Under Contract? Save Time Without Hiring An Assistant (Until You Want To!)

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I'm Jennifer Myers, Founder of Agent Grad School and host of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent, The Agent Grad School Podcast.  My goal for each episode is to give you actionable steps you can implement today to grow your real estate business.

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We are on to Pillar #4: The Under Contract Phase.

This is the phase where so many agents get tripped up, but it doesn’t have to be that way!


Because the majority of real estate agents (me included) fall into one of these camps:

Agent #1:

They spend way too much time in this section of their business, which ultimately ends up hurting their business because there is not enough time to do all the other things you need to be doing to keep clients coming in and happy…

Agent #2:

They don’t spend enough time managing and setting up a system for this phase of their business that things fall through the cracks–deadlines get missed, there aren’t enough timely updates to clients who are wondering what the heck is going on, etc…

Agent #3:

They delegate this part of their business too early, which means spending money they could spend elsewhere to grow their business…

Agent #4:

They delegate this part of their business at the perfect time, but they do it in a way that turns their clients off.

If any of these describe you, raise your hand. 🙋‍♀️

I was in camp #1 for a LONG time and then I fell into camp #3 for a while before finally getting the under contract phase of my business to be frictionless for both me and my clients, while also being super-efficient AND cost-effective all at the same time.

What I learned from stumbling for YEARS every time a client went under contract was this part of my business was actually the easiest place I could save time and money, even though at first it was the place hemorrhaging both.

There are so many misconceptions about the under contract part of a real estate agent’s business being thrown around.

People are making it way more complicated than it needs to be.

And, you also don’t have to spend a lot of money to get your time back in this part of your business while creating an amazing experience for your clients at the same time.

That’s the goal, of course, isn’t it?

  1. Create a business that gives you the time freedom you want;
  2. While creating an amazing experience for your clients so they are happy and want to refer you and use you again; and
  3. Without spending money unnecessarily to accomplish these two things.

I say it every day to our students inside Agent Grad School–the under contract part of your business is the best place to save time and money while still wowing your clients.

Once you are at the point that you have your system down and clients are coming to you so rapidly that you don’t have time to handle all the to-dos in the under contract phase, THAT’S the moment to hire someone to help you.

And, the good news is…

If you do what I’m suggesting you do in this episode, getting your TC or assistant up and running to take over these under contract tasks will be a breeze.

I’m all about saving time and money in your real estate business, as you know, and this episode will help you do just that.

To your success,


Resources mentioned in this episode:

Join the Agent Grad School Inner Circle (You’ll get the quiz about which 5 pillar you need to work on and be invited to the upcoming 5 Pillars webinar too)

The 5 Pillars of A Successful Real Estate Business

Pillar 1: Marketing YOU

Pillar 2: The Initial Consultation

Pillar 3: The During/Doing Phase

Become an Agent Grad School student

Episode Transcript

On today’s episode of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent. We’re talking about pillar number four in our series about the five pillars of a successful real estate business, real estate business that has clients coming to you on what feels like autopilot, because it is on autopilot. You’ve just set up the five pillars in a way that attracts clients to you like a magnet. Okay. It’s not just about the marketing. It’s not just about your postcards. It’s not just about this, your, your, your headshot or your logo. It’s about these five pillars and together they work together to bring clients to you. Now, pillar four is the under contract phase, and I think it’s the most misunderstood, close second, maybe to the marketing phase of, of, of being a successful real estate agent and having clients coming to you. But the under contract phase is a place where I see client. I see real estate agents spend way too much time and way too much money on this phase of their business. And it can be very, very simple. So I’m going to tell you how to save time, save money, and simplify the under contract phase of your business on today’s episode, while still wowing your clients in a way that has them telling people about the experience they had with you and how great it was, and wanting to use you again and again, welcome to this Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent. I’m your host, Jennifer Myers, listen in, as I share exactly what I did to go from not being able to sell a house for years to becoming one of the top 1% of agents in the U S even opening my own brokerage full of agents helped me serve all the clients that were coming my way. I taught those agents the same strategies I use and date two became top producing agents. Now through this podcast and agent grad school.com, I’m sharing those same modern marketing and business strategies with you. Most of which I learned from looking outside the real estate industry, no fluff, no theory, no outdated sales techniques or paying for leads, just the exact steps to get you the real estate business you’ve always wanted. And the life outside your business, you’ve always wanted to let’s make it happen and dive into today’s episode. Okay. We are diving into pillar four, the under contract phase of your real estate business. Now raise your hand if this is, or has been you at any time, I’m going to describe four different things that I see most real estate agents doing when it comes to they’re under contract phase, that kind of undermines their business and kind of just creates a friction in their business and with their clients. Now, I am guilty to in almost all of these, depending on which stage of my business or which year of my business we’re talking about. So chances are you’re going through the same exact thing too, or you will. So I see our students when they come in and we’re just real estate agents in general being told or, or doing these things. So it’s four kind of camps that real estate agents seem to fall into when it comes to they’re under contract phase. Either they’re spending way too much time in this section of their business, which ultimately ends up hurting their business, because there’s simply not enough time to do all the things you need to do as a real estate agent, if you’re spending too much time. And how do you know if it’s too much time? It’s, if you feel like you’re overwhelmed and you’re not having, like, if you ever have what I call like the Seesaw, where you have a bunch of settlements, and then all of a sudden you look and you’re like, I don’t have any clients coming in. That means you’re spending way too much time in the under contract phase. The second camp is agents just like don’t spend any time managing and setting up systems for this phase of their business. And so things fall through the cracks. I hear horror stories all the time that agents like miss deadlines, appraisal deadlines, they put their clients in jeopardy. There aren’t you, aren’t sending out timely updates to your clients about what’s going on behind the scenes. Because remember that under contract phase for our clients feels like they’re kind of like, you know, like floating in space and this kind of dark hole, they don’t really understand what’s happening behind the scenes and they’re, they don’t know why it’s so quiet. So it’s crucially important, but you’re always telling them what’s going on, what’s happening next and have a systematic approach for communicating those things with your clients. So if you ever get those dreaded emails or texts, or you ever have clients kind of upset in the under contract phase, it’s because you weren’t communicating enough or things are falling through the cracks. The third camp I often see in this phase with agents is they completely delegate this part of the business too early, which means they’re spending money unnecessarily, where they could be investing in other ways in their business, or maybe outside their business. This happens often when offices, which I think is awesome When whatever brokerages offer TC hop, this is incredible. But when you are spending hundreds of dollars, I mean, the fees that I see is typically four to $500 per transaction. And that part of it is too, is delegated to the transaction coordinator. This is really good news for seasoned agents who need the help. I think oftentimes newer agents are seeing what the bigger agents are doing or kind of being told they don’t, they shouldn’t spend time in the under contract phase, which I don’t agree with. You should spend some time just not too much time. And you’re spending, you know, $500 a transaction, which couldn’t be in the early stages, you know, $500,000 a month when you don’t necessarily need to, when you can have a systematic approach and automation in your business to spend less time in this part of your business. So don’t delegate this too much, too early. Excuse me. And then the fourth thing I see frequently is that eight wants to agents start getting really busy. They delegate this part of their business when they should, and they’re spending money on it because they should absolutely, but they do it in a way that turns their clients off. So what that means and what that looks like is you’ve created this. If your, if your clients seem to think that you’re too busy, then especially in that under contract phase, and that’s a problem, you want your clients to feel like they can send you more clients. Right. And you know, for me, when I was delegating the under contract phase of my business, when I got to that point, it’s still very much looked like I was involved. It was just that my support staff was doing all the things in the background. And then I was forward facing with the clients, with the client, which the clients really, really like. But if you aren’t going to delegate this whole part of your, of your business, that’s perfectly fine, but you have to do it in a way that doesn’t turn off your clients. Meaning when you’re at that initial consultation, pillar two. And if you haven’t listened to that one, then you can go to agent grad school.com forward slash initial consultation and listen to it. But present this idea of this team environment in that initial consultation and say like, I’m still here, but you also are going to hear from this person who supports me and helps you and gets everything done, make sure our I’s are dotted. T’s are crossed in the under contract phase. Okay. So I, for one spent a lot of time in camp, number one, where I was spending way too much time in this section. And then I tended to then I kind of moved to delegating before I needed to in spending money unnecessarily. That’s where I seem to hover for a long time. So what I want to give to you today is first and foremost, three things that there’s only three things you need to have a successful under contract phase in your business. And I’m going to tell you what those three things are. And then just kind of give you a little bit more context about how to avoid kind of the hiccups and friction that I see most often in this phase of the business. So, number one, you really only need three things when it comes to the Under contract phase, it’s number one, you need to have a list of things that get done every time, every single time client’s gone under contract, generally speaking, except for like, you know, maybe they have a rent back this time, or maybe it’s a condo or maybe right. There’s always those a little exceptions, but then those are repeatable. But generally speaking, the same list of to-dos happen every single time a client goes under contract, perfect example, every single time that your client goes under contract, you need to send the contract to either the attorney or the title company, whatever it is in your state, but you needed something to the party. Who’s going to process the transaction, right? There’s all sorts of other things that need to happen depending on whether you’re helping the buyer or the seller. So, one way to think about how to do this is you want to write down all the things that need to get done, and it’s slightly differently than Marmar my market slightly different. If you’re a buyer slightly different, if you’re a seller. So for example, the to-do around the appraisal is a little bit different if I’m the buyer side than I’m, if I’m on the seller side, because of the way that my contract written and who does what. So I might just, when I, when I think about writing down every to do, when it comes to the Under contract phase, I’m going to have a piece of paper or list for my buyers and a list for my sellers. Even if you have people that you’re working with at the same time who are buying and selling, they’re still buying and selling. So you still need the two different lists. Okay? So that’s step number one, you need a list of, to do’s next. This is the three things you need. And they under contract phase next, you need the timeframe for which those things need to happen. So for example, the, at least in my market, the next day I send the contract, when somebody goes under contract, I send it to the settlement attorney in my state, for example, right? So I know that to do that needs to happen. The contract needs to go to the title company. And I know when it needs to happen, which is, it needs to happen generally the first or second day, right? You don’t want it to go past that. And so for every one of those two dues, you have to generally say next to that, to do when it needs to get done. Now I know full well that contracts are written different ways, but you might just want to say, for example, home inspection per contract terms. Right. But I would even get more nitty-gritty like, when does the period end? Do I have the contract? Right? Do I have, do I want to have a conversation with my clients before the deadline? Right? So after you put down all the to-dos, then you really want to be thinking about, and when they need to happen, then step three is you just, you need to have, this is where a CRM. You guys know. I am like not tech savvy, but a CRM is, has nothing to do about being tech savvy. What it has to do with is saving you tons of time, because what you can do, if you have a CRM, you can create workflows or checklist, however your CRM is put together and you can put in exactly what needs to get done and when it needs to get done, and then it can ping the right person. So for example, I use you guys well know I use Real valve. And so the, when somebody goes under contract, I’ll start the under contract workflow and it pings. It could ping me, it could ping my assistant. It’s up to how I set it up. But in my case, I ping my assistant to submit the contract to the title company. I don’t have to do that. I also don’t have to spend the time telling her how to do that, because all I have to do is start the workflow and it pings both her and I with what we have to do. And when we have to do it, okay, this is how now, if you, if you don’t have a transaction coordinator or an assistant, sure, it’s going to ping you to do all those things. But half the battle is getting an out of your head and into automation into a calendar. So you’re not taking all this time kind of forgetting things or trying to think of things. And you just write down the list. So to dues now, I suggest that you do this more than once. So the first swath is, are like all like the basic stuff, right? The contract has to go to the lender, has to go to the title company, you know, blah, blah, blah. And then I want you to look at your, what you’re creating and think about the experience from the, from the shoes of your client. So for example, when we go under contract, they’re so excited, I call them and I say, Hey, congratulations, you got the house. You’re under contract celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. Okay, great. Now I want you to take the time to celebrate and tomorrow or tonight, depending on, you know, when I plan to do it, I’m going to send you a list of your next steps and your, your, to do’s based on how the contract is written. So you’ll have it written down and then you can ask me what questions you have, but in, but in summary or in short, here’s what the next steps look like for the next week. That’s all I want you to worry about is what’s happening the next week, because it’s a very crucial kind of lot’s happening this first week. And then I just explain my to-do. So in my case, it’s not, again, it depends on how the contractor is written, but I certainly say something like I’m going to send the contract to the title company so they can get started. You’re going to hear from them to help have you fill out an information sheet. I’m also going to send it to your lender. Your lender is going to reach out to you to lock in your loan. If you have any questions about that process or want help with making decisions, reach out to me, I’m happy to help you next. We have to schedule the home inspection. I will send you a couple of suggestions for home inspectors. Please send me a few dates of, or times that you’re available and I will get that scheduled for you. That’s all I want you to worry about in the next week. Oh, and then I forgot the earnest money deposit. You’ll also need to set your own us money to pause it. I will ask the title company to be in touch with you about how to get them that deposit. And then I typically go into a little warning about wire fraud and how they should verify and tell them that story. Okay. Then the next day typically, cause in my market tends to be at night late at night that we hear these things. Lo and behold, I have I’m been pinged because I’ve started that workflow and it pings me to send them that email. And the email’s already written. Yes. I might have to change a few words here and there, but it’s already written and I could just copy and paste it and send it off with the slight variations that I need for that particular client and how that particular contract has been written. It takes me minutes. I mean, literally like less than five. Okay. Then it pings my assistant to send the contract to the title company and to the lender. Introducing me. CC-ing me saying all the things again, all this is already written. It’s a matter of copy and pasting. Then I realize that as the weeks go on that the client start to get more and more anxious. They want to know what’s going on. And so in my system, every time there is a deadline coming to end, or, you know, like for example, if they, if they know that there’s a 15 day home inspection contingency or whatever it is, then I tell them how that contingency is going to work. And I tell them when the contingency is over, same thing with appraisal and financing, I’m in touch at the end of every, or, you know, at the time period, depending on what the contingency is and if we need to talk about it or not. And so I am in touch with them usually twice per week and every week without fail. Also, I send them a quick little update, Hey, here’s, what’s going to happen this week. And here’s what you need to do. Here’s what I’m doing behind the scenes. You know, I’ll talk to you whatever day, cause there’s something happening. All of this is planned out in my CRM. And again, I’m looking at the to-do’s from two perspectives. What’s the bare minimum that has to get done no matter what functionally. And then what do I want to put in as the experience I want to create with my clients, putting myself in their shoes, never feeling annoyed about them, wanting to check in or talk more than once, knowing that they’re feeling anxious and they want to know what’s behind the happening behind the scenes. And they don’t really understand the process. That’s my, to keep them at ease. So I build in these communication points. So that I’m one step ahead of my clients. They’re always feeling informed. They’re always feeling confident and knowledgeable of what’s what’s happening and what’s coming up next. Okay. And the thing is, is this all can be automated. And especially these days, you know, closing’s happening within a month, usually sometimes three weeks. So when you spend just a few minutes going through the checklist of things that needs to get done, then going through and saying, what experience do you want to have? If you were a client on the other end, what would you want to have in there as touch points? And I don’t mean fluff touchpoints at this point. I mean like, Hey, the appraisal is coming up this week. I’ve heard from the lender, the appraisal has come, right? You just little updates like that, that are really meaty and helpful for your clients to not feel like they’re just in the dark, like with crickets chirping, because there’s no information thinking to themselves, what do I need to be doing? What do I need to be doing? So build that out and then think about the timing and then put it into your CRM and automate this. And for me, the automation is never, for me is never to the client themselves. It’s to ping me to double check, cause it’s really hard in my opinion, because of the way that contracts are written and it’s slightly different or the timing is slightly different or, you know, a CRM doesn’t know if you had a conversation with them or not. So I never set up my CRM to automatically send an update to a client. What I have it do is automatically ping me with a template of what I need to send the client and, or, you know, the assistant or the transaction coordinator has the template. So everything is done within minutes and everybody knows what needs to happen as you guys well know, I use and I can even set it up. So it pings the other party automatically. So for example, it could ping the settlement person for an update or ping the lender or ping the other agent. And I definitely use that to ping the other parties. And if ever I mess up or if like the automation doesn’t work, then I’m like, oops, sorry, that was my automation, but I never, I never have it sent directly to the client. So I hope that makes sense. So this is how you can automate and saved a ton of time in the under contract phase, by just writing down what needs to happen when then automating it and pinging it to you. And then all you have to do is just slightly change the timing every time based on how that particular contract is written. I see so many agents spending way too much time in that under contract phase and over-complicating it. And like I get it when you’re at a certain level of volume, when you’re at four transaction a month, you absolutely need an assistant or a transaction coordinator or both to be able to help you with all these things, because you got to pick up the lockbox, you know, hang the sign, take off the time. There’s so many things that have to get done. I totally get that. But until you’re at three or four transactions consistently every single month, the process that I’m describing to you can save you a ton of time and not require you to get a lot done with an assistant saving you money and also time, because it’s really hard to train somebody and onboard somebody. And if you’ve plugged all this into your CRM and you have a very clear structure, a very clear plan of what happens every single time your clients go under contract. When you onboard your TC or your assistant TC being transaction coordinator, it’s like, it’s just plug and play. There’s not a whole lot of onboarding or uploading that needs to happen. You can literally just like change at least in robot. For example, you could just say like, instead of going to me, it goes to this person’s these particular tasks. So it’s super easy to, to delegate when you’ve set it up this way, instead of getting overwhelmed, not having time to even train somebody. So they can’t really help you and you’re spending too much money and they don’t really know what to do. And you’re kind of doing it anyway. And you’re stepping over each other’s toes or you’re trying to do all of it. And then your business kind of takes a dip or you’re feeling exhausted in front of your clients. We don’t want that for you anymore. We don’t want that for you either. So it’s all about finding those right balance, but how you get to the balance as you think of these as stages, stage number one from like literally the first transaction onward, you have the list of to-dos you understand when they need to get done, you think about the very bare minimum. And then you create that experience for your clients. You add that on to your system, plug that into your CRM. Then when you get to those three to four, that way you have enough time and money to keep clients coming in. And then when you have those three to four transactions a month, then you hire somebody, plug them in and then delegate the things that start with delegating. The things that the clients never see you. I highly recommend that you be front facing with your clients for as long as possible, if not forever, because they’ve hired you. They want to see you. Now, if you’re the type of agent who has a team or you know, wants to truly delegate this part of your business, go right ahead. Just make sure that that handoff and that delegation and the introduction to that person, who’s going to be taking it from there is handled in a good way. And I love this idea. I got it from reading. We read this book inside agent grad school as our last summer book club book was called, never lose a customer again by Joel Joey Coleman. And he talks a lot about how to kind of do exactly what I’m describing in your, in your business. And one great idea that I had never thought of until I read it recently. I wish I’d thought of it a long time ago was you, you kind of do this like video where you, you and your transaction coordinator or your assistant you’re in it together. So that you’re introducing this person. Hopefully you’ve talked about it in the past with your client, but you’re introducing this person and saying, Hey, you’re going to hear up. Now that you’re under contract, you’re going to hear a lot more from, you know, X, Y, Z person. And they’re waving their saying, I’m so excited to help you just know that my job is to, you know, XYZ, make sure that everything gets done smoothly. You of course always have access to Jennifer, but now you have a second person that you can reach out to. If you have any questions or need to sign something or have questions about like vendors or whatever, sometimes your clients don’t want to overload you with things. And so if they know that you have the second person that they can reach out to, and you’ve introduced them in a really fun way, like I’ve described, they’re more likely to, to kind of ask more and engage more with you, which I think is a really great experience for your clients. Okay? So don’t spend a ton of time. Don’t do the Seesaw. You don’t think about the Seesaw going up or you’re spending way too much time in this part of your business so that it kind of creates a problem with your levels of energy, your ability to be present with your clients or your ability to bring clients in. Okay. And the way that you do that, as you quickly decide what it is that you want, that Clients experience to be, when things need to get done, put it in your CRM, have it ping you. Then when you get to the three to four transactions a month, you’ve got your delegation to your TC or your assistant, and now you can grow and scale even more. All right? I hope this has been helpful. This is such a crucial, crucial pillar, because really this is the lasting impression your clients have with you finding the house. You know, I hear agents so often say, you know, they were still upset and you know, I, I found them a great house. They don’t know what kind of deal they got or something like that. But here’s the problem. If the under contract phase did not go well, or it left a bad taste in their mouth, that is what they’re left with. And so it’s very crucially important that you take the time to develop a system and develop a care taking type of mentality when it comes to this part of your business in a very communicative and communication forward stance in this phase. So your clients never are feeling left in the dark, or like they don’t know what’s going on because that is how they’re going to kind of, that’s what they’re going to remember. Most our clients, I don’t know why it is because we know how hard it is sometimes to get the right house or have them win a house. They don’t see that. And frankly, sometimes they don’t care. They think that’s our job. But the under contract phase is where like, it’s, it’s like kind of an art, it’s like an art and a science to it. And you kind of want to perform in a way that leaves them feeling like it was a great experience on settlement day. So if you are an agent grad school student, I give you like, I forgot I should have counted the points, but it’s lots and lots. I think it’s like, you know, must be around 40 point things to do in the under contract phase. Every tiny little thing. For example, calling your clients three before settlement to review the settlement statement, pinging them either by phone or text the night before settlement, just to say, Hey, everything’s going to go great tomorrow. If you have any questions, reach out. Otherwise I’ll see you at, you know, X day and time or X time and X place, right? Just always taking that extra little effort. So if you’re an agent grad school student, you have everything that I’ve always done. You even have the examples of my settlement gifts that I love giving. And you can put all this into action, put it into your CRM. And if you aren’t an Asian grad school student, I hope that this approach and the way that you think about approaching your under contract phase has helped you today. And next week, we’re going to talk about the after phase. This is phase five, the pillar five, the fifth pillar in the five pillars of having a successful business. And it’s a, it’s such a, I love talking about the after phase because agents feel again overwhelmed by this phase. And I’m hoping that when I have to share with you will help you feel like you can keep in touch with your clients in a way that doesn’t ask for business, but, but really just like supports them as being new homeowners in there and kind of create a new relationship with them. The other thing I wanted to tell you is if you haven’t yet joined the inner circle, the Agent Grad School inner circle, I highly recommend that you do because we are going to be releasing a quiz where you can answer a few questions and it will tell you which pillar based on your answers, you should be working on right now in your business. And then I’m also going to do a free training on whatever your answer was. I’m telling you what you can do to beef up that part of your business. So that will be coming out in the next couple of weeks. So go to agent grad school.com forward slash inner circle, and you can get on our email list and you’ll be getting those soon. So you so much for listening. Thank you for being here. I love hearing from you. Thank you for your emails. Thank you for your reviews. I read them all and yes, it’s me on the other end. So many people, I just got an email today and they’re like, thanks, Jennifer or assistant. I’m like, no, it’s me. Hey, say hi. All right, have a great day. And I’ll talk to you next week. Thanks. Bye. Thank you for listening to this episode of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent. We purposely keep this podcast sponsor and commercial-free so we can focus solely on providing real estate agents with the content that will help them grow their real estate business. And how about like, they love outside but business too, but we need your help to get this podcast in the hands of other real estate agents. So please, if you liked this episode, leave a review on iTunes or wherever you’re listening, and also tell your agent friends to listen in to thank you so much for supporting the show for being a listener and supporting other agents along your way to success. That’s what this is all about. See you next time. On another episode of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent. And until then come hang with me over agentgradschool.com. I’ll see you there.

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