By Ron Smookler
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

We get paid a lot to list a home (and have it sell), and we need to earn it.

Putting a new listing in the multiple listing is not our only job.  Finding the buyer (ourselves) for this listing is also not our only job. We are hired to ensure the home sells, for the highest price, and to navigate the sales process through the various potholes, on its way to a closing.

We should be marketing experts, good listeners, empathetic to what our clients are going through, and need foresight to help predict what lies ahead in the road from listing to closing. There are a lot of surprises in store for the unsuspecting home seller, and it is our job to properly prepare them for the process. We have (hopefully) been through this a number of times before, and our expertise can be a source of valuable information for the seller.

We need to tell them how showings will work, and how to make their home available for as many showings as possible.  Putting too many restrictions, on showing times or advance notice, can interfere with showings, and can lead to losing a buyer. We need to help our sellers with how to present their home at its best, and to advise them of the current market value of their home.  Did you know that the current market value is actually determined by what the buyers think?  Yes, the buyers determine value. We can predict it by looking at recent sales and competing properties, and it has very little to do with what the seller bought it for or what their equity position is on the property.  We might actually want to preview some of the competing listings to see how they compare, as part of our “due diligence.”  It is our job to prepare the sellers for the entire process, from when the sign goes in the yard, all the way to the closing and possession, and this includes preparing them for what price their home will likely sell for.

As a marketing expert, our job is to find the buyer, usually with the assistance of a cooperating Realtor.  We should make the co-op agent’s job as easy as possible, with accurate, complete information in MLS including pictures, room dimensions, etc, and with driving directions to the property, and I don’t mean “SEE MAPQUEST.” We can leave other information at the property, which would help a buyer to fall in love with the home.  This could include brochures, copies of disclosures, area maps, neighborhood information, special feature signs, etc.  We are working “with” the cooperating Realtors, not against them.  Also, we need to remember to communicate with our sellers regularly, even if we don’t have good news or any news at all.  They are counting on us to keep them informed.

Try to remember, we are working with peoples lives, not just another sale and commission for ourselves. This process is very stressful for both the buyers and the sellers. We need to be the experts and give lots of advice to our clients. If we don’t remember what they are going through, we could try selling our own home and experience the process as a seller. If we do our part well, the sale process can be more enjoyable for everyone, and it can be a win-win process, for the seller, the buyer, and both agents.