How to Organize Real Estate Files: Streamline Your Client Experience, Skyrocket Your Business
If you’ve never worked in real estate, it can be easy to underestimate the effort needed to effectively organize and manage the business side of things.
Putting out fires, tracking down post-it notes and following paper trails are as much a part of the job as prospecting and home showings. No surprise, then, that the top real estate teams realize the crucial role effective organization plays in building a strong and sustainable business.
Bulky, red-tape systems simply don’t fit with the agile approach required from today’s top-performing teams. But with organized processes in place, real estate teams can work more efficiently, close deals faster, and scale much more easily.
We’ve prepared an expert-led guide on the most critical items to consider when implementing a new organization system for your real estate business. The goal? A simple, straightforward way to stay sane while enhancing the customer experience and propelling your team forward!
What's the Best Way to Organize Real Estate Files?
To answer this question, we reached out to a couple of the top brokers and coaches in the industry. Here's what they had to say.
Tip #1. Visit the Transaction Process Daily
“Buying or Selling a home ranks up there in the top most stressful things people do in a lifetime. Much of that stress comes during the contract to close time period of a transaction. One of our jobs as representatives to a buyer or seller is helping to alleviate that stress. To make things easier, not harder,” says Donna Stott, Co-owner of Your Coaching Matters.
Together with her husband Mike, Donna has put in over 10,000 hours of coaching, including for mega real estate teams. Not only that, Mike is still actively selling between 40 and 50 homes per year. (Oh, and their average coaching client makes $400K a year. 👌)
“Too often agents seem to also get stressed during this time [contract to close] and are not helpful to their clients. One way to make things easier for both you, the agent, and your client, is to visit the transaction process nearly every day during the transaction. What I mean by that is not hours of work, but a minute or so each day to see that everyone involved is doing their job and let your client know you’ve checked often enough for them to feel secure and confident you are working for them. This also lets the lender, home inspector, co-op agent and title/escrow provider know that you are on top of things, so THEY do a better job for your client too.”
At Preclose, we love this advice. Because there’s a reason more than 40% of salespeople say prospecting the most challenging part of the sales process, and a BIG part of it is the lack of proactive organizational and time management skills that will keep them out of the transaction management weeds and in front of your prospects where they need to be.
If that means if it’s time to hire a TC, experts like Donna say it’s worth making the leap.
“When you do enough business, hire someone else to do this for you during contract to close. And your job just becomes making sure THEY do their job. Most of our work really is making sure others are doing what they are supposed to do. Doing it professionally and with encouragement, compassion and bringing a sense of calm can be beneficial to both you as well as your clients.”
Here are some simple ways to instantly apply Donna’s advice:
Set a recurring daily task in your agenda for a quick 15-25 min. check in on your contract to close pipeline.
Allocate time during your weekly team meeting to review the contract to close pipeline and identify any urgent issues.
Run a quarterly or annual audit on your transaction coordination templates to make sure you’re checking in with the right people at the right team, using the right words.
If you’re not sure where to start, check out our article on Your Real Estate Pipeline from Your Customer's P.O.V. for sample questions to ask and KPIs to track during your weekly check-ins.
Tip #2. Overcommunicate to keep things clear and organized
When we asked the other half of Your Coaching Matters for his best organization tip, broker Mike Stott had just one for us:
As owner of Northwest Atlanta Properties and one of Inman’s Top 25 Real Estate Coaches, Mike doesn’t have time to get lost in the fine print.
“When it comes to keeping my real estate files organized, my biggest challenge is the amendments etc. I am not an attention to detail person,” Mike admits.
Like Donna, he believes in hiring an experienced, detail oriented TC and giving them everything they need to communicate proactively.
From there, all he has to do is stay out of the way.
“Agents and TCs can do a better job of wow-ing customers during the contract to closing process simply through more communication— things like scheduled emails and texts, canned emails to explain the process in a ton of detail. They need to let clients know exactly what happens during an inspection, an appraisal, three days before closing, etc.”
We couldn’t agree more. When you position your agents to be in the 47% of top performers who ask for referrals consistently (versus only 26% of non-top performers), you empower them to secure positive ROI for the entire team.
At Preclose, we’ve been working on better contract to close communication since day 1. Customers can simply download Preclose GO! and instantly receive better, faster answers from your team, simply by swapping lengthy emails for simple, intuitive chat.
Tip #3. Stay in your zone of genius, let other people organize the rest of it
Mitch Ribak is another top broker who believes in knowing what you are (and aren’t) good at.
“I have used a TC since 2002. I’m extremely ADD and I couldn’t sell 80 homes a year and keep on top of the paperwork, files and timelines.”
The Team Leader and Broker Associate at Tropical Beachside Realty always knows the numbers that count. In fact, that’s exactly how he sells upwards of $120 million per year with a 5.5% conversion rate on long term leads.
For the “Grandfather of Lead Conversion” (as he is otherwise known), staying organized and on track to hitting your goals is all about getting the right people in the right seats.
Like Mike, Mitch believes there is plenty of room to give the TCs on the team more agency through the simple power of better organization and communication.
“It’s all about communication. The number one thing I have found that most TC’s do that I think causes issues is not pick up the phone. We have our TC pick up the phone and then follow up with a recap email so we have everything documented,” explains Mitch.
Problem is, many TCs are working out of a spreadsheet and while that system may make sense to them, it can also be easy for things to fall through the cracks, resulting in communication misfires and upset clients.
Team leaders like Mitch make sure they have the systems and processes in place to make it easy for the team’s TCs to check in at just the right moment.
At Preclose, we’ve built a centralized digital command center for all things transaction coordination. From auto-calculated deadlines to templates, and chat-like communication, your TCs can easily keep all parties informed at every step of the transaction.
Tip #4. Minimize risks and hunt for opportunities in your real estate files
Bernice Ross is CEO & President of BrokerageUP!, an online collaborative specializing in supporting women who opted out of the traditional big box brokerage models and created vibrant boutique brokerages that reflected their unique values and beliefs.
When she’s not sparking new conversations with the network over at BrokerageUP!, you can find Bernice coaching and training some of the industry’s most successful brokers through her work at RealEstateCoach.com.
“I can tell you the biggest thing agents can do to help their clients during the transaction is to give them a calendar of when events like the inspections and other deadlines take place, use a system that includes private chat—this is very powerful for risk management and tracking what’s happening.”
Like Donna, Bernice believes that regular check-ins on your contract to close pipeline are an absolute must for keeping the business organized and on track to close more leads.
“Most importantly, check with your customers at least several times a week to update them on what is happening. Even if there isn’t something to report, ask if they need help with movers or anything else,” she suggests.
By simply making it a team habit to regularly review your deals under contract, you will naturally identify opportunities to over-deliver on customer experience and secure more repeat business and referrals in the future.
How to Keep Your Real Estate Files Organized and Your Customers Happy
Give Your Team the Tools They Need to Stay on the Ball
In the real estate industry, it’s not uncommon to have lots of files, in lots of places. While many real estate pros are used to working in controlled chaos, a fragmented system can make it challenging to deliver a seamless customer experience.
The fastest and easiest way to keep your team consistently organized is to use a client-focused transaction coordination software. With a high-performance TC tool, you get the following benefits:
A done-for-you client experience platform that leverages deadline management, automation, email, and chat-based messaging to help your agents and TCs instantly communicate with home buyers, sellers, and other parties.
Ready-to-use, fully customizable email templates that ensure your team stays responsive and can scale communication across a high volume of transactions, without sacrificing the customer experience.
Seamless integration with the other tools your agents already use and love, such as Gmail, Outlook, dotloop, Skyslope, and others so that all contract dates, documents, and tracking are instantly streamlined.
Full visibility on everything going on with the transaction. By simply offering better transparency you instantly set your team apart by showing your customers you care about their experience with your team from beginning to end (including after the deal’s been signed).
Getting and Staying Organized
Organizing your real estate files is more than just setting up an online filing cabinet. It's also about streamlining the client experience and driving better transparency, visibility, and communication across the business.
Your real estate team can secure repeat business and referrals with every transaction and skyrocket your revenue, simply by staying organized from contract to close. Preclose GO! is here to help you do exactly that.
If you’re ready to give your customers and team members something to brag about, start by taking control of the transaction coordination process. Try Preclose GO! totally free and start wowing your clients today!