Listing Agent Services
What is a "Listing"?
A Listing is when you create a written agreement with a real estate agent to represent you in the sale of your home. The Listing Agent then has the task of marketing your home, putting it on the MLS, being your advisor and advocate, negotiating on your behalf, completing Purchase & Sale contracts with you and walking the sales transaction through to closing. In exchange for their services, you agree in a Listing Agreement to pay the Listing Agent a specific commission if they bring you an offer from a "ready, willing and able" buyer. Commissions are paid at closing from the proceeds of the sale.
A very powerful tool that is available to real estate agents is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). It is essentially an online database of thousands of properties for sale all across the country. Agents working with buyers scan it daily for new listings that meet the needs of their clients. When your Listing Agent lists your home on the MLS, they essentially multiply your sales force. Now you don't just have your Listing Agent working to get your home sold, you have hundreds of agents in the area doing it. If one of those agents represents the buyer in purchasing your home, your Listing Agent will generally split their commission with the buyer's agent.
What is a "Listing Agreement"?
A Listing Agreement is a contract between the seller, their Listing Agent's brokerage office, and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The Listing Agreement states all pertinent information about the property, including price it will be listed at, any personal property included with the sale, any real property not included with the sale, any special showing arrangements (i.e. hours), amount you agree to pay in commission, duration of Listing contract, permission for your agent to put your home on the MLS and internet, etc.
Can you sell your home without an agent?
Sure. But generally it is harder, more stressful, will take longer and you won't get as high of a price. Over 89% of homes are sold through a Listing Agent. Out of the other 11%, some are sold within already-established relationships, like selling to a family member or a tenant. 8% are sold FSBO, also known as For Sale By Owner. Here are some reasons why homes have a better chance of selling if listed through a Listing Agent:
- Since most homes are sold through agents, most agents representing buyers look on the MLS for homes. They don't seek alternative methods like newspapers or online resources like Zillow - which is the primary avenue that FSBOs have to market their properties.
- The National Association of Realtors has estimated at 87% of home buyers have purchased their properties through a buyer's agent. Those agents are setting up searches through the MLS and sending those searches to their clients. If your home isn't listed for sale with a real estate company, just by this statistic alone, you are missing out on approximately 87% of all buyers actively searching for homes.
Commissions may seem like a lot, but you are paying for the education and experience of a professional. If you pay a lawyer $200 an hour to prepare a form for you, you may think that seems like a lot just to fill out a piece of paper. However, that lawyer has had years of education and experience that tells him the advantages and disadvantages of filling it out in a particular way. He knows exactly what to do, say and write that is in your best interest with the law in mind. I don't know about you, but I'd rather pay the lawyer than personally read thousands of pages of law books to learn what they knows and still risk making errors. In recent years, the process of selling a home has become much more complicated. Have someone on your side too - there are rarely any buyers without agents on their side.
Invest in a professional and the whole experience can be easy, stress-free, exciting and net you more money than you could get if you attempted to do it yourself.
The Realtor Commitment
The professional commitment of a Realtor is to ensure that a seller and a buyer are brought together in an agreement that provides each with a transaction that is fair and equitable. The motivation is easy to understand. For most full-service brokerages, they receive no compensation whatsoever unless and until the sale closes.
By contrast, there are firms that offer limited services in exchange for an up-front flat fee, or offer a menu of pay-as-you-go or a la' carte options. Other real estate firms may offer a sliding scale ranging from limited to full service. In these cases, the compensation of the Realtor is based on the reduced services provided, with the seller bearing full responsibility for all of the other steps and procedures (which are normally conducted by a full service real estate firm) in the selling process.
Variety Of Choices
The variety of brokerage business models in today's real estate industry - full service, limited service, fee for service or other -- affords consumers with a greater range of options than ever before. No matter which option they choose, homeowners should understand exactly what services will, or will not, be provided by their choice of Realtor/brokerage firm before signing a Listing Agreement or otherwise engaging the services of a Realtor and agreeing to compensation.
The list is by no means an attempt to set forth a complete list of services, as these can vary within each brokerage and each market. Many Realtors routinely provide a wide variety of additional services that are as varied as the nature of each transaction.
By the same token, some transactions may not require every step listed. However, given the unexpected complications that can arise, it's far better to know about a step and make an intelligent, informed decision to skip it, than to not know the possibility even exists.
Services I provide to get your home sold:
- Make appointment with seller for listing presentation.
- Send seller a written or e-mail confirmation of listing appointment and call to confirm.
- Review pre-appointment questions.
- Research all comparable currently listed properties.
- Research sales activity for past 18 months through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or public records databases.
- Research "Average Days on Market" for this property of this type, price range and location.
- Download and review property tax roll information.
- Prepare "Comparable Market Analysis" (CMA) to establish fair market value.
- Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex lay-out.
- Research property's ownership and deed type.
- Research property's public record information for lot size and dimensions.
- Research and verify legal description.
- Research property's land use coding and deed restrictions.
- Research property's current use and zoning.
- Verify legal names of owner(s) in county's public property records.
- Prepare listing presentation package with above materials.
- Perform exterior Curb Appeal Assessment of subject property.
- Compile and assemble formal file on property.
- Confirm current public schools and explain impact of schools on market value.
- Review listing appointment checklist to ensure all steps and actions have been completed.
Listing Appointment Presentation
- Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections.
- Review agent's and company's credentials and accomplishments in the market.
- Present company's profile and position or niche in the marketplace.
- Present CMA Results To Seller, including Comparables, Solds, Current Listings and Expireds.
- Offer pricing strategy based on professional judgment and interpretation of current market conditions.
- Prepare and present "Seller Net Sheet" for seller to determine current equity and listing fees.
- Discuss goals with seller to market effectively.
- Explain market power and benefits of Multiple Listing Service.
- Explain market power of web marketing, Internet Data Display and Realtor.com.
- Explain the work the brokerage and agent do behind the scenes and agent's availability on weekends.
- Explain agent's role in taking calls to screen for qualified buyers and protect seller from curiosity seekers.
- Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan.
- Explain different agency relationships and determine seller's preference.
- Review and explain all clauses in Listing Contract and Addendum and obtain seller's signature.
Once Property Is Under Listing Agreement
- Review current title information.
- Measure overall and heated/air conditioned square footage.
- Measure interior room sizes.
- Confirm lot size via owner's copy of certified survey, if available.
- Note any and all unrecorded property lines, agreements, easements.
- Obtain house plans, if applicable and available.
- Review house plans and make copy.
- Order plat map for retention in property's listing file.
- Prepare showing instructions for buyers' agents and agree on showing time window with seller.
- 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.
- Discuss possible buyer financing alternatives and options with seller.
- Review current appraisal if available.
- Identify Home Owner Association manager if applicable.
- Verify Home Owner Association Fees with manager - mandatory or optional and current annual fee.
- Order 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.
- Research and verify city sewer/septic tank system.
- Water System: Calculate average water fees or rates from last 12 months of bills.
- Well water: Confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report.
- Natural gas: Research/verify availability and supplier's name and telephone number.
- Verify security system, current term of service and whether owned or leased.
- Verify if seller has transferable Termite Bond.
- Ascertain need for lead-based paint disclosure.
- Prepare detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact.
- Prepare detailed list of property's "Inclusions & Conveyances with Sale."
- Compile list of completed repairs and maintenance items.
- Send "Vacancy Checklist" to seller if property is vacant.
- Explain benefits of Home Owner Warranty to seller.
- Assist sellers with completion and submission of Home Owner Warranty Application.
- When received, place Home Owner Warranty in property file for conveyance at time of sale.
- Have extra key made for lockbox.
- Verify if property has rental units involved. If so:
- - Make copies of all leases for retention in listing file.
- - Verify all rents and deposits.
- - Inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled.
- Arrange for installation of yard sign(s).
- Assist seller with completion of Seller's Disclosure form.
- Complete "New Listing Checklist."
- Review results of Curb Appeal Assessment with seller and provide suggestions to improve salability.
- Review results of Interior Décor Assessment and suggest changes to shorten time on market (staging).
- Load listing into transaction management software program.
- If appropriate, hire professional photographer and determine if ariel or Matterport tour is recommended.
Entering Property in Multiple Listing Service Database
Marketing The Listing
- Prepare MLS Profile Sheet - Realtor is responsible for quality control and accuracy of listing data.
- 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.
- Provide seller with signed copies of Listing Agreement and MLS Profile Sheet Data Form within 48hours.
- Take additional photos for upload into MLS and use in flyers. Discuss efficacy of panoramic/virtual tour photography.
- Create print and Internet ads with seller's input.
- Coordinate showings with owners, tenants, and other Realtors. Return all calls - nights and weekends included.
- Install electronic lockbox if authorized by owner. Program lockbox with agreed-upon showing time windows.
- 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.
- Prepare property marketing brochure for seller's review.
- Arrange for printing or copying of supply of marketing brochures or flyers.
- 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.
- Advise Network Referral Program of listing.
- 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.
- Submit ads to company’s participating Internet real estate sites.
- Price changes conveyed promptly to all Internet groups.
- Reprint/supply brochures promptly as needed.
- Loan information reviewed and updated in MLS as required.
- Feedback e-mails sent to buyers’ agents after showings.
- Review weekly Market Study.
- Review lockbox reports to study home showing traffic.
- Discuss lockbox showing reports and feedback from showing agents with seller to determine if changes will accelerate the sale.
- Place regular weekly update calls to seller to discuss marketing and pricing.
- Promptly enter price changes in MLS listing database.
The Offer And Contract
- Receive and review all Offer to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyers’ agents.
- Evaluate offer(s) and prepare a “net sheet” on each for the owner for comparison purposes.
- Counsel seller on offers. Explain merits and weakness of each component of each offer.
- Contact buyers’ agents to review buyer’s qualifications and discuss offer.
- 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.
- 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.
- Send copies of contract and all addenda to closing attorney or title company.
- When Offer to Purchase Contract is accepted and signed by seller, deliver to buyer’s agent.
- 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.
- Deliver copies of Offer to Purchase contract to Selling Agent.
- Send copies of Offer to Purchase contract to lender.
- Provide copies of signed Offer to Purchase contract for office file.
- Advise 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 -- advise seller of worst and best case scenarios.
- Provide credit report information to seller if property will be seller-financed.
- Assist 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.
- Receive and review septic system report and assess any possible impact on sale.
- 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.
- Verify mold inspection ordered, if required.
Tracking The Loan Process
- Confirm verifications of deposit and buyer’s employment have been returned.
- Follow loan processing through to the underwriter.
- Add lender and other vendors to transaction management program so agents, buyer and seller can track progress of sale.
- Contact lender weekly to ensure processing is on track.
- Relay final approval of buyer’s loan application to seller.
- Coordinate buyer’s professional home inspection with seller.
- Review home inspector’s report if necessary
- Enter completion into transaction management tracking software program.
- Explain seller’s responsibilities with respect to loan limits and interpret any clauses in the contract.
- Negotiate and advise on any post-inspection repair requests or requested seller credits.
- Ensure seller’s compliance with Home Inspection Clause requirements.
- Recommend or assist seller with identifying and negotiating with trustworthy contractors to perform any required repairs.
- Negotiate payment and oversee completion of all required repairs on seller’s behalf, if needed.
Closing Preparations And Duties
- Schedule appraisal.
- Provide comparable sales used in market pricing to appraiser.
- Follow-Up on appraisal.
- Enter completion into transaction management program.
- Assist seller in questioning appraisal report, if questions arise.
- Contract is signed by all parties.
- Coordinate closing process with buyer’s agent and lender.
- Update closing forms and files.
- Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale.
- Coordinate with all parties for location where closing will be held.
- Confirm closing date and time and notify all parties.
- Assist in solving any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc) or in obtaining Death Certificates.
- 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.
- Request final closing figures from closing agent (attorney or title company).
- Receive and carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy of preparation.
- Forward verified closing figures to buyer’s agent.
- 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.
- Review documents with closing agent (attorney).
- 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 sellers to a Realtor at their destination, if applicable.
- Change MLS status to Sold. Enter sale date, price, selling broker and agent’s ID numbers, etc.
- Close out listing in transaction management program.
Follow Up After Closing
- Answer questions about filing claims with Home Owner Warranty company, if requested.
- Attempt to clarify and resolve any conflicts about repairs if buyer is not satisfied.
- Respond to any follow-on calls and provide any additional information required from office files.