Pre-Listing Checklist for Realtors® to Achieve Higher Sales and Fewer Days on Market

In the age of Zillow, Redfin, Instagram, and HGTV, home buyers are developing especially high expectations for homes. According to NAR Research, the majority of buyers across age groups start their search process by looking at homes online.

From developing a pricing strategy to hiring someone to take listing photos that will make your properties shine, there’s a lot to do before even listing a property, especially with the growing importance of digital curb appeal. To be relevant in competitive markets, successful agents are working with their sellers to take these five steps before listing to ensure that the home sells quickly, and for more.

1. Selling Strategy

It’s important to understand your sellers’ priorities and help them understand and choose the right selling option for them. Do they want to maximize the sale price of their home? Do they need to sell quickly? Understanding their situation will help you set yourself up for success as their advisor.

When you’re researching comps, pull some for properties that have been updated as well as for those that haven’t. This will help you and your sellers better understand how certain updates will increase the value of your listings. Based on your comps, you should explain expectations about sale price and time on market for a few options: selling for cash, listing as is, and renovating before listing.

At the end of your discussion, you should recommend the best selling strategy for your sellers. To help you, we’ve created this sheet that explains the pros and cons of selling for cash, listing as-is, renovating with traditional contractors, and renovating with Curbio.

While there may be some tough conversations when it comes to comps and pricing, getting aligned on your sellers’ goals and catering your selling strategy to their exact situation and needs is arguably the most important step on our real estate listing checklist. If you and your seller aren’t aligned on your strategy from the start, then the chances of them leaving the closing table unhappy—and consequently providing a negative review—are simply too high.

2. Pre-Sale Renovations

As a Realtor®, you know that a house listed as-is is difficult to sell for the same price as comps in the area, which means the house will sit on the market and eventually sell for less than its true value. In doing your research, you should uncover some of the essential updates that will help your listing compete at the top of the market. From here, educate your sellers on pre-sale renovation and explain their options.

When they work with Curbio, they can choose to take on everything from the basics (repairs and painting) to a whole-home renovation—while deferring all payment until closing. Explain how basic repairs and painting will take a couple of weeks, but will fix the glaring issues that might scare buyers off or cause issues during the inspection. But also explain the value that they can add by doing more work. If they are able to wait 4-8 weeks to renovate with Curbio, they can sell their house for so much more.

At this stage, it’s important to make use of the various marketing materials that we’ve created for agents to educate their clients about Curbio’s value and process. Get those resources here.

3. Staging

Once your seller has renovated (or chosen not to), it’s time to add the finishing touches. There are differing opinions when it comes to staging, but according to the NAR’s 2019 Profile of Home Staging, 39% of sellers’ agents reported that staging resulted in a 1-10% increase in buyers’ offers and 28% reported that staging resulted in a decrease in time on market.

Often times, the burden of staging falls upon the agent, so consider virtually staging a few key rooms, like the living room, master bedroom, and dining room. We know virtual staging isn’t every agent’s favorite, but it can show the possibilities of a space without breaking the bank!

Not convinced that staging works? Below you can see how staging brought a boring basement to life.


4. Pre-Marketing

According to Inman, data suggests that homes marked as “coming soon” before they’re officially listed spend less time on the market. Pre-marketing homes will allow you to cultivate interest in your listings before they even go on the market. With more interest, you’ll conduct more showings and receive more offers—putting you and your seller in an advantageous position.

Leverage social media and agent groups to make agents and homeowners aware of properties before they’re listed. Share information about the neighborhood and before and after photos of renovated properties to get buyers and their agents excited.

5. Instagram-Worthy Listing Photos

With the rise in importance of digital curb appeal, we’d say this is an extremely important step on our listing checklist. 44% of home buyers start their search online, and listings with high-quality photos sell 32% faster than all other listings. Many home buyers even exclude properties from their search before visiting them because of how they appear online. Without professional listing photos, you’re only decreasing the number of buyers interested in your listings.

With buyers making decisions about whether to see properties based on listings alone, it’s more important than ever to follow the right listing checklist to create the perfect listing. When an agent and homeowner make buyer-focused renovations and pair them with staging and professional listing photos, the home is not only going to compete at the top of the market, but also sell quickly. That’s why homes renovated by Curbio, the pre-sale renovation experts, spend 58% fewer days on the market.

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