What Does a Listing Agent Really Do?

what does a listing agent really do

Why Working With a Listing Agent and REALTOR® Matters

There can be a lot of confusion on what a listing agent really does to sell your home. Many home buyers and sellers don’t know the expertise, professional skills, and just plain hard work that go into creating a successful real estate experience. The professional commitment of a Realtor® is to ensure that a seller and a buyer are brought together in a real estate transaction that abides by federal and state laws along with our Realtor® professional Code of Ethics. For most full-service brokerages, they receive no compensation whatsoever unless and until the sale closes.

OUR commitment extends beyond that. We strive to ensure that YOU feel a part of our client family for life! If you’d us to work with you as your listing agent, please reach out here.

Below are 128 typical actions and processes necessary for a successful residential real estate transaction that we provide as a listing agent in a full-service real estate brokerage firm for a professional fee. This is not to serve as an all-encompassing or exclusive list, as duties can vary as not all transactions require all steps.

Pre-Listing Activities

A listing agent starts working before ever meeting with a potential client. We come to the initial listing appointment prepared with public information about your home.

  1. Make appointment with seller for marketing proposal presentation.
  2. Send seller a written or verbal confirmation of appointment.
  3. Review pre-appointment questions with seller.
  4. Prepare and deliver Pre-Listing Book with homework for seller’s review prior to listing appointment.
  5. Research all comparable and competitive listed properties.
  6. Review recent sales activity in Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or public records databases.
  7. Research “Average Days on Market” for this type of property, price range and location.
  8. Download and review property tax information.
  9. Prepare “Comparable Market Analysis” (CMA) to aid in positioning the home to sell.
  10. Research property’s ownership, public record info for lot size dimensions and square footage.
  11. Verify legal description, land use, tenants, and deed restrictions.
  12. Research property’s current use and zoning.
  13. Verify legal names of owner(s) in county’s public property records and verify legal description.
  14. Prepare market statistics, including absorption rate.
  15. Prepare marketing proposal and presentation package.
  16. Perform exterior “Curb Appeal Assessment” of the property.
  17. Confirm current public schools and explain impact of schools on market value.
  18. Compile and assemble formal file on property: listing paperwork, seller disclosure and all necessary documentation.
  19. Review listing appointment checklist to ensure all steps and actions have been completed.
  20. Prepare preliminary “Net Sheet” to review with Seller with details of costs to sell a home.

Listing Appointment Presentation

During the initial listing appointment, we want to both hear about your personal situation and discuss what are the best options are for selling your home. A good listing agent is on the same team as you!

  1. Review seller’s goals, timeline of selling and all communication preferences.
  2. Discuss home upgrades, building permits, easements, and HOA details.
  3. Provide an overview of current market conditions and projections.
  4. Review team’s values, accomplishments, and brokerage firm’s profile in the marketplace.
  5. Present CMA results: competition, active, pending, sold and expired listings.
  6. Offer positioning strategy based on: location, condition, time frame, marketing, financing, and price by using professional judgment and interpretation of current market conditions.
  7. Explain the power of a strategic marketing plan by incorporating the internet and social media.
  8. Discuss the value of professional photography, floor-plan options, and positive effects of these resources.
  9. Explain the work the team and brokerage do behind the scenes, agent’s availability, the benefits of a Home Warranty, and Arizona agency relationships.
  10. Review and explain “costs” associated with selling, the Listing Agreement, Disclosures, and all documents that require seller’s signatures and commitment.

Once Property is Under Listing Agreement

After the listing agreement is signed, a good listing agent is ready to hit the ground running. There is a lot to do to get a home ready for sale!

  1. Review results of Curb Appeal Assessment with seller and provide suggestions to improve selling potential.
  2. Discuss staging options, interior maintenance and showing preparation; suggestions to shorten time on market.
  3. Order professional photos, and/or floor plan, and/or video and schedule appointment with seller.
  4. Request current title search.
  5. Verify square footage from past appraisal or order home measuring service.
  6. Review and confirm all Seller Homework: insurance claims history, house plans, disclosure paperwork, and HOA documents.
  7. Prepare showing instructions for buyers’ agents and agree on showing time window with seller.
  8. Obtain and verify current mortgage loan(s) information: companies and loan account numbers.
  9. Discuss possible buyer financing, loan assumption, alternatives, and options with seller.
  10. Review current appraisal if available.
  11. Research Homeowner Association manager and fees.
  12. Research all utility supplier’s: electric, gas, wells, water, septic system and obtain usage reports from last 12 months for home info book.
  13. Verify security system, current term of service and whether owned or leased.
  14. Verify transferable Termite Warranty information, if applicable.
  15. Determine need for lead-based paint disclosure.
  16. Prepare detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact.
  17. Prepare detailed list of properties’ “Inclusions & Conveyances with Sale.”
  18. Order Pre-Marketing Inspection; compile list of completed repairs and maintenance items.
  19. Schedule “Vacancy Fluff & Flush” schedule to seller if property is vacant.
  20. Order NO COST Home Warranty and complete application for home during listing period.
  21. When received, place Homeowner Warranty in property file for conveyance at time of sale.
  22. Obtain two keys from seller for lockbox.
  23. Install electronic lockbox, with agreed-upon showing time windows and contractor code.
  24. For rental properties: Verify tenant information; obtain lease copies, verify rents and deposits; inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled.
  25. Arrange for installation of yard sign(s).
  26. Review Seller’s Disclosure and other necessary disclosure forms.
  27. Complete “New Listing Checklist.”
  28. Submit listing paperwork to broker for review.
  29. Provide seller with signed copies of Listing Agreement
  30. Add property to brokerage firm’s list of new listings to schedule caravan.

Enter Property in Multiple Listing Service, Real Estate Websites and Social Media

Most buyers begin their home search online. A good listing agent will have a robust online marketing strategy to best position your home on the web.

  1. Write creative description of home that will be seen in throughout media sites; share with seller to edit.
  2. Enter property data, Seller’s Property Disclosure and other supporting documents into MLS database.
  3. Upload professional photos and video into MLS that will propagate other internet web sites.
  4. Post listing alert on Facebook Groups to inform agents of forthcoming listing.
  5. Verify accuracy of listing on real estate websites: Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia and on social media outlets.
  6. Proofread MLS database listing for accuracy – including proper placement in mapping function.
  7. Upload listing to company and agent Internet sites.
  8. Submit ads to company’s participating Internet real estate sites.

Marketing the Listing

While some listing agents can stop at entering your home into the MLS, a good listing agent will utilize online, print, networking, and in-person advertising. It’s important to get your home in front of as many qualified buyers as possible!

  1. Preparing all marketing materials to be used for: brochures, home info-book, ads, look book, etc., with important features and benefits of property for both print and online media outlets.
  2. Coordinate showings with owner’s, tenants, and other Realtors®. Return all calls, evenings and weekends included.
  3. Collect insurance history information.
  4. Prepare and print property brochures to display in home for prospective buyers.
  5. Review comparable MLS listings regularly to ensure property remains competitive in price, terms, conditions, and availability.
  6. Mail Out “Just Listed” postcards to all neighborhood residents.
  7. Advise area agents of listing.
  8. Notify all agents currently showing comparable homes of new listing.
  9. Facilitate online feedback from showing agents with seller to determine if changes are needed to accelerate the sale.
  10. Place regular weekly update calls to seller to discuss activity, marketing, and positioning.
  11. Any needed price adjustments will be conveyed promptly in MLS and to all Internet groups.
  12. Market Activity will be outlined via email periodically.
  13. Organize and host open houses with additional invitation advertising.

Managing the Offer and Contract

A good listing agent is a great negotiator. We want to get you the best possible price and terms for your home’s sale!

  1. Receive and review all Offers to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyers’ agents.
  2. Evaluate offer(s) and Prepare “Net Sheet” on each for the seller for comparison purposes.
  3. Counsel seller on offers, explain advantages, disadvantages, and components of each.
  4. Contact buyers’ agents to review offer details, buyer’s goals and request prequalification letter, if not already provided.
  5. Review prequalification letter, call loan officer and confirm buyer’s pre-approval details (local lender vs. online lender.)
  6. Negotiate offer details on seller’s behalf personally with buyer’s agent (not via text or email!)
  7. Prepare and convey details of counter offers, acceptance or amendments to buyer’s agent, personally!
  8. Ensure buyer’s earnest money is received and deposited in appropriate escrow account.
  9. Deliver copies of fully signed Agreement to Purchase (ratified by all parties) to seller, buyer’s agent, lender, escrow officer and to broker for office file.
  10. Change status in MLS to reflect under contract status and reason of any contingencies. Discuss if there will be any more showings and remind seller of the handling of any other offers.
  11. Confirm title work is being ordered by the escrow officer; address obstacle to transfer free and clear title.

Tracking the Closing Process

Making sure the buyers and/or the buyers agent follows all of the contract timelines can be a daunting task. A good listing agent makes sure the closing process runs smoothly.

  1. Confirm verification income and buyer’s employment have been verified by the lender.
  2. Follow loan processing through to the underwriter.
  3. Add lender plus all other service providers to transaction management system so all parties can track progress of sale.
  4. Contact lender weekly to ensure processing is on track; what date can we expect “cleared to close?”
  5. When will the buyer sign their Closing Disclosure (must sign at least 3 days prior to close.)
  6. Relay final approval of buyer’s loan application to seller.

Home Inspection

A good listing agent will help you negotiate any needed repairs with the buyer and help you coordinate vendors. It’s one less thing on your list as you’re preparing for your move!

  1. Coordinate buyer’s professional home inspection with seller.
  2. Review home inspector’s report and inspection notice repair requests.
  3. Enter completion into transaction management tracking software program.
  4. Explain seller’s responsibilities with respect to loan limits and interpret any clauses in the contract.
  5. Ensure seller’s compliance with Home Inspection Clause requirements.
  6. Recommend or assist seller with identifying trustworthy contractors to perform any repairs.
  7. Negotiate payment and oversee completion of all required repairs on seller’s behalf, if needed.

Following Up on Lender Ordered Appraisal

The appraisal is the most important “showing”. A good listing agent will help you prepare and communicate with the appraiser to help ensure the appraisal meets the contract price.

  1. Notify seller of appraisal time (best for seller to be gone during appraisal.)
  2. Prepares comparable sales, information about the property, updates, and upgrades to appraiser.
  3. Meets the appraiser at the property to discuss comparable and provide market data.
  4. Follow-up on appraisal status directly with buyer’s lender.
  5. Assist in questioning the appraisal report, if the need arises.

Closing Preparation

In addition to making sure the buyer/buyers agent clears their closing contingencies, a good listing agent coordinates with the escrow officer to make sure everyone has what they need to complete the sale.

  1. Discuss closing options with seller; coordinate closing date/time with title company or mobile notary.
  2. Coordinate this closing with seller’s next purchase (if applicable) and resolve any timing problems.
  3. Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale.
  4. Determine if seller needs a Power of Attorney to close.
  5. Assist in resolving any title issues, boundary disputes and easements.
  6. Order Home Warranty for availability at closing, if applicable.
  7. Remind seller to disconnect utilities and cancel homeowner’s insurance policy.
  8. Facilitate buyer’s final walk-through prior to closing with buyer’s agent.
  9. Receive and carefully review the estimated settlement statement to ensure accuracy of preparation.
  10. Discuss and forward the estimated settlement statement to seller for review prior to closing.
  11. Coordinate Seller’s preference to receive “net proceeds” at closing via check or wire.
  12. Change MLS status to Sold. Enter sales date, price, concessions and selling broker information.
  13. Prepare Closing Gift and Celebration!

Post-Closing Tasks

Even after the sale is finalized, there is more to do. A good listing agent doesn’t just disappear after closing!

  1. Respond to follow-up calls and provide additional information that may be needed at any time.
  2. Prepare a copy of final settlement statement to send seller in January for tax preparation.
  3. Ongoing relationship with sellers as a professional resource for any reason!
  4. Request testimonial from Seller to use in marketing materials.
  5. Assist seller with purchase at any destination around the world.
About the Author
Gina McKinley
Gina is an Associate Broker with Gina McKinley Group LLC and the Team Leader for The Gina McKinley Group. She is dedicated to selling homes in Arizona and passionate about providing the ultimate customer service experience through her expertise in the field. The Gina McKinley Group has served the Scottsdale and Chandler real estate market for over 25 years.