When it comes to closing real estate deals, attorneys often find themselves juggling multiple tasks at one time. Handling sensitive information in a time-sensitive process can be daunting. Keeping the cost of a closing low is crucial to staying competitive in today’s market. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to minimize the costs and streamline the process while ensuring that documents are properly prepared. Through a combination of technology and delegation, attorneys can expedite real estate closings with a fraction of the hassle. In this edition of our blog, we’ll discuss a few methods to lower the cost and time demands attorneys face when closing real estate deals.
1. Time-Saving Software for Filling Out Templates
While the use of templates is a necessity for closings, software can increase both the speed with which forms can be completed and reduce errors. Programs such as DoubleTime facilitate a more streamlined process for creating forms, for example, by reducing the number of times you need to enter information. When you enter information the first time, the software then populates other forms with the same information. The software also provides accounting features that allow you to export financial information to your main account software.
2. Document Your Processes
Many firms rely on the experience of their staff and informal custom and practice to prepare closing documents. However, a lack of standard operating procedures, checklists, and clear deadlines will create inefficiencies. Staff will have difficulty meeting attorney and client expectations for preparing a file if it is unclear what those expectations are. Further, inconsistency and errors will result if each staff member prepares a closing packet a little differently. Errors are also more likely to arise without a standard checklist that everybody uses. Taking the time to formalize and document your processes will pay off in terms of efficiency gains and reduction in errors.
Utilizing mobile closers (usually a notary public) can both free up an attorney’s schedule and allow for closing agents to expand their physical barriers. A mobile closer can perform a real estate closing after the attorney has reviewed and approved all the necessary closing documents. Documents can then be emailed while the originals are returned to the office.
4. Hire a virtual paralegal
Many of the required tasks that accompany a real estate closing do not require an attorney to be “hands-on” — a majority of the process can be completed by a paralegal. While it’s required of an attorney to review any completed work, utilizing a paralegal can reduce the potential for mistakes, providing a complete product by the time it lands on the attorney’s desk. Not to mention, it allows an attorney to review and complete the process at their convenience.
Using a virtual paralegal will also allow an attorney to outsource work without having to hire a new employee. In today’s digitally connected world, virtual paralegals can provide immediate, professional assistance on almost any task.
While closing real estate deals can seem like a long process, these tools and strategies can significantly free up time, costs, and ease the process as a whole. If you’ve considered adding a virtual paralegal to your team, give us a call to hear how our team of professionals can be of service your firm.