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 yo