Getting real estate listings

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

A few agents who responded to the survey I sent in July asked me to address the issue of getting real estate listings.

As every seasoned agent knows, this is not a question that can be answered in 1,000 words or less, so to get real estate listings, begin with the basicsI decided to take it one step at a time.

The first step is one that new agents in a hurry might not want to hear about. That’s because it takes both effort and time. Many are willing to make the effort, but time is something they’d prefer to jump over.

Getting real estate listings – step 1

The first step is to become the agent that listing clients want and need. That means establishing your expertise.  While it’s perfectly acceptable to say “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” to a few things, you must know the basics before you speak with potential listing clients.

As your expertise grows, so will your confidence, and that’s another important ingredient in getting real estate listings.

First, know every real estate form inside and out.

Know what goes in every blank on every form and why it is important.

  • The listing agreement
  • Purchase and sale agreements
  • Counter-offer forms
  • Disclosures
  • Agency agreements
  • Anything else your state uses

Be able to explain the importance of honesty in filling out disclosure forms. Since people always pay more attention to stories than lectures, learn a few stories about people who were dishonest – and how it came back to bite them.

If you want to get real estate listings, understand the rules of agency.

Be prepared to explain agency relationships. Depending upon what state you’re in, you may or may not be allowed to bring buyers to your listings. You may or may not be allowed to use dual agency. Or – you may be a facilitator who doesn’t actually represent either side. KNOW the rules in your state and be able to explain the homeowner’s choices and how each affects him/her.

When buyer agency first came to Idaho, no one knew what it meant or how to explain it in ways that made buyers and sellers feel comfortable. Worse, some agents began using it to “tie up” buyers – then send them out to find houses on their own. I lost count of how many buyers I gained because other agents insisted on them signing a buyer agency agreement, and those buyers thought it was not to their benefit. It was, in short, a mess – and it remained a mess for a long time.

Know your real estate territory inside out.

If you’re new, you may not want to choose a niche just yet. After all, you haven’t yet experienced working with different types of properties or with buyers and sellers in different situations. You don’t know what you’ll enjoy most.

You can – and I’ll venture to say should – choose a territory.

Many of the new agents I speak with resist that idea. They don’t want to “limit themselves.” They’re afraid that by not trying to serve their entire metropolis or all of the smaller towns within 100 miles or so, they’ll “miss out” on a transaction.

FOMO can prevent your success.

The agents who insist on serving everyone are suffering from FOMO – Fear of No, you can't serve everyone and get every dollarmissing out. But the truth is, they’re more apt to “miss out” when they fail to become the expert that clients want and need. Here’s why. 

Unless you’re a genius, you can’t learn all you need to know unless you narrow your focus. Yes, you can learn more and expand your reach as you go along, but start in one place and become an expert people can rely upon.

What do you need to know? The answer to everything a buyer or a buyer’s agent might ask about:

  • Zoning regulations and boundaries.
  • School district boundaries.
  • Private or charter schools available.
  • Property taxes – and any exemptions available to homeowners.
  • The cost of homeowner’s insurance – are there required riders, such as flood insurance.
  • Public services available – and their cost.
  • The availability of public transportation.
  • The distance to major highways, airports, hospitals, and recreation areas.
  • Shopping
  • Dining
  • Medical services – including veterinary services
  • Dog parks and grooming services
  • Parks
  • Fitness centers
  • Movie Theaters

In other words, you need to learn about all the things people would wonder about before they decide to move into your territory.

Know your real estate market inside out.

expertise is the key to getting more listingsOf course you should know the list and sell price of homes that have sold recently, plus the list price of homes currently for sale. That information is vital if you plan to do an accurate market analysis. When possible, attend open houses in your territory, so you can make comparisons based on what you’ve seen, not just what you’ve read.

Then take it farther and do some research. Learn how much homes have appreciated in value over the past few years. Are some areas under gentrification? Are some in decline?

Go to a few City Council or Planning and Zoning meetings. Learn whether there are new developments coming along that will affect the value of homes in your territory. Learn whether zoning regulations might be changing, or taxes might be increasing.

Keep a notebook of all you learn.

I’d suggest a 3-ring binder, but you might be more comfortable keeping computer folders. Whatever you do, make it easy to locate the information you need within seconds.

As you expand your territory, keep adding to your records. Do remember to update them as things change.

Does that help you get real estate listings today? No, but…

You can get started by letting friends and family know that you’re their new source of real estate information.

If you don’t know what to say to them, go to and scroll down to Announce Your New Career to Your Sphere of Influence. There you’ll find access to a free announcement letter, plus some other resources.

A positive impression will aid you in getting real estate listings, so…

When someone in your sphere of influence gives you the opportunity to list a thumbs up to that new listing!house – or to help a buyer – do your research before the first meeting. That person may or may not be interested in the territory you’re researching, so take time to learn as much as you can ahead of the meeting.

First in importance is the real estate market in that neighborhood. Then, especially if the new prospect is a buyer, check the taxes, services, etc.

You’ll walk into that first appointment with confidence – because you’ve done your homework. And then – you’ll walk out with even more confidence because you just gained a new client!

One more thing…

Another first step is to post your real estate agent bio, so the people who are referred to you can learn something about you before they call.

If you don’t have one yet, visit , then get in touch.

I’ll be happy to help you show the world why YOU are the agent to call.



Best practice & expertise images courtesy of stuart miles @
Chasing money
Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at
Thumbs up Image courtesy of photostock at
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Comments (8)

Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Marte - connections matter.  Striking the right connection between real estate broker and potential seller is a good start.  Be successful with one.  As I have told September 23 Birthday Girl Barbara Todaro many times:  Rinse.  Repeat. 

Consistency in Being Successful with Listings become a magnet.  Not easy.  It takes effort and a proven plan.      

Sep 23, 2020 12:51 PM
Barbara Todaro

the agent must understand the psychology of listing property.....every real estate agent should be required to take psychology courses for Continuing Ed.... those would be's all a head game.... taking control without the controlled person realizing they have been controlled....


Sep 23, 2020 04:15 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I had to learn most of these points, you made, over a 21 year career so far, but the journey was worth it.

Happy Wednesday to you Marte Cliff 

Sep 23, 2020 03:31 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Great post, Marte. When I trained agents I always told them that prospective listing clients wanted two answers before they cared about anything else:

1. What are you going to do for me to market my house?

2. How much?

That means you better have a "kick a$$" marketing plan and know your market inside and out.

Sep 24, 2020 04:25 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Michael Jacobs Effort. That's one of those nasty words like "work" that too many entering the business think is unnecessary. I lost count of how many I saw come and go because they didn't realize that was necessary.

Barbara Todaro Yes, psychology would be a valuable addition to real estate classes. Other good ideas would be marketing and money management.

Sep 24, 2020 08:41 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS We do learn much through trial and error - with an emphasis on error!

Nina Hollander Yep, it takes much more than a nice smile. You have to demonstrate the expertise to get the job done.

Sep 24, 2020 08:43 PM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is excellent advice to share.

Take care, be safe and have a great day.

Sep 25, 2020 06:57 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Quite simply, you have to put in the work--and it's A LOT of work and education, especially in the beginning.  you should also develop a friendly, professional reputation with the agents in your area, NOT just clients.  Being an agent that is respected, easy to work with and ethical  will also get you business.

Sep 26, 2020 02:36 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Roy Kelley  - I wish you a great day as well.

Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR - I absolutely agree. Agents need to guard their reputations with both clients and other agents - and with others who serve the same clients - like appraisers, lenders, closers, stagers, etc. Every relationship can help or hurt.

Sep 26, 2020 08:15 PM