Congratulations! You worked hard to get your real estate license and connect with leads to land your first client. It's finally time to list your first home for sale. Now what? If your first listing has you spinning out, don't worry. Follow these tips to make sure your first listing is one of many successful ventures into real estate sales.
6 Steps to Take With Your First Listing
1. Organize the Paperwork
You studied hard for that real estate licensure exam, but there's a big difference between sample contracts and real life. Before you officially list your first home for sale, get all your ducks in a row by gathering the necessary paperwork. Depending on your municipality, these may include:
The broker's listing agreement
The seller's disclosure
Other disclosures required by law
Copies of relevant condo bylaws or other neighborhood regulations
Details about square footage, number of rooms, type of home systems, etc.
If you don't have a good template for each of these items, check with your brokerage or a mentor to find one. Having blank copies of everything you need will give you the confidence to walk through the process with your client — and to make sure you don't skip any important steps in the process.
2. Educate Your Client
You may feel nervous about your first listing, but odds are good that your client is also nervous. Most people only sell a home a few times in their lives, and your client knows less about the process than you do. As you proceed through the paperwork, explain the process step by step, and take the time to answer all of their questions.
It's also a good idea to set your client's expectations about pricing and how fast they can expect a sale. Do your homework on comps and the current state of the market so you can provide accurate information. Setting realistic expectations now goes a long way later if the house doesn't sell as quickly as your client had hoped.
3. Prep the Property
Part of client education is helping them see the house the way a buyer would, without their own emotional attachment. Provide kind but honest feedback about what they should do to make the property look its best. These tips can include:
Cleaning out closets, shelves, and storage areas to reduce clutter and make the home appear more spacious
Fully or partially staging the home to impress buyers
Small repairs and painting to refresh a dated look
Basic landscaping and maintenance for curb appeal
You will also want to remind your clients that the home should be ready to be shown on short notice, so they may wish to store extra items to keep things neat. You may also help them strategize ways to get kids and pets out of the house for showings.
4. Take Great Photos
Most people spend more time looking at photos on real estate listings than anything else. Whatever you do, make sure the photos are crystal-clear and show the property looking its best. Hiring a professional photographer is always a wise move, but if you don't have the money or time to do so, try these tips for great listing photographs:
Use a tripod for perfectly still, level shots
Use a wide-angle lens to show more of each room
Remove personal items and clutter for photos
Open window treatments to allow as much natural light as possible
5. Choose Your Words Carefully
For many real estate agents, writing the listing description is a big challenge. Start with an attention-getting headline that gets specific about the neighborhood and the home's biggest selling point.
From there, you'll want to write a description that highlights the main features of the house. In addition to simply listing rooms, add language that describes the feel of the place in positive terms, and call out anything that's new, whether it's the dishwasher, roof, or interior paint.
Finally, add keywords that your potential buyers may search for, such as the name of the neighborhood or desirable nearby amenities.
Pro Tip: Google professional real estate copywriters and check out their portfolios for inspiration about language that sells.
6. Don't Forget The Finishing Touches
Before you officially list, show your draft listing to your clients, and take their feedback into account. If they remember a selling point that was previously unmentioned, add it! You'll also want to put up the "for sale" and flier box, set up the lockbox, and order any additional marketing materials you'll need before submitting your listing paperwork.
Make one last proofreading pass of your listing before uploading it to the MLS. From there, it's time to share that listing with your community and social media network to sell your first house!
Once you've landed that first sale, don't forget that the best real estate agents are always learning and improving. Check out continuing education courses at Aceable for the knowledge you need to succeed.