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Long gone are the days when a real estate agent could do the '4 p's' of real estate marketing (Put a sign up, Put it in the MLS, Put a keybox on and Pray).  Frankly, back when the market was very active, it didn't take a lot of effort on the agent's part to get homes sold.  Many homes sold during this time with multiple offers.  
 
Today's realtors need to be professional full-time agents who are committed to mastery in the real estate industry.  They need to have finely-honed skills in marketing and negotiations, helping sellers prepare their home for the market and have expert knowledge of market conditions, inventory statistics and other factors that impact market value.
 
Agents should provide the following services to their sellers:
 
House Preparation
   -  Advise sellers on which maintenance and home improvement items should be done
   -  Provide referrals to contractors and other vendors to assist the seller in home preparation
   -  Provide staging videos and discuss the benefits of home staging
   -  Discuss benefits of a pre-listing home inspection, schedule and attend the home inspection
   -  Discuss Agency Law and how they will be working on your behalf (i.e. Seller's Agent or Dual Agent)
 
 
Listing Preparation
   -  Order preliminary title - review for accuracy (seller's names, underlying liens, etc.)
   -  Schedule consultation with a home stager (your agent should be willing to pay for a least a portion of the consultation)
   -  Schedule professional photography
   -  Prepare full-color property brochures (review with seller for content approval)
   -  Prepare finance flyers from lender showing 3 types of loan scenarios
   -  Prepare special feature cards or a special feature sheet
   -  Ensure that you have an accurate Seller Disclosure Statement, and other listing paperwork
   -  Prepare Selling Agent Packet with legal description, Seller Disclosure Statement, Lead-Based Paint Addendum (if
      applicable), preliminary title, pre-listing home inspection and offer preferences (including seller's preference for closing
      date, amount of Earnest Money, etc.) 
   -  Post Selling Agent Packet on web site or Multiple Listing Service
   -  Have flyer box on for-sale sign and use full-color flyers (keep full at all times until home is under contract)
 
Proper Pricing
   -  Do an MLS search for active, pending and sold-closed properties
   -  Preview the active competing properties
   -  Offer to show you the active competing properties (it is helpful for you to see what buyers will be looking at in addition to
      your home)
   -  Print out the properties in a report format, including property history, days on market, and interior pictures
   -  Prepare Seller Net Proceeds sheets in several different price ranges
   -  Provide inventory statistics for your area (to include absorption rates)
   -  Discuss market conditions (is it a seller's market, balanced market or buyer's market) and why
   -  Provide Odds of Selling
   -  Provide a list of their home sales, including days on market, and sales price to list price ratios
   -  Use even-number pricing to get maximum market exposure (double exposure with buyer home searches)

Marketing
   -  Input into Multiple Listing Service
   -  Syndicate to other web sites - company web site, Realtor.com, Craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo, FrontDoor.com
   -  Send notification of listing to target agents (previous cross-sale agents, agents with homes in the same neighborhood)
   -  Conduct Public and Broker's Open Houses when applicable
   -  Input agent showings and previews into an on-line feedback system, like HomeFeedback.com
   -  Follow-up with a phone call to every agent who has indicated they may have a potential buyer
   -  Keep you informed on any new listings, price changes on competing properties, or homes that go under contract
   -  Meet every 30 days to recap their marketing efforts and discuss the market and price strategy
 
Expert Negotiations & Qualifying the Buyer
   -  Call other agents who have shown the home and indicated that they have a possible interested buyer to let them know 
      you have received an offer and give them the opportunity to also prepare an offer if their buyer is interested
   -  Make sure all offers received have a (1) pre-approval letter from the buyer's lender, (2) copy of Earnest Money check,
      (3) signed legal description and other disclosures signed (i.e. Lead-Based Paint Addendum, Seller Disclosure
      Statement)
   -  Discuss with the buyer's agent buyers reasons for selecting this home and how the buyers determined their offer price
      (is the buyer considering other homes, is this their best offer, or is this where they wanted to start negotiations?).
  
The above list looks like a LOT of work and you know what?  IT IS!  Full-time professional agents are worth a full-service fee because of the results they create.
 
Your home is typically your largest investment and you have ONE CHANCE to get it right - make a good choice in selecting your agent and getting your home ready for the market.