180 Steps in Every Transaction (aka What We Do)

The Critical Role of the REALTOR®     

Listed here are nearly 200 typical actions, research steps, procedures, processes and review stages in a successful residential real estate transaction that are normally provided by full service real estate brokerages in return for their sales commission.  Depending on the transaction, some may take minutes, hours, or even days to complete, while some may not be needed.  More importantly, they reflect the level of skill, knowledge and attention to detail required in today’s real estate transaction, underscoring the importance of having help and guidance from someone who fully understands the process – a REALTOR®.  And never forget that REALTORS® are pledged to uphold the stringent, enforceable tenets of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics in their professional dealings with the public. Not every real estate licensee holds REALTOR® membership.  Make sure yours does! 

Pre-Listing Activities 

1 Make appointment with seller for listing presentation 

2 Send seller a written or e-mail confirmation of listing appointment and call to confirm 

3 Review pre-appointment questions 

4 Research all comparable currently listed properties 

5 Research sales activity for past 18 months from MLS and public records databases 

6 Research "Average Days on Market" for this property type, price range and location 

7 Download and review property tax roll information 

8 Prepare "Comparable Market Analysis" (CMA) to establish fair market value 

9 Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex lay-out 

10 Research property's ownership & deed type 

11 Research property's public record information for lot size & dimensions 

12 Research and verify legal description 

13 Research property's land use coding and deed restrictions 

14 Research property's current use and zoning 

15 Verify legal names of owner(s) in county's public property records 

16 Prepare listing presentation package with above materials 

17 Perform exterior "Curb Appeal Assessment" of subject property 

18 Compile and assemble formal file on property 

19 Confirm current public schools and explain impact of schools on market value 

20 Review listing appointment checklist to ensure all steps and actions have been completed 

Listing Appointment Presentation 

21 Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections 

22 Review agent's and company's credentials and accomplishments in the market 

23 Present company's profile and position or "niche" in the marketplace 

24 Present CMA Results To Seller, including Comparables, Solds, Current Listings & Expireds 

25 Offer pricing strategy based on professional judgment and interpretation of current market conditions 

26 Discuss Goals With Seller To Market Effectively 

27 Explain market power and benefits of Multiple Listing Service 

28 Explain market power of web marketing, IDX and REALTOR.com 

29 Explain the work the brokerage and agent do "behind the scenes" and agent's availability on weekends 

30 Explain agent's role in taking calls to screen for qualified buyers and protect seller from curiosity seekers 

31 Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan 

32 Explain different agency relationships and determine seller's preference 

33 Review and explain all clauses in Listing Contract & Addendum and obtain seller's signature 

Once Property is Under Listing Agreement 

34 Review current title information 

35 Measure overall and heated square footage 

36 Measure interior room sizes 

37 Confirm lot size via owner's copy of certified survey, if available 

38 Note any and all unrecorded property lines, agreements, easements 

39 Obtain house plans, if applicable and available 

40 Review house plans and make copy 

41 Order plat map for retention in property's listing file 

42 Prepare showing instructions for buyers' agents and agree on showing time window with seller 

43 Obtain current mortgage loan(s) information: companies and & loan account numbers 

44 Verify current loan information with lender(s) 

45 Check assumability of loan(s) and any special requirements 

46 Discuss possible buyer financing alternatives and options with seller 

47 Review current appraisal if available 

48 Identify Home Owner Association manager if applicable 

49 Verify Home Owner Association Fees with manager - mandatory or optional and current annual fee 

50 Order copy of Homeowner Association bylaws, if applicable 

51 Research electricity availability and supplier's name and phone number 

52 Calculate average utility usage from last 12 months of bills 

53 Research and verify city sewer/septic tank system 

54 Water System: Calculate average water fees or rates from last 12 months of bills 

55 Well Water: Confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report 

56 Natural Gas: Research/verify availability and supplier's name and phone number 

57 Verify security system, current term of service and whether owned or leased 

58 Verify if seller has transferable Termite Bond 

59 Ascertain need for lead-based paint disclosure 

60 Prepare detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact 

61 Prepare detailed list of property's "Inclusions & Conveyances with Sale" 

62 Compile list of completed repairs and maintenance items 

63 Send "Vacancy Checklist" to seller if property is vacant 

64 Explain benefits of Home Owner Warranty to seller 

65 Assist sellers with completion and submission of Home Owner Warranty Application 

66 When received, place Home Owner Warranty in property file for conveyance at time of sale 

67 Have extra key made for lockbox 

68 Verify if property has rental units involved. And if so: 

69 Make copies of all leases for retention in listing file 

70 Verify all rents & deposits 

71 Inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled 

72 Arrange for installation of yard sign 

73 Assist seller with completion of Seller's Disclosure form 

74 "New Listing Checklist" Completed 

75 Review results of Curb Appeal Assessment with seller and provide suggestions to improve salability 

76 Review results of Interior Décor Assessment and suggest changes to shorten time on market 

77 Load listing into transaction management software program 

Entering Property in Multiple Listing Service Database 

78 Prepare MLS Profile Sheet -- Agents is responsible for "quality control" and accuracy of listing data 

79 Enter property data from Profile Sheet into MLS Listing Database 

80 Proofread MLS database listing for accuracy - including proper placement in mapping function 

81 Add property to company's Active Listings list 

82 Provide seller with signed copies of Listing Agreement and MLS Profile Sheet Data Form within 48 hours 

83 Take additional photos for upload into MLS and use in flyers. Discuss efficacy of panoramic photography 

Marketing The Listing 

84 Create print and Internet ads with seller's input 

85 Coordinate showings with owners, tenants, and other Realtors ®. Return all calls - weekends included 

86 Install electronic lock box if authorized by owner. Program with agreed-upon showing time windows 

87 Prepare mailing and contact list 

88 Generate mail-merge letters to contact list 

89 Order “Just Listed” labels & reports 

90 Prepare flyers & feedback faxes 

91 Review comparable MLS listings regularly to ensure property remains competitive in price, terms, conditions and availability 

92 Prepare property marketing brochure for seller's review 

93 Arrange for printing or copying of supply of marketing brochures or fliers 

94 Place marketing brochures in all company agent mail boxes 

95 Upload listing to company and agent Internet site, if applicable 

96 Mail Out "Just Listed" notice to all neighborhood residents 

97 Advise Network Referral Program of listing 

98 Provide marketing data to buyers coming through international relocation networks 

99 Provide marketing data to buyers coming from referral network 

100 Provide "Special Feature" cards for marketing, if applicable 

101 Submit ads to company's participating Internet real estate sites 

102 Price changes conveyed promptly to all Internet groups 

103 Reprint/supply brochures promptly as needed 

104 Loan information reviewed and updated in MLS as required 

105 Feedback e-mails/faxes sent to buyers' agents after showings 

106 Review weekly Market Study 

107 Discuss feedback from showing agents with seller to determine if changes will accelerate the sale 

108 Place regular weekly update calls to seller to discuss marketing & pricing 

The Offer and Contract 

109 Receive and review all Offer to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyers' agents. 

110 Evaluate offer(s) and prepare a "net sheet" on each for the owner for comparison purposes 

111 Counsel seller on offers. Explain merits and weakness of each component of each offer 

112 Contact buyers' agents to review buyer's qualifications and discuss offer 

113 Fax/deliver Seller's Disclosure to buyer's agent or buyer upon request and prior to offer if possible 

114 Confirm buyer is pre-qualified by calling Loan Officer 

115 Obtain pre-qualification letter on buyer from Loan Officer 

116 Negotiate all offers on seller's behalf, setting time limit for loan approval and closing date 

117 Prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptance or amendments to buyer's agent 

118 Fax copies of contract and all addendums to closing attorney or title company 

119 When Offer to Purchase Contract is accepted and signed by seller, deliver to buyer's agent 

120 Record and promptly deposit buyer's earnest money in escrow account. 

121 Disseminate "Under-Contract Showing Restrictions" as seller requests 

122 Deliver copies of fully signed Offer to Purchase contract to seller 

123 Fax/deliver copies of Offer to Purchase contract to Selling Agent 

133 Fax copies of Offer to Purchase contract to lender 

124 Provide copies of signed Offer to Purchase contract for office file 

125 Advise seller in handling additional offers to purchase submitted between contract and closing 

126 Change status in MLS to "Sale Pending" 

127 Update transaction management program to show "Sale Pending" 

128 Review buyer's credit report results -- Advise seller of worst and best case scenarios 

129 Provide credit report information to seller if property will be seller-financed 

130 Assist buyer with obtaining financing, if applicable and follow-up as necessary 

131 Coordinate with lender on Discount Points being locked in with dates 

132 Deliver unrecorded property information to buyer 

133 Order septic system inspection, if applicable 

134 Receive and review septic system report and assess any possible impact on sale 

135 Deliver copy of septic system inspection report lender & buyer 

136 Deliver Well Flow Test Report copies to lender & buyer and property listing file 

137 Verify termite inspection ordered 

138 Verify mold inspection ordered, if required 

Tracking the Loan Process

139 Confirm Verifications Of Deposit & Buyer's Employment Have Been Returned 

140 Follow Loan Processing Through To The Underwriter 

141 Add lender and other vendors to transaction management program so agents, buyer and seller can track progress of sale 

142 Contact lender weekly to ensure processing is on track 

143 Relay final approval of buyer's loan application to seller 

Home Inspection

144 Coordinate buyer's professional home inspection with seller 

145 Review home inspector's report 

146 Enter completion into transaction management tracking software program 

147 Explain seller's responsibilities with respect to loan limits and interpret any clauses in the contract 

148 Ensure seller's compliance with Home Inspection Clause requirements 

149 Recommend or assist seller with identifying and negotiating with trustworthy contractors to perform any required repairs 

150 Negotiate payment and oversee completion of all required repairs on seller's behalf, if needed 

The Appraisal

151 Schedule Appraisal 

154 Provide comparable sales used in market pricing to Appraiser 

152 Follow-Up On Appraisal 

151 Enter completion into transaction management program 

153 Assist seller in questioning appraisal report if it seems too low 


Closing Preparations and Duties

154 Contract Is Signed By All Parties 

155 Coordinate closing process with buyer's agent and lender 

156 Update closing forms & files 

157 Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale 

158 Select location where closing will be held 

159 Confirm closing date and time and notify all parties 

160 Assist in solving any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc) or in obtaining Death Certificates 

161 Work with buyer's agent in scheduling and conducting buyer's Final Walk-Thru prior to closing 

172 Research all tax, HOA, utility and other applicable prorations 

162 Request final closing figures from closing agent (attorney or title company) 

163 Receive & carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy of preparation 

164 Forward verified closing figures to buyer's agent 

165 Request copy of closing documents from closing agent 

166 Confirm buyer and buyer's agent have received title insurance commitment 

167 Provide "Home Owners Warranty" for availability at closing 

168 Review all closing documents carefully for errors 

169 Forward closing documents to absentee seller as requested 

170 Review documents with closing agent (attorney) 

171 Provide earnest money deposit check from escrow account to closing agent 

173 Coordinate this closing with seller's next purchase and resolve any timing problems 

174 Have a "no surprises" closing so that seller receives a net proceeds check at closing 

175 Refer sellers to one of the best agents at their destination, if applicable 

176 Change MLS status to Sold. Enter sale date, price, selling broker and agent's ID numbers, etc. 

177 Close out listing in transaction management program 

Follow Up After Closing

178 Answer questions about filing claims with Home Owner Warranty company if requested 

179 Attempt to clarify and resolve any conflicts about repairs if buyer is not satisfied 

180 Respond to any follow-on calls and provide any additional information required from office files