Ahh. The sights, sounds and smells of springtime – it’s here. Buds blooming, trees greening and baseball will be cranking up soon.
Baseball? Bob, I thought you taught real estate.
Yes, stick with me for a minute. It turns out baseball is a great analogy for getting to the closing. Think about it: getting the players (buyers and sellers) around all the bases safely. That’s the goal. Nothing counts until you’ve rounded the bases and touched home plate.
You know exactly what I’m talking about. You get a client to third then a loan falls through, an inspection uncovers something ugly, a buyer gets cold feet and strike three, you’re out.
So slap on your baseball cap and think like a winner. Try these tips round the bases to score a successful close:
- Education, Education, Education. To get to an effective closing, replace the old real estate moniker of location, location, location with education, education, education. It may be the single most important element in ensuring an offer gets to closing. Educate yourself and your customers and clients about the entire process. And keep everyone informed with what you’re doing and what they’re handling. E-mail clients about dates and deadlines and let them know what everyone’s job is with deadlines.
- Have a system. When I became a real estate consultant 20 years ago, I made systems a cornerstone of my business to help agents. Why? Systems take the guesswork (and a good chunk of the hard work) out of real estate. Agents who implement systems to track all the key dates and deadlines – and to ensure nothing gets missed – tell me they can’t imagine life without systems. And if a system sounds like too much, at least consider a closing checklist that clearly outlines everything (I mean everything) to be done from accepted offer to close.
- Be proactive. Follow up frequently to be sure everything is on track and being addressed. Ask lenders for a weekly update on loans progress. Keep track of the appraiser. Stay on top of the details with a can-do attitude at all times. It’s about communication. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a free article called Communication is King.
- Know your lenders. After the mortgage crisis it’s imperative that you know the lenders. When you get a preapproval letter with an offer, call and talk with the lender personally about the customer’s qualifications and ensure the lender is well qualified, completely informed and educated with the loan process and their loan program specifics.
- Read, review, repeat. Review all closing documents including title policy and closing statements to correct errors or uncover any issues before they get to the closing table. Are all the names spelled correctly? Is the purchase price correct? Are all buyer credits and seller charges correct?
- Think solutions, not blame. Invariably something (and often more than just one thing) will go wrong along the road to a closing. Sometimes times it’s big, sometimes small, but you can count on it. When things get off the path, often our first reaction is to find out who goofed and stick them with the blame button. But all the blame in the world won’t help you move nearer to the closing. Always remember to keep your goal in mind: to get the sale closed. So instead of blame, think solution. If a closing challenge crops up — and hopefully you saw it coming with all your follow up and tracking – but if not, tell all parties as soon as possible and instead of finger pointing, work toward a solution.
Follow these steps and you’re bound to get your players around all the bases with a homerun.
Best of luck to you!
Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker and author who is founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc. (CorcoranCoaching.com, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential or commercial broker or agent’s existing practice.
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