The Value of a REALTOR®

All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®.  REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate.

It may seem tempting to try to sell or buy your home without using a real estate professional. But by using a REALTOR®, you have the advantage of information and knowledge through what can often be a complicated and confusing procedure.

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Here hundreds of ways an agent who is a REALTOR® may do to help clients when buying and selling a home: 

SELLERS

Pre-Listing Activities:

1. Make appointment with seller for listing presentation
2. Send seller a written or e-mail confirmation of listing appointment and call to confirm
3. Review pre-appointment questions
4. Research all comparable currently listed properties
5. Research sales activity from Local MLS Broker Marketplaces and public records databases
6. Research Average Days on Market for property
of this type, price range, and location
7. Download and review property tax roll/assessor information
8. Prepare preliminary Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) to establish fair market value
9. Obtain copy of subdivision plat/ complex lay-out
10. Research property’s ownership and deed type
11. Research property’s public record information for lot size and dimensions
12. Research and verify legal description
13. Research property’s land use coding and deed restrictions
14. Research property’s current use and zoning
15. Verify legal names of owner(s) in county’s public property records
16. Prepare listing presentation package with above materials
17. Perform exterior Curb Appeal Assessment of subject property
18. Compile a formal file on property
19. Confirm current public schools and explain impact of schools on market value
20. Review listing appointment checklist to ensure all steps and actions are completed
21. Review Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA) Report from Township for all permitted records
22. Add client into your database

Listing Appointment Presentation:

23. Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections
24. Tour property
25. Review agent’s and company’s credentials and accomplishments in the market
26. Present company’s profile and position or niche in the marketplace
27. Present preliminary CMA to seller, including comparable properties, sold properties, current listings, and expired listings
28. Offer pricing strategy with updates to CMA based on tour of home and updates, upgrades professional judgment, and current market conditions
29. Discuss goals with seller to market effectively
30. Explain market power and benefits of Local MLS Broker Marketplaces
31. Explain market power of web marketing, IDX and REALTOR.com
32. Explain the work you do behind the scenes and your availability on weekends
33. Explain role in screening for qualified buyers and protect seller from curiosity seekers
34. Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan
35. Explain transaction/agency brokerage relationship
36. Review and explain all clauses in listing contract and addendum, then obtain seller’s signature once property is under listing agreement
37. Review current title information
38. Gather square footage/measure overall and heated square footage as required
39. Measure interior room sizes
40. Confirm lot size via owner’s copy of certified survey, if available
41. Note all unrecorded property liens, agreements, easements
42. Obtain house plans, if applicable and available
43. Review house plans and make copy
44. Prepare showing instructions for buyers’ agents and showing times with seller
45. Discuss possible buyer financing alternatives and options with seller
46. Review current appraisal if available
47. Identify Homeowner Association manager if applicable
48. Verify Homeowner Association Fees with manager—mandatory or optional, plus fees
49. Order copy of Homeowner Association bylaws, if applicable
50. Research electricity availability, supplier’s name, and phone number
51. Have utility companies provide average utility usage from last 12 months of bills
52. Research and verify city sewer/septic tank system
53. Calculate average water fees or rates from last 12 months of bills
54. Confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report
55. Natural Gas: Research/verify availability, supplier’s name, and phone number
56. Verify security system, current terms of service and whether owned or leased
57. Verify if seller has transferable Termite Bond
58. Ascertain need for lead-based paint disclosure
59. Prepare detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact
60. Prepare detailed list of property’s inclusions and conveyances with sale
61. Compile list of completed repairs and maintenance items
62. Send vacancy checklist to seller if property is vacant and register the property with the township if it is vacant or a rental home
63. Explain benefits of Homeowner Warranty to seller
64. Assist sellers with completion and submission of Homeowner Warranty Application
65. Place Homeowner Warranty in property file for conveyance at time of sale
66. Have extra key made for lockbox and one for your file
67. Verify if property has rental units involved.
68. If the property does have rental units, make copies of all leases for retention in listing file
69. Verify all rents and deposits
70. Inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled
71. Arrange for installation of yard sign
72. Complete new listing checklist
73. Review curb appeal assessment and provide suggestions to improve saleability
74. Review interior décor assessment and suggest changes to shorten time on market
75. Load listing into transaction management software program
76. Prepare Local MLS Broker Marketplaces Profile Sheet
77. Enter property data from Profile Sheet into Local MLS Broker Marketplaces Database
78. Proofread Local MLS Broker Marketplaces database listing for accuracy— including proper placement in map
79. Add property to company’s active listings list
80. Provide seller copies of the listing agreement and Local MLS Broker Marketplaces Profile Sheet within 48 hours or within the time period of Local MLS Broker Marketplace guidelines
81. Take additional photos for upload into Local MLS Broker Marketplaces and use in fliers
82. Create print and internet ads with seller’s input
83. Coordinate showings with owners, tenants, and other agents.
84. Return all calls
85. Install electronic lock box if authorized. Program agreed-to showing times
86. Prepare mailing and contact list
87. Generate mail-merge letters to contact list
88. Order Just Listed labels and reports
89. Prepare fliers and feedback reports
90. Review comparable Local MLS Broker Marketplaces regularly to ensure property remains competitive
91. Prepare property marketing brochure for seller’s review
92. Arrange for printing or copying of marketing brochures or fliers
93. Place marketing brochures in all company agent mailboxes
94. Upload listing to company and agent Internet site, if applicable
95. Mail out Just Listed notice to all neighborhood residents
96. Advise network referral program of listing
97. Provide marketing data to buyers through international relocation network buyers
98. Provide marketing data to buyers coming from referral network
99. Provide Special Feature cards for marketing, if applicable
100. Submit ads to company’s participating internet real estate sites
101. Price changes conveyed promptly to all internet groups
102. Reprint/supply brochures promptly as needed
103. Feedback e-mails sent to buyers’ agents after showings
104. Review weekly market study
105. Discuss with sellers any feedback from showings to determine if changes are needed
106. Set up marketing reports on showing-time application and company website
107. Place regular weekly update calls to seller to discuss marketing and pricing
108. Promptly enter price changes in the Local MLS Broker Marketplaces database

Offers:

109. Receive and review all Offer to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers’ agents
110. Evaluate offer(s) and prepare a net sheet for the owner for comparison purposes
111. Explain merits and weakness of each offer to sellers
112. Contact buyers’ agents to review buyer’s qualifications and discuss offer
113. Deliver Seller’s Disclosure to buyer upon request and prior to offer if possible. Upload to the Local MLS Broker Marketplaces additional documents at time of listing
114. Confirm buyer is pre-qualified by calling loan officer
115. Obtain buyers’ pre-qualification letter from loan officer if not submitted with offer
116. Negotiate all offers per seller’s direction on seller’s behalf, set time limit for loan approval and closing
117. Prepare and convey counteroffers, acceptance or amendments to buyer’s agent
118. Create excel spreadsheets for easy review on multiple bids
119. Email or send copies of contract and all addendum’s to the closing attorney or title company
120. When Offer to Purchase contract is accepted, deliver to buyer’s agent

Contracts:

121. Record and promptly deposit buyer’s earnest money in escrow account
122. Disseminate under-contract showing restrictions as seller requests
123. Deliver copies of fully signed Offer to Purchase contract to seller
124. Deliver copies of Offer to Purchase contract to lender
125. Provide copies of signed Offer to Purchase contract for office file
126. Advise seller of additional offers submitted between contract and closing
127. Change status in Local MLS Broker Marketplaces to Sale Pending
128. Update transaction management program to show Sale Pending
129. Provide credit report information to seller if property will be seller- financed
130. Assist buyer with obtaining financing, if applicable, and follow-up as necessary
131. Coordinate with lender on discount points being locked in with dates

Inspections:

132. Deliver unrecorded property information to buyer
133. Order septic system inspection, if applicable
134. Receive and review septic system report, and assess any possible impact on sale
135. Deliver copy of septic system inspection report lender and buyer
136. Deliver Well Flow Test Report copies to lender and buyer, and property listing file
137. Verify termite inspection ordered
138. Verify mold inspection ordered, if required
139. Confirm verifications of deposit and buyer’s employment have been returned
140. Follow loan processing through to the underwriter
141. Add lender and other vendors to your management program so agents, buyer, and seller can track progress of sale
142. Contact lender weekly to ensure processing is on track
143. Relay final approval of buyer’s loan application to seller

Home Inspections:

144. Coordinate with seller for buyer’s professional home inspection
145. Review home inspector’s report
146. Enter completion into transaction management tracking program
147. Explain seller’s responsibilities, and recommend an attorney interpret any clauses in the contract
148. Ensure seller’s compliance with Home Inspection Clause requirements
149. Assist seller with identifying contractors to perform any required repairs
150. Negotiate payment, and oversee all required repairs on seller’s behalf, if needed

The Appraisal:

151. Schedule appraisal
152. Provide to appraiser any comparable sales used in market pricing
153. Follow-up on appraisal

Processing for Closing:

154. Enter completion into transaction management program
155. Assist seller in questioning appraisal report if it seems too low
156. Get contract signed by all parties
157. Coordinate closing process with buyer’s agent and lender
158. Update closing forms and files
159. Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale
160. Select location where closing will be held
161. Confirm closing date and time, and notify all parties
162. Assist in solving any title problems or in obtaining death certificates
163. Work with buyer’s agent in scheduling buyer’s final walk-thru prior to closing
164. Double check all tax, homeowners’ association dues, utility, and applicable prorations
165. Request final closing figures from closing agent (attorney or title company)
166. Receive and carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy of preparation
167. Confirm buyer and buyer’s agent have received title insurance commitment
168. Provide homeowners warranty for availability at closing
169. Forward closing documents to absentee seller as requested
170. Review documents with closing agent (attorney)
171. Coordinate closing with seller’s next purchase, and resolve any timing problems
172. Have a no-surprises closing so seller receives a net-proceeds check at closing
173. Refer sellers to one of the best agents at their destination, if applicable
174. Change Local MLS Broker Marketplaces status to Sold. Enter sale date, price, selling broker, etc.

Follow-Up After Closing:

175. Share the warranty paperwork for claims in the future
176. Attempt to clarify and resolve any conflicts about repairs if buyer is not satisfied
177. Respond to any calls and provide any information required from office files
178. If a rental, verify all deposits and prorated rents are reflected accurately on the closing statement
179. Close out listing in your management program

BUYERS

Counseling Session Activities:

1. Prepare the buyer for executing a buyer representation agreement
2. Explain agency relationships to the buyer and get state required legal consent to represent, if needed
3. Inform the buyer of working relationship based on state law, the REALTORS® Code of Ethics, and the broker’s business policies

 

Building a Relationship:

4. Learn the buyer’s wants and non-negotiable needs
5. Understand the buyer’s budget and what will be needed financially
6. Help the buyer understand what property their chosen budget will buy
7. Consider having the buyer fill out a homebuyer’s checklist
8. Assist the buyer in examining how much they can afford to spend
9. Provide quality lender resources
10. Partner with the buyer to locate suitable properties for consideration
11. Match the buyer’s needs with available property
12. Constantly re-evaluate buyer’s needs and refocus property showings to fit those needs
13. After ensuring the buyer understands what is done for them, how it is done, and the benefit to them, obtain signatures on the buyer representation agreement
14. Explain how compensation is paid, who pays it, and what the buyer’s options are for paying it

 

Educating the Buyer:

15. Communicate the working relationship based on state law, the REALTORS® Code of Ethics, and the broker’s business policies
16. Explain Federal and State Fair Housing laws
17. Explain what to look for in applicable property disclosures
18. Reassure the buyer that their personal information will remain confidential
19. Inform the buyer that you will always disclose all known material defects
20. In accordance with state law, provide information on checking the sex-offender registry and crime statistics for the neighborhood
21. Discuss available resources that the buyer can check to learn more about prospective neighborhoods

 

Preparing the Buyer:

22. Explain the timeline for house hunting, mortgage approval, and closing
23. Explain the local market and how it impacts the buyer
24. Show statistics on what percentage of list price sellers in the area are currently receiving
25. Inform the buyer on what home features are popular
26. Identify current average days on market
27. Share the dangers of using the price per square foot to figure home values
28. Explain the concept of absorption rate and how it impacts the buying process
29. Indicate current listing months of market inventory
30. Share estimated potential out-of-pocket costs to complete the transaction
31. Assist the buyer in analyzing the loan estimates
32. Qualify the buyer for financial ability to purchase
33. Help the buyer account for the complete costs of homeownership
34. Prepare lender for listing agent calls
35. Assist in comparing different financing options
36. Help the buyer select for viewing only those homes that fit their needs
37. Proceed in showing homes that fit the buyer’s must-haves
38. Caution the buyer on posting information to social media
39. Review the sample sales contract so the buyer is prepared when it comes time to make an offer

 

Showing Properties:

40. Schedule showings and provide access to all listed properties as soon as they become available in their local MLS broker marketplaces
41. Educate the buyer on the immediacy of new listings appearing in their local MLS broker marketplaces and the lag time for them to appear on some websites
42. Collaborate with the buyer on properties they may have learned about through their sphere contacts
43. Research and assist on all unlisted properties the buyer wishes to see
44. Preview properties prior to showing if needed
45. Network with other agents to source properties not yet in their local MLS broker marketplaces
46. Contact homeowners in focus areas to see if they are considering selling
47. Set up an automated email alert system through their local MLS broker marketplaces that immediately notifies the buyer of properties that fit discussed requirements

48. Arrange a tour of areas, schools, and key points of interest
49. Provide resources containing neighborhood information on municipal services, schools, etc.
50. Inform the buyer of negative aspects like nearby venues or operations that may result in issues that could impact value
51. Collect and share any other vital information on available homes, remembering to follow all fair housing laws at all times
52. Check applicable zoning and building restrictions
53. Help the buyer decipher public property and tax information
54. Collect and share pertinent data on values, taxes, utility costs, etc.
55. Compare each property shown to the buyer’s wants and needs list and remind them of what they were looking for
56. Help the buyer narrow the search until the buyer identifies top choices

 

Negotiating Offers:

57. Assist the buyer in getting the best property at the best price
58. Suggest that the buyer learn more about the neighborhood prior to making an offer
59. Prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) in advance of making an offer
60. Prepare the buyer to have the most attractive offer in the current marketplace
61. Explain common contract contingencies and include approved protective clauses in the purchase offer
62. Ensure that the buyer receives and understands all state and federally- required disclosure forms
63. Prioritize contract negotiation goals with the buyer
64. Help create a negotiating strategy
65. Use strategies such as an escalation clause to maintain a competitive offer
66. Prepare the buyer for a multiple offer situation and develop negotiation strategies
67. Write an offer that has a reasonable chance of being accepted

68. Recommend optional contingencies and explain the pros and cons of using them
69. Provide information on purchasing incentives that may be available
70. Discuss financing alternatives
71. Negotiate the buyer’s offers to arrive at the best price and terms
72. Utilize hyperlocal expertise and strong communication skills to assist the buyer in being the successful offer

 

Advocating for the Buyer and Facilitating the Close:

73. Advocate for the buyer throughout the entire process
74. Encourage the buyer to fully investigate their options in terms of a home inspector, title company, appraiser, mortgage lender, and other services
75. Present a list of the types of required and optional inspections such as environmental, roofing, and mold
76. Review and discuss home inspection concerns
77. Negotiate repair requests from home inspection
78. Guide the buyer on meeting all contract deadlines
79. Assist in coordinating communications
80. Advise the buyer to review the settlement statement
81. Inform clients that they need to transfer utilities to the new residence
82. Schedule final walkthrough
83. Accompany the buyer on the walkthrough
84. Assist the buyer in questioning the appraisal report if it affects the financing
85. Confirm clear-to-close with the lender
86. Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale
87. Remind the buyer of the location where the closing will be held
88. Confirm the closing date and time, and notify parties if there are changes
89. Gather all required forms and documents for closing
90. Explain flood insurance to the buyer

91. Explain title insurance to the buyer and refer to qualified insurance broker
92. Order any surveys needed
93. Order the appraisal
94. Order the title search
95. Confirm the status of the loan funding
96. Check addendums and alterations for agreed terms
97. Review the buyer’s closing statement to ensure accuracy
98. Explain wire fraud risks and remind clients to verify all wiring instructions before transferring funds
99. Double-check all tax, homeowners’ association dues, utility, and applicable prorations, if relevant
100. Request final closing figures from the closing agent (often an attorney or title company)
101. Receive and carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy
102. Receive and carefully review title insurance commitment with the buyer
103. Advise the buyer to re-key their locks and to consider a one-time cleaning service or landscaping before moving day
104. Review documents with the closing agent (attorney)
105. Support the buyer in any final closing activities