep revamping and improving your benefits package to retain your best agents otherwise as soon as they hear of a better offer somewhere else, they may not think twice about leaving your brokerage. According to 64% of Millenials, good benefits are ‘extremely important’ to employer loyalty.
In order to attract interest from a wider pool of agents, list out the various benefits and incentives that you’re currently providing your agents. Research what your competitors are offering to see where you can adjust your current scheme. Benefits to think about include: digital marketing assistance, personal website development, better-earning potential, and pension plans to mention a few.
2. Tailor the job offer to reflect today’s employee attitudes
Unlike generations before them, the average person in the United States today will change jobs at least 5-7 times. Why are people changing jobs so often? What are they looking for? How can you retain them so you reduce the need to repeatedly hire and onboard new agents?
If we were to summarize the five major criteria that agents use when weighing different job offers, we’d find that agents are looking at:
- The salary offered and the compensation plan
- Career growth opportunities and resources
- The work-life balance afforded by working at the brokerage
- How far they have to commute to work or if remote work is a possibility
- Lastly, the brokerage’s company culture and set of values
By taking each of these five points into consideration when drafting up your offer or creating a recruitment strategy, you stand a chance to hire better agents who fit right in with your expectations.
An article in the Harvard Business Review entitled, “Why Employees Stay” brings up two fundamental concepts that make people stay. Namely, job satisfaction and company culture. So long as the agent is content with the resources at their disposal for career advancement, their salary, and benefits, and they fit in with the brokerage’s culture they are more likely to stay. Therefore, it is to a brokerage’s advantage to heed the needs of job seekers.
3. Cast the recruiting net far and wide
If the hiring strategy you’ve been employing all these years isn’t meriting fruit and drawing the kind of talent you want, it might be time to revise your recruitment policy by casting the net far and wide. What do we mean?
You’ll want to give real estate agents at every level a chance. Regardless of whether they are rookies or experienced, adjust your pitch so you can receive a wider response from potential candidates. You may discover rookie agents who are a better fit than the so-called ‘experienced’ talent.
Include elements that will pique the interest of top-tier agents while giving room for newbie agents as well. You may even want to draft up two distinct offers and see the caliber of responses that you get. In order to hire better agents, you need to be flexible and accommodating.
Whether you are holding your own open house or hosting for another realtor, you want to present yourself in a memorable way to homebuyers resulting in new clients and referrals.
We’ve put together a list of simple and affordable ways you can make a lasting impression to open house attendees. Follow these ten easy practices for the most successful open house ever:
1. KNOW THE DISCLOSURES
The most important tip and best way to maintain a professional appearance is to be knowledgeable about your listings.
Nothing is more off putting to a potential buyer than a realtor holding an open house who can’t answer questions about it.
If you put the work in to know the disclosures backwards and forwards, you’ll set a precedent in buyers’ minds that you will work equally as hard for them.
2. BE ON TIME AND STAY LATE
Many buyers dedicate their Sunday afternoons to looking at open homes, meaning they plan to get to the first one right when the majority of open houses in the area are scheduled to begin.
If they decide to come to yours first and you are not there, then you could lose a client, a sale, and the chance at establishing yourself as a reputable realtor.
Likewise, you could miss out on last minute stragglers if you’re too eager to leave early. Stay an extra 5-10 minutes just in case.
Studies have shown that houses sell faster when open homes are staged rather than owner occupied.
Additionally, keep in mind the likely buyer demographics of the home you’re selling.
Staging in a way that mirrors their lifestyle will help them better envision themselves living there, and increase the probability of purchase.
As a final option, offer to pay for a portion of the staging. This will increase repeat business from the seller, and give you an extra perk you can brag about in your personal brand advertisements.
You’ve probably heard that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory and big corporations have put a lot of money into scent marketing to exploit that fact. Studies have shown scents that tend to be more closely linked with happy and/or relaxing memories result in more spending among browsers.
Common smells utilized are baked goods, chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. If you lack the culinary skills, you may want to just stick to coffee or invest in an artificial aroma generator, (don’t worry, non-commercial aroma generators are cheap!)
5. UNIQUE IN-HOUSE MARKETING
Invest some time into researching companies that can help you market yourself and your open home in memorable ways.
For example, you could place a retractable pull up banner displaying a personal branding ad, (so it can be reused), or a video drone tour of the property playing on a loop in the living room.
This is an opportunity for you to get creative, and the marketing you employ should reflect you and the home you’re selling.
Feel free to contact us if you’d like our recommendations to accurately reflect your unique brand.
6. PITCH WALKTHROUGHS
In addition to staging, another good way to imprint a sense of ownership among walkthroughs is to pitch them with details and possibilities specific to their lifestyle or hobbies.
If they have a baby, talk about where cribs would look good in the home. If they are sporty, talk about nearby fitness clubs, storage possibilities, or any positive contributions to their lifestyle the home could make.
It’s as easy as striking up a genuine conversation with buyers and learning about who they are, then conflating features of the home with their responses.
7. DRESS CODE
This is another issue that should be left to the discretion of the agent depending on the expected demographic of people viewing the home.
You want to portray a sense of professionalism and cleanliness regardless, but a suit and tie might not necessarily be ideal.
If it’s a younger demographic in a newly gentrified region, realtors might be better off dressing down a bit to instill comradery amongst home browsers.
Knowing the clientele and what they’re likely to respond well to is more important than dressing to the nines in all business settings.
Use your best judgement and try to depict yourself as both someone your target demographic is likely to connect with and deliver a prompt, professional experience.
8. DIGITAL ADVERTISING
Most realtors already take advantage of advertising opportunities offered on social media and consumer facing listing platforms, but there is a lot more to be done in this scope to increase both reach and strength of personal brand in terms of both the type of digital advertisement and how to present them.
Look into alternative digital advertisement sources that remain largely untapped within the industry, such as advertising on mobile gaming platforms or utilizing virtual tour platforms.
Also pay attention to the quality of ad.
Professional photographers might seem costly considering photos can be easily taken and uploaded from your phone, but they’re unlikely to attract new clients when compared with the quality a professional brings.
As is the case with scents, sounds that induce happy and relaxing memories in buyers are strongly correlated with greater purchase volume.
You can create a soft playlist to quilt the interior of your open home to help buyers achieve this relaxing mentality, or you can simply rely on the scientifically backed playlist featuring, “the most relaxing songs in the world.”
Whichever route you choose, keep in mind this technique is meant to be supplementary to every other tactic you employ, not the star of the show, so don’t turn the volume up too loud.
10. REMOVE CLUTTER
Lastly, to quote John Wesley, “cleanliness is close to godliness.”
Take the time to hire cleaners to remove infringing stains and odors, make sure the yard is well kempt and free of clutter, and remove any semblance of a previous owner occupancy.
If you provide home buyers with a blank template, they can fill it with visions of their own life, and allow them to imagine living there more easily.
For any specific questions or concerns you have about an open house you’re holding in the near future, please email us and we will get back to you promptly with solutions unique to your situation.
Incorporate these techniques into your open house holding actions. Action becomes habit becomes character.
And in the case of realtors, character becomes new clients and repeat business.Written by:
California Licensed Realtor
DRE # 02044169