Your back-office staff members are the ones who tie everything together. Essentially, they are the backbone of the whole operation. They keep track of all documentation for every transaction, deal with compliance issues, and process (sometimes very complex) commission disbursements.
That is just a sliver of the workload they have to balance, yet the systems they use aren't suited to help them efficiently accomplish tasks. Day in, day out, they work with multiple single-task systems, complex spreadsheets with even more complex formulas, and volumes upon volumes of data that they are required to enter and re-enter manually.
Let's take a look at some of the problems experienced in the real estate back office and how they can be solved to drive improvement in your bottom line.
Hurdles in the Real Estate Back Office
1. Data Entry Processes That Consume Too Much Time (and Money)
Back office staff do manual entry (and re-entry) of data into spreadsheets and various software platforms. This is the worst kind of busywork, because it's not at all necessary. Not to mention the extra time spent reviewing the documents and making corrections.
However, with the right automated system, most of this time could be cut. This frees up hours and energy that could be dedicated to closing deals faster and other strategic initiatives you may have.
2. Higher Risks Brought About by Human Error
As the popular saying goes, human is to error. It is thus impossible to have perfect manually compiled inputs without reviewing them thoroughly first. Errors in the inputs that go unnoticed often lead to agents getting paid incorrectly, their commission disbursement getting help up, or even worse, closing getting delayed.
With this, brokerages run the risk of losing highly qualified agents who may deem the system untrustworthy. Clients could also decide to move to a more efficient brokerage.
How to Effectively Streamline Your Real Estate Back Office
With a few strategies that involve automation, there'll be less pressure in the back office to handle manual tasks.
1. Integrate Your Systems
Much of the real estate industry is moving to consolidated back office platforms. But if that's not an option for you right now, at least connect the individual systems you have to reduce manual entry and re-entry. Many platforms offer some sort of API connectivity and/or connectivity through other systems like Zapier.
2. Effectively Manage Commission Plans
With real estate, it can sometimes be tasking to disburse commissions since individual agents and teams have custom structures. And the splits between sides aren't uniform across the industry either. The complex formulas and seemingly infinite calculations on a few spreadsheet screens make the work a full-time job.
So you have two basic options. You can limit the complexity of your commissions. This means minimizing the nuances between agents and teams. In other words, go with a cookie cutter approach. With less decisions to make and more repetition of the same calculations, you'll end up with fewer errors and quicker processing.
Your second option is to invest in software that does it for you. The software will let you set up multiple complex commission plans and will do the work for you. This speeds up everything and eliminates human error.
Brokermint's commission automation module not only calculates commissions, but also allows you to set commission tiers for your agents and even factors in fees. From there on, it helps you track each deal that any agent handles in real-time.
3. Safely Store Documents Online
Your office may look spotless, but are you sure you don't have boxes upon boxes of paperwork stacked in a hidden file cabinet somewhere?
At the very least, use software like Dropbox with a strict filing structure and naming convention to reduce the paperwork and have an easier time pulling up documents for review.
But if you really want to improve your document storage, a system like Brokermint will store all documents securely and organize them with their corresponding transaction. Documents will, therefore, always be audit ready.
4. Implement eSignatures
The real estate business requires verification in the form of signatures at multiple stages. Even after moving your dealings online, you need to ensure that you have a way of including legitimate signatures in documents; otherwise, you'll have to keep following up and pestering clients to sign documents, scan them and send them back to your office.
A simple solution is to implement electronic signatures in documents. This will allow clients to securely sign them from the convenience of their homes, allowing you to close deals faster and take on more clients.
Digital signatures will also make compliance reviews less of a hassle since the whole process can now happen online.
5. Consider a Back-Office Automation Platform like Brokermint
You can opt to adopt an all in one back office platform like Brokermint to help you seamlessly integrate all these strategies. In fact, the real estate market has been moving quickly in this direction since early 2019.
Do your homework, look at the full market of options for back office solutions. We, of course, think Brokermint is the most complete and user-friendly option. But kick your own tires and demo both our software and the competition.