Seller TipsTips from DaleUncategorized 09/04/2023

What a Realtor Takes Care of Before, During and After Listing a Home and Getting it to Closing

A question I am frequently asked, is what makes me, as a full service, full time professional Realtor, different from other Realtors and people who sell Real Estate. 

First, a Realtor belongs to their local, state and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and has taken an oath to follow a code of ethics that promotes the fair, ethical and honest treatment of everyone involved in a transaction.  At the same time, they have a fiduciary responsibility to protect their clients’ interests. A real estate licensee or salesperson who is not a Realtor doesn’t take the oath and is not morally bound to treat everyone in an ethical manner or to protect their clients’ interests over their own.  The Code of Ethics is enforceable and a Realtor who does not follow its rules can be sanctioned. 

As a full time Professional Realtor, I bring the same high personal professional standards with me that I used when I was an Air Force Officer, when I worked in school districts and when I’ve worked for corporations.  I am committed to providing my clients with the highest level of service, ensuring that I protect their fiduciary interests in the process.  I’m detail oriented and work to ensure that all the suspenses and deadlines that are part of a real estate transaction are met.  I follow through on what I say I’m going to do and I use my expert knowledge and skills to educate my clients, to negotiate on their behalf and to work for a win-win experience for everyone involved in the transaction.  I’m available when my clients need me, whether it’s for a showing, a consultation or to negotiate an offer or inspections.  I stay abreast of changes in my field, ensuring that the knowledge and skills I bring to my clients are current. 

It would be impossible to list all of the things I do, when I am working with a client.  Often what I do and when I do it in the process depends on the individual client and what their needs and wants are.  Some homeowners, while wanting me to give a value range for their home, don’t want me to walk through it, telling me “it’s too messy right now” or “I need to declutter first”, which limits the advice and counseling I can provide to them. 

While this is not a totally inclusive list since each client is different, among the many things I routinely do are: 

For homeowners: 

Before meeting with the home owner, I will typically start the research phase where I: 

  1. Research the past history of the home through sources available to me as a Realtor, including 
  1. Tax records 
  1. MLS records 
  1. Special Real estate programs such as Realist, CBx and Remine  
  1. Information provided by the owner 
  1. Research neighborhood information such as 
  1. School districts servicing the area and that home 
  1. Local businesses 
  1. Walkability of the neighborhood 
  1. Proximity to parks and recreation facilities 
  1. Demographics and analytics showing the buyers most likely to purchase the home so marketing can be tailored to get to them 
  1. Discuss with the owner (typically over the phone or by email) what improvements they have made to their home or amenities their home has that they feel would affect the home’s value. 
  1. Research the housing markets that home falls within to determine the price range that it best fits within based on what I know about the home from my research 
  1. Type of home (ranch, 2 story, 1.5 story, multi-level, etc) 
  1. Subdivision or complex the home is within 
  1. General area the home is within, focusing on where else buyers looking at that home, would be looking at other homes (determining the competition area) 
  1. Comparing active listings, homes under contract, homes that have recently sold, and homes that didn’t sell (and why they didn’t sell) 
  1. Compile the data for the housing markets to check trends in the area that will affect the owners’ ability to sell their homes and the value they will get for it 
  1. Is it a buyers’ market or a sellers’ market 
  1. What are the average days on market 
  1. Are homes in that area selling at list price, above list, or below list and by what percentage 
  1. What are the expected trends for the timeline that the homeowner is considering putting the home on the market 
  1. Review any known factors that could impact selling the home (positive and negative), such as: 
  1. Planned construction projects and roadways  
  1. Proximity to hazardous sites 
  1. Proximity to schools and parks 
  1. Steepness of yard 
  1. Busy street vs culdesac 
  1. Known restrictions that buyers will want to know about (fencing, pets, etc) 
  1. Prepare information to be presented to the owner and a list of what additional information I need from the homeowner in order to provide the homeowner with the best information on expected outcomes 


When I first meet with a homeowner, I focus on the homeowner, their needs and how I can best meet their needs, by: 


  1. Discuss “agency” and how legally the home owner is represented.  Discuss “Designated Agency” vs “Seller’s Agent”  and the possibility of “Dual Agency” 
  1. Discuss the homeowners’ reasons for selling, the timeline that they want to sell within and any impediments to their timeline that they are aware of.  Ensure that I understand their goals so that I can help them achieve them.  Make sure I have a clear idea of when the home owner expects to move out of the home and if they want to have it on the market while they are living in it, or after they have moved out 
  1. Ensure I have a clear understanding of where or not the homeowner needs to sell their current home before they can acquire their next home.  Where applicable, provide information on lenders who can assist with a bridge loan to assist the home owner in meeting their goals 
  1. Review the current process for selling a home in the St Louis metro area with the home owner 
  1. Discuss the use of electronic signatures with the homeowner and determine what they are most comfortable using and their preferred method of communication 
  1. Discuss with the home owner what the current residential real estate market for their area is like 
  1. Discuss with the homeowner what “as is” means and how it limits the market for their home 
  1. Discuss with the homeowner the current rules on marketing their home and the different categories that the home will fall into as we go through the process of putting it on the market (withhold, coming soon, active, under contract, pending, sold, expired, cancelled and withdrawn) 
  1. Walk through a home and property with the homeowner, having them tell me what they plan to do to the home (if anything) before it goes on the market 
  1. Discuss with the homeowner the need for the home to look “sharp” from the curb to the back fence 
  1. Give my professional opinion on what needs to be done to the home and what items on the owners list really won’t make a difference, to get the highest net value for the home or to get it sold in the shortest amount of time (which often nets the highest return) 
  1. Discuss what items, based on the contract remain with the home after closing  
  1. Discuss things I discovered during research phase and get answers to questions about the home and its amenities 
  1. Review my credentials and Coldwell Banker Gundaker’s standings in the local housing market and innovations and programs that are unique to the company.  Make sure that the homeowner understands that I am available when they need me, and when I cannot be available, I have colleagues who back me up 
  1. Discuss with the home owner their estimated value of their home and how they determined that value 
  1. Discuss the comparative market analysis that I have developed through my research and explain how I reached the suggested price range 
  1. Discuss with the owner the difference in the value range that they will receive for the home if they were to sell “as is”, with minimal repairs or updates to meet current codes or after a higher level of repairs or updates 
  1. Discuss with the homeowner the best timeline and things that need to be done to gain their desired response 
  1. Discuss different ways to pay for repairs and updates to the home from paying when the work is done, to paying at closing, to using the exclusive Real Vitalize program 
  1. Discuss how the Real Vitalize program can be used for repairs that come up during inspections 
  1. Discuss home warranties and their benefits 
  1. Discuss the need for receipts and lien waivers for work done to the home within a year of selling 
  1. Review the expected timeline with the homeowner and what they can expect to have happen as we move through the process 
  1. Signing a listing agreement  
  1. What responsibilities listing agent assumes at that point vs waiting until later 
  1. Repairs 
  1. Discuss marketing plan 
  1. Professional pictures of the home taken for use in marketing the home 
  1. Setting up social media marketing 
  1. Sending mailings or emails to the area around the home alerting neighbors who may know buyer 
  1. Flyers  
  1. Using Dot Signal where buyers can text a number and receive a virtual flyer on the home and how I follow up with individuals who request information on the home 
  1. Discuss how I am notified when someone enquires about the home online using Lead Router, and how I respond 
  1. Notifying all the agents in the area when it goes active 
  1. Notifying all the CBG agents when home is listed 
  1. Open houses (in person and /or online) 
  1. IDX sharing of MLS data with other online programs 
  1. My responsiveness to buyers and other agents who contact me from the online marketing, MLS enquiries and through other methods to ask about the home 
  1. When the home can be publicly marketed and when it cannot be 
  1. Premarketing the home to other agents within Coldwell Banker Gundaker and the potential for selling the home before it goes “Active” 
  1. Determine homeowners preferences for timeframes when showings can be scheduled and any restrictions on showings 
  1.  Discuss how scheduling showings is done when the homeowner is living in the home and when it is vacant 
  1. Discuss Supra box and how I’m notified when it is opened and key is accessed 
  1. Discuss scheduling protections to ensure owners time is respected 
  1. Discuss any pertinent restrictions and what requirements the homeowner is most comfortable with the showing agents and potential buyers following 
  1. Discuss things the homeowner should do to prepare the home before a showing 
  1. Discuss how offers are received and presented to the homeowner 
  1. Discuss the potential for multiple offers and how those are handled 
  1. Discuss how I review offers and prepare them to be presented to the homeowners and other decision makers 
  1. Discuss negotiating tips for when offers are being negotiated 
  1. Discuss negotiating timelines 
  1. Discuss Inspections  
  1. Municipal inspections that must be passed before a buyer can move in and are typically the owner’s responsibility 
  1. Inspections that are the buyer’s responsibility  
  1. Special inspections required based on specific types of mortgages 
  1. Additional inspections that the buyer may choose to do or ask the seller to do 
  1. When it is in the sellers best interests to do specific inspections 
  1. Discuss Negotiating inspections 
  1. Timelines 
  1. What happens if buyer and seller can’t come to an agreement 
  1. Tips for negotiating inspections 
  1. Discuss Title work, the issues that might arise and how they are typically handled 
  1. Discuss what happens if title issues cannot be resolved 
  1. Discuss Surveys and the issues that may arise and how they are typically handled 
  1. Discuss the role of Appraisers and Underwriters and the issues that they may cause 
  1. Discuss what to expect at closing – in person and curbside options  
  1. Discuss Timelines – what the homeowner desires and what the typical timeline is for homes in their neighborhoods. 
  1. Discuss the importance of the seller’s disclosures and lead based paint forms with the homeowner 
  1. Discuss TRID forms and their importance 
  1. Discuss staging the home with the homeowner and its benefits 
  1. If possible, set a time to view homes in the area with the homeowner, that their home would be competing with, before discussing with the homeowner where they want to price the home initially 


Once the home is listed with me, I have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the seller’s interests. At this point, I switch to a project manager and marketing role.  Before the home goes “active” in the market, I ensure: 


  1. That the listing contract and documents are correctly filled out 
  1. The listing contract, inter-office, St Louis Board of Realtors and MARIS information is properly processed and turned in to the respective offices 
  1. Ensure that room measurements are taken and recorded in the Multi Listing System (MLS) 
  1. Professional photography is done, pictures reviewed and supplemental pictures taken as needed 
  1. Standard slide show type of Virtual tours are created 
  1. Photography and tours are uploaded to the MLS 
  1. Marketing comments are written and uploaded 
  1. Agent comments, directions to the home and showing instructions are written and uploaded in the MLS, Showing Time scheduling program and other applicable programs 
  1. Social media marketing is created  
  1. A single home website is created for the home 
  1. The seller’s disclosures and other documents are uploaded to the MLS 
  1. Subdivision Indentures and /or condo declarations are procured and uploaded to the MLS and contact information for the subdivision or condo complex is available for showing agents 
  1. Ensure that any restrictions that would cause an issue are identified in agent notes (number of allowed pets, fencing rules, etc) 
  1. The searchable data fields are correctly completed in the MLS describing the home and its features 
  1. If the homeowner has a survey for the property, uploading it to the MLS 
  1. Review with the home owner where the property boundaries are 
  1. Ensure that all homeowners sign and initial all required documents. 
  1. Get average utility bill information from the homeowner along with where they normally keep their thermostat at 
  1. Get information on any alarm systems that are on the home 
  1. Get keys for the lockboxes and put the lockboxes on the home 
  1. Put the Real Estate sign in the yard (where allowed) no earlier than 1 day before the home goes active with the Dot Signal rider on it along with any other desired riders 
  1. Check if there are any transferrable warranties on the home and instructions on transferring the warranties along with any costs to transfer them 
  1. If the home has an inground sprinkler system, make sure I have a copy of the current backflow test 
  1. Make sure any last repairs are completed before going active 
  1. Create a list of any items that the seller is interested in selling and the price, should a showing agent ask 
  1. Determine any furniture items or appliances that the home owner would consider using in negotiations 
  1. Agents within Coldwell Banker Gundaker are notified about the home after it’s listed, in case they have buyers looking for a home of that description 
  1. Within one day of going active in the MLS, send notification of the home being listed to all other agents in the area and neighbors are informed  
  1. With condo complexes and areas with limited parking, determine the best place for the showing agents and the buyers to park and ensure that information is uploaded to the MLS 
  1. If home is vacant, ensure that everything is ready for showings before home goes active 
  1. Put sign in sheets, and any needed supplies in the home prior to showings starting 
  1. Order home warranty with seller coverage 
  1. Check that Decluttering, cleaning and preparing the inside of the home for showings are all completed 
  1. Check from curb to front porch to back yard to ensure that the exterior of the home presents well to buyers 
  1. Any staging is in place and provides the impression that the home owner is looking for 
  1. Schedule initial open house 
  1. Start public marketing of the home one day before it goes active 
  1. Prepare and send out posting to facebook on my business and personal pages 
  1. Send posting to sellers to put on their facebook pages  
  1. Ensure mailings are sent out 
  1. Send out email blasts to agents in the metro area 
  1. Check that individual home website is correct and accessible, provide link to sellers to share with friends 
  1. Review the MLS to ensure that everything is correct and all the applicable documents are uploaded to the MLS and showing time to be available to showing agents to share with potential buyers. 
  1. Encourage home owner to have municipal inspections done as soon as possible (preferably before going active) 
  1. When needed, help oversee estate sales, pickup by liquidators and contractors that need access to the home 
  1. Get copies of any receipts and lien waivers for work done on the home within the last year to the title company 
  1. Print off and take sign in sheets, disclosures, flyers and any needed supplies to the home 


Once the home is ready, I inform the secretary to make the home “Active” in the MLS and we start showings.  At that point, my focus continues as project manager and marketing specialist. I ensure that: 

  1. The homes status is changed annotating that showings can start 
  1. Test the scheduling program with the home owner so they know what to expect 
  1. Any Public marketing that has not already started is initiated 
  1. The initial open house is scheduled (where feasible) 
  1. Showings are monitored 
  1. Showing agents are followed up with after showings 
  1. Any inquiries on the home are responded to in a timely manner 
  1. Monitor other homes in the area that go on the market to compete against the listing 
  1. If paper flyers are kept in the home, ensure that they stay current and an adequate number are available for potential buyers to pick up 
  1. Printing more flyers and sellers’ disclosures as needed and taking them to the home. 


  1. Monitor real estate supplies at the home and ensure that an adequate supply is on hand (examples of supplies are): 
  1. Booties 
  1. Sanitizing wipes 
  1. Sign in sheets for agent and open houses 
  1. Pens for sign in sheets 
  1. Hand sanitizer 
  1. Ensure that feedback from showing agents is forwarded to the home owner and discussed 
  1. Ensure home owner is kept current on the home’s status 


After a contract(s) is received, as the project manager, I ensure: 

  1. That the agent who submitted it knows I received it and ask them any questions concerning things in the contract that aren’t clear or any missing pages or documents 
  1. The contract is reviewed and outlined for discussion with the homeowner and other decision makers 
  1. A time is scheduled to present it to the homeowner 
  1. Copies are made for the homeowner and other decision makers 
  1. If multiple offers are received, they are all reviewed and outlined for presentation 
  1. When presenting an offer, I ensure that ALL terms are discussed, not just the price 
  1. I discuss with the sellers how they can respond – making a counter offer, accepting or rejecting the offer(s) 
  1. I council the owners on an appropriate response for negotiating the terms if they are not acceptable as initially offered by the potential buyers 
  1. I prepare the required response for the home owners and have home owners sign them 
  1. I send the response back to the agent who submitted it and follow up to ensure they receive it 


Once an offer is accepted, my job as a project manager focuses on getting the home to a smooth closing with as few issues as possible (this is where the bulk of my work as a Realtor is done), as I: 

  1. Process the paperwork ensuring that Coldwell Banker Gundaker and the Title company receive copies of it 
  1. Find out from the Realtor representing the buyer, what title company they intend to use and get that companies contact information 
  1. If a home warranty is agreed to and has not already been placed, ensure the paperwork is done to put it on the home right away 
  1. Ensure the change in status to active under contract or pending is made in the MLS 
  1. Ensure that any agents scheduled to show the home after it goes under contract are informed its under contract and whether or not the home owner is agreeable to continued showings 
  1. Prepare a checklist for the home owners of the steps that will be taken to get to closing and who does each one. 
  1. Put all deadlines on my calendar and monitor each one to get to a smooth closing 
  1. Monitor escrow monies being turned in within the required time frame 
  1. Work with the showing agent to get the inspections scheduled  
  1. When the inspection reports and buyer’s request are received 
  1. Print off copies for the homeowner and any other decision makers 
  1. Review the reports with the homeowner and discuss whether the owner is willing to do each repair or not 
  1. Discuss with owner that no repairs should be started until after we have written agreement by the buyer 
  1. Ensure that seller understands that they cannot do repairs themselves, unless buyer agrees 
  1. Negotiate the building inspection for the seller with the buyers’ side 
  1. Do the necessary paperwork, get signatures and get it to all applicable parties involved in the transaction 
  1. Work with the homeowner to determine contractors for doing any agreed upon work 
  1. Provide names of contractors as needed 
  1. Ensure that seller keeps copies of all receipts and lien waivers for any work done and copies are provided to the buyer’s Realtor and the title company 
  1. For any items agreed upon in the building inspection negotiations that require a change to the sales contract, ensure that the correct paperwork is done and filed correctly with the title company, office and other entities that need it 
  1. Ensure that any issues with the title work, survey and / or appraisal are taken care of right away 
  1. Remind seller to set up utilities to be taken out of their name on the day of closing 
  1. Remind sellers to provide Post Office with their forwarding address, along with sending friends , family and businesses they routinely deal with their new contact information 
  1. Ensure seller has movers scheduled, estate sale company, liquidators and other contractors needed 
  1. Continue to market the home until closing occurs 
  1. Deal with any issues that come up between the home going under contract and closing 
  1. Coordinate when the buyers’ side will do their final walk through 
  1. Remove the sign, lockboxes and any items of mine still at the home following the final walk through.  At that time, I do a final walk through of the home to ensure it is ready for the transfer to the new owner 
  1. Schedule the closing for the sellers, and provide them with the time and location 
  1. Coordinate the transfer of keys with the buyer’s side 


At this point, we are ready for closing and I: 

  1. Attend the closing with the sellers 
  1. Monitor the buyer side closing 
  1. Ensure that funds are transferred before the keys are released to the buyer 
  1. Handle any last minute issues that come up 


After closing, my job isn’t over yet, as I still need to: 

  1. Have the status of the home changed to SOLD in the MLS 
  1. Process the final paperwork for the office 
  1. Create and send out JUST SOLD announcements 
  1. Clean up then close the file for that transaction  
  1. Follow up with the seller a day or two later to ensure that there is nothing that they need taken care of