What real estate agents do to sell a home

What do real estate agents do to sell your home

200 things a great listing agent does to sell your home and earn their commission

This is a list of common actions and activities in a successful residential real estate transaction that are normally provided by full service real estate brokerages in return for their sales commission. Depending on the transaction, some may not take long, while others may take hours or even days to complete.


More importantly, they reflect the level of skill, knowledge, attention to detail and organization required in today’s real estate transactions. I have also made a list of 150 things that can go wrong during a real estate transaction, and they are not included in this list, but you can click the link to read them seperatly.  When items in the "things that can go wrong list" do occur, an agent will have many more things they will have to do to handle the little emergency, and I do not list those here, or this article would turn into a book.  


The experience of handling complex transactions everyday, helps us to know what to watch for and more importantly, how to solve any problem before they kill a deal. This underscores the importance of having help and guidance from someone who fully understands the process – an experienced real estate agent.


Keep in mind; all of the time and money spent to pay for and perform these actions is totally paid for upfront by the agent, with no charges at all to the seller. The agent is reimbursed for their time and expenses as a commission paid, only if and when they successfully sell and close on your home; otherwise the agent gets nothing and is out all of their own time and money. It is a risky business; and most agents will drop out of the business in their first year or two.  There is little risk for an experienced agent however, because they know exactly what to do, and they do it well. 


If you appreciate what you read here, and you would like to talk with a highly experienced "Sellers Specialist" here in Utah, about your needs, I hope you will give me a call or text on my cell phone at 801-455-6222. 

Now here's my list...


Pre-Listing Activities

· Make appointment with seller for listing presentation

· Send seller a 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 from MLS and public records

· Research simular properties of this type, price range and location

· Download and review property tax roll information

· Prepare “Comparable Market Analysis” to establish “fair market value”

· Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex lay-out

· Research property’s ownership & deed type

· Research property’s public record information for lot size & 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 public schools and explain impact of schools on market value

· Review listing appointment checklist to ensure all steps are complete


Listing Appointment Presentation

· Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections

· Review the agent’s and company’s credentials

· Present the agent’s profile and position or “niche” in the marketplace

· Present CMA results with comparable Solds, Active Listings & Expireds

· Offer pricing strategy from our interpretation of the market conditions

· Discuss goals with seller to market effectively

· Explain market power and benefits of Multiple Listing Service

· Explain market power of web marketing, IDX and syndication.

· Explain the work the brokerage and agents do “behind the scenes” 

· Discuss availability of agent and clients hours, including weekends

· Explain how we vet buyers protecting sellers from curiosity seekers

· Present and discuss a strategic master marketing plan of action

· Explain different agency relationships and determine seller’s preference

· Review / explain all clauses in Listing Contract and obtain signatures

· Review current title information

· Measure overall square footage and finished square footage

· Measure interior room sizes

· Confirm lot size via owner’s copy of certified survey, or tax records

· 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 and agree on showing times with seller

· Obtain current mortgage loan(s) info: companies & loan acct. numbers

· Verify current loan information with lender(s)

· Check assumability of loan(s) and any special requirements

· Discuss possible Seller Financing alternatives and options with seller

· Review current appraisal if available

· Identify the Home Owner Association manager if applicable

· Verify Home Owner Association Fees with manager

· Order CC&R’s, Rules & Regs, last 6 months transcripts and financials

· Confirm all utilities availability and supplier’s names and numbers

· Calculate average utility usages from last 12 months of bills

· Well Water: Confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report

· Verify security system, current term of service and if 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 a 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 Warranty

· When received, place Home Warranty in file for conveyance at closing

· Have extra key made for lockbox if seller does not have an extra key

· Verify if property has rental units involved. And if so:

   * Make copies of all leases for retention in listing file

   * Verify all rents & deposits

   * Inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled

· Arrange for installation of yard sign or put in yard sign themselves

· Assist seller with completion of Seller’s Disclosure forms

· Complete the “New Listing Checklist” to assure nothing is missed

· Review Curb Appeal Assessment with seller and provide suggestions

· Provide a pre-inspection of home to prepare for formal inspection

· Review results of Interior Assessment and suggest changes

· Load listing into transaction management software program


Entering Property in Multiple Listing Service Database

· Prepare MLS Sheet, check for “quality control” and accuracy of data

· Enter property data from Profile Sheet into MLS Listing Database

· Input comparable sales into MLS for buyers agents to show buyers

· Proof-read MLS database listing for accuracy – confirm mapping

· Add property to company’s Active Listings list

· Provide seller with signed copies of Listing Docs and MLS Data Form

· Take additional photos for upload into MLS and use in flyers

· Schedule professional photographer and pay for such services

· Meet with the photographer at the home during photo-shoot


Marketing The Listing

· Create print and Internet ads and review with seller

· Coordinate showings with owners, tenants, and other agents. 

· Return all calls, texts and emails;  answer all questions - 7 days a week

· Install electronic security lock box and program with showing times

· Prepare mailing list and contact list for this home

· Write and mail-merge letters to contact list and database for this home

· Order “Just Listed” labels & reports for this property

· Prepare printed and email flyers for this property

· Regularly review comps in MLS to ensure property remains competitive

· Prepare property marketing brochure for seller’s review

· Arrange for printing or copying of supply of marketing brochures or fliers

· Place marketing brochures in all company agent mail boxes

· Mass email of the property brochures to all agents in the local MLS

· Upload listing to company and agent Internet sites

· Mail-out or hand deliver “Just Listed” notice to neighborhood residents

· Advise Network Referral Program of listing

· Provide marketing data to buyers coming through 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

· Prepare and print special flyers for an Open House Event

· Distribute flyers for the Open House Event and speak to neighbors

· Advertise each day prior to the Open House Event

· Put out high number of signs and hold the Open House Event 

· Follow-up will all who attended the Open House Event to procure offers

· Status or 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/faxes sent to buyers’ agents after showings

· Review weekly Market Study

· Discuss the showing agent and buyer feedback with seller

· Weekly update calls to seller to discuss marketing, showings, prospects

· Promptly enter price changes in MLS listing database


The Offer and Contract

· Receive and review all offers written for buyers or submitted by agents.

· Evaluate offer(s) and prepare “net sheets” for the owners comparison

· Counsel seller on offers. Explain merits and weakness of each offer

· Contact buyers’ agents to review buyer’s qualifications and discuss offer

· Deliver Seller’s Disclosures to buyer’s  once under contract

· 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 all contract deadlines

· Strategically negotiate multiple offers to give the seller the best outcome

· Prepare and convey any acceptance or counteroffers to buyer’s agent

· Notify winning buyer or their agent immiediatly upon acceptance

· Notify all other agents of outcome and keep them as back-ups

· email copies of contract and all addendums to title company or attorney

· When Purchase Contract is signed by all parties, deliver to buyer’s agent

· Record and promptly deposit buyer’s earnest money per the contract

· Disseminate “Under-Contract Showing Restrictions” as seller requests

· Deliver copies of fully signed Offer to Purchase contract to seller

· email scanned copies of Purchase contract to Buyers Agent

· Deliver copies of Purchase Contract to lender and title company

· Provide copies of signed Offer to Purchase contract for office file

· Advise seller in handling offers submitted between contract and closing

· Change status in the MLS to  "Pending” or “Back-up” status

· Update transaction management program show “Sale Pending”

· Council seller on lenders review and discuss possible scenarios

· Provide credit information to seller if property will be seller-financed

· Assist buyer with obtaining financing, if applicable and follow-up

· 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 

· Deliver copy of septic system inspection report lender & buyer

· Deliver Well Flow Test Report copies to lender & buyer, if applicable

· Verify termite inspection ordered by lender

· Verify mold inspection ordered, if required or requested


Tracking the Loan Process

· Contact buyer's lender and convey communication expectations

· Confirm "Verifications of Deposit" & "Buyer’s Employment" are complete

· Follow loan processing at every step, to final underwriting and loan docs

· Add lender to mgmt program so agents and seller can track all progress

· Contact lender weekly to ensure processing is on track

· Relay final approval of buyer’s loan application to seller


Home Inspection

· Coordinate buyer’s professional home inspection with seller

· Be there at home inspection if needed or requested

· Meet with any additional inspectors, pest control, roofer, HVAC, etc.

· Answer questions from inspectors regarding the property

· Review home inspector’s report when finished

· Negotiate with other agent regarding issues in home inspection

· Enter completion into transaction management tracking software

· Explain seller’s negotiable costs and interpret contract clauses

· Protect seller by ensuring their compliance with Home Inspection Clause

· Assist seller with trustworthy contractors to perform any required repairs

· Negotiate payment and/or oversee completion of all required repairs


The Appraisal

· Schedule the 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 it seems too low


Closing Preparations and Duties

· Ensure Contracts are signed, initialed and dated by all parties

· Coordinate closing process with buyer’s agent and the lender

· Update closing forms & files to prepare for closing

· Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close

· Select the location and time where closing will be held

· Confirm closing date and time and notify all parties

· Assist in solving any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc.) 

· Work with buyer’s agent in scheduling  buyer’s walk-thru prior to closing

· Research all tax, HOA, utility and other applicable pro-rations

· Request final closing figures from closing agent

· Receive & carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy

· Forward verified closing figures to buyer’s agent

· Request copy of closing documents from closing agent

· Confirm buyer’s agent has received title insurance commitment

· Provide “Home Owners Warranty” for availability at closing

· Reviews all closing documents carefully for errors

· Forward closing documents to absentee seller as requested

· Review documents with closing agent

· Provide earnest money from escrow account to closing agent, if required

· Coordinate this closing with seller’s next purchase title officer

· Have a “no surprises” closing, so seller receives a bank wire at closing

· Call or visit the Sellers to let them know as soon as the sale has recorded

· Call the other agents or buyers to let them know when recorded

· Research top agents at sellers destination city, if applicable

· Refer sellers to one of the best agents at their destination, if applicable

· Change MLS status to Sold. Enter sale date, price, buyers agent, etc.

· Close out listing in agents management program

· Remind sellers to call all utility companies to closing their accounts


Follow Up After Closing

· Answer questions about Home Warranty company if requested

· Attempt to resolve any conflicts about repairs if buyer is not satisfied

· Respond to follow-up calls, give additional info required from office files.

· Calls to all parties to ensure all have copies of all documents and happy



End Notes and Credits:

Most home buyers and sellers are unaware of all tasks that agents must do and the expertise they need to successful close transactions. There are hundreds of things that can go wrong in a real estate transaction, and a great agent will know these potential problems and how to solve them, because they have had experience dealing with them in past transactions.


This is just a sample list, and the actual services provided by an individual agent will vary and may include many additional steps and costs depending on the property, the agent’s specialty, their systems in place and additional problems that can and do commonly occur.


This list is provided by John Austin, Principal Broker of America’s Best Real Estate, Salt Lake City, Utah, and he credits an initial list prepared by Belton Jennings of  the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association .  John can be reached in the Salt Lake City Utah area at 801-455-6222 or email him at: John@America’sBestRealEstate.com


I would appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about your real estate needs and be your personal agent. - John Austin