How to Perfect Your Pre-Listing Workflow
When taking on a new listing, there’s a lot that needs to get done before you start receiving offers—from installing the for-sale sign to making sure the paperwork is in check.
To ensure this process goes smoothly and you deliver the best possible experience for your new clients, you need a game plan. This is where workflows come in handy.
Workflows help you better manage your clients throughout the transaction process, from pre-listing all the way to closing day.
In this blog series, we’ll walk through each step of the home selling journey and show you how you can establish workflows that keep you and your clients on track throughout the home selling process.
What are workflows and why create them?
To put it simply, a workflow is a sequence of repeatable activities or tasks that are needed to achieve a certain outcome. You can think of a workflow as a checklist of tasks you need to complete in order to get something done.
Establishing workflows in your business helps streamline your tasks for every new client and transaction you take on. By implementing workflows, you can standardize a process so it’s easily repeatable, allowing you to get things done more efficiently.
Workflows can be applied to virtually any industry, including real estate. You might establish workflows for working with new clients or for different stages of a transaction. In this article, we’ll be exploring the latter, specifically, how you can implement workflows on the listing side of the transaction.
The 4 Stages of Managing a Listing
When representing a listing, the transaction process can generally be broken into four stages. However, depending on how you work with clients, these stages might look slightly different for you.
Here’s how we break them down:
- Pre-Listing: Deliver listing presentation (and win new clients!), get listing agreement signed, gather other required information from sellers, and prep the home for listing
- Active Listing: List property on the MLS, market and promote the property, schedule showings, host an open house, and start receiving offers
- Offer Acceptance: Create offer comparisons, present offers to clients, help clients choose the best offer, negotiate and counter if needed, and execute the contract
- Contract to Close: Track important dates and deadlines, provide documents, attend closing, congratulate sellers!
Throughout this blog series, we’ll dive deeper into each of these stages to see how you can streamline (and automate) your listing workflows. First up, the pre-listing process. Let’s get started by taking a look at some of the most common activities that make up this stage of the transaction.
The Pre-Listing Process
After you’ve delivered a standout listing presentation and the sellers agree to hire you to sell their home, the pre-listing process officially kicks off. The first thing you need to do once you get a verbal commitment from the sellers is to make this new relationship official in writing.
Get the listing agreement signed
After taking on a new client, the very first thing you should do is complete and sign a listing agreement.
A listing agreement is a contract that allows a real estate agent to represent a property owner in selling their home. It includes information about the client, broker, and property and outlines listing terms like the listing expiration date and agent commission. Listing agreements protect you and your client and set your working relationship up for success.
As the listing agent, you’re responsible for completing and signing the agreement and sending it to your client to sign as well.
Have sellers complete disclosures and notices
When it comes to selling a property, there are certain things that need to be disclosed to potential buyers. As a listing agent, it’s your job to help your client’s navigate this process and ensure they disclose the necessary information.
The most important and commonly used disclosure is the Seller’s Disclosure. Your seller is required to fill this document out to the best of their knowledge. It includes information about the property’s condition, its fixtures, and defects.
In addition to the Seller’s Disclosure, some other disclosures and notices that might need to be completed include:
- Information about On-Site Sewer Facility
- Information about Special Flood Hazard Areas
- MUD or Water District Notice
The disclosures and notices that need to be completed will be dependent on the property and the state in which the property is located. Make sure to check with your local association to see which disclosures and notices are required in your area.
Gather additional documents from the seller
Aside from disclosures and notices, there are a few other documents and details you’ll want to collect from your clients. The documents required to sell a home differ from state to state so be sure to check with your local association on what documents your seller must provide.
- Property Survey: The survey indicates the boundaries of the property and any improvements on that property. Surveys aren’t always required, but in states like Texas, a property survey must be provided. In cases where the seller doesn’t have a copy of an existing survey, either the buyer or seller will have to pay to have a new survey drawn up.
- HOA Documents: Another important detail to note is whether your client’s property is a part of an HOA or Homeowner’s Association. If it is, you’ll need to request information from the HOA including homeowner dues and rules and regulations.
Prepare the home for listing
Once you’ve made it through completing and collecting all the required documents from your seller, it’s time to prepare the property to be listed. There’s a lot that goes into getting a home ready to be put on the market but some of the most important activities include:
- Professional cleaning: Before listing a property, it’s essential to get the property looking clean and presentable. Hiring a professional cleaner to do a deep clean of the house will help set you and your sellers up for success. A professional cleaning will ensure the home looks spotless for upcoming showings and make it more attractive to potential buyers.
- Home staging: According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2021 Profile of Home Staging, 82% of buyer’s agents stated that staging made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as their future home. When you tour the home with your sellers, you’ll want to take stock of whether or not the home is in need of staging. Sometimes you can work with what you’ve got, and other times staging is absolutely necessary.
- Photography: When listing a home, having crisp and clean photos is vital in marketing the property and gaining interest from potential buyers. The National Association of REALTORS® 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers states that 95% of buyers use online tools in their home search process, with 41% of buyers starting their search looking for properties online. Having great property photos is essential in making a good first impression. These days, when buyers are submitting offers without ever seeing a property, a virtual tour of the home can make all the difference too.
- Signage and lockbox: With the house looking pristine and photos ready, it’s time to install the yard sign and ensure the house is all set for showings. Add a coming soon rider to start garnering interest before you officially list the property on the MLS. Lastly, confirm a showing schedule with your sellers and install a lockbox at the home so buyer’s agents can easily access the property for private showings.
And that’s it! You’re ready to list the home. Now that you’re familiar with the basic pre-listing flow, let’s see how each of these steps can be streamlined to make your job a little easier the next time around.
Tips for streamlining your pre-listing workflow
- Create a template for your listing agreement: When drafting a listing agreement, chances are most of the terms you include are ones you use over and over again, no matter the client. With software like Jointly, you can create a template to ensure these terms are automatically filled out the same way every time, so you can get listing agreements completed and signed even faster.
- Get the listing agreement signed at the listing presentation: This is where templates come in handy. When you only have to fill out a few fields, you can easily complete the agreement and have your clients sign all in one sitting. Not only will you have officially secured a new client, but you’ll also have impressed them with just how easy you made the process.
- Use software to help you manage listing documents: Software can help you stay organized and on track during the pre-listing process. Using software like Jointly allows you to easily complete, sign, and store listing documents all in one place. With Jointly, you can collaborate directly with clients so you can stay on top of required documents and keep your sellers on track.
- Have a checklist for sellers (and make it easy for them to complete it): Avoid scrambling to get the documents you need from your sellers. With task lists, you can ensure they know exactly what needs to get done. With Jointly, your clients can access their own personalized portal to view outstanding tasks and complete and sign disclosures and other documents. Whenever a new task is assigned to them, they’ll automatically be notified so they always know what to do next. Plus, you’ll be able to see their progress as tasks get completed, along with what tasks still need to get done.
With these tips, you can take charge of the pre-listing process and implement a workflow that helps you get work done in less time. Have a new listing coming up? Create a free Jointly account to get a jumpstart on streamlining your pre-listing workflow.