Developing your new listing process in four steps

Tips for smoothing out your new listing workflow, and helping prospective clients make the right choices

The most successful real estate agents have a process for getting a new listing. Their listing plan of action has continuity that helps make each listing presentation and listing process easy.

Your workflow should be relatively the same with each prospective client. Unique homes, i.e.: price ranges above $1 million, might require adding a few extra steps. These properties are known as “elite homes.” Elite homes may call for a customized approach, but the fundamentals of getting the new listing stay pretty much the same.

Let’s review the pre-listing stage or, as I like to call it, the educational stage. During this period, give as much information as possible. This prepares your sellers, and empowers them to make informed decisions throughout the selling process.

Here’s what these steps look like.

Step 1: Ask qualifying questions

Before proceeding with any potential client, it’s important at the initial meeting or conversation to ask qualifying questions.

  • How do you feel about working with a Real Estate Agent?
  • How soon do you plan to sell?
  • Why are you selling — are you moving locally, out of the area or out of state?
  • What is or are your greatest fears or concerns about selling?

If out of area is the answer, then ask: What agent is working on your behalf in that area/state? Asking this question could lead to your doing a referral to another agent that services the area where your client is moving.

These questions will help you determine if this is a bonafide “A” list seller lead — they plan to sell within the next few months. Someone planning to sell further than 6 to 12 months out should be placed on your “B” list of leads. “C” leads are warm potential clients who are unsure what they want to do, when or with whom. Of course, you want to follow up on all leads, but your time and energy should go towards your “A” list clients.

Your initial meeting with a potential or confirmed seller can be in a casual or formal setting — whatever is convenient to the prospect. While asking your qualifying questions, be a good listener, and take detailed notes.

Step 2: Visit the property

If your initial meeting goes favorably, it’s time to visit the property.

Schedule a time to perform a walk-through. Take copious notes about the features of the property during your visit. Refrain from giving an opinion of the value (selling price) on your initial visit. Too many agents, in their anxiousness to get a new listing, will throw out a price that they later regret. Your Opinion of Value should reflect the best possible price based on actual sales data and how closely the comparable properties are in features and benefits to the subject property. Save pricing discussions for the listing presentation.

Step 3: Make the pitch

Now, it’s time to give your Comparative Market Analysis and make your Personal/Company presentation, also referred to as the Listing Presentation or Listing Appointment.

During this presentation, you will educate the seller, set their expectations, and distinguish yourself from competitors. Your presentation should set the standard by which the sellers will judge your competitors — if there are still other agents being interviewed.

If you are in competition for the listing and the seller chooses you as the listing agent, schedule your Listing Appointment ASAP.

Step 4: Get the listing

When you come to your Listing Presentation or Appointment, be prepared to take the new listing. Have all the necessary forms to complete a listing packet, including disclosure forms. Also, review the Purchase Agreement, and leave it with the seller. This will give the seller time to get familiar with the agreement, and ask questions prior to receiving an offer.

Another good idea: Provide a list of reputable tradespeople to call for inspections. Pest control, sewer lateral/plumbing, roofing, HVAC, etc. all should be inspected prior to actually listing a property. Your seller will have more negotiating power if the condition of the property is known before a price is established, and the property goes on the market.

Termite, roof and structural damage such as dry rot are typically the some of largest repair expenses that affect the sellers bottom line, so, your seller should, at the very least, pay for a general home inspection and pest control inspection.

If the buyer pays an inspector, the subsequent report is usually more buyer-friendly than seller-friendly. Surprise repair expenses that surface after a contract has been negotiated will force a renegotiation phase that usually drives the selling price down.

If a deal falls through, the inspections by the buyer become a part of the public disclosures associated with the property.

So, do your best to help the seller understand how contracting all inspections can help avoid unintended consequences.