184 Things REALTORs® Do To Earn Their Commission

lighterside-staff-authorBy Lighter Side Staff  |  Read More

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Listed here are 184 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®.

    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 of this 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
  21. Listing Appointment Presentation

  22. Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections
  23. Review agent’s and company’s credentials and accomplishments in the market
  24. Present company’s profile and position or “niche” in the marketplace
  25. Present CMA Results To Seller, including Comparables, Solds, Current Listings & Expireds
  26. Offer pricing strategy based on professional judgment and interpretation of current market conditions
  27. Discuss Goals With Seller To Market Effectively
  28. Explain market power and benefits of Multiple Listing Service
  29. Explain market power of web marketing, IDX and REALTOR.com
  30. Explain the work the brokerage and agent do “behind the scenes” and agent’s availability on weekends
  31. Explain agent’s role in taking calls to screen for qualified buyers and protect seller from curiosity seekers
  32. Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan
  33. Explain different agency relationships and determine seller’s preference
  34. Review and explain all clauses in Listing Contract & Addendum and obtain seller’s signature Once Property is Under Listing Agreement
  35. Review current title information
  36. Measure overall and heated square footage
  37. Measure interior room sizes
  38. Confirm lot size via owner’s copy of certified survey, if available
  39. Note any and all unrecorded property lines, agreements, easements
  40. Obtain house plans, if applicable and available
  41. Review house plans and make copy
  42. Order plat map for retention in property’s listing file
  43. Prepare showing instructions for buyers’ agents and agree on showing time window with seller
  44. Obtain current mortgage loan(s) information: companies and & loan account numbers
  45. Verify current loan information with lender(s)
  46. Check assumability of loan(s) and any special requirements
  47. Discuss possible buyer financing alternatives and options with seller
  48. Review current appraisal if available
  49. Identify Home Owner Association manager if applicable
  50. Verify Home Owner Association Fees with manager – mandatory or optional and current annual fee
  51. Order copy of Homeowner Association bylaws, if applicable
  52. Research electricity availability and supplier’s name and phone number
  53. Calculate average utility usage from last 12 months of bills
  54. Research and verify city sewer/septic tank system
  55. Water System: Calculate average water fees or rates from last 12 months of bills )
  56. Well Water: Confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report
  57. Natural Gas: Research/verify availability and supplier’s name and phone number
  58. Verify security system, current term of service and whether owned or leased
  59. Verify if seller has transferable Termite Bond
  60. Ascertain need for lead-based paint disclosure
  61. Prepare detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact
  62. Prepare detailed list of property’s “Inclusions & Conveyances with Sale”
  63. Compile list of completed repairs and maintenance items
  64. Send “Vacancy Checklist” to seller if property is vacant
  65. Explain benefits of Home Owner Warranty to seller
  66. Assist sellers with completion and submission of Home Owner Warranty Application
  67. When received, place Home Owner Warranty in property file for conveyance at time of sale
  68. Have extra key made for lockbox
  69. Verify if property has rental units involved. And if so:
  70. * Make copies of all leases for retention in listing file
  71. * Verify all rents & deposits
  72. * Inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled
  73. Arrange for installation of yard sign
  74. Assist seller with completion of Seller’s Disclosure form
  75. “New Listing Checklist” Completed
  76. Review results of Curb Appeal Assessment with seller and provide suggestions to improve salability
  77. Review results of Interior Décor Assessment and suggest changes to shorten time on market
  78. Load listing into transaction management software program
  79. Entering Property in Multiple Listing Service Database

  80. Prepare MLS Profile Sheet — Agents is responsible for “quality control” and accuracy of listing data
  81. Enter property data from Profile Sheet into MLS Listing Database
  82. Proofread MLS database listing for accuracy – including proper placement in mapping function
  83. Add property to company’s Active Listings list
  84. Provide seller with signed copies of Listing Agreement and MLS Profile Sheet Data Form within 48 hours
  85. Take additional photos for upload into MLS and use in flyers. Discuss efficacy of panoramic photography
  86. Marketing The Listing

  87. Create print and Internet ads with seller’s input
  88. Coordinate showings with owners, tenants, and other Realtors®. Return all calls – weekends included
  89. Install electronic lock box if authorized by owner. Program with agreed-upon showing time windows
  90. Prepare mailing and contact list
  91. Generate mail-merge letters to contact list
  92. Order “Just Listed” labels & reports
  93. Prepare flyers & feedback faxes
  94. Review comparable MLS listings regularly to ensure property remains competitive in price, terms, conditions and availability
  95. Prepare property marketing brochure for seller’s review
  96. Arrange for printing or copying of supply of marketing brochures or fliers
  97. Place marketing brochures in all company agent mail boxes
  98. Upload listing to company and agent Internet site, if applicable
  99. Mail Out “Just Listed” notice to all neighborhood residents
  100. Advise Network Referral Program of listing
  101. Provide marketing data to buyers coming through international relocation networks
  102. Provide marketing data to buyers coming from referral network
  103. Provide “Special Feature” cards for marketing, if applicable
  104. Submit ads to company’s participating Internet real estate sites
  105. Price changes conveyed promptly to all Internet groups
  106. Reprint/supply brochures promptly as needed
  107. Loan information reviewed and updated in MLS as required
  108. Feedback e-mails/faxes sent to buyers’ agents after showings
  109. Review weekly Market Study
  110. Discuss feedback from showing agents with seller to determine if changes will accelerate the sale
  111. Place regular weekly update calls to seller to discuss marketing & pricing
  112. Promptly enter price changes in MLS listing database
  113. The Offer and Contract

  114. Receive and review all Offer to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyers’ agents.
  115. Evaluate offer(s) and prepare a “net sheet” on each for the owner for comparison purposes
  116. Counsel seller on offers. Explain merits and weakness of each component of each offer
  117. Contact buyers’ agents to review buyer’s qualifications and discuss offer
  118. Fax/deliver Seller’s Disclosure to buyer’s agent or buyer upon request and prior to offer if possible
  119. Confirm buyer is pre-qualified by calling Loan Officer
  120. Obtain pre-qualification letter on buyer from Loan Officer
  121. Negotiate all offers on seller’s behalf, setting time limit for loan approval and closing date
  122. Prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptance or amendments to buyer’s agent
  123. Fax copies of contract and all addendums to closing attorney or title company
  124. When Offer to Purchase Contract is accepted and signed by seller, deliver to buyer’s agent
  125. Record and promptly deposit buyer’s earnest money in escrow account.
  126. Disseminate “Under-Contract Showing Restrictions” as seller requests
  127. Deliver copies of fully signed Offer to Purchase contract to seller
  128. Fax/deliver copies of Offer to Purchase contract to Selling Agent
  129. Fax copies of Offer to Purchase contract to lender
  130. Provide copies of signed Offer to Purchase contract for office file
  131. Advise seller in handling additional offers to purchase submitted between contract and closing
  132. Change status in MLS to “Sale Pending”
  133. Update transaction management program show “Sale Pending”
  134. Review buyer’s credit report results — Advise seller of worst and best case scenarios
  135. Provide credit report information to seller if property will be seller-financed
  136. Assist buyer with obtaining financing, if applicable and follow-up as necessary
  137. Coordinate with lender on Discount Points being locked in with dates
  138. Deliver unrecorded property information to buyer
  139. Order septic system inspection, if applicable
  140. Receive and review septic system report and assess any possible impact on sale
  141. Deliver copy of septic system inspection report lender & buyer
  142. Deliver Well Flow Test Report copies to lender & buyer and property listing file
  143. Verify termite inspection ordered
  144. Verify mold inspection ordered, if required
  145. Tracking the Loan Process

  146. Confirm Verifications Of Deposit & Buyer’s Employment Have Been Returned
  147. Follow Loan Processing Through To The Underwriter
  148. Add lender and other vendors to your management program so agents, buyer and seller can track progress of sale
  149. Contact lender weekly to ensure processing is on track
  150. Relay final approval of buyer’s loan application to seller
  151. Home Inspection

  152. Coordinate buyer’s professional home inspection with seller
  153. Review home inspector’s report
  154. Enter completion into transaction management tracking software program
  155. Explain seller’s responsibilities with respect to loan limits and interpret any clauses in the contract
  156. Ensure seller’s compliance with Home Inspection Clause requirements
  157. Recommend or assist seller with identifying and negotiating with trustworthy contractors to perform any required repairs
  158. Negotiate payment and oversee completion of all required repairs on seller’s behalf, if needed
  159. The Appraisal

  160. Schedule Appraisal
  161. Provide comparable sales used in market pricing to Appraiser
  162. Follow-Up On Appraisal
  163. Enter completion into transaction management program
  164. Assist seller in questioning appraisal report if it seems too low
  165. Closing Preparations and Duties

  166. Contract Is Signed By All Parties
  167. Coordinate closing process with buyer’s agent and lender
  168. Update closing forms & files
  169. Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale
  170. Select location where closing will be held
  171. Confirm closing date and time and notify all parties
  172. Assist in solving any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc) or in obtaining Death Certificates
  173. Work with buyer’s agent in scheduling and conducting buyer’s Final Walk-Thru prior to closing
  174. Research all tax, HOA, utility and other applicable prorations
  175. Request final closing figures from closing agent (attorney or title company)
  176. Receive & carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy of preparation
  177. Forward verified closing figures to buyer’s agent
  178. Request copy of closing documents from closing agent
  179. Confirm buyer and buyer’s agent have received title insurance commitment
  180. Provide “Home Owners Warranty” for availability at closing
  181. Reviews all closing documents carefully for errors
  182. Forward closing documents to absentee seller as requested
  183. Review documents with closing agent (attorney)
  184. Provide earnest money deposit check from escrow account to closing agent
  185. Coordinate this closing with seller’s next purchase and resolve any timing problems
  186. Have a “no surprises” closing so that seller receives a net proceeds check at closing
  187. Refer sellers to one of the best agents at their destination, if applicable
  188. Change MLS status to Sold. Enter sale date, price, selling broker and agent’s ID numbers, etc.
  189. Close out listing in your management program
  190. Follow Up After Closing

  191. Answer questions about filing claims with Home Owner Warranty company if requested
  192. Attempt to clarify and resolve any conflicts about repairs if buyer is not satisfied
  193. Respond to any follow-on calls and provide any additional information required from office files.

Whew! That’s a long list!


Did you realize REALTORS® did so many things?

Why Was This List Prepared?

Surveys show that many homeowners and homebuyers are not aware of the true value a REALTOR® provides during the course of a real estate transaction.

The list here is just a baseline since the services may vary within each brokerage and each market. Many REALTORS® routinely provide a wide variety of additional services that are as varied as the nature of each transaction.

By the same token, some transactions may not require some of these steps to be equally successful. However, most would agree that given the unexpected complications that can arise, it’s far better to know about a step and make an intelligent, informed decision to skip it, than to not know the possibility even existed.

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Based on a list prepared by Belton Jennings, CEO of the Orlando Regional REALTORS® Association. The document is provided online as part of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Surround Sound Campaign.