Launching a New Listing - How to get an A +

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Gordon's Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage

It is funny how many comments that we get from other Realtors telling us that our property information packages are the best they had ever seen and they wished that all Realtors prepared packages the way we do.  Similarly, we get the same comments from buyers not only working with our firm, but working with other agents in them marketplace.  A typical property information package prepared by our firm would include:

. a well thought out and lengthy description of the property
. the listing details including all relevant costs (eg. Heating fuel, electricity, sewage and water charges, security system charges, etc) and the age of the major infrastructure items (eg. Roof, furnace, central air conditioning unit, electrical system, etc.)
. professionally prepared floor plans (the company we use is called Defined Lines and they will travel anywhere within about 100 kms to do our floor plans - there are similar companies in almost every market)
. survey and mapping section that demonstrates exactly where the property is and if there is no survey, we make sure we have assessment maps
. Zoning of the property and ALL of the permitted uses and stipulations of the particular zone AND we provide a zoning map that demonstrates what the zoning of the surrounding properties are so you know what could happen next door or across the street, or around the corner in the neighbourhood.
. a list of all of the schools and the closest parks in the district
. a WETT inspection / certification if there is one or more wood burning appliances in the home (eg. Fireplace, woodstove, wood furnace, etc.)
. Well and Septic system sketches when applicable and all relevant information including water samples, well reports, septic reports
. a complete pre-listing home inspection conducted by a licensed / certified 3rd party home inspection company
. a full page of colour photos of the home and grounds
. a detailed list of all of the recent improvements and the year in which they were completed (eg. windows, roof, furnace, plumbing, electrical, flooring, remodeling, additions, painting, decorating, etc.)
. Seller property information statement completed by the Seller
. a short essay about the property from the Seller's perspective  sharing things like fond memories about the property, how long they have owned the property, how many kids / generations were raised in the home, the best parts of the property that someone might not automatically see or realize, the history of the home and property before the Seller's ownership as they know it, and what the Seller considers to be the features and benefits of the property that they think may appeal to others.  The purpose of this exercise is to capture and transfer this "emotional value" over to potential buyers of the property and Seller's are almost always up to the task and happy that you have asked them for their input into the marketing and sale of the property.
. we ask the Seller to provide "special" photos of the property that they have taken recently that may demonstrate what the property looks like during different seasons.

 . in the event of a condominium listing, we always order and have on hand the status certificate before we launch the listing. This way we know in advance all of the details of the condominium corporation and also how healthy it is, leaving no surprises for later, disappointing a seller and increasing substantially our ability to make a firm transaction possible for the Seller.
. ALL of the above is also available in the property information section for every property we have listed on our website so it can be viewed by anyone, from anywhere, anytime

Regarding the home inspection, in the event the home inspection identifies deficiencies in the home before it is put on the market we have the option of fixing them and then updating the report before launching the listing on the market, or investigating them further and disclosing the findings.  For instance, if a home inspection identified Vermiculite insulation in a home, we'd immediately send a sample to a lab to have it tested for asbestos.  If it contained asbestos, we'd disclose it.  If it didn't, it's a moot point, but would also be disclosed.  In the event a home inspection identified the plumbing in a house was all copper but the main line in from the street was an old lead pipe, we'd have the water tested and disclose the results. The house would not be put on the market until the test were complete.

All of the above is part of a listing "launch" strategy and preparing the home to be "offer ready", encouraging firm offers, because all of the questions are answered in advance.  I don't know how many times I have provided an agent with a list of questions about a property and the response I get is, "just make an offer". I also don't know how many times I have seen an MLS listing come through the system with no photos yet and only a very brief description.  What a launch, uuuumph! Would you launch your new business like this? Why launch someone's most valuable asset like this? I see one or more new listings launched on the hot sheets like this everyday.

Because we specialize almost exclusively with selling homes for Seniors downsizing and Estates Executors, we want to make sure they are never set up for disappointment, thinking their home is sold, only to see one or more conditional offers fall through because we didn't take the time as the listing agent to find out the details in advance.

Just this week we sold a home in a competing offer scenario and the highest offer for the estate home was from a 1st time home buyer, but it was conditional upon home inspection for 3 days. The next best offer was for $5,000 less, but it was firm. We accepted the offer from the 1st time homebuyer BUT we changed the home inspection condition from 3 days to 60 minutes and we provided the Buyer with the home inspection and the phone number of the home inspector so he could speak with him directly. 45 minutes later the condition was removed and we had a firm sale for the estate.  In this case, our comprehensive property information package netted the seller $5000 extra dollars.  We know this for a fact because the agent representing the buyer said that without the package coupled with the home inspection report, his cautious 1st time buyer would not have waived the inspection condition on the older home.

The other benefit of the above is that buyers are confident in a dual agency situation because we have demonstrated to them that certainly no one knows more about the property than we do and we have provided them more than they would ever get from any other agent about the home.

A while ago I had an estate executor say to me just as we were about the launch the listing of the home she was executor over, "Manson, you have demonstrated to us that your company is awesome at the details, now we're gonna see how good you guys are at selling". I chuckled quietly to myself when she said this and explained the following to her. "My selling job is actually 9 / 10ths complete in these details. Our details coupled with the right pricing strategy (as we had already established) will sell your home.  From here on in, I will simply be guiding you through offers." This home that I speak of was sold in 6 hours in a multiple offer situation, in this slowing market.

So, every time I hear an agent say "wow, you guys do a great job preparing a property for sale, I wish every agent did what you did" I can't help but smile.  I tell my kids all of the time, the difference between a B and an A + is only the extra effort. The difference between getting the job done and doing a good job is only in the details.

To view one of our property information packages, just go to our website, every property has one.


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Michelle Sarabia Gallatin, TN Real Estate (615) 594-3171
Bob Parks Realty, LLC - Gallatin, TN

Very thorough!

Jan 09, 2009 02:26 AM #1
Gina Bendel

Excellent information and advice Manson!  There is a definite value for all parties involved with a well prepared 'launch'.  I look forward to starting off the new year with a better plan for launching my own listings.  Thank you!  By the way you have a very nice website - clean, concise, user friendly and quick!

Have a very happy and successful 2009!

Jan 09, 2009 02:33 AM #2
Ron Tarvin
Luxury and New Construction in Katy & Cypress TX - Katy, TX
Broker, Katy, Houston, Cypress 77450,77494,77095

Manson, this sounds incredible, but of course I can't help but wonder two things:

How much does this pre-launch cost you and What price range does that pre-launch apply to?  Our market here would probably never support that type of preparation in the lower ends (I mean we have properties that sell for $80,000 sometimes).

Jan 09, 2009 02:34 AM #3
Manson Slik
Gordon's Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage - Ameliasburgh, ON
Gordon's Estate Services Ltd.

Ron -

Once we have thoroughly demonstrated to the Seller the significance of the property information package, they agree to fund the parts that require an outlay of funds.  This includes the home inspection ($300), WETT inspection ($150), other required inspections (Vermiculite $125, Well test $200, Septic pumping and test $275), status certificate for condos ($100), etc. that are going to ultimately enhance and value of the property, encourage firm offers and ensure a quicker sale of the property. We explain to Seller's that making an investment in the sale of the property will ensure a smoother and quicker selling process experiencing less or no disappointments that come with conditional offers, something every Seller wants AND if you can get it with a small investment and some extra effort from your Realtor, why wouldn't you.  I know the goals of a person selling an $80,000 property aren't any different from someone selling an $800,000 property, just one extra zero. 

What we do fund are the floor plans ($125 to $250 depending upon property and location), virtual tours ($125 to $200), photos, compilation of all of the information and documents, printing of the packages and the cost of building the website and the space it takes to hold the information. Today, most agents can load up their own web page, or pay an assistant or student or their kids.  Your web page doesn't have to be pretty, just comprehensive and accessible.  Look at eBay and Craigslist - both a mess.

So the answer to your question is, the pre-launch work applies to every property equally and it has to in order to deliver the same service model to all customers.  You can't have a website where there is lots of information about one property and very little about others.  The consistent delivery of this higher level of service will bring you both buyers and sellers.  Once the Seller understands the significance and importance of the additional information to the transaction, they are typically satisfied to fund it, an pay your regular commission rate.

Jan 09, 2009 03:53 AM #4
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Manson Slik

Gordon's Estate Services Ltd.
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