Many real estate agents think that the most important part of their job is completed when they have a signed contract in their hands. They believe that once the contract is signed, there is nothing left for them to do until the closing takes place. This is simply not the case. Real estate agents must stay involved with the buyers and sellers until the closing is final. The reality is, until the deal on the house is closed there is no commission check.
Beyond the need to ensure that you receive payment for your time, real estate agents should remain involved in the process because it creates good-will and future customers. Buyers and sellers alike that feel they have been taken care of during the purchase process will gladly recommend your services to friends and family. A good deed now will positively affect your earnings in the future.
Some of the things that you can do to make the process run smoothly and reach closing are:
When working with the buyer:
- Work with the lender and see if there are ways to check the status of the mortgage by phone, fax or Internet. Making sure the loan is processing correctly will help you get to closing faster.
- If the sale is a VA or FHA sale, make sure you are familiar with all the regulations and requirements. These change on a yearly basis.
- Meet deadlines for inspections and loan applications.
- Communicate with seller or seller’s agent about progress on your side of the deal, inquire about any progress on their side.
- Provide a list to your client of available service providers such as home inspection companies, surveying companies or pest inspection companies. You should, however, stay away from recommending a specific company for liability reasons.
- Attend inspections with your client if possible. Some clients will freak-out if they hear that a repair needs to be made. Providing support at this time will help move the sale along.
- Give clients a list of utility companies that service the home. If you know that the buyer has children, provide a list of schools.
- Remind clients to secure insurance for the home. Many people forget this and closings are delayed until a policy is in place.
- If title searches are performed by private companies in your area, make sure this process has begun. Again, failure to do the proper title search on a property can delay closing.
When working with the seller:
- If the date passes for the buyer to make a commitment on the home, call the other agent and inquire.
- Make sure the appraisal is done in sufficient time. Verify that the appraisal amount is compliant with the lenders requirements.
- Make sure you know when any inspections on the home take place. Call the agent of the buyer the following day to find out if there are any issues you need to address.
- You do not want to delay the closing due to repairs.
- Periodically check in with the buyers representative to make sure that everything is progressing as it should.
- Provide your client with a check list of things to do before they move as a courtesy. Include reminders on the list like forward mail and shut off utilities.
Every sale is going to be different and the requirements of the buyer or seller will also be different. It is important to stay involved to help the sale end successfully. Of course, there are always events that take place that may kill the deal, but these events should never be the result of inaction on the real estate agent.