Updated: Jul 8
SO, WHAT EXACTLY DOES A REALTOR DO FOR YOU? “Why do I need a REALTOR?©”, you might think to yourself.
We love it when we are asked this question! We are happy to explain! Social media portrays successful real estate Agents as spending their time viewing expensive real estate, wearing designer clothes and driving fancy cars, making TicTok videos. It may seem like being a professional REALTOR© is pretty easy, but in reality, guiding a transaction to a successful and smooth closing can be a challenge fraught with unforeseen hurdles, problems and roadblocks. Much of what we do is ‘behind the scenes’ and takes place out of the public eye. There is a huge amount of liability that comes along with our fiduciary duties to our clients. We are responsible for a multitude of actions and we often have to wear many hats: advisor, marketer, educator, negotiator, etc.
Pat Vredevoogd-Combs, a past president of the NationalAssociation of REALTORS, testified before the House Financial Services Committee on Housing to blunt government complaints about industry pricing. As part of her testimony, she submitted a list of 184 ThingsThat Listing AgentsDo in Every Real Estate Transaction. “By all accounts,” she said, “the general public is not aware of all the services that Agents provide to Sellers and Buyers during the course of the transaction, probably because most of the important services are performed behind the scenes.”
We’ve taken her Listing Agent task list and updated it to reflect tasks relevant to our Bay Area real estate customs and procedures, plus we’ve added our own proprietary information (things that we do during our Seller transactions to ensure a smooth process here in SF and Marin Counties.) Keep in mind this is a list of tasks we do for Sellers! What we do when representing Buyers is very similar during a transaction but is different during a customized property search. If you’d like to see our Buyer’s Services, you can CLICK HERE. Pre-Listing Activities Make appointment with Seller for listing presentation. Send a written or e-mail confirmation of appointment and call to confirm, deliver initial marketing package either electronically or in person. Review appointment questions. Research all comparable currently listed properties. Research sales activity for past 18 months from MLS and public databases. Research “average days on market” for properties similar in type, price and location. Download and review property tax roll information. Prepare “comparable market analysis” (CMA) to establish market value. Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex layout. Research property’s ownership and deed type. Research property’s public record information for lot size and dimensions. 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. Photograph exterior and prepare mock marketing assets. Compile and assemble formal file on property. Confirm current public schools and explain their impact on market value. Review listing appointment checklist to ensure completion of all tasks. Listing Appointment Presentation Give Seller an overview of current market conditions and projections. Review Agent and company credentials and accomplishments. Present company’s profile and position or “niche” in the marketplace. Present CMA results, including comparables, solds, current listings and expireds. Offer professional pricing strategy based and interpretation of current market conditions. Discuss goals to market effectively. Explain market power and benefits of multiple listing service. Explain market power of Web marketing, IDX and social media. Explain the work the broker and Agent do “behind the scenes” and Agent’s availability on weekends. Explain Agent’s role in screening qualified Buyers to protect against curiosity seekers. Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan. Discuss recommended preparation: repairs, cleaning, painting, landscaping, staging. Explain different agency relationships and determine Seller’s preference. Prepare Seller’s Estimated net sheet & discuss costs of sale. Review all clauses in listing contract and obtain Seller’s signature. After Listing Agreement is Signed Discuss timeframe for preparations and target ‘On Market’ date. Review current title information. Investigate square footage information and sources. Measure interior room sizes for future reference. Confirm lot size/boundaries 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, or order floor plan sketch. Review house plans, make copy available at property, if available. Open a pre-listing escrow account at a local title company. Order preliminary title report and plat map for retention in property’s listing file. Prepare showing instructions for Buyers’ Agents and agree on showing times and Open Houses, Broker’s Tours with Seller. Obtain title company instructions for Seller’s current mortgage loan(s) information. Introduce escrow officer to clients. Check assumability of loan(s) and any special requirements. Discuss possible Buyer financing alternatives and options with Seller. Review current appraisal if available. Discuss any potential taxes due (if not a primary residence) or 1031 Exchange? Identify Homeowner Association contact information & Manager, if applicable. Verify Homeowner Association fees, move-in/move-out, transfer, elevator, etc. Order copy of Homeowner Association documents if applicable. Ask about average utility usage from last 12 months of bills. Research and verify city sewer/septic tank system, if applicable. Research electricity availability and supplier’s name and phone number. If property is vacant, who is turning on/paying for power? Calculate average water/sewer system fees or rates from last 12 months of bills. Or confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report. Research/verify natural gas availability, supplier’s name and phone number. Ask which insurance company currently holds their replacement policy and when does it expire/renew? Verify security system, term of service and whether owned or leased. Prepare blank CA and SF disclosure forms; assist/direct Seller in filling out required forms. Prepare detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact. Prepare detailed list of property’s inclusion/exclusion list, if applicable. Complete list of completed repairs and maintenance items. Have Seller write a list of why they ‘loved living here’, or upgrades, if applicable. Discuss security measures: sign, lockbox, putting away valuables. Explain benefits of Home Warranty to Seller. 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. Be sure to investigate any required tenancy forms or procedures. Arrange for yard sign installation, including any riders or permissions needed. Complete “new listing checklist.” Load listing into broker’s transaction management software. Organize disclosure package and upload to Disclosures.io, create link to use. Complete preparations ahead of target On Market date. Schedule photographer and videographer. Discuss efficacy of panoramic photography, dusk photography, aerial photography. Entering Property in MLS Database Prepare MLS Profile Sheet–Seller to review 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 property placement in mapping function. Add property to company’s Active Listings. Provide Seller with MLS report and active social media links, once listing is ‘live.’ Marketing The Listing
Create print and Internet ads with Seller’s input on marketing text & details. Create single property website and landing pages/funnels. Create FB ads, YouTube video, other social media assets as needed. Coordinate showings with owners, tenants and other Agents. Return all calls; attend and follow up on all showings. Install electronic lockbox; program with agreed-upon showing time windows, if applicable. Prepare mailing and contact list; get neighborhood addresses from title company. Generate mail-merge letters to contact list. Order “Just Listed” labels and reports. Prepare flyers and feedback forms. 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 mailboxes. Upload listing to company and Agent Internet sites, if applicable. Mail “Just Listed” notice to all neighborhood residents.
Advise Network Referral Program of listing. Send out E-mail marketing blast. Provide marketing data to Buyers from international relocation networks. Provide marketing data to Buyers coming from referral network. Provide “Special Feature” cards form marketing, if applicable. Submit ads to company’s participating Internet real estate sites. Convey price changes promptly to all Internet groups. Reprint/supply brochures promptly as needed. Review and update loan information in MLS as required. Investigate if any lenders have special programs for that neighborhood; align with a lender partner to host Broker’s Tours and provide food, if applicable. Send feedback requests to Buyers’ Agents after showings. Review weekly Market Report and any new inventory. Discuss feedback from showing Agents with Seller to determine if changes will accelerate the sale. Place regular update calls to Seller to discuss marketing and pricing, especially after Open Houses and Broker’s Tours. Promptly enter any status or price changes in MLS listings database.
The Offer and the Contract Deliver Seller’s Disclosure to Buyer’s Agent or Buyer upon request and prior to offer if possible. Receive and review all Offer to Purchase contracts submitted by Buyers or Buyers’ Agents. Evaluate offer(s) and prepare “net sheet” on each for owner to compare. 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. Review preapproval letter; confirm by calling the loan officer. Negotiate all offers on Seller’s behalf, setting time limit for loan approval and closing date. Prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptances or amendments to Buyer’s Agent. Send copies of contract and all addenda to agents, TC’s, lender and title company. Prepare contract timeline & note relevant contingencies, deadlines, details. Introduce all parties to each other via email. Track Buyer’s deposit funds timeline. Enter file paperwork into brokerage transaction compliance system. Discuss how to handle any back-up offers. Change MLS status: Active-Contingent or Pending? Update showing instructions; remove disclosure link from MLS. Review Buyer’s contingencies; advise Seller of worst and best case scenarios. Provide credit report information to Seller if property is to be Seller financed. Assist Buyer with obtaining financing and follow up as necessary. Coordinate with Lender/other Agent on discount points being locked in with dates. Deliver any new property information (during escrow timeframe) to Buyer. Attend any Buyer investigation appointments; track Buyer’s insurance coverage binder. Track contingency removal deadlines.
Tracking the Loan Process (if applicable) Confirm return of verifications of deposit and Buyer’s employment. 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. Home Inspections, Either Before or After the Contract is Accepted Review Buyer’s contingency timeframes and expected investigations. Coordinate Buyer’s professional home inspection with Seller. Review home inspector’sreport. Enter completion into transaction management tracking software program. Explain Seller’s responsibilities of loan limits and interpret any clauses in the contract. Ensure Seller’s compliance with home inspection clause requirements. Assist Seller with identifying and negotiating with trustworthy contractors for required repairs. Negotiate payment and oversee completion of all required repairs on Seller’s behalf, if needed. The Appraisal Schedule appraisal, give notice of entry to Seller/Tenant, attend appraisal. Investigate any recent market changes, research other pending sales. Provide comparable sales used in market pricing to appraiser. Follow up on appraisal, assist with questions, track completion deadline. Prepare and execute any necessary contingency removal(s). Enter completion into transaction management program.
Closing Preparations and Duties Confirm closing date and notify all parties. Confirm Seller’s move-out details & timeframe. Confirm any exclusions/inclusions in purchase contract. Discuss final move-out cleaning and debris removal, if applicable. Solve any final title needs - trust documents, obtaining death certificates, etc. Make sure contract addenda and all disclosures and reports are signed by all parties and according to our Brokerages’ transaction checklist. Coordinate closing process with Buyer’s Agent and Lender. Confirm that Buyer’s side is ready and that loan documents are ready to be signed. Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale; provide escrow instructions to the title company, bills to pay, etc. Research all tax, HOA, utility and other applicable prorations. Work with Buyer’s Agent in scheduling and conducting Buyer’s final walkthrough prior to closing. Request and review Seller’s Estimated Settlement Statement from title company. Receive and carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy. Arrange for Seller to sign closing documents at title company or via traveling notary. Request copy of closing documents from title company.
Provide Home Warranty contract for availability at closing, if applicable.
Forward closing documents to absentee Seller, if applicable.
Review documents with escrow officer.
Coordinate closing with Seller’s next purchase, resolving timing issues.
Make sure Seller has called to alert utility companies about change of ownership.
Advise Seller on choices for receiving proceeds.
Refer Sellers to one of the best agents at their new destination, if applicable.
Change MLS status to Sold. Enter sale date, price, selling broker and Agent’s ID numbers, etc.
Close out listing in brokerage transaction management program.
Advise Sellers to:
Cancel homeowner’s insurance, if applicable.
Change address, leave forwarding address for any leftover mail or packages.
Change voter registration or any mail /delivery subscriptions.
Agent Tasks/Follow Up After Closing (adding because now I'm on a roll)
Add client’s updated contact information to mailing lists & CRM databases with correct tags.
Note anniversary of sale on calendar, set yearly alerts in advance.
Set up alert for other sales in building/neighborhood, if applicable.
Add client to HomeBot, if applicable.
Request and save Final Settlement Statement for tax season.
Send “Thank You” notes to other agent, mortgage lender, vendors, referral source
Send closing gift(s): Sunset mag, address stamp, Home Depot gift cards, etc.
Remove yard sign.
Remove/update any active social media listings.
Request review/testimonials from client(s).
Post Blog & social media announcements
Add to closed sales lists: excel, homelight, Zillow, websites
Send ‘Just Sold’ cards & email blasts to neighbors and client list; welcome new neighbor
Turn off or edit any property websites or ongoing media.
Turn off disclosures and/or shared files Dropbox, if applicable.
Add the cooperating agent to CRM and/or social media, if applicable.
Add the other client to CRM, if applicable.
Update vendor list.
Deposit commission check; pay all outstanding marketing invoices; transfer funds to tax and marketing accounts.
Go On Vacation! Because once you make plans to travel, the Murphy’s Law of Real Estate ensures that you’ll get busy right before you leave….so try to travel as much as you can!