The Home Selling Guide: From Pre- Listing to Post- Closing

In real estate transactions, there are a lot of moving parts for listing agents and it’s easy for new agents to get overwhelmed by everything involved. We designed this guide for listing agents of all levels looking to elevate their business from essential pre listing activities all the way through to after close.

Pre Listing Activities:

Staging the Listing

While it isn’t necessary to stage a listing to sell it, there are some major advantages to hiring a professional staging company. If you are the listing agent, staging your client’s property can help you both make more money (20% more than empty listings) and sell the listing faster (by 80%).

The ROI for staging a listing can be incredible for sellers – like a 1000 percent return on investment. Say your client agrees to spend $4,000 on staging to sell their $400,000 home…they could see an ROI of $40,000 on average over their neighbor who opted out of staging. That’s pretty significant!

Listings that are staged and captured by a professional real estate photographer stand out even more online in comparison to their competitors. Potential home buyers are drawn to these online listing images, which means they are more likely to schedule a showing.

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Once buyers are in the home, a professionally staged listing helps them conceptualize the space and see how to arrange their own furniture.

While empty spaces can feel unwelcoming and show off glaring defects more easily, poorly staged homes can also negatively affect a buyer’s experience as well. Buyers may find the decor distracting and struggle to picture their lives in the space.

With that said, staging the listing may work for some properties and not for others. It’s important to take the current market conditions and the norm for your area into consideration.

Below are some highly-rated staging companies for the Denver, Las Vegas and Minneapolis markets. More cities will be added over time.

Denver Staging Companies

Las Vegas Staging Companies

Minneapolis Staging Companies

 

Lawn Care

The way your listing’s front lawn looks can significantly impact the potential of your homebuyer pool. If buyers are hesitant to walk in the front door based on the upkeep of the yard, your client’s lawn needs a refresher. Fortunately, a small tuneup can create a big impact!

Consider starting with the basics. You can hire a local lawn care service to mow the grass, trim the hedges and add fresh mulch. Take it a few steps further and add some pops of color with perennials. Lastly, a good power wash of the driveway, sidewalk and front porch is the ultimate exterior makeover.

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Below are some highly-rated lawn care services for the Denver, Las Vegas and Minneapolis markets. More cities will be added over time.

Denver Lawn Care Services

Las Vegas Lawn Care Services

Minneapolis Lawn Care Services

 

Lockbox Companies

Lockboxes are now the standard for safety and convenience when it comes to showing listings to buyers. The price and quality of lockbox brands can range significantly. Additionally, lockbox tech has advanced over time with some systems capable of sending listing activity reports and real-time alerts.

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While lockboxes like Supra offer exciting features, manual lockboxes will do the trick, too. Below are a few top-rated lockboxes you can stock up on for your upcoming listings.

Top Lockbox Brands

 

Sign Companies (Coming Soon, For Sale, Sold)

Over 90% of home buyers search online for active listings. That statistic should not deter real estate agents from using signs to market their properties, though. While a “For Sale” sign can only take credit for around 9% of home sales (according to NAR), the benefits outweigh the potential drawbacks.

Real estate agents who use Coming Soon, For Sale, and Sold signs are not only marketing the listing but also their brand. Placing your contact information directly on a listing sign is a great lead generation strategy. Buyers may contact you directly and potential sellers may like the way you marketed the property and reach out to hire you when they decide to sell their home.

Below are a few companies that specialize in real estate signs:

National Sign Companies

 

Postcard Companies (Direct Mail)

If you’re looking for a great referral strategy, try a postcard campaign. Have you ever noticed that houses tend to go on the market in neighborhood-specific clusters?  Real estate agent Shannon O’Brien once wrote, “For every home that goes on the market, another two homeowners on that same street will decide to sell.”

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A Franklin, Mass. agent said she mailed 200 ‘just listed’ postcards to residents within her farm and that that single mailing gained her SIX new listings.

Below are a few cost-effective online postcard companies:

National Postcard Companies

 

Listing Activities

Your Local MLS

MLS or Multiple Listing Services were developed by REALTORS to make homebuying transactions more efficient.

“An MLS is a private offer of cooperation and compensation by listing brokers to other real estate brokers.” – NAR

Once your client’s home is ready to list (i.e. professional real estate photos are complete, listing description is perfected, etc), it’s your duty to publish it onto your local MLS.

Here are some tips on publishing to the MLS: https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/HMLP-2018-Amended-Aug.pdf

 

MLS Distribution Sites

Third-party listing sites are the home search starting point for most prospective buyers, which means you should be on there too. Although these sites have some disadvantages for agents, like not having adequate exposure as the listing agent, or the 72 hour lag between them and the MLS, their advantages make up for it in our opinion.

As you gain more listing exposure to buyers through distribution sites, you’ll also acquire quality leads for future listings. There is no cost to list a property on these third-party listing channels and you will typically find buyers faster.

Below are some of the top third-party listing sites.

MLS Distribution Sites:

 

Social Media Software

We can’t vocalize enough that social media is essential for real estate agents. Social media allows you to connect and engage with clients while gaining new prospects. Unfortunately, there isn’t just one social media platform, which makes it hard for many agents to find the time to post to each one individually.

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Fortunately, there are a number of applications that help users manage their channels while on the go.

Below are a few of our favorite social media management tools:

Social Media Software:

 

Display Ad Networks

Display ads can be a cost-effective way to build your brand while gaining adequate exposure for your listing online. The great thing about display ads is your ability to target specific groups. Cue serious buyers in 3..2..

Below are a few display ad networks we love:

Display Ad Networks:

 

Landing Page Platforms

Landing pages are standalone web pages designed for a specific call-to-action. If you are looking to increase leads, conversions, and/or sell a listing quickly, landing pages are a great option. Some vendors include landing pages in their services, like Virtuance Real Estate Photography. After you schedule a listing photoshoot, Virtuance builds a tour page for your listing.

Below are a few popular landing page platforms that are easy to assemble and allow you to track statistics.

Landing Page Platforms:

 

Closing Activities

Inspection Companies

Inspections fall into the buyer’s list of responsibilities, but it’s always good to have recommendations ready for your sellers.

Below are some highly-rated inspection companies for the Denver, Las Vegas and Minneapolis markets. More cities will be added over time.

Denver Inspection Companies

Las Vegas Inspection Companies

Minneapolis Inspection Companies

 

Plumbers

After the inspection is complete, the buyers may have objections that they request your clients to take care of. If both parties agree to the objection and the seller is willing to hire out the needed maintenance, provide them with your recommended vendors to get the job done.

Below are some highly-rated plumbers for the Denver, Las Vegas and Minneapolis markets. More cities will be added over time.

Denver Plumbers

Las Vegas Plumbers

Minneapolis Plumbers

 

Electricians

After the inspection is complete, the buyers may have objections that they request your clients to take care of. If both parties agree to the objection and the seller is willing to hire out the needed maintenance, provide them with your recommended vendors to get the job done.

Below are some highly-rated electricians for the Denver, Las Vegas and Minneapolis markets. More cities will be added over time.

Denver Electricians

Las Vegas Electricians

Minneapolis Electricians

 

Mortgage Companies

The buying and selling process can be a confusing and somewhat unnerving experience. As an agent, your job is to ease the nerves and help in any way you can. Providing recommendations for the hard stuff, like how to find a mortgage lender, will not go unnoticed with your clients. Even if you don’t have a preferred lender, sharing helpful articles with your clients is a great alternative.

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Likewise, it’s always a good idea to share your preferred vendors to your clients. Building a symbiotic relationship with companies within your industry helps everyone succeed.

Below are some highly-rated mortgage companies for the Denver, Las Vegas and Minneapolis markets. More cities will be added over time.

Denver Mortgage Lenders 

Las Vegas Mortgage Lenders

Minneapolis Mortgage Lenders

Closing Gifts

A closing gift is a thoughtful way to thank your client for their business. If well-executed, it can increase your referrals and secure a client for life. Our favorite closing gifts are ones say “welcome to your new home”. Something as small as a stamp with their new address on it can mean a lot to your clients after they sell their home to move into a new one.

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Below are a few closing gift ideas ranging from personalized home decor to gift cards:

Home Decor:

A Helping Hand:

  • A consultation with a local landscape designer
  • A consultation with an interior designer
  • Household essential gift basket (case of water, set of hand towels, upscale hand soap)

Gift Cards:

  • Home Depot
  • Amazon
  • Starbucks
  • Movie and Dinner

Moving Companies

Moving is listed as one of the top stressors people endure next to divorce and loss of a loved one. If your clients haven’t already moved prior to listing their home, help ease their worry with your moving company recommendations. Moreso, offer them a few tips on ways to make moving less stressful. Here are 7 to get you started.

Below are some highly-rated moving companies for the Denver, Las Vegas and Minneapolis markets. More cities will be added over time.

Denver Moving Companies

Las Vegas Moving Companies

Minneapolis Moving Companies