The Critical Role of the REALTOR® in the Real Estate Transaction
Below is a list of more than 225 possible actions, research steps, procedures, processes, and review stages that a REALTOR® may provide in a typical, successful residential real estate transaction.
As residential real estate transactions can vary, each action, step, or process may not be mandatory in every residential transaction. However, this list underscores the importance of having the help and guidance of a professional who understands the residential real estate sales process.
REALTORS® are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and pledge to uphold the stringent, enforceable tenets of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics in their professional dealings with the public.
Seller(s)’ Representation (If Applicable)
- Contact property owner(s) and make appointment with seller(s) for listing presentation.
- Send seller(s) confirmation of listing appointment and call to confirm.
- Review pre-appointment questions.
- Research appropriate sampling of currently listed comparable properties (i.e., appropriate by property type, price range, and location).
- Research trends and sales activity for an appropriate period (past three to six months is recommended) from MLS and public records databases.
- Research "average days on market” for the property type, price range, and location.
- Download and review property tax roll information.
- Obtain property’s public record information for ownership and deed type.
- Obtain property’s public record information for lot size and dimensions.
- Obtain property’s current land use and zoning classification.
- Ascertain need for lead-based paint disclosure.
- Prepare market analysis to establish broker opinion of value.
- Prepare listing-presentation package with above materials.
- Perform exterior "curb-appeal assessment” of subject property.
- Verify public-school zoning and discuss with the seller(s) the impact of school districts on market value determination.
- Review listing-appointment checklist to verify that all steps and actions have been completed.
Listing-Appointment Presentation Activities
- Review broker’s and company’s credentials and accomplishments in the market with seller(s).
- Present company’s profile and position of "niche” in the marketplace.
- Give seller(s) an overview and projections of current market conditions.
- Present market analysis results to seller(s), including sold comparable, current listings, and expired.
- Offer pricing strategy based on professional judgment and interpretation of current market conditions.
- Discuss goals with seller(s) to market effectively.
- Explain marketing power and benefits of the MLS.
- Explain the different marketing options and their effectiveness.
- Explain work the brokerage does "behind the scenes” and the broker’s availability on weekends.
- Explain brokerages role in taking calls to screen for qualified buyers and to protect seller(s) from curiosity seekers.
- Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan.
- Review results of curb-appeal assessment with seller(s) and provide suggestions to improve sale-ability.
- Assist Seller to verify city sewer/septic tank systems, and to determine when property’s septic system was last pumped or inspected.
- Well water: Confirm well status, depth, and output from third-party well report.
- Assist seller in determining the availability of natural gas and supplier’s name and phone number.
- Assist seller in verifying information pertaining to any security system, current term of service, and determine if it’s owned or leased.
- Assist seller in determining if seller(s) has transferable termite bond – obtain a copy of the terms and conditions of bond that may be available to buyer(s).
- Discuss home-warranty program with homeowner.
- Verify if property has rental units involved.
- Make copies of all leases for retention in listing file.
- Assist seller in verifying all rents and all deposits pertaining to any leases.
- Assess interior décor and suggest changes.
- Prepare net sheet for seller(s).
- Review accuracy of current ownership information with sellers. (If possible, obtain copies of seller(s)’ deed, owner’s title insurance policy, and most-recent survey.)
- Verify names of owner(s) as they appear in county’s public property records.
- Assist seller in determining if there are any outstanding or expired construction permits or if any changes have been made to the property since the seller(s) purchased the property.
- Complete listing contract and addenda (using names of seller(s) as they appear on deed or title policy). Obtain seller(s)’ signature(s) on the listing agreement and return a signed copy of the listing contract to the seller(s). (If property is jointly owned, all owners should sign listing agreement.)
- Review with seller(s) the standard closing costs and pro-rations typical to the Closing Disclosure.
- Obtain seller(s)’ permission to use a lock box.
- Measure interior room sizes.
- Confirm lot size via owner’s copy of certified survey, if available.
- Note any and all unrecorded property lines, agreements, and easements that are known to the seller if they are not otherwise noted.
- Obtain house plans, if available.
- Review house plans and make a copy.
- Have seller(s) complete the seller(s) disclosure form.
- Compile and assemble formal file on property.
- Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex layout.
- Obtain copy of current title insurance policy.
- Provide seller(s) with a copy of a blank sales contract to review in preparation of their receipt of an offer.
- Inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled.
- Arrange for installation of yard sign.
- Order plat map for retention in property’s listing file.
- Prepare showing instructions for buyer(s)’ broker and agree on showing-time window with seller(s).
- Install electronic lock box and program the lock box with agreed-upon showing-time windows.
- Obtain current mortgage loan(s) information: companies and loan account numbers.
- Identify homeowner association manager.
- Request estoppel form from homeowners’ association stating amount of homeowner association fees and assessments, and listing any unpaid assessments.
- Research electricity availability and supplier’s name and phone number.
- Prepare detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact.
- Prepare detailed list of property’s "inclusions and conveyances with sale.”
- Compile list of completed repairs and maintenance items.
- Explain benefits of homeowner warranty to seller(s).
- Assist sellers with completion and submission of homeowner-warranty application.
- Place homeowner warranty in property file for conveyance at time of sale.
- Make extra key for lockbox.
- Place a copy of the seller(s)’ completed disclosure form in the property file.
- Arrange for interior and exterior photos to be taken for MLS listing.
- Arrange for creation of a virtual tour if one will be used in marketing the property.
- Complete a new-listing checklist.
- Enter listing into office records and/or create listing file.
- Prepare "MLS data input form” (Listing broker is responsible for "quality control” and accuracy of listing data).
- Enter property data from profile sheet into MLS listing database.
- Proofread MLS database listing for accuracy, including proper placement in mapping function.
- Take additional photos of the property to upload into MLS and for use in flyers.
- Provide seller(s) with a copy of the MLS data input form.
- Add property to company’s active listings list.
Marketing and Showing Activities
- Create print and Internet ads with seller(s)’ and Broker’s input and approval.
- Provide "special feature” sheets for marketing.
- Submit ads to company’s participating Internet real estate sites
- Reprint/supply brochures promptly as needed.
- Create QR codes.
- Create a property website for the listing.
- Prepare mailing and contact list.
- Generate mail-merge letters to contact list.
- Order "just listed” labels and reports.
- Prepare flyers.
- Prepare property marketing brochure for seller(s)’ review and approval.
- Order an appropriate quantity of marketing brochures or flyers.
- E-mail marketing material to brokers and agents with marketing material.
- Upload listing to company and broker’s Internet site.
- Mail out "just listed” notice to all neighborhood residents.
- Inform Network Referral Program of listing.
- Coordinate showings with owners, tenants, and other REALTORS®. Return all calls promptly (weekends included).
- Provide showing time comments and feedback to seller(s) and recommend changes according to potential buyer comments.
- Review comparable MLS listings and new trends regularly to verify property remains competitive in price, terms, conditions, and availability.
- Provide marketing data to buyers coming through international relocation networks.
- Provide marketing data to buyers coming from referral network.
- Convey price changes promptly to all Internet groups.
- Request feedback from showing sales associates after showings.
- Review weekly market study reports.
- Discuss feedback from showing sales associates with seller(s) to determine if changes will accelerate the sale.
- Contact seller(s) weekly to discuss marketing and pricing.
- Promptly enter price changes in MLS listing database.
Offer and Contract Activities
- Verify proper licensure of buyer’s broker and salesperson.
- Ensure timely delivery and obtain a signed and dated verification that escrow deposit was delivered to escrow agency and cleared.
- Receive and review all offer to purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyers’ brokers ensuring the most current version of the contract is used and timelines are feasible.
- Evaluate offer(s) and prepare a "net sheet” on each offer, for the seller(s) to make comparisons.
- Review offers with seller(s).
- Contact buyers’ broker to review buyer(s)’ qualifications and discuss offer.
- Provide seller(s)’ disclosure to buyer(s)’ broker or buyer upon request (prior to offer if possible).
- Confirm buyer(s) is pre-approved by contacting lender.
- Obtain a copy of the buyer(s)’ pre-approval letter from lender.
- Negotiate all offers and counteroffers.
- Prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptance, or amendments to buyer(s)’ broker.
- When offer to purchase is accepted and signed by seller(s) ("contract”), deliver contract to selling/buyer(s)’ broker or if none, to buyer(s).
- Verify contract is signed by all parties.
- Provide copies of the contract and all addenda to closing attorney (if any) and the title company.
- Disseminate "under-contract showing restrictions” as seller(s) requests.
- Deliver copies of signed contract to seller(s).
- Provide copies of contract to lender.
- Inform seller(s) how to handle additional offers to purchase submitted between effective date of contract and closing.
- Change status in MLS to "sale pending.”
- Update listing file to show "sale pending.”
- Contact buyer(s)’ lender weekly to verify processing is on track and to ensure the buyer, seller and title company are all working toward the same dates for the lender’s required buyer’s disclosures three (3) days prior to closing date.
- Follow buyer(s)’ loan processing through to the underwriter.
- Relay final approval of buyer(s)’ loan application to seller(s).
- Coordinate buyer(s)’ professional home and termite (WDO) inspections with seller(s).
- If property is vacant, arrange for power and water to be turned on.
- Review home inspector’s report and WDO report (if applicable) with seller(s) and discuss issues and options, if needed.
- Enter home inspection and WDO inspection (if applicable) completion into listing file.
- Verify seller(s)’ compliance with home inspection report and WDO report (if applicable) repair requirements.
- Assist seller(s) with identifying trustworthy contractors to perform any required repairs.
- Obtain copies of repair bills showing seller(s) has made required repairs.
- Coordinate entry into the property and buyer’s review of completed repairs, if needed.
- Obtain a Home Inspection Disclosure from the buyer.
- Make arrangements for appraiser to enter property.
- Follow-up on appraisal.
- Enter appraisal completion into listing file.
- Discuss appraisal report with seller(s) and suggest options, if necessary
- Distribute signed contracts to all involved parties (buyer, seller(s), title company, lender, seller(s)/buyer(s) broker, closing agent) and provide contact information as needed.
- Coordinate closing process with buyer(s)’ broker and lender and confirm with all parties the closing date and the lender’s required disclosures to the buyer three (3) days prior to closing and confirm the specific day and dates. A delay in disclosures will delay the closing.
- Update closing forms and files.
- Confirm location, date, and time where closing will be held and notify all parties.
- Confirm with closing agent that all title problems have been resolved.
- Confirm that the seller has the proper Power of Attorney or trust documents, as required.
- Work with buyer(s)’ broker in scheduling and conducting buyer(s)’ final walk-through prior to closing.
- Confirm with closing agent that all tax, HOA, utility, and other applicable pro-rations have been resolved.
- Request final closing figures from closing agent.
- Review closing figures on Closing Disclosure statement with seller(s) to verify accuracy of preparation.
- Forward verified closing figures to buyer(s)’ broker and confirm buyer(s)’ broker has received and reviewed closing figures.
- Confirm buyer(s) and Buyer(s)’ broker has received title insurance commitment.
- Provide home warranty for availability at closing.
- Recommend courtesy closing agent for absentee seller(s), as needed.
- Review closing documents with seller(s) and their counsel (if any).
- Provide earnest money deposit check from escrow account to closing agent. If closing agent is holding escrow funds, make sure it appears on the final Closing Disclosure.
- Coordinate this closing with seller(s)’ next purchase and resolve any timing problems.
- Confirm seller(s)’ net proceeds check at closing.
- Provide REALTOR® referral information for seller(s)’ relocation destination.
- Obtain information for updating MLS status to "sold.” Enter sale date, price, selling broker, and listing broker’s ID numbers, etc.
- Close out listing in company files.
- Follow up with seller(s) to ensure they are satisfied and pleased with your service and ask for future referrals!
Buyer(s) Representation (If Applicable)
Buyer(s) Presentation Activities
- Respond to prospective buyer(s) inquiries.
- Discuss the relevance of a Buyer Brokerage Agreement.
- Interview the prospective buyer(s) and obtain buyer(s) personal information and explain the home buying process.
- Determine if REALTOR® has a conflicting brokerage relationship or other conflict of interest with the buyer(s).
- Discuss the pre-approval financial process with the buyer(s).
- Suggest mortgage lenders to assist buyer(s) in becoming pre-approved.
- Meet with prospective buyer to determine the buyer(s)’ preferences in a home as well as the location, price, size, type of home, special needs, and ADA accommodations etc.
- Obtain and review pre-approval letter from lender.
- Search the MLS for properties that meet the buyer(s)’ criteria.
- Make appointments with seller(s)’ listing broker to show the properties selected by the buyer(s) and comply with all showing instructions.
- Show the buyer(s) their selected properties.
Offer and Contract Activities
- Obtain a "good faith estimate” from the buyer(s)’ lender for the target purchase price and review with buyer(s).
- Meet with buyer(s) to preview offer, contract addenda, and miscellaneous forms and review the loan process, expected timeframes and required disclosures.
- Complete offer to purchase and all addenda, ensuring the most current version of the contract is used and timelines are feasible.
- Provide seller(s)’ disclosure forms to buyer(s).
- Submit offer to purchase signed by buyer(s) to seller(s)’ broker.
- Provide buyer(s) a copy of all forms used in making the offer.
- Negotiate all offers.
- Prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptance, or amendments to seller(s)’ broker.
- Verify final offer is signed by all parties ("contract”), and that all necessary documents are attached.
- Deliver fully signed and initialed contract to buyer.
- Distribute signed contracts to all involved parties (buyer(s), seller(s), title company, lender, seller(s)/buyer(s) broker, and closing agent) and provide contact information as needed.
- Record and promptly deposit buyer(s)’ earnest money in escrow account or deliver to closing agent and obtain a receipt.
- Provide receipt of escrow deposit to seller(s)’ broker.
- Place copies of signed contract in office file.
- Confirm buyer(s) has received title insurance commitment.
- Inform buyer(s) of additional offers to purchase that are submitted between effective date of contract and closing.
- Update listing file to show "sale pending.”
Home and Termite Inspection Activities
- Assist buyer(s) to identify home inspection companies, WDO inspection companies and all necessary inspection companies from which to select.
- Coordinate scheduling of inspections with seller(s)’ broker.
- Review home inspection reports with buyer.
- Enter inspection reports into the listing file.
- Prepare inspection repair addendum and deliver prior to expiration of inspection period.
- Verify seller(s)’ compliance with all inspection repair requirements.
Tracking the Loan-process Activities
- Confirm buyer has made loan application within the timeframe of the contract.
- Contact lender weekly to verify processing is on track. Ensure all dates align for the required buyer’s loan disclosures three (3) days prior to closing.
- Confirm loan commitment and that file is proceeding to underwriting.
- Relay final approval of buyer(s)’ loan approval to seller(s).
- Confirm order of appraisal with lender.
- Schedule access to the property with seller’s agent for the appraisal.
- Inform buyer(s) of options if appraisal report is different than the contract/purchase price.
- Provide comparable sales used in market pricing to appraiser, if requested.
- Follow-up on appraisal until completed.
- Enter completion into the listing file.
- Coordinate closing process with seller(s)’ broker, lender, buyer and closing agent.
- Update closing forms and files.
- Verify all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale.
- Assist in obtaining power of attorney or trust documents, as required.
- Work with seller(s)’ broker in scheduling and conducting buyer(s)’ final walk-through prior to closing.
- Confirm location, date, and time where closing will be held and notify all parties.
- Confirm with closing agent that all tax, HOA, utility, and other applicable pro-rations have been resolved and request final closing figures from closing agent.
- Review and verify closing figures on Closing Disclosure statement with buyer(s).
- Verify that seller(s)’ broker will provide home warranty, if purchased, at closing.
- Ensure earnest money deposit is given to closing agent in a timely fashion.
- Confirm funds from buyer(s) are delivered for closing.
- Review filing for homestead exemption.
- Verify transfer of all keys (house, mailbox, and HOA/community), garage- door openers, HOA/security/gate access codes, pool equipment, and appliance manuals.
- Close out transaction.
- Respond to any follow-up calls and provide any additional information required from office files.
- Follow up with buyer(s) and seller(s) and recommend completion of exit survey.
In addition to the above activities/services which may be performed by a REALTOR® during a real estate transaction, today’s real estate market requires REALTORS® to offer additional assistance when the transaction involves short sales, foreclosures, or bank-owned properties.
Also, during the marketing process, homeowners may be in need of property-management services which REALTORS® also perform. Whether you are buying, selling, or in need of a property manager, we encourage you to discuss with your REALTOR® in detail what additional services may be necessary for you to accomplish your objective.