List It and It will sell.

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I am getting ready to bring on a listing, and as you may have heard, there is a phrase going around right now: “list it and it will sell”.

As I recently summarized the process for this client, I thought I would share the process on my blog.

The few days before a listing goes active can be very dynamic as last minute touches are being applied inside and out.

One task is to schedule the photography. In some cases we might have the staging set in the morning and the photographer come in the afternoon. I like to take advantage of natural light, so if the home shows best on the outside near dusk, I’ll schedule for mid to late afternoon.

At this point the rooms need to be photo ready; if need be we can move clutter into closets.

The photographer will send me the photos within twenty-four hours and I will have the seller review them. I will then create the flyers; upload them to the Multiple Listing Service and to our dynamic online program called Tour Factory. I can then be ready to list anytime.

In advance of the listing the seller and I will review strategies for reviewing offers, one of which could be determining a day to review offers that have come in over the weekend.

That said, my preference in this market is to go active on Monday or Tuesday, hold at least one broker’s/public open during the week, and a public open on Saturday and Sunday.

Once the listing goes active in the Multiple Listing Service it will then start propagating to other real estate websites and be visible nationwide and worldwide. I will also showcase it on the main social media sites, print flyers for box on the signpost, and for the open houses.

The sign will go up very close to when the listing goes active; the post might go in a bit sooner.

The sign provides important marketing as it tells the neighbors and anyone driving by that a home is for sale. I always ask buyers how they found out about a listing, and while they usually say online, one day three quarters of the buyers said they drove by the sign and decided to stop in at the open house.

The goal is to hit all channels with a bang on the first day! ☺ Once the listing is active it will have a secure key box on the doorknob – this is unlocked via Bluetooth, usually from an application on the phone. The seller can opt to not have appointments. A vacant listing is much easier to sell as showing appointments do not need to be made. I will compile a report including how many brokers accessed the home and any feedback we get. This can be once a day or once a week, depending on your preference.

I would recommend asking for offers on the following Tuesday. If priced correctly, we will hopefully have multiple offers with escalations. I will organize them on a spreadsheet to present to you. The offers may come with escalations – these will start with the offer price and go up in increments. The most common increment is 5k, but sometimes a percentage is used which can actually win an offer, as it’s an odd amount – not the usual increment.

I encourage sellers to give buyers as much due diligence time as possible, and always take the approach that inspections allow for a clean and clear break when the home closes. It is in everyone’s best interest to have inspections. You may have heard that the strongest offers are sometimes thought of as all cash, no contingencies, but these may not properly protect the buyer or the seller.

Thus inspections are an important topic; I will detail four types of inspections:
– Inspection contingency upon offer acceptance: After an offer is accepted, the buyer will schedule a home inspection and probably a sewer inspection.
– Pre-inspection: Often used in multiple offer situations, these are done prior to the offer being submitted. I will schedule these if approved by the seller, and have a form signed which limits liability. These can be expensive when buyers have to put in more than one offer.
– Seller pre-inspection – The seller conducts an inspection and is party to the results.
– Third party pre-inspection – A newer concept, conducted by a firm such as Pillar and Post, uploaded to a web site and paid for by the buyers. Unseen by the sellers and brokers.

On the offer review date we should have a few offers to review – recently properly priced listings have had from ten to twenty offers. I will organize the main criteria on a spreadsheet for you to review. As we narrow down to the strongest, it is recommended that the seller writes “Respectfully declined at this time” on the weaker offers with the date and initials.

Love letters, a letter that buyers write about themselves to appeal to the seller’s emotions, are a trend in this market. Buyers want a seller to know more about them and sway their offer to float to the top, even if it might not be the strongest in other areas such as earnest money, down payment, type of mortgage).

We often put these aside as they can be a fair housing violation. This is the reason we don’t always look at love letters until after the matrix. Then we might take a peek at the letters associated with the top offers, as some sellers do want to know if a developer or family is buying their house.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in bringing on a new listing; call or write with any questions.