Check me Off, Baby!

Services for Real Estate Pros with

Tyrone, an AR member asked me to share my top producer systems this week. I have many systems but I'm going to give you my best and easiest secret to success.

My numero uno most favorite system I've incorporated into our office is my legendary Check Off ListsDancing Frog

What's a Check-off list? It's a form I put together giving step-by-step instructions on tasks to perform to complete something.  For example, let's say I need to change the price on a listing.

I whip out my "Change of Price" Check-Off List. On it is a list (in timeframe order) of all the things I need to accomplish in order to complete the price change.

Believe it or not in our office there are 13 individual tasks that must be accomplished before a price reduction can be completed!Stuff like; changing the price in MLS (multiple listing system), brochure and website, delivering the updated brochure to the property and adding a "price reduced" rider.

Now, you may be one of very few humanoids who have a photographic memory and can remember to do all this stuff while being interrupted every 2 minutes by the phone and other agents who need an emergency real estate ectomy. But for the majority of us a Check-Off List will help us in a number of ways.

1.)   Helps to remind us of the tasks we need to accomplish.

2.)   By documenting (checking off) each task, it helps to remind us where we are in the process (Did I already change the price in MLS?) and prevents redundancy.

3.)   If you have more than one listing that requires a price reduction program on a particular day, it helps to identify what you've done with each listing and prevents confusion.

4.)   Ensures accountability and consistency with each listing/pending sale plus saves time (Who wants to write out "the price in MLS was changed"? Just check a box and you're done!).

5.)   Check-Off Lists help to quickly train staff on systems for an office.

We have Check-Off Lists for everything in our office; New Listing Check-Off, Pending Sale Check-Off, Back on the Market Check-Off, Pick Your Nose Check-Off. You name it, there's a Check-Off List for it!

When training others, Check-Off Lists make it so much easier for new staff to understand steps required to accomplish something. I usually go over the list once or twice with them using a real life scenario, and that's it! Rarely, do I get "How do I do it again?" questions after orientation. 

Speaking of training, I want y'all to know that assistants L-O-V-E Check-Off Lists! There is no better feeling than checking a box after you have completed a task. Trust me, I know (Mmmm, check box, baby!).

Here's another hint I'll share with you. Keep Check-Off Lists paper clipped to the front of the file until all the tasks are checked or completed. Why? Ever heard of "Out of sight, out of mind"? As soon as we put something into the file, we will never think about it again!

Whenever we pull the file from the cabinet, and notice a Check-Off List on the front, it reminds us that there is something outstanding that needs to be done with the file. Once all tasks are completed, the assistant/agent then signs and dates the bottom of the list indicating all items are completed as of a certain date. NOW the check-list can go into the file.

Some of you smarties have taken this Check-Off List system a step further and incorporated into your real estate software program. I say, "Good for you!" But for the rest of the agents and assistants who are not computer savvy, can't afford to purchase the software, or MUST have a piece of paper with instructions that they can touch, smell and see (that would be my broker, hubby Steve), Check-Off Lists are an excellent plan B!

Comments (9)

Gregory Lohr
West Columbia, SC

Great advice Diana.  Some of us hate paperwork, and anything that helps make it easier is appreciated.  I think most of us need/want to be better organized!

Aug 13, 2008 07:44 AM
Rita Sinclair
Alain Pinel Realtors - Hillsborough, CA
Your Scottish Realtor

Great idea, I always get side tracked and move onto something else before I'm finished.  Great way to stay on task.

Aug 13, 2008 07:47 AM
Ron Tarvin
Residential, Investment properties, rehab projects, property management, luxury homes, new construction! - Katy, TX
Broker, Katy, Houston, Cypress 77450,77494,77095

Check lists are powerful...developing check lists is FRUSTRATING though!

How many LITTLE things do we do that we forget we do until we try to put it down on a check list?!



Aug 13, 2008 07:48 AM
Diana Turnbloom - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Gregory from So. Carolina! Love your business concept and blog! Yeah, I'm not a big fan of paperwork either. But I hate, hatewhen someone (like me) forgets to change the price on the website for a listing 2 weeks after we were authorized to do it! The check-off lists keep me on track and best of all everyone thinks I'm a genius-Har Har!  Thanks for your comment!

Aug 13, 2008 07:48 AM
Kevin O'Shea
Coldwell Banker - White Plains, NY
White Plains, NY Real Estate

Hi Diana:  Great ideas.  For your next few blogs you could give us copies of your lists!  :)

All the best!

Aug 13, 2008 07:51 AM
Diana Turnbloom - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Rita from CA! Ya know, I'm always distracted by my hubby Steve with his crisis about not being able to find the shortcut on his desktop to his favorite website (craiglist cars for sale). These little"emergencies" can really get me sidetracked from my job. The check-off sheet keeps me on track and prevent me from whacking my hubby!  Thanks for your comment!   

Aug 13, 2008 07:53 AM
Diana Turnbloom - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Ron from Texas How right you are about taking the time to create the check-list! I find the best ANDmost painful time to do it is right before 8am or after 5 pm...Less distractions so you can think. But worth it in the long run. I also promise myself a BIG drinky poo after work and make my hubby Steve rub my feet. Oh yeah, it's worth it! Thanks for your comment!

Aug 13, 2008 07:57 AM
Diana Turnbloom - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Kevin from New York! Ah-What a negotiator you are! You are officially hired as my personal assistant. Now go out there and get me free stuff for my biz! :-)

I always say, "If you don't ask, you'll never know!" In fact, I have a CD I sell on my website http://www.escrowcoord.comthat includes my checklists, letters and forms for transaction management. Check it out!

Now for listing management? Hmmm. Sounds like another CD needs to be put together! Thanks for your comment (and idea)!

Aug 13, 2008 08:05 AM
Jackie -
770.498.7333 - Atlanta, GA
Learn to leverage technology to get more done.

Diana, I just stumbled across your post. I, too, love check lists. They make life so much easier and free up your mind.


Sep 17, 2008 10:55 AM