Whether you are buying or selling a home, you have quite a few different options when selecting who is going to help you do it.
The most popular route is obviously collaborating with real estate agents to help you locate a property to buy (or someone to buy your property), work through the negotiation and inspections process, and be there for you during closing.
However, there are some people who this just won’t work for. These individuals usually just end up buying or selling their home without the help of any real estate professionals. This can be a great option if you are already pretty familiar with the buying or selling process.
But if you need a little bit more support and don’t want to work with an agent, there is a happy medium: a transaction coordinator.
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What is a transaction coordinator?
A real estate transaction coordinator is a neutral third party that helps the seller through the entire real estate transfer process. They focus on customer service, administrative tasks, and knowledge support to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
As they trade in transaction management, these workers usually manage all the paperwork and deadlines involved with selling a home. They understand how the flow of forms and money should work. Thus, they monitor the entire process for conflict resolution from the time the seller accepts the offer until both parties have signed the closing paperwork and the buyer walks away with the keys.
Here's an industry inside tip: Even if you do not hire a transaction coordinator yourself, it is likely that your listing realtor will partner closely with one of these licensed assistants throughout the entire process to make sure that they complete all of your paperwork correctly.
So, especially if you already have a buyer interested in your property, using a transaction coordinator instead of a Realtor can provide you with a wealth of situational knowledge while simultaneously saving you from having to pay a steep realtor’s commission.
What does a transaction coordinator actually do?
A transaction coordinator is there to provide support to sellers throughout the whole property transfer process. They push you along, helping you breeze through the escrow, contingency removal, and closing processes without any hiccups. If any issues come up with the buyer, incorrect paperwork, or concerned third parties, your transaction coordinator can help you through it.
If you have any questions throughout the sale, they are also your go-to point of contact.
Here’s a more detailed list of all the services they provide:
They can help you open the escrow accounts that keep the money from your buyer safe until you can access it at the end of the closing process. Opening up escrow accounts can be tricky and you want to make sure that you do it correctly, so it’s best to have some professional support during this part of the process.
While the money is in escrow, the coordinator should keep a close eye on it to make sure that it’s not touched until it’s supposed to be and then released on schedule.
When it’s time to close the escrow account, your coordinator will audit the file to ensure that all paperwork is complete and the money is where it’s supposed to be.
Act as a Point of Communication Contact
They can coordinate all communication between the buyer, seller, escrow company, involved real estate agents, and other involved third parties.
Your transaction coordinator will also document all of this communication meticulously. This way, if there is ever an error or miscommunication, you will have the detailed paper trail needed to find a good solution – fast.
Purchase Agreement Review
Your transaction coordinator can look over the purchase agreement and make sure that every "I" is dotted and every "T" is crossed. As this is a binding legal document, you really do want to make sure that everything is just as it should be before you sign it and turn it in.
Earnest Money Confirmations
Your transaction coordinator can also make sure that the buyer puts the money into the escrow account on time. Not only that, but they can double-check that is it also the correct amount.
A good transaction coordinator will also confirm the terms around the buyer’s earnest money. That is, that it’s completely subject to forfeiture (i.e. you get to keep it) if the buyer fails to perform the tasks assigned to them in the purchase contract.
Write the Seller’s Disclosure Packet
This is where you let the buyer know about any potential hazards or drawbacks about the home. It’s usually quite long because of what all the state, local, and federal laws require what you tell the potential buyers about. You should be thrilled that you don’t have to write it yourself!
Your transaction broker will also draft any addendums to it, as needed.
Your transaction coordinator will keep a close on the deadlines during the contingency period and will follow up if the buyer misses a deadline. They do this by issuing the buyer with a notice to perform. This form means, "do what your contract says ASAP."
As contingencies are resolved and removed, the coordinator will make sure you stay on schedule towards the original closing date.
The transaction coordinator will partner with the loan underwriter to ensure that they have all of the certificates and clearances needed to perform their job quickly and efficiently. This way, any and all loans can be disbursed in a timely manner.
Coordinate the Final Walk-Through
The final walk-through is a very important part of selling and buying a home. It’s when the buyers make sure that all of their questions are answered, all of the pending contingencies removed, and all of the owner’s belongings are gone from the home.
A transaction coordinator can make sure this step goes off without a hitch.
Look after Tax Withholdings
A seasoned transaction coordinator can make sure to complete all tax withholding exemptions (like the tricky Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) exemption). If you are new to the real estate world, trying to wade through complicated tax procedures like this is likely to be very difficult.
If you are still not convinced that you need some help to sell your home without a licensed real estate agent, for this reason alone, you should highly consider hiring a transaction coordinator.
Set You up for Tax Season
At the end of your time together, your transaction coordinator will usually leave you with a transaction file. These files are typically digital and contain all of the relevant information from your working relationship. When the next tax season comes around, this file will be very useful to you. This is because there are many tax breaks and exemptions for people who purchase homes and you want to make sure that you are able to take full advantage of all of them.
How much does a transaction coordinator cost?
You can pay anywhere from $250 to $450 for an average coordinator. However, these fees usually just indicate that the coordinator will review all of the details of the transaction and sign off on them.
If you want more comprehensive support, you can pay anywhere to the tune of upwards of $75 an hour. Going the second route? Be sure to keep a tight watch on just how much money you plan to spend.
If you plan to use a transaction coordinator to avoid realtor’s commission but need many hours of support, you might end up spending less on a flat fee agent instead. An example is Clever, which only charges 1.5% for full support throughout the entire process.