Once you’ve secured a signed listing agreement, there is a lot of work to be completed before it’s time to go live. Preparation is key to launching a property on the market, and there are many elements you will need to add to your checklist in order to have a successful debut. Below I share seven must-do tasks to prepare your listing for the market.
Managing a makeover
First things first, a property should be presented in the best condition possible before it goes on the market. Work with your client to determine what is within their budget to maximize curb appeal and first impressions, and explore how that could potentially increase sales value.
Minor touch-ups like painting, yard work, and switching out lighting, bathroom, and kitchen features, as well as fixing small items that may have been neglected over the years, can be just as impactful as adding high-end amenities or renovating entire rooms.
As an expert guide, you will have your finger on the pulse of what buyers are looking for in your market and be able to advise the seller on what will be the best path forward within budget constraints.
In addition to cosmetic, small fixes and tweaks to a property, you and your seller may want to explore staging. Staging a home depersonalizes the environment and allows for potential buyers to envision themselves living there. Staging also helps with decluttering, general tidying and removing furnishings that may have seen better days.
Bring in the pros
As many people start their homebuying journey online and determine which houses they want to visit in person by reviewing listing photos, it’s important that the property you are representing captures the eyes of potential buyers with great photography and videography.
Professional photography and videography are not elements that you will want to scrimp on, as experienced professionals can capture a home in its very best light. This will not only help your listing stand out from the crowd but will also reflect favorably on your high standard of professionalism.
Do your research
Every home has a story, unique features and many attributes to share in terms of its surrounding neighborhood and community. When preparing to bring the home to market, make sure you take a deep dive and learn about all of these factors — including nearby schools, entertainment options, amenities and services. Don’t forget features within the home such as appliances and design elements, plus any fun facts or historical elements.
A picture draws people in, and your listing copy or property description could seal the deal and be the catalyst for a potential buyer to pick up the phone and make an appointment to view the property. Make sure your copy paints an accurate and appealing portrayal of the home and that it is free of typos and grammatical errors.
If writing isn’t your strong point, consider engaging a freelance writer or using a program like Grammarly to check for errors.
Define your marketing strategy
It’s likely that in your listing presentation you shared with your client an overarching plan on how you would market their home. Before going live, it’s important to take those broad strokes and calendar out exactly what materials you need to create and how and when you will deploy them.
Spend the majority of your time in this part of the pre-listing stage and really home in on specifics. Think of everything you want to include — for example, a custom website, advertising plan, coming soon collateral, just listed items, postcards, email campaigns, social media strategy and more.
Having a clear path forward will help you stay on task to execute those items while you conduct showings and open houses.
One thing that is so important in every aspect of the sales process is maintaining communication with your client. As you work through the preparation process, make sure your client is kept up-to-date on your plans and activity.
This will help them to best understand the process and also allows them to truly feel part of the journey. Additionally, it will help showcase your expertise and knowledge and make it easy for them to give you a glowing recommendation in the future and the ever-important testimonial.
Preparing a listing to bring to the market is where experienced and knowledgeable real estate professionals stand apart. There is so much groundwork and plans that need to be in place during the pre-listing period to ensure a successful launch and path to sale.
Be sure to add home improvements, staging, professional photography and videography, home and neighborhood research, clean and captivating listing copy, and a defined marketing strategy to your must-do list.
And don’t forget — communicating with your client through the pre-listing process will help ease any tensions experienced by your client as they work through the large financial and emotional process of selling a home.
Laura Stace is vice president of luxury marketing for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.