A good place to begin is to evaluate who your likely buyer(s) will be. Could it be a potential investor, a small or large family? What about a first time home buyer, or a move-up buyer, or perhaps empty nesters? It’s important to think about what attributes might that group of buyers be looking for in a home.
Let’s take a look objectively and start marketing your home effectively and efficiently to the right type of buyers. It may be a good idea to take a look at what needs to be maintained and prioritized before the sale, such as roof repair or replacement, structural pest control work, or other major components of the property that are in disrepair. These are items that most buyers and their lenders will want to see done before close of escrow. (If you cannot afford to perform this work prior to placing your home on the market then you should have reports, bids and estimates for the work as part of your disclosure package so that buyers can assess the amount of money they will need to undertake the work.)
In today’s marketplace many homes are ‘staged’ before they are placed on the market. Staging is designed to maximize the home’s appeal to buyers. Staging can be as simple as de-cluttering and re-arranging furniture or as complex as a complete make-over including new paint, carpets, landscaping and furnishing. As you prepare to market your home, visit open houses of similar properties to see how they show. These homes are your competition.
I offer help and guidance from start to finish on staging, and all aspects of preparing your home for sale. I can recommend resources for obtaining reports and can help you evaluate the options for marketing your home to bring you the highest price and best terms. Check out a detailed version of my seller services below!
Step 1: Pre-Listing Activities
Pre-Listing Activities involve handling an abundant amount of research information. As a listing agent, I handle the research of comparable and current listed properties and sales activity for the past 18 months through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or public records databases. Additionally, I research “Average Days on Market” for property type, price range, and location. I then review property tax roll information, prepare “Comparable Market Analysis” (CMA) to establish fair market value, obtain a copy of subdivision plat/complex lay-out, and research property’s ownership and the deed type.
I further research the property’s public record information for lot size and dimensions, verify its legal description, read up on property’s land use coding and deed restrictions, and research the property’s current use and zoning. Additionally, I perform exterior Curb Appeal Assessment of the subject property, compile and assemble formal file on property, confirm current public schools, and explain the impact of schools on the market value. I then review the listing appointment checklist to ensure all steps and actions have been completed.
Step 2: Listing Presentation
1. Give the seller an overview of current market conditions and projections.
2. Review Zephyr Real Estate and my credentials and accomplishments in the market.
3. Present my company’s profile and position or niche in the marketplace.
4. Present CMA Results To Seller, including Comparables, Solds, Current Listings and Expireds.
5. Offer a pricing strategy based on professional judgment and interpretation of current market conditions.
6. Discuss goals with seller to market effectively.
7. Explain market power and benefits of Multiple Listing Service.
8. Demonstrate market power of web marketing, Internet Data Display and Realtor.com.
9. Illustrate the work the brokerage and agent do behind the scenes and agent’s availability on weekends.
10. Explain my role as an agent in taking calls to screen for qualified buyers and protect seller from curiosity seekers.
11. Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan.
12. Demonstrate different agency relationships and determining seller’s preference.
13. Review and explain all clauses in Listing Contract and Addendum and obtain authorization from the seller to list the property.
Step 3: Once Property Is Under Listing Agreement
Duties and responsibilities include reviewing current title information, measuring interior room sizes, confirm lot size via owner’s copy of certified survey, if available. I also make note of any and all unrecorded property lines, agreements, and easements. I obtain house plans, if applicable and available, review house plans, order plat map for retention in property’s listing file, prepare showing instructions for buyers’ agents and agree on showing time window with seller, and obtain current mortgage loan(s) information: companies and loan account numbers, verify current loan information with lender(s), check assumability of loan(s) and any special requirements.
I further discuss possible buyer financing alternatives and options with the seller, review current appraisal if available, verify Home Owner Association Fees with manager – mandatory or optional and current annual fee. I also prefer to order a copy of Homeowner Association bylaws, if applicable, research electricity availability and supplier’s name and telephone number, calculate average utility usage from last 12 months of bills, and research and verify city sewer/septic tank system. I look into the water system, well water, natural gas, and verify the security system, and current term of service and whether owned or leased. I prefer to verify if the seller has transferable a Termite Bond and ascertain the need for lead-based paint disclosure. I also like to have a detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact. I prepare a detailed list of property’s “Inclusions & Conveyances with Sale.”
I also compile list of completed repairs and maintenance items, send “Vacancy Checklist” to the seller if property is vacant, explain benefits of Home Owner Warranty to the seller, and assist the sellers with completion and submission of Home Owner Warranty Application.
When received, I place the Home Owner Warranty in property file for conveyance at the time of sale. I also have an extra key made for the lock box and verify if property has rental units involved. If so, I make copies of all leases for retention in listing file, verify all rents and deposits, inform tenants of listing, discuss how showings will be handled, and arrange for installation of yard sign(s).
I prefer to assist the seller with: (1) the completion of Seller’s Disclosure form, (2) review the results of Curb Appeal Assessment with the seller and provide suggestions to improve marketability, and (3) review results of Interior Décor Assessment and suggest changes to shorten time on market. I then load listing into transaction management software program – entering property in Multiple Listing Service Database. I then prepare MLS Profile Sheet – every Realtor is responsible for quality control and accuracy of listing data.
I further enter property data from Profile Sheet into MLS Listing Database, proofread MLS database listing for accuracy, including proper placement in mapping function, add property to company’s Active Listings list, and provide the seller with signed copies of Listing Agreement and MLS Profile Sheet Data Form within 48 hours. I then take additional photos for upload into MLS and use in flyers and discuss efficacy of panoramic/virtual tour photography.
Step 4: Marketing The Listing
When Marketing the listing, I create print and Internet ads with seller’s input. I then coordinate showings with owners, tenants, and other Realtors. Return all calls – weekends included. I install electronic lockbox, if authorized by owner. Program lockbox with agreed-upon showing time windows. I then prepare mailing and contact list, generate mail-merge letters to contact list, order “Just Listed” labels and reports, prepare flyers and feedback faxes, review comparable MLS listings regularly to ensure property remains competitive in price, terms, conditions and availability, and prepare property marketing brochure for seller’s review.
I also arrange for printing or copying of supply of marketing brochures or flyers. I decide to place marketing brochures in all company agent mail boxes, upload listing to company and agent Internet site, if applicable, mail Out “Just Listed” notice to all neighborhood residents, and advise Network Referral Program of listing. I then provide marketing data to buyers coming through international relocation networks, provide marketing data to buyers coming from referral network, provide “Special Feature” cards for marketing, if applicable, and submit ads to company’s participating Internet real estate sites.
In addition, I price changes conveyed promptly to all Internet groups, reprint/supply brochures promptly as needed, make sure loan information reviewed and updated in MLS as required, feedback e-mails/faxes sent to buyers’ agents after showings, review weekly Market Study, and review lock box reports to study home showing traffic. I then discuss lock box showing reports and feedback from showing agents with the seller to determine if changes will accelerate the sale, place regular weekly update calls to seller to discuss marketing and pricing, and promptly enter price changes in MLS listing database.
Step 5: The Offers And Contracts
As a realtor, I receive and review all Offer to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyers’ agents. Additionally, I evaluate offer(s) and prepare a “net sheet” on each for the owner for comparison purposes. I counsel the seller on offers, explain merits and weakness of each component of each offer, contact buyers’ agents to review buyer’s qualifications and discuss the offers, fax/deliver seller’s Disclosure to buyer’s agent or buyer upon request and prior to offer if possible. confirm buyer is pre-qualified by calling loan officer, obtain pre-qualification letter on buyer from loan officer. I then negotiate all offers on seller’s behalf, setting time limit for loan approval and closing date, prepare and convey any counter offers, acceptance or amendments to buyer’s agent, and fax copies of contract and all addendums to closing attorney or title company.
Once the Offer to Purchase Contract is accepted and signed by the seller, I deliver to the buyer’s agent. I then record and promptly deposit buyer’s earnest money in escrow account, disseminate “Under-Contract Showing Restrictions” as seller requests, deliver copies of fully signed Offer to Purchase contract to seller, send/deliver copies of Offer to Purchase contract to Selling Agent, send copies of Offer to Purchase contract to lender, and provide copies of signed Offer to Purchase contract for office file. Additionally, I advise the seller in handling additional offers to purchase submitted between contract and closing, change status in MLS to “Sale Pending”, update MLS and transaction management program to show “Sale Pending”, review buyer’s credit report results, and advise the seller of worst and best case scenarios.
I further provide credit report information to the seller if property will be seller-financed. I assist the buyer with obtaining financing, if applicable and follow-up as necessary, coordinate with lender on discount points being locked in with dates, deliver unrecorded property information to buyer, order septic system inspection, if applicable, and receive and review septic system report and assess any possible impact on sale. Additionally, I deliver copy of septic system inspection report lender and buyer, deliver Well Flow Test Report copies to lender and buyer and property listing file, verify termite inspection ordered, and also verify mold inspection ordered, if required.
Step 6: Tracking The Loan Process
1. Confirm verification of deposit and buyer’s employment has been returned.
2. Follow loan processing through to the underwriter.
3. Add lender and other vendors to transaction management program so agents, buyer, and seller can track progress of sale.
4. Contact lender weekly to ensure processing is on track.
5. Relay final approval of buyer’s loan application to seller.
Step 7: Home Inspection
1. Coordinate buyer’s professional home inspection with seller.
2. Review home inspector’s report.
3. Enter completion into transaction management tracking software program.
4. Explain seller’s responsibilities with respect to loan limits and interpret any clauses in the contract.
5. Ensure seller’s compliance with Home Inspection Clause requirements.
6. Recommend or assist seller with identifying and negotiating with trustworthy contractors to perform any required repairs.
7. Negotiate payment and oversee completion of all required repairs on seller’s behalf, if needed.
Step 8: The Appraisal
1. Schedule appraisal.
2. Provide comparable sales used in market pricing to appraiser.
3. Follow-Up on appraisal.
4. Enter completion into transaction management program.
5. Assist seller in questioning appraisal report, if questions arise.
Step 9: Closing Preparations And Duties
As a realtor I make sure the contract is signed by all parties, coordinate closing process with buyer’s agent and lender, and update closing forms and files. I ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale, confirm closing date and time and notify all parties. Additionally, I assist in solving any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc) or in obtaining Death Certificates. I work with buyer’s agent in scheduling and conducting buyer’s final walk-through prior to closing, research all tax, Home Owner Association, utility and other applicable prorations. I then request final closing figures from closing agent (attorney or title company), receive and carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy of preparation, and forward verified closing figures to buyer’s agent.
I then request copy of closing documents from closing agent, confirm buyer and buyer’s agent have received title insurance commitment, provide Home Owners Warranty for availability at closing, review all closing documents carefully for errors, forward closing documents to absentee seller as requested, and review documents with closing agent (attorney). Additionally, I provide earnest money deposit check from escrow account to closing agent, coordinate this closing with seller’s next purchase and resolve any timing problems, have a “no surprises” closing so that seller receives a net proceeds check at closing, refer the sellers to a Realtor at their destination, if applicable, and change MLS status to Sold. Enter sale date, price, selling broker and agent’s ID numbers, etc. I then close out listing in transaction management program.
Step 10: Follow Up After Closing
1. Answer questions about filing claims with Home Owner Warranty company, if requested.
2. Attempt to clarify and resolve any conflicts about repairs if buyer is not satisfied.
3. Respond to any follow-on calls and provide any additional information required from office files.