At Preclose, we believe in great tools. We believe in making work easier. And we believe that every successful real estate business requires a committed and systematic approach to one thing above all else: client experience.
Buying or selling a home is a significant step for most clients, and it’s up to you and your team to make that experience as effortless as possible.
But you don’t necessarily need to be a team lead or real estate broker to push for better customer experience. As a matter of fact, an empowered transaction coordinator (TC) can reach for the stars and own the customer experience on behalf of the team.
And Catherine Evans’ story proves precisely that.
We sat down with the former music therapist turned rockstar TC to talk about her work at Keller Williams and the exact workflows she uses to keep a consistent focus on customer experience, even when things get busy.
We’re about to cover the A to Z of Catherine’s TC journey, including:
- From Music Therapist to Keller Williams TC
- The Secret Systems Sauce: From Trello to Preclose
- How to Build a Scalable Customer Experience in Real Estate
- Behind the Wheel: Staying in Control of The Transaction Coordination Process
- What’s Next for Catherine?
From Music Therapist to Keller Williams TC
Catherine Evans has always had real estate in her blood.
“My mom’s been in real estate for 10, 15 years now. So, I kind of grew up with it,” she recalls with a smile.
But her journey towards real estate was far from straightforward. “I went to school for music therapy, but kind of got burnt out a little bit.” Catherine continues, “I was running my own business, and, you know how it is, it’s a lot.”
Like so many of us, Catherine wanted a better work/life balance and more time for family, without sacrificing her sense of stability.
“I wanted to be able to go home and be done with work. Especially right now that everyone’s working remotely. I got married last year and I was like, wait, I’d like to spend some time at home and maybe see my husband once in a while.”
Luckily, being raised by an industry veteran meant that Catherine knew exactly what it was like to work in real estate.
“I worked at a real estate office on the bookkeeping side, probably five or six years ago. I kind of did database work, so I’ve always been a behind-the-scenes type of person,” she explains.
Armed with a love of real estate and a knack for systematic thinking, Catherine was determined to put her family at the forefront — starting with a new career as a transaction coordinator.
Switching Careers in the Middle of a Global Pandemic
As fate would have it, Catherine joined Keller Williams as a transaction coordinator — right smack in the middle of one of the most stressful events in recent history.
“I started this position the week before the quarantine. Georgia shut down eight days after my start date, and it was mandatory that everyone work from home,” says Catherine.
“And it’s been interesting being in this role. It’s very checklist-oriented. You gotta know what’s going on at all times.”
The compulsory work-from-home period gave Catherine time to research and study all the ways to get the best out of her new role as a TC. But it quickly became apparent that if Catherine wanted to succeed in her position, she’d need a system to make it all come together.
Having the right tools and systems definitely helped Catherine keep the chaos to a minimum in her first year as a full time TC trying to keep things moving during a global health pandemic.😅
The Secret Systems Sauce: From Trello to Preclose
With dozens of files to handle each month, transaction coordinators often find themselves struggling to manage deadlines and keep their agents accountable.
It’s a good problem to have, but it can slow your progress, even in a collaborative environment like Keller Williams.
“I tried Trello, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I’d have the checklist, but it wasn’t easy enough to access everything at one time. I’d have to click on each name or each board for 25, 30 transactions, that’s a lot of clicking, you get lost and you could easily forget something.”
And then, Catherine found Preclose.
“Someone else that was on the other side of the transaction was using Preclose. I was like, ‘Hey, this is kind of cool. Oh, it’s free. I’ll try that!’ And that’s how I got started,” says Catherine.
“I’m not an expert by any means, but Preclose helps me figure out where everything is and what needs to be done,” she laughs.
“The biggest part is keeping everyone on the same deadlines. And I have to know when those deadlines are because I think I’m managing 38 transactions right now and there’s a lot of dates. If we miss those deadlines, that looks bad for the agent, and it doesn’t serve the client the best way.”
With Preclose, Catherine found a tool that enabled her to manage her transaction volume with ease. Now she could:
- Simplify scheduling
- Keep everyone on the same page
- Oversee deadlines
- Hold all parties accountable
Here’s a glimpse into how Catherine has set up her checklists to shorten and simplify communication with buyers, sellers and agents.
Building a Scalable Customer Experience in Real Estate
Catherine’s job as a TC is all about making life easier for her, her clients and her clients’ clients.
With a dependable transaction coordination system, Catherine can customize and scale the customer experience to fit the various agents, buyers, and sellers she works with, no matter what expectations they might have.
“Some people want me to be the main point of contact, and other people are like, ‘Hey, I just need you to keep me on track,’” she explains.
“I always keep in touch with the agents and with all the deadlines. I send reminder emails, I create a little graphic and comment like, ‘Hey, don’t forget, you have your financing contingency,’ or ‘Earnest money is due today.’”
In addition to helping keep all transaction stakeholders on the same page, Preclose has also helped Catherine stay in complete control of the transaction coordination process, reducing any sense of overwhelm and staying far away from the burnout she experienced in her previous career.
Today, Catherine isn’t just 100% on top of her agents’ and buyers’ needs: she also has much more time for herself and her family! 🙌🏻
With a little help from Preclose GO, Catherine can easily see which of her agents and customers need a little nudge and which ones are right on track.
Behind the Wheel: Staying in Control of The Transaction Coordination Process
A TC’s job is never one dimensional and agent-client communication is another critical aspect of Catherine’s role.
“The agents like to see what’s been done. Preclose has taken care of questions like ‘Oh, have you done this? Have you done that?’ Everyone’s on the same page.”
“My intake process when I start with a new agent is to say, ‘Hey, do you want access to this program?’ Some of them are like, ‘No, you just do whatever you want. I just want to close.’ Some people are more like, ‘Hey, I want to see what you’ve done, have you checked on the appraisal? Or have you checked on the HOA dues?’ It’s nice that people can see if they want to,” Catherine explains.
Based on the type of agent (and yes, that includes personality type) and transaction, Catherine can customize and automate her complete timeline of communication touchpoints and make everyone feel confident from point A to Z of the closing process.
“I like that you can have different templates for the buyers and the sellers. You can either have a buyer-seller checklist or a new construction checklist… I also like that you can skip things that aren’t relevant to each transaction, like there’s not always a lender, so if you need to you can skip all the mortgage-related activities. Rather than just deleting it, I can say, ‘Yes, I did look at that.’”
In addition to staying in control of the agent-client communication loop, Catherine can quickly get transactions going once her agents share a new file with her.
“Our office requires us to separate the binding contract into the other purchase and sale agreement. I like that you can see all the documents there. It’s a lot easier to access from my phone when I’m not in front of a computer,” she explains.
Today, Catherine knows exactly what to communicate with each party, even when she’s on the go.
What’s Next for Catherine?
For Catherine, the past few months have been a whirlwind of learning how to meet and exceed expectations for her agents and homebuyers.
“I still learn something with every transaction, and it’s an ever-evolving system. If I get a question more than once, I try to make it my policy to set up a process in order to let people know about it ahead of time,” she explains.
Catherine plans to keep her transaction coordination journey as proactive as possible. Because, at the end of the day, great customer experience comes down to having a process. Now that she has the right tools, Catherine can learn, optimize and scale as she goes.
Take client experience to the next level with Preclose Go!
Client experience is vital in real estate, and success is par for the course when you pair your solutions with the powerful workflows inside Preclose. With the ability to send automated reminders, auto-fill forms with a simple @token and more, Preclose GO! gives teams everything they need to take client experience to the next level.