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Published on June 11, 2023

Top 10 tips for an efficient closing department - Tip 4: Closers shouldn't make deposits

In fact, most of the Top 10 closing departments don’t have the closing department staff do anything with deposits except double check that they were done and recorded correctly.

Creating an efficient closing department - Tip #4: Closers shouldn't make deposits

How does your closing department stack up against the best in the country. How do you get each person in your closing department to close more transactions ? This question matters because a closing / accounting person costs on average, $60,000 per year. 

Our #4 tip:  Don’t make your closers go to the bank.  We have identified the most productive staff at brokerages across the country, and interviewed them to find out how the are so productive.  The efficiency in the best run closing departments is much higher than you would think.  Likely, it is much more efficient than your own brokerage.  In our study, we found the best closers, will do the work of 4 accounting staff in a typical office.

In this series of 10 tips, we are going to reveal “how they do it”. How is it possible that these closers process so many more transactions each month than the typical office ? We will also countdown the performance for the top 10 closers in America. The 7th place finalist’s production will be revealed at the end of this article.

Our next tip: Don’t make your closers go to the bank. In fact, most of the Top 10 closing departments don’t have the closing department staff do anything with deposits except double check that they were done and recorded correctly. 

With every closing, there are commission proceeds that need to be deposited.  This means either carrying the deposit to the bank. Or, it means using a remote deposit capture device.  In either case, this work can be done by a staff member before the file goes to the closing department for payment.

The key here is that the work of filling out (or scanning a deposit) doesn’t need the high-level skills of an accountant in your closing department.  This is more of an administrator level job. All you need is a good system in place to make sure that the work is done correctly.

Make the deposit and store the receipt online

So the first step should be for an administrator to put the deposit in the bank.  For maximum efficiency, you should use a remote deposit scanner that is provided by your bank.  

Otherwise, your administrator just fills out a manual deposit slip, and takes the deposit to the bank.  Your accounting staff doesn’t “add value” by taking time out of their day to go to the bank.

Now, for control, the number one thing you need from your administrator is the receipt for the deposit. Remote deposit scan machines produce a printable receipt that looks like this:

And of course a regular bank deposit receipt looks like this:

It’s not likely that the admin who receives the commission and then deposits the funds is working in the same location as the accounting staff. Probably, they are working at the the front desk of a remote office - far from the closing department.  It isn’t really important to the accounting department to have physical copy of the deposit receipt.  Really, they only need a copy of the receipt. 

To save the closing department time, the admin staff should upload the copy of the receipt into darwin. They load the deposit slips on the screen: Property > Documents. It’s a waste of your closing departments time when they have to search and fish thru email for a deposit receipt They should be able to see the receipt right in darwin - right in the property that needs to be closed.

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Ideally, your admin staff should have the responsibility to do one more task to speed up the process.  With every closing, the brokerage needs to make sure that the commission proceeds have been received and deposited - before the agent is paid.  

Admin staff should enter the Commission payment and update the transaction status

So, the other step your admin staff can do to save time to save time for the company is: record the payment in darwin and change the status to: "Ready to Close".  The closing department should be able to just search in your darwin for the status “Ready to Close” - and this will tell them what needs to be closed today.  By recording the "Pre Payment" after they take the deposit to the bank, they are creating accounting automatically. Then, all the accounting staff needs to do is review, and then sign-off / POST the deposit.

This last step will replace the more common approaches that most brokerages are using:

  • Some offices send folders full of papers to accounting 
  • Some companies have staff call the closing department with updates
  • Some email them when a file is ready to be closed  

All of these ways of communicating that a property is “ready to close” are time wasting.  These old fashioned ways of running an office work, but they interrupt the “flow” of the closing department, so they slow down the process.  Your team should just change the status of the property to: “Ready to Close”.  

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By using this approach, the closing staff doesn’t need to answer the phone or read emails to find out what needs to be closed, they only need to search darwin for transactions by status.

Tip #4 takeaway:  Don’t make your closing department do any work with deposits. They should just confirm that someone made the deposit and recorded it correctly.  And even this work of “double checking” the deposit, you should make that easy for the accounting staff, too !

Step-by-Step summary:

Have admin staff put the deposit in the bank
Have admin staff load a copy of the deposit slip into darwin
Have the admin staff record the amount of the deposit that they processed
Have them change the property status to: Ready to Close

Now, as we count-down the top 10 most efficient closers in America from our study:

From our recent study, #7 was Diane from Sotheby’s in Florida. Diane personally closes 354 transactions each month. While very impressive, the numbers for the Top 3 finalists are much, much higher. Read each of the 10 tips in this series to see the production numbers for the most productive closer in America.

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