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  • Chelsea Donovan

How One Transaction Coordination Business Owner Closed 1,000 Files in 6 Months

With a career spanning front desk employee, office manager, licensed real estate agent, and now a business owner with over 15 transaction coordinators who closed roughly one thousand deals in the first six months of 2020 alone, you could say Melisa Vinke has paid her dues.

“I actually started my real estate career way back in 2002,” explains Melisa.

Like so many entrepreneurs who are drawn to a life in real estate, Melisa’s professional path has been anything but straight and narrow. We sat down with the owner of Elite Closing Solutions to find out how she built a transaction coordination business on her own terms.

This is her story on how her business closed 1000 files in 6 months:

  • The Backstory: From Employee to Entrepreneur

  • The Catalyst: Grit, Passion and a Repeatable Process

  • A Peek Inside Melisa’s TC Rocketship

  • Building a Transaction Coordination Business in an Uncertain World

The Backstory: From Employee to Entrepreneur

In 2014, Melisa was a single mom looking for a balanced way to provide for her family.

From a busy office manager supporting over a hundred real estate agents to selling homes herself during a massive economic downturn, Melisa had done it all. But after a divorce, the road ahead was anything but clear.

“I needed to survive as a mom. I was now a single mom and I needed to just do something that I'd still love to do,” Melisa recalls.

As fate would have it, a broker in Florida offered her a role as a transaction coordinator.

“I saw his vision,” says Melisa. “He needed to do a lot of what I'm doing now, but he didn't have the resources for that.” She jumped at the chance to be of service in the industry she loved.

But soon after, that broker went into partnership with another broker whose leadership style just wasn’t a fit for Melisa — she knew she’d have to break out on her own if she wanted to do things differently.

“The one thing I feel like I do for the people that work for me is that I offer them the opportunity. I'm not taking 50% of their deal,” Melisa explains. “I just continued to do that through that year, and then eventually broke out on my own.”

In 2015, with three children in tow, Melisa moved to Georgia to set up her transaction coordination business, Elite Closing Solutions. At the time, she had just one part-time TC.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Here’s Melisa on her approach to team leadership.

The Catalyst: Grit, Passion and a Repeatable Process

Starting a new business is never easy. And while hard work wasn’t new for Melisa, this was a different kind of tough. Despite more than a decade working with real estate agents, she still found herself coming up against industry stereotypes.

“In the real estate business, people want you to be their admin because they see that strong personality being able to get tasks done,” Melisa explains. “Somebody would promise me $3,000 or $4,000 a month. And I was like, ‘Well, that sounds good.’"

With three children to provide for, the temptation to drop the dream and go back to being an employee was difficult to resist. But Melisa stayed true to what she believed in.

“I saw the vision of what that first broker had given to me and I wasn't going to give up on that.”

In 2017, her tenacity started to pay off.

Without realizing it, Melisa had restricted her business because she felt like there was a limit to what she could handle on her own. But when she got remarried and went from a family of four to a family of nine, she found herself with renewed support and motivation.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we gotta do something!’ The money that I'm making is good but it's not going to take care of us,” remembers Melisa.

It was time to build a team of transaction coordinators and uplevel her marketing.

The mission-driven focus was working, and more and more agents began sending Melisa their deals. There were just a couple of hurdles in her way:

  • Finding experienced transaction coordinators was a struggle. Melisa had to make do with newbies who needed training, and fast.

  • Her current software simply wasn’t built to handle the growth she was experiencing. Important tasks and documents were falling through the cracks.

That’s when she found Preclose.

“It’s ridiculous how we have been growing since we got Preclose,” laughs Melisa.

Finally, Melisa had found a tool that helped her to build a repeatable system to scale all the things she was doing right in her business while eliminating the need to be hands-on in the weeds training her new TCs every day.

With a central place for all dates, templates, and communication, now her TCs could easily keep the agents, buyers and sellers informed at every step of the transaction and limit the amount of back-and-forth.

“I’m thankful that Preclose has done what it's done for me, that I can check things off and I'm not feeling overwhelmed. It's like the anxiety of knowing that there are so many things still left unattended to is gone. I don't know if it was just a godsend or whatever it was, but as soon as Preclose came into my life, it was like, everything else just fell in place." — Melisa Vinke, Owner, Elite Closing Solutions

A Peek Inside Melisa’s TC Rocketship

Melisa is all about communication and accountability.

With a rock-solid transaction coordination system in place, her team of TCs could now share real-time visual timelines with agents. But for Melisa, the biggest advantage was the safety net it provided for every individual involved in her deals.

“Just knowing that we have a system to keep us on track and one that they can use to check in brings peace of mind,” she explains.

“I get text messages like, ‘Hey we're 80% towards our closing!’ They're asking the questions without me even having to say anything. And that's so nice. With Preclose showing them the next step, they know where they're going and what they've got to get done.”

Instead of endless phone calls from agents asking for status updates, Melisa’s clients can go straight to Preclose and see exactly where each transaction stands via a user-friendly dashboard.

But with a transaction coordination system this transparent, Melisa knew her TCs needed to be bang on the money.

Luckily, the email and checklists templates inside Preclose also helped Melisa onboard and train TCs with much fewer headaches. Even TCs who have zero experience in real estate can easily see which templates to use for which deals.

“It just helps them eliminate that fear or anxiety of, ‘Am I going to send something that doesn't make any sense?’ It is there for them to use. And that's huge.”

But it’s not just Melisa’s TCs who have found a new sense of confidence with a little help from their new transaction coordination system. Melisa now knows exactly how to position her value when speaking with the teams and agents she serves.

"We tell them we have a system that we have invested in to help us do a better job. Nothing gets missed.”

With a 2019 closing rate of 1,000 deals and seeing that her team had already hit that number by mid-2020, Melisa’s new system has Elite Closing Solutions firing on all cylinders.

“I like the dashboard,” says Melisa “The dashboard is a quick view that does help, especially for the TCs that are doing a lot of deals. They work off their task lists every day. Also, with the calendar view, you get different ways of viewing what you're supposed to do that day. For example, these are the things that are coming up in your timeline versus what to expect to be done now.”

Here’s Melisa on how Preclose keeps her team accountable to their agents, buyers and sellers.

Building a Transaction Coordination Business in an Uncertain World

In a world increasingly dominated by automation and artificial intelligence, client experience can quickly set your business apart.

So, we had to ask:

What's your philosophy when it comes to client success and making sure your agents know what's going on in the transaction?

Here’s what Melisa had to say:

“We're either picking up the phone or texting. We're very involved. That's one thing where I feel like we separate ourselves from a lot of the other coordinators. We're not just paper pushers. We're not behind the scenes. We're very much on the front line.”

Now that agents can easily pop into Preclose and view the status of each transaction, Melisa has freed up important bandwidth for her TCs, empowering them to take swift action on any issue that is genuinely urgent.

“This is how we have presented ourselves throughout the transaction, and throughout the year. I also encourage our TCs to get at least one scheduled call per week with their team of agents.”

And if a TC is busy with transactions and can’t afford to hold a meeting, Melisa ensures they commit to communicating with their agents on a daily basis via Preclose.

What’s Next for Melisa and the Elite Closing Solutions team?

For Melisa and her team of rockstar TCs, the journey is just beginning. She is also beginning to pay it forward by giving freelance experienced TCs the chance to train and work with her inexperienced TCs.

“The goal is to move myself to the role where all I'm doing is just managing the business,” she explains. “I’m so thankful that Preclose has done what it's done for me. I don't know if it was just a godsend or whatever it was, but as soon as Preclose came into my life, it was like, everything else just fell in place."

Melisa’s goal is to keep growing her business. And if history is anything to go by, we know she’s going to kill it.

Looking for an easy-to-use platform to help your team close files faster?

Preclose is easy to use and can integrate with your existing software, helping you stay organized and responsive as you grow your team of transaction coordinators. See why thousands of owners, brokers, and team leaders trust our platform with a free trial today!

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