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Why Brokers Are Investing in Real Estate Back Office Platforms

Real Estate Back Office

Whether you are a small operation with just a handful of agents, a behemoth in the hundreds or thousands, or somewhere in between, it’s likely your back office is the least sophisticated part of your operation.

img-2That doesn’t mean your back office staff isn’t sophisticated. In fact, they’re probably the ones holding it all together. But the tools they have to work with are often not up to the task. Many back offices are a collection of cobbled together spreadsheets and single task software packages. Lots of manual computation, lots of manual and repetitive data entry.

But the work gets done, so what’s the big deal, right?

Well, those manual processes and repetitive data entry greatly affect two things. First, everything moves slowly. Deals take longer to close. Commissions take longer to disburse. Performance takes longer to evaluate. Everything is slow.

Second, mistakes creep in at every turn. Manual computations, manual entry, manual re-entry. Every time someone does something manually, it’s an opportunity for human error. Errors can cause agent issues, compliance issues, and more.

Commission Automation Helps Retain Agents

A successful brokerage in California lost a top producing agent over a payment error. At the end of year they realized that the producer’s sliding scale commission was not set up correctly. The company underpayed this top producer $5,200 right before the holidays. Frustrated, the agent left the brokerage shortly after the new year and the company lost a top producer.

Commission Automation Shouldn’t be Expensive

A successful client in Arizona with over 200 agents invested over $15,000 to create a mechanism that tracked their complex commission plans. They tried using a combination of spreadsheets and custom software never got it to work. They ended up wasting $15,000 with no result. Shortly after this incident they started with Brokermint. In addition to everything else that the platform does, the complex commissions were up and running in 60 days.

Compliance Document Management and E-Sign Saves Time

A large client in Southern California closes about 12,000 transactions a year. Before moving to Brokermint, she invested up to 5 hours a day (including weekends) reviewing documents. This cost the company $700 a week solely for compliance. When she began using Brokermint, she cut this down to 2 hours a day and no weekends.

Compliance Document Management Can Prevent Costly Errors

6What’s your current process for ensuring you are in compliance with all document requirements? A successful boutique brokerage decided to scale and didn’t have a good process in place. One of his newer agents was working on a transaction and failed to disclose all the property details to his client. In addition, he was missing crucial paperwork. The house closed and the agent got paid. A few weeks later the client began to notice issues with the property. The client filed a lawsuit to recoup the funds.

Real Estate Accounting Shouldn’t Require Keyboard Entry

Accounting is a crucial part of doing business. A client who averaged 10 closings per month was paying his admin to manually input the data in their accounting software. It worked out to about 15 minutes per closing, or 30 hours a year just for 120 closings per year. By simply automating this process he was able to use the money to invest into new marketing projects.

Reporting Should be Automatic

A 50+ agent brokerage was having trouble compiling reports. The admin spent 2 hours every week to make sure all the data added up on spreadsheets. Eventually the broker found many errors and realized a lot of the data did not make sense. He had spent time and around $200 a week trying to fix the broken reports. Now with Brokermint, they have transparency on all needed reports and no human error to worry about. They also now have many more views on the data, allowing them to see more trends in their business to make accurate data driven decisions.

Evaluating Back Office Platforms

If you are thinking about a back office platform, there are several key areas to investigate. And you probably already have a sense for them based on the anecdotes above. But here they are in a quick list:

  • Transaction Management: Track and document every step of the process. Always know exactly where each deal stands. Get to closing faster.
  • Commissions Automation: Set up recruiting and sponsor fees, referral fees, sliding scales, and also process disbursements.
  • Accounting: Everything you need for accounting should already be in the system. Use the back office platform for all your real estate accounting, and push data into platforms like Quickbooks.
  • Agent Management and Onboarding: Make sure you have all needed licenses and documents in place for all agents. Also view pipelines and production of all agents.
  • Reporting: You should be able to have full knowledge of everything that is happening in the back office. Out of the box reports and custom reports are both useful and provide information that can drive decisions.

Keep these topics in mind when evaluating solutions for your back office.