Transaction Coordinator: Complete Guide to hiring for your Real Estate Team (+Interview Questions)

Everyone in the industry knows that closing real estate transactions can be difficult, and that in most cases, the contract to closing process can take up a lot of the real estate (RE) agent’s bandwidth. It’s also no secret that the time many real estate agents spend closing a transaction could be time spent doing what they know how to do best – prospecting and networking!

This is where transaction coordinators (TCs) come in handy.

But who are transaction coordinators, and what does a TC do?

In this piece, we’ll explore why transaction coordinators are essential for the contract to closing process of a real estate transaction, and provide three essential tips for priming your TC for success in the hyper-competitive real estate industry.

Table of contents

  • What is a Transaction Coordinator?

  • The Top 5 Benefits of Hiring a Real Estate Transaction Coordinator

  • Transaction Coordination: Should You Hire In-house or Outsource?

  • Where do you find a Transaction Coordinator?

  • The 4x Criteria for Hiring a TC Superstar

  • Real Estate Transaction Coordinator Job Description Template

  • A Done-For-You Hiring Process to Find Your Dream TC

  • How to Get the Best out of Your TCs

What is a Transaction Coordinator?

As a RE team or brokerage, you want all your deals to come to a close as fast as possible while providing an unforgettable experience to your customers. However, having to chase down, monitor and communicate the administrative workflows that kick in after the offer has been accepted can distract you from giving your clients the attention they need and cut into your lead flow and income.

A real estate transaction coordinator is an individual that’s skilled at handling all the administrative duties required from the contract to the closing stage of a real estate transaction.

What does a real estate transaction coordinator do?

A TC supervises a range of tasks. While these tasks can vary based on the brokerage or transaction, core activities include:

  • Opening the escrow account

  • Coordinating appraisals and inspections, negotiating, and managing any needed repairs

  • Handling all communication with the buyer, seller, lenders, agents, and other persons involved in the transaction

  • Ensuring that all contingencies have been released

  • Making sure all contracts are accurate and submitted when due

  • Communicating any closing instructions

Bringing a transaction coordinator into the picture to handle all these tasks frees up the rest of the team to focus on generating leads and managing clients – but that’s not all a TC can help with.

The Top 5 Benefits of Hiring a Real Estate Transaction Coordinator

Here are our top five reasons for hiring a RE transaction coordinator:

#1. You’ll stay on track

TCs act as supervisors for the critical stages of a home sale – signed offer to closing. There is a high possibility that you or your agents aren’t familiar with the timelines and clauses that could get in the way if not handled properly, and TC’s live and breathe deadlines, clauses, and timelines.

#2. A TC can handle admin and communication (better than you ever could)

Closing a home sale involves tons of paperwork and tasks that can drag on for hours or days. Slogging through this process can be laborious and draining. Getting a TC to handle this gives you and your team more time to focus on client service and sales!

#3. You’ll enjoy detailed and accurate file documentation

During the contract to closing stage, a lot of data is exchanged between all the parties involved – seller, buyer, lender, etc. Most, if not all, of this data is sensitive and needs to be appropriately documented and stored.

Proper record-keeping is essential, and you can trust your TC to take care of this for your team. (Plus, clear, organized records can definitely come in handy in case of a disagreement or lawsuit.)

#4. TCs can work remotely

A TC can work from literally anywhere in the world – your choice. All they need is access to the internet, a computer and a phone. But you should hire one with experience in your state, as rules and regulations usually differ.

#5. You’ll speed up your transactions

Among all the many moving parts in a real estate transaction, the TC acts as your chief customer experience advocate tying it all together. They continually remind and re-engage any unresponsive inspectors, slow-moving buyers, or hesitant sellers, so you don’t have to.

Additionally, they understand the deadlines you need to meet in order to close the sale and act swiftly to avoid any bumps or hiccups.

The big question when it comes to TCs is not their importance – that much is obvious. Instead, many real estate teams want to know whether to hire a TC in-house or to outsource.

Let’s explore both options in more depth.

Transaction Coordination: Should You Hire In-house or Outsource?

To best assess these options, we’ll be judging them through on the following criteria:

- Hiring cost

- Learning curves

- Key-person risk

You’ll also find a checklist of things to think about based on your decision to go with either in-house or outsource. Let’s dive in!

Hiring cost

Hiring can be expensive and time-consuming. Depending on the platform you use for your hiring ads, plus the time spent reviewing, vetting, and interviewing, you could spend thousands.

Throw in salary and benefits, and the cost of getting a “great” transaction coordinator through the door can go as high as $40,000. All this before they handle a single transaction.

On the other hand, outsourcing can be much more affordable, especially if you are a growing real estate team or boutique broker. Your initial investment costs are much lower, as you only need to spend time researching transaction coordinator services and reviewing any recommendations.

With the outsourced model, you only pay per transaction. And you can scale the number of TCs as your needs grow. Most TC service providers or freelancers charge between $300 - $500 per transaction – a fraction of the sort of upfront cost you would need to commit to when hiring an in-house TC.

Real Estate’s steep learning curve

In some instances, it’s possible to hire an experienced TC in-house that won’t need any training. But that is rarely the case. And in the situation where you hire a smart but inexperienced transaction coordinator, you’d need to spend time and considerable resources on training. Keep in mind that hiring someone without a documented process or system makes their learning curve even steeper, and the risk of turnover is higher.

Outsourcing your TC needs to a freelancer or service provider grants you access to an experienced hand. Many real estate transactions can be complicated, and you don’t want an inexperienced employee handling your file if complications arise. Most service providers or freelancers are specialists in real estate transactions.

Key-person risk

The cost of hiring an in-house TC means you most likely will start with one individual to handle all your transactions. Now, that can be a problem, considering how vital the role of a TC is to a RE transaction. Imagine your in-house TC calling in sick or taking a vacation on day 17 when all contingencies need to be released!

Outsourcing your TC needs protects you from this sort of risk. The right transaction coordinator service builds redundancies in its process to prevent these sorts of issues from happening.

Deciding whether to outsource business activities or keep them in-house isn’t easy.

In fact, it’s a decision you need to consider carefully. However, no matter which option you decide to go with, you need to set up your transaction coordinator(s) for success starting with clear expectations about what you expect from the role.

In-house TC Hiring Checklist

  • If you hire in-house, are you willing and able to document your workflows? Have you covered all contract deadlines, dates, etc.?

  • Set clear boundaries for an agent helping you part-time vs. tasks and responsibilities of a true TC

  • Determine your compensation model

  • Do you know an agent that has experience in real estate but maybe prefers the transaction aspect?

  • If yes, how many transactions do they have experience with?

Outsourced TC Hiring Checklist

  • Are they an agent doing this part-time or a dedicated TC?

  • Are they a solo TC or a team setup?

  • Are they a professional company with expert workflows and templates already in place?

  • Do they have professional references?

  • Does their pricing model match your budget?

  • Do they have E&O insurance?

  • If a team, how many TCs? What is the tenure of the TC?

  • How do they continue their education with transactions?

  • What is the culture of the TC team?

  • Do they have a process around:

  • New Client Onboarding

  • Billing

  • Performance Management

  • Offboarding

  • SLAs (Service Level Agreements)

Think about the key touchpoints within a transaction, for example, the first touch after an agent submits a file to a transaction coordinator all the way to when the TC introduces themself to all parties.

Anything outside of this scope of work is an Assistant role, not a transaction coordinator role.

Frequently asked questions

How much should you pay a transaction coordinator?

A TC costs between $300 to $500 per transaction if you are using a freelancer or transaction service provider. The rate depends on your location and the services the TC will handle. If you are looking to hire in-house, the average salary for a Transaction Coordinator is $41,716 per year in the United States.

Do you need a license to be a transaction coordinator?

Most states require that you get a certification/license before you become a practicing TC. You’ll need to check the regulations of your state to see if this applies to your situation.

How do I become a good transaction coordinator?

A background or experience in real estate as a licensed broker or agent is a great place to start building the skills needed to become a good transaction coordinator. You should also check if your state requires any form of certification - the regulations vary from state to state.

How much do closing coordinators make?

The average salary for a Transaction Coordinator is $41,716 per year in the United States if you are hired as key staff. Although, some transactions coordinators have varying compensation models ranging from a per-file fee and may include a portion of the agents commission.

How do you find a transaction coordinator

We’ll keep this pretty short.

  • Ask other agents who they use for transaction coordination, you may be able to share transaction coordination with another agent

  • Ask your broker who they would recommend for transaction coordination, they may know who might be a good fit for you

  • Search on Google for “transaction coordinator in <your city>

  • Reach out to Preclose to have them recommend someone in their network of transaction coordinators that are proficient with the use of technology

  • Look at the National Association of Real Estate Support Professionals website for a directory of third-party transaction coordination companies

When you find them, be sure to compensate them appropriately. You may save money, but you may also suffer if you don't hire the right one.

The 4x Criteria for Hiring a TC Superstar

At Preclose, we’ve had the pleasure of working with a variety of real estate teams and TC teams of every shape and size.

Whether you’re hiring a staff member for your multi-location franchise team or outsourcing to a TC for your fast-growing brokerage, we have identified the four fundamental criteria to help you find the perfect TC for your team.

Criteria #1. Hire for Culture Fit

Skills can be taught but attitude is hard to change.

Even if you’re working remotely, you need a TC who adds value to your unique team culture. A common mistake is to hire someone with decades of experience, but not the right attitude.

As the team leader, you need to ensure every agent enjoys working with your TCs.

Here are a few questions to help you define culture fit:

  • Has the candidate demonstrated behaviors that align with my beliefs?

  • What kind of work environment are they most productive in?

  • What do they enjoy doing in their spare time?

  • Can I see myself stuck in an airport for 3 hours with this person?

Other characteristics to look for in a TC:

  • Coachability

  • Attention to detail

  • Client Success Focused

  • Writing & Grammar skills (I can’t tell you how overlooked this is!)

  • How they handle stress

  • How they handle feedback

  • How they handle tricky situations

Transaction coordinator culture fit interview questions:

  • What kind of work environment are you most productive in?

  • Describe some of your former co-workers?

  • How would they describe you?

  • What do you like to do for fun or in your spare time?

Criteria #2. Hire for the Right Skills and Attitude

Culture fit is crucial, but so is having the basic foundational skills for effective transaction coordination.

The person you’re looking for is organized, detailed, friendly, and knows how to stay focused when the going gets tough. But underneath all that, you also need someone who has a naturally professional email, phone, and in-person communication style. Ask your top candidates to perform a simple writing screening where they are required to submit a few emails or paragraphs on a topic. Check for complete sentences, proper use of words, and tone.

Remember, one botched transaction can really hurt an agent’s ability to ask for referrals. Be crystal clear about what you want your new TC to do for you. The more you ask for, the more you’ll pay per transaction but in our experience, investing in the right TC is almost always money well-spent.

First, decide exactly which skills and tasks you’ll need from your next TC:

  • Offer Writing

  • Addendum Writing

  • Listing Management in addition to Transaction Management?

  • What Tech Stack are they familiar with?

  • Licensed vs Unlicensed

  • Visit Property

  • Investor Deals

  • Short Sales/FCs

  • # Years Experience

  • New Construction Deals

  • Land Deals

  • Commercial Deals

  • After Hours Support (outside 9-5 working hours)

  • Compliance Submission

  • Commission Disbursement

  • Schedule Inspections, Closings, Appraisers

  • Certifications

Screening for a candidate with the right attitude is admittedly much harder than screen for black and white technical skills, but it’s just as (if not more) important. Ask your interviewees the following behavioral interview questions. Their answers will tell you a lot about what they are really like to work with.

Problem-solving interview questions for transaction coordinators:

  • Do you like to work alone, or as part of a team?

  • If a file comes across your desk at the end of the day, how do you respond?

  • What frustrates you?

  • What would make you quit within the first 6 months?

  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake. How did you handle it?

  • How do you like to receive feedback?

  • Have you worked in an office setting before?

  • Have you ever had issues with vendors? If so, how did you resolve them?

  • Did you ever have a disagreement with a co-worker, how did you resolve it?

  • What kinds of self-learning classes, publications, books or other resources do you enjoy?

Criteria #3. Hire for Technical Aptitude

In today’s world, your transaction coordinator must have experience with technology.

However, how much experience is up to you. Some teams prefer to hire TCs who have experience with specific transaction management tools, others prefer to train their TCs on their team’s unique tech stack.

Whatever the case for you, just make sure your TC is comfortable with learning new software, setting up your systems, email, e-signature platforms, CRMs, and data entry.

(Word of advice: Never hire someone that has 10+ years experience but doesn’t know what the word “browser” means!)

Make a list of the tech tools your TC will need to know or learn:

  • What organizational software and eSignature tools does your team use?

  • What process documentation do you have available to share?

  • Do you already have your email templates and communication touchpoints mapped out? Or, will the TC need to have this for you?

  • What parts of your tech stack will the TC need to access?

  • Do you have any checklists in place to help your TC learn workflows quickly?

At the very least, your new TC should know how to use email, text, and at least one eSignature platform for both the back office and front end of the business.

Transaction Coordinator tech aptitude interview questions:

  • What software have you used in the past?

  • Do you have any social media accounts?

  • How comfortable are you with learning new software?

  • Tell me how you would organize a file. Do you know how to upgrade your “browser”?

  • When was the last time you had to learn something new, what was that like?

  • What was the last app you downloaded?

Criteria #1. Hire for Stress Management

Do not, I repeat, do not skip this step.

Transaction coordination is a stressful job. TCs have to meet deadlines, keep clients happy, give vendors what they need to move forward, and keep their agents up to speed all along the way.

It’s a lot to handle. Make sure you look for a transaction coordinator who can keep their cool under pressure. Whether it’s a surprise inspection or an unforeseen mortgage issue, you need someone who can put out fires without breaking a sweat.

Transaction Coordinator stress management interview questions:

  • What stresses you out, and how do you pull yourself out of it?

  • How do you manage being caught off guard?

  • When was the last time you said: "I don't know"? How did you handle it?

  • Describe an expected situation when you found yourself having to troubleshoot a problem. How did you navigate it?

Once you’re clear on exactly what you need from your TC, and whether you’ll be hiring in-house or outsourcing, it’s time to wrap it all up in a job description that will: a.) set clear expectations from day one and b.) attract high-quality candidates for the role.

Real Estate Transaction Coordinator Job Description Template

Here’s a sample template of a transaction coordinator job description. Be sure to take the time to adapt and customize it for your unique needs and team culture.

“We’re looking for an experienced transaction coordinator to oversee the contract to closing stage of our home selling and buying process. You’ll be responsible for handling the process from start to finish to ensure a successful sale. The ideal hire is organized, meticulous, and possesses outstanding customer service skills. If you thrive in a fast-paced and goal-oriented work environment, apply today!”

Real estate transaction coordinator responsibilities

  1. Supervise administrative paperwork and duties for buyers and sellers from offer to close.

  2. Support RE agents and other stakeholders to ensure all paperwork and escrow documents such as appraisals and titles are completed.

  3. Schedule and ensure inspections and repairs are completed on time, in full.

  4. Proofread and ensure the seller approves the buyer’s offer and any counteroffers.