When you’re a listing agent, you have one clear goal — sell your clients’ home as quickly and for as much money as possible. But let’s be honest, only doing that will get the job done, but it won’t necessarily ensure your place in the real estate hall of fame.
It’s truly the little things that leave a lasting impression on your sellers. Those small details will give your clients something to talk about once the transactional part is over.
But what little extras do sellers love? Below, you’ll find a top 10 list that’ll keep you top-of-mind, long after the sale closes.
1. Play-by-play communication
You’re probably wondering how communication is an extra. Well, it is. Trust me. Sellers do expect communication, but, they love over-communication (and usually don’t expect it).
We (real estate agents) are notorious for over-communicating with the potential client to win the listing. We often blow them up through email, text and phone calls just “checking in” all to stand out and win the listing.
However, once we get the listing and it goes live on the market, we seemingly forget to pick up the phone and call the client.
This summer will be my 16th year of marriage, and if I have any bit of marriage advice to give, it would be that you never want to stop dating your significant other; in other words never stop doing the things it took to win the relationship before you were married.
Same thing with sellers.
Point being, once you get the listing, and it goes on the market, keep the communication going. Don’t stop doing the things you did to win the listing, and keep pouring it on.
Here is why: my team has been working with quite a few new clients lately who had a property previously listed with another brokerage, and it didn’t sell. One of the questions we like to ask the homeowner is what the communication was like from the previous agent.
We ask, “What feedback did you hear from open houses or from showings?”
And as you probably guessed, the homeowner usually says things like, “Initially the feedback was strong, and then we stopped hearing from the agent all together.”
I can’t stress enough the importance of over-communicating with your clients once you have won the listing and carrying that all the way through to closing.
Pro-tip: Pre-templated emails (that you wrote) are a lifesaver. Our team has pre-templated emails for our selling clients. We have 10 of them to be exact, including:
- A pre-listing appointment email
- Listing appointment follow-up email
- Live on market email
- Links to your home email
- Emails that communicate to the client each major step of the way
And in between these emails, we pepper in small updates. All in all, at the end of a transaction with my team, we ensure there is no possible way for sellers to say they did not receive adequate communication. I encourage you to take the time this fall and create email templates for your business.
2. Fresh-cut flowers
We have made fresh-cut flowers our thing. Every listing gets them, and sellers love them! There’s something about fresh-cut flowers at a new listing that I just love too.
Typically we will bring in white tulips, that is our go-to, and of course, in bunches of three (everything in threes). I receive more feedback from clients on how thankful they were for the fresh flowers when they arrived back home after we had them vacate for the photo and film shoot.
And what really impresses our clients is when we replenish the fresh flowers upon a future visit to the home.
Pro tip: We bring the fresh-cut flowers to the home when we arrive for the photo/film shoot day. Not only do you get to see the flowers in the listing photos, but it’s a nice touch for the clients to come home to.
3. Rearranging the furniture
When vacancy and staging is not an option for a selling client, there can be challenges with furniture. Not every home is photo ready, in fact, in my opinion, they all need a little work before photos.
And let’s face it, some people have no clue how to arrange their furniture, and they really don’t care how it looks. What matters to them is functionality for their living situation, and that doesn’t always make the room shine or showcase how great the space truly is.
We’ve had more clients thank us for rearranging a living room or helping them determine what to do furniture-wise around the house.
You have to feel out your client before you go moving their stuff around, but often, even if they don’t like it, they will thank you later once they see the photos or the check at closing.
Pro tip: We try to frontload part of this effort by asking the clients to move a few pieces of furniture prior to our arrival, and then we will put the finishing touches on the space. Be prepared though, you never know what you’ll find under that couch.
Also, don’t stop at the furniture; remove kitchen rugs/mats, items off kitchen counters, items off bathroom counters, family photos, roosters on top of kitchen cabinets, etc. Pull the couch away from the wall, center those chairs, and make these listing photos the best in the neighborhood!
4. Hiring a cleaning service for the duration of the listing
It can be a super stressful time for homeowners who are living in the home they are trying to sell. As soon as our clients get word from our team that they have a showing, it can cause immediate stress for them: pick up the toys, put the dishes in the dishwasher, make the beds, put the dog away and rush out of the house.
Thank goodness not all our clients are living in the home they are selling, but some are. One of the ways to alleviate this pressure for your sellers is to hire them a house cleaner for the duration of the listing.
This could be a luxury that many people have never experienced before, and it could help them be less stressed, which can make your life easier in the end too!
Vacant home? Sellers love to hear that you’ll be arranging for a house cleaner to come out prior to staging, making it one less thing they have to worry about too.
Pro tip: Let’s talk buyers for a minute: Help your buyers’ offers get accepted by offering to pay for a home cleaning after move out for the seller. Knowing sellers love this, but don’t expect it, has actually won our team a few homes for clients in the past couple weeks.
With the ultra-hot market here in Seattle, and multiple offers being the norm on each listing that goes to market, it is important that your buyers to stand out. Write in your offer that the buyers will pay for home to be cleaned after sellers move out. Sellers love it, and it may just help you win that home for your buyer!
5. Sending them to dinner on the evening of their video or photo shoot
Who doesn’t like to have the tab picked up at dinner or a nice lunch? For our team, when we have the home staged, styled and media shot, we always ask (nudge) the homeowners to leave the home.
We let them know it’s a best practice to vacate while our team is here for the day shooting photos and video. Often they are at work. But if not, we send them to lunch or dinner on us!
We figure since we are kicking them out, the least we can do is take them out to dinner while we work away in their home. The key to this is to make sure they are gone long enough for you to have everything completed before they arrive back.
Sellers are surprised when we hand them the gift card, or tell them the restaurant is expecting them, something they did not expect!
Pro tip: If you have a hard time asking them to leave, perhaps add it to your newly formed tempted email. And make sure the gift card is enough. A $50 gift card may just cover drinks for some clients.
6. Making their home look so good, they don’t want to move
Sellers love it when they see their home in photos, and it looks drop-dead gorgeous. It’s something I think they should expect, but they often don’t. One of the things we often hear when the homeowners see their home in photos the way we’ve arranged it or staged it is,”It looks so good, it makes us want to buy it.” It’s a great compliment.
We’ve had clients tell us that they feel like their living room was a hotel lobby, or that “our home looks like a model home.” This fantastic feedback can be achieved on your listings with a simple approach; take on a minimalist mindset with great attention to detail.
Pro tip: Frontload your efforts by providing your clients with your seller prep checklist, so you arrive for the photo shoot and most of the prep work has been done. There are many prep lists out there, but make yours practical tips that are important to you.
7. Telling the home’s story
Every home has a story. With our listings, we try to figure out what the narrative for the listing will be. We have found that our clients absolutely love it when we are able to tell a story through imagery and particularly through video.
Our clients definitely expect to have a top-notch professional video of their home, however, the storytelling aspect of it is something they are always surprised and delighted with. Storytelling is powerful, and the greater the emotional connection we can create with a potential buyer, the higher the sales price will be for your seller.
Pro tip: Learn the history of the home you are selling. We recently took on listing a home built in 1882, and there was so much history surrounding the home. On the property website, we had an entire page dedicated to the home’s history.
Often, the approach we take with a listing is that we are the storyteller for the home, and we want to write a narrative that we can look back on and be proud of.
8. Bringing in a sound system to pipe music throughout the home
Everything is better with music — including home showings and open houses. Our clients who are either occupying the house or selling a vacant and staged home truly love it when we bring in the element of music for the listing. I am convinced the home shows better!
Pro tip: A real practical way to make this happen is with a Sonos system, assuming that you have Wi-Fi set up still. Also a lot of homes will have speakers already mounted flush to the wall throughout, so all you have to do is simply bring in an iPod and a receiver unit, and you could have music set up easily.
We tend to stay away from the portable Bluetooth speakers for music during an open house because the next phone call you have can ring very loudly, and it’s a little cheesy to fill a home with music from a tiny speaker.
9. Getting their home in a magazine or on TV for free
I’m not talking about buying ad space in a co-op add or paying for a TV spot, but rather finding a way to pitch their home to your local/national media contacts for a story. We have had success with this, and our sellers loved it, and definitely did not expect it!
Recently, we were able to get an interview for our clients with the local newspaper about the sale of their prominent property. The sellers were very excited about it and received quite a bit of notoriety about the property.
But what about for a home that is not a prominent property in town? Get creative; there are ways to garner attention to your listing, and your seller will love it.
Pro tip: Find out what your local media is reporting on, and find a fact or figure that it’s not being reported on, but should be. Position yourself to become a local thought leader in your market, and find a way to work in your listing with that fact.
10. Sending your yard crew out to the home
Not everyone has a yard maintenance crew to take care of their yard. Some do, some don’t. We love surprising clients by notifying them that our yard crew will be coming by to spruce up the yard prior to the photo/film shoot.
This is a little thing that can go along way. Let them know that you wanted to take care of the yard so that your sellers will have more time to spend prepping the interior of the home; it’ll ensure that you get the very best possible photos.
Pro tip: It doesn’t have to be yard service or a house cleaner, it could be a painter to help with touch-up painting or someone to pressure wash. Whatever it is, find something that will help your client prep for the sale and make their life easier. They will thank you for it, and they definitely won’t expect it.
Sellers love the little extras. However, the biggest thing you should remember to do is what you say you’re going to. Real estate agents are notorious for overpromising to win the listing and then under-delivering. I believe that just doing what you say you’re going to do goes a long way in our industry. It can be the differentiator that gets you more business.