By Jill DeWit
Whether you’re just starting your land business or you’re pretty established – things get messy quickly. One minute you’re the most organized you’ve ever been and the next you’ve got multiple calls coming in and can’t keep up with the process you once had perfected. It’s likely going to be obvious when it’s time to consider hiring someone to help with your land investing business. You’ll realize you can’t keep up, and suddenly you’re the bottleneck in your business. You’re picking the counties, scrubbing the data, sending out mailers, answering the phone, doing your own due diligence, and managing the transactions through escrow. Then what? That’s just buying, now you need to sell the property.
I highly recommend a Transaction Coordinator being your first hire. This person will help you clean up your mess and keep things all together and organized and moving through the pipeline. You’ll keep the same processes, but they will be much more polished and give you the time to do the things that you want to do.
Your transaction coordinator should be responsible for whatever CRM you use and always keeping it up to date. You need to look for someone who can take over the bigger picture and share the smaller details with you, as needed. I get a report every Wednesday from my Transaction Coordinator. It summarizes everything I need to know in one place. Sure, I could search through my CRM to find the information, but it wouldn’t be nearly as efficient. She does this for me and sends me a weekly report. The report shows inbound, what’s coming in on the buy side, what is currently in escrow, what is posted for sale but not in escrow, and what the status of our offers are. It includes the state, county, APN, all in one place with an update on where we are and what is needed. It’s nice to have a weekly snapshot of how things are moving through the system.
I do want to be transparent; this is not an easy position to fill. You need someone that has mastered basic administrative tasks but can also be seasoned to develop the additional talent you need. And because this individual will talk to many people on your behalf, personality is also critical.
I’ve always been an advocate of having a transaction coordinator that has experience in a title company. Being able to communicate with the title company, know what they do and understand how to follow the deals all the way through to closing, whether on the buy or sell side, is a huge asset. It’s also nice having someone that can work with the county to get transactions recorded. Delegating just these two tasks is going to save you a lot of time.
You’re the pro at finding the county, talking to the seller, getting the price you want, closing the deal (buying and selling). Your transaction coordinator should be (or develop into) a pro at managing the nuts and bolts and all the paperwork in the middle. If possible, it’s nice to have that person working side by side with you for a while so they can see how you do things firsthand and can begin to pick up on areas where they can take over.
I also recommend considering a trial basis. Work with the individual for a while to make sure you are both happy before spending too much time training someone that isn’t going to work out.
You are hiring this person to make things easier for you, but you also need to consider how you can make their job easier. Maybe there is a certain way they need your notes, a small tweak for you that could make a huge difference for them. No matter who you hire, there is going to be a learning curve and you’re going to have to be patient and dedicate sufficient time to training this person to do things the way you need them to be done.
Again, you’re looking for someone who prefers organization over chaos, doesn’t mind cleaning up your mess, is familiar with and can manage CRMs, title companies and county offices, communicates effortlessly with you, and has a personality that represents your land business well.
Best of luck as you search for the perfect fit to your business!