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The Critical Role of the Realtor In The Sale of Your Home
Reprinted with permission, with thanks to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association.
Many home buyers and sellers are not aware of the true value that a Realtor provides during the course of a real estate transaction. Many people, in fact, are not cognizant of the expertise, professional knowledge, and just plain hard work that go into bringing about a successful real estate transaction.
A multitude of important services and steps required in a real estate transaction are carried out by the Realtor or the brokerage staff. Most of these steps have traditionally been viewed simply as part of a Realtor’s professional responsibilities to the client. But, without them, the transaction could be placed in jeopardy.
Listed below are nearly 200 typical actions, research steps, processes, and review stages necessary for a successful residential real estate transaction that are normally provided by a full service real estate brokerage in exchange for their sales commission. Depending on the transaction, some of these steps may take minutes, hours, or even days to complete, while some may not be needed.
The list is by no means an attempt to set forth a complete list of services, as these can vary within each brokerage and each market. Many Realtors routinely provide a wide variety of additional services that are as varied as the nature of each transaction.
By the same token, some transactions may not require every step listed. However, given the unexpected complications that can arise, it’s far better to know about a step and make an intelligent, informed decision to skip it, than to not know the possibility even exists.
The Realtor Commitment
The professional commitment of a Realtor is to ensure that a seller and a buyer are brought together in an agreement that provides each with a transaction that is fair and equitable. The motivation is easy to understand. For most full-service brokerages, they receive no compensation whatsoever unless and until the sale closes.
By contrast, there are firms that offer limited services in exchange for an up-front flat fee, or offer a menu of pay-as-you-go or a la’ carte options. Other real estate firms may offer a sliding scale ranging from limited to full service. In these cases, the compensation of the Realtor is based on the reduced services provided, with the seller bearing full responsibility for all of the other steps and procedures (which are normally conducted by a full service real estate firm) in the selling process.
Variety Of Choices
The variety of brokerage business models in today’s real estate industry – full service, limited service, fee for service or other — affords consumers with a greater range of options than ever before. No matter which option they choose, homeowners should understand exactly what services will, or will not, be provided by their choice of Realtor/brokerage firm before signing a Listing Agreement or otherwise engaging the services of a Realtor and agreeing to compensation.
Why Use A Realtor
Not every real estate agent or broker is a Realtor. That term and the familiar block “R” logo are trademarked by the National Association of Realtors can legally be used only by those that are Realtor members through their local association of Realtors.
While all Realtors are also state-issued licensees as agents or brokers, a major difference between a real estate licensee and a Realtor is that Realtors have taken an oath to subscribe to a stringent, enforceable Code of Ethics with Standards of Practice that promote the fair, ethical and honest treatment of all parties in a transaction. Real estate licensees (those that have a state-issued license but are not members of a Realtor association) are not bound to the ethical practices and principles set forth in the Realtor Code.
In addition, Realtor associations offer a wealth of training courses to their member Realtors, to help assure that Realtors serve their customers with the level of skill, knowledge and attention to detail required in today’s real estate transaction. The continual training provided to Realtors underscores the importance of having help and guidance from someone who fully understands the process – a Realtor.
For peace of mind, ensure that the individual seeking to represent you in a real estate transaction is not just a real estate licensee, but also a Realtor.
- Schedule appointment with seller for listing presentation.
- Send seller a written or e-mail confirmation of listing appointment and call to confirm.
- Review pre-appointment questions.
- Research all comparable currently listed properties.
- Research sales activity for past 12 months through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or public records databases.
- Research “Average Days on Market” for this property of this type, price range and location.
- Download and review property tax roll information.
- Prepare “Comparable Market Analysis” (CMA) to establish fair market value.
- Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex lay-out.
- Research property’s ownership and deed type.
- Research property’s public record information for lot size and dimensions.
- Research and verify legal description.
- Research property’s land use coding and deed restrictions.
- Research property’s current use and zoning.
- Prepare listing presentation package with above materials.
- Perform exterior Curb Appeal Assessment of subject property.
- Confirm current public schools and explain impact of schools on market value.
Listing Appointment Presentation
- Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections.
- Review agent’s and company’s credentials and accomplishments in the market.
- Present company’s profile and position or niche in the marketplace.
- Present CMA Results To Seller, including Comparables, Solds, Current Listings and Expireds.
- Offer pricing strategy based on professional judgment and interpretation of current market conditions.
- Discuss goals with seller to market effectively.
- Explain market power and benefits of Multiple Listing Service.
- Explain market power of web marketing, Internet Data Display and Realtor.com.
- Explain the work the brokerage and agent do behind the scenes and agent’s availability.
- Explain agent’s role in taking calls to screen for qualified buyers and protect seller from curiosity seekers.
- Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan.
- Explain different agency relationships and determine seller’s preference.
- Review and explain all clauses in Listing Contract and Addendum and obtain seller’s signature.
Once Property Is Under Listing Agreement
- Measure overall and heated/air conditioned square footage.
- Measure interior room sizes.
- Confirm lot size 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.
- Prepare showing instructions for buyers’ agents and agree on showing time window with seller.
- Discuss possible buyer financing alternatives and options with seller.
- Identify Home Owner Association manager if applicable.
- Verify Home Owner Association Fees with manager – mandatory or optional and current annual fee.
- Print a copy of Homeowner Association bylaws, if applicable.
- Calculate average utility usage from last 12 months of bills.
- Research and verify city sewer/septic tank system.
- Well water: Confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report.
- Verify security system, current term of service and whether owned or leased.
- 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 list of completed repairs and maintenance items.
- Explain benefits of Home Warranty to seller.
- Assist sellers with completion and submission of Home Warranty Application, if they elect to include.
- 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.
- Arrange for installation of yard sign(s).
- Assist seller with completion of Seller’s Disclosure form.
- Complete “New Listing Checklist.”
- Review results of Curb Appeal Assessment with seller and provide suggestions to improve salability.
- Review results of Interior Décor Assessment and suggest changes to shorten time on market.
Entering Property in Multiple Listing Service Database
- Prepare MLS Profile Sheet and review to ensure accuracy of listing data.
- Enter property data from Profile Sheet into MLS Listing Database.
- Proofread MLS database listing for accuracy – including proper placement in mapping function.
- Provide seller with signed copies of Listing Agreement and MLS Profile Sheet Data Form.
- Take additional photos for upload into MLS and use in flyers.
Marketing The Listing
- Coordinate showings with owners, tenants, and other Realtors. Return all calls – weekends included.
- Install electronic lockbox if authorized by owner.
- Prepare flyers.
- Review comparable MLS listings regularly to ensure property remains competitive in price, terms, and conditions.
- Prepare property marketing brochure.
- Advise Network Referral Program of listing.
- 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.
- Convey price changes promptly to all Internet groups.
- Reprint/supply brochures promptly as needed.
- Follow up with buyers’ agents after showings.
- Review weekly Market Study.
- Review weekly feedback and showing reports with seller.
- Discuss marketing and pricing with seller on weekly update calls.
- Promptly enter price changes in MLS listing database.
The Offer And Contract
- Receive and review all Offer to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyers’ agents.
- Evaluate offer(s) and prepare a “net sheet” on each for the owner for comparison purposes.
- 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.
- Deliver Seller’s Disclosure to buyer’s agent or buyer upon request and prior to offer if possible.
- 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 time limit for loan approval and closing date.
- Prepare and convey any counter offers, acceptance or amendments to buyer’s agent.
- Send executed copies of contract and all addendums to seller, buyer’s agent, lender, and closing attorney or title company.
- When Offer to Purchase Contract is accepted and signed by seller, deliver to buyer’s agent.
- Record and promptly deposit buyer’s earnest money in escrow account.
- Disseminate “Under-Contract Showing Restrictions” as seller requests.
- Advise seller in handling additional offers to purchase submitted between contract and closing.
- Change status in MLS to “Sale Pending.”
- Verify termite inspection ordered, if need
- Verify mold inspection ordered, if required.
Tracking The Loan Process
- Confirm verifications of deposit and buyer’s employment have been returned.
- Follow loan processing through to the underwriter.
- Relay final approval of buyer’s loan application to seller.Home Inspection
- Coordinate buyer’s professional home inspection with seller.
- Review home inspector’s report.
- Create seller’s response to buyer’s inspection response.
- Recommend or assist seller with identifying and negotiating with trustworthy contractors to perform any required repairs.The Appraisal
- Schedule appraisal.
- Provide comparable sales used in market pricing to appraiser.
- Follow-Up on appraisal.
- Assist seller in questioning appraisal report, if questions arise.
Closing Preparations And Duties
- Coordinate closing process with buyer’s agent and lender.
- Select location where closing will be held.
- Confirm closing date and time and notify all parties.
- Assist in solving any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc.) or in obtaining Death Certificates.
- Work with buyer’s agent in scheduling and conducting buyer’s final walk-through prior to closing.
- Request final closing statements from closing agent (attorney or title company).
- Receive and carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy of preparation.
- Forward verified closing figures to buyer’s agent.
- Confirm buyer and buyer’s agent have received title insurance commitment.
- Provide completed Home Warranty application at closing for closing agent.
- Review all closing documents carefully for errors.
- Coordinate this closing with seller’s next purchase and resolve any timing problems.
- Have a “no surprises” closing so that seller receives a net proceeds check at closing.
- Refer sellers to a Realtor at their destination, if applicable.
- Change MLS status to Sold. Enter sale date, price, selling broker and agent’s ID numbers, etc.
Follow Up After Closing
- Be available to assist with any post-closing issues.
Stay in contact after the sale with valuable real estate information, market updates, and referrals to trusted service providers.
At North Eastern Group Realty, we are prepared to assist our clients with their significant Fort Wayne real estate decisions. Our corporate commitment is to provide real knowledge, proven experience and professional, quality service. To search all Fort Wayne homes for sale or find a Fort Wayne REALTOR®, visit our website at NorthEasternGroup.com.
North Eastern Group Realty is Fort Wayne’s largest independent real estate company located at 10808 La Cabreah Lane, Fort Wayne, IN 46845.