Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, January 14, 2022

Powell creates own path with Closing Concierge

Paula Powell is a listing and contract coordinator serving real estate agents in greater Chattanooga and Knoxville with transactions in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. She hopes to add agents in Nashville in the near future. - Photograph provided

With 34% of real estate agents using a transaction coordinator, Close Concierge reports, there’s high demand for assistance with contracts.

Paula Powell of Nautical Real Estate Services is helping to meet that demand locally.

As a listing and contract coordinator in an active market of about 2,500 Realtors, Powell handles everything that happens after an agent and their client have signed on the proverbial dotted line (with the exception of inspections and repair negotiations, which allows her to remain neutral).

“When an agent has placed someone under contract, I check the docs for compliance, submit them to their broker and email a timeline with important dates to them and their clients,” Powell explains.

“For example, if the client is a buyer, I provide the deadlines for the inspection, for ordering the appraisal, for providing insurance quotes to the lender, for when earnest money is due and so on.”

This just scratches the surface of what Powell handles. In actuality, her work doesn’t end until closing. Hence, agents commonly refer to her as their “contract to close coordinator.”

But as Powell’s business card indicates, she handles more than the tidal wave of tasks that follow in the wake of a buyer signing a contract; she also takes care of listings.

Here again, Powell only touches on what this involves:

“When an agent has a listing ready to go, I make sure the paperwork is compliant, place everything in the MLS and upload all the details and photos,” she notes.

“This allows the agent to focus on bringing in more business. It also reduces their stress because they’re not worried about all the paperwork and sending everything to compliance for approval.”

Janet Henninger, a Chattanooga Realtor with Century 21 Prestige, says Powell has made a positive impact on her business by freeing her to do what she says she does best – drum up business and serve her clients.

“In real estate, someone has to steer the ship. For my business, that’s me,” Henninger says. “I’m an extrovert who enjoys meeting and talking with people rather than operating behind the scenes. Paula frees me to go on more appointments and earn more business.”

Powell is a former teacher with a fondness for organization. After teaching at Loftis Middle School for 16 years, she started asking others for suggestions about what else she could do. Several of her friends who are Realtors suggested she’s be an excellent agent.

“They said I’d be good with the paperwork,” Powell recalls. “I’d had the children of one of the agents in my class in school, so she knew how organized I am.”

Powell became a licensed agent in 2015 but spent the next several years doing administrative work for several leading agents, including Gina Sakich of Signature Brokers, Brandi Pearl Thompson of Keller Williams and Grace Frank, owner of Chattanooga Real Estate Group.

Powell was working with another Realtor at Keller Williams when other agents and administrators began asking her questions about what she did. This prompted her to launch Nautical Real Estate Services – so named because she and her husband live on a boat – in 2019.

“I had also worked as an agent to see which one I liked more – working behind the scenes versus working with the public. I enjoyed working with the public but I loved taking care of the details of a transaction. Organization is my thing and I like keeping everyone on track, so I decided to strike out on my own.”

Powell says learning to run her own business taught her even more about what she does. For example, she quickly found out she needed to retire her real estate license so agents wouldn’t decline to use her services due to a conflict of interest.

“Being licensed helps with the paperwork, but if I keep it active, some agents will be hesitant to use my services because I have an active license with a competing company,” Powell clarifies.

One of the highlights of being on her own came as one of the more than 30 clients she serves was able to navigate a packed and hectic day because Powell had placed everything the agent needed to know – including closing times and locations – in their calendar.

“I had everything under control. They said that helped the day go smoothly.”

This pleased Powell, whose business motto is, “I’m the anchor to your business success.”

“I feel like I’m an asset to my agents because I help them keep their deals on track and get to the closing table.”

Contact Powell at 423 240-6691 or nauticalrealestateservices@gmail.com.