Ocean City Maryland Real Estate - Ocean Pines MD Real Estate

The Role of a Realtor

The Critical Role of the Realtor® in the Real Estate Transaction


Why Was This List Prepared?

     Surveys show that many homeowners and homebuyers are not aware of the true value a REALTOR® provides during the course of a real estate transaction.


     At the same time, regrettably, REALTORS® have generally assumed that the expertise, professional knowledge and just plain hard work that go into bringing about a successful transaction were understood and appreciated.


     Many of the most important services and steps are performed behind the scenes by either the REALTOR® or the brokerage staff and traditionally have been viewed simply as part of their professional responsibilities to the client. But, without them, the transaction could be placed in jeopardy.


This publication seeks to close that gap.


     Listed on the following pages are approximately 150 typical actions, research steps, processes and review stages necessary for a successful residential real estate transaction and normally provided by a full service real estate brokerage and for which they are entitled to fair compensation.



     The list is by no means an attempt to set forth a complete list of services as these may vary within each brokerage and each market. Many REALTORS® routinely provide a wide variety of additional services that are as varied as the nature of each transaction.


     By the same token, some transactions may not require some of these steps to be equally successful. However, most would agree that given the unexpected complications that can arise, it’s far better to know about a step and make an intelligent, informed decision to skip it, than to not know the step possibility even existed.


The REALTOR® Commitment

     Through it all, the personal and professional commitment of the REALTOR® is to ensure that a seller and buyer are brought together in an agreement that provides each with a “win” that is fair and equitable.


     The motivation is easy to understand. For most full-service brokerages, they receive no compensation unless and until the sale closes.


     By contrast, there are firms that offer “limited services” in exchange for an up-front flat fee, or perhaps offer a menu of pay-as-you-go or “a la’ carte” options. Some even offer a sliding scale ranging from limited to full service. In these cases, the compensation of the REALTOR® is based on these reduced service levels with the seller bearing full responsibility for all the other steps and procedures in the selling process. In short, the marketplace truism is that “you get what you pay for.”


A Variety of Choices

     The variety of brokerage business models in today’s real estate industry affords the homeowner a greater range of options than ever before.


     But no matter which option is chosen, before signing a Listing Agreement or otherwise engaging the services of a REALTOR® and agreeing to compensate them, homeowners should understand exactly what services will, or will not, be provided.



     Not every real estate agent or broker is a REALTOR®. That term and the familiar Block “R” logo are trademarked by the National Association of REALTORS® and can only be used by those are REALTOR® members through their local association of REALTORS®.


     While all REALTORS® are state-issued licensees as agents or brokers, the major difference between a “real estate licensee” and a REALTOR® is that REALTORS® have taken an oath to subscribe to a stringent, enforceable Code of Ethics with Standards of Practice that promote the fair, ethical and honest treatment of all parties in a transaction. Non-member licensees have taken no such oath and are not morally bound to the ethical practices and principles set for in the REALTOR® Code.


The Critical Role of the REALTOR®


    Listed here are practically 150 typical actions, research steps, procedures, processes and review stages in a successful residential real estate transaction that are normally provided by full service real estate brokerages in return for their sales commission. Depending on the transaction, some may take minutes, hours, or even days to complete, while some may not be needed.


     More importantly, they reflect the level of skill, knowledge and attention to detail required in today’s real estate transaction, underscoring the importance of having help and guidance from someone who fully understands the process – a REALTOR®.


     And never forget that REALTORS® are pledged to uphold the stringent, enforceable tenets of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics in their professional dealings with the public. Not every real estate licensee holds REALTOR® membership. Make sure yours does!


 Pre-Listing Activities

1. Make appointment with seller for listing presentation.

2. Send seller a written or e-mail confirmation of listing appointment and call to confirm.

3. Review pre-appointment questions.

4. Research all comparable currently listed properties.

5. Research sales activity for past few months from MLS database.

6. Research "Average Days on Market" for this property of this type, price and location.

7. Review property tax information.

8. Prepare "Comparable Market Analysis" (CMA) to establish fair market value.

9. Prepare “Absorption Rate Analysis” to determine the months of inventory.

10. Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex lay-out.

11. Research property's public record information for lot size & dimensions.

12. Verify legal description & address on tax data sheet.

13. Verify legal names of owner(s).

14. Prepare listing presentation package.

15. Perform exterior "Curb Appeal Assessment" of subject property.

16. Compile and assemble formal file on property.

17. Review listing appointment checklist to ensure all steps and actions are completed.


Listing Appointment Presentation

18. Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections.

19. Review agents and company's credentials and accomplishments in the market.

20. Present company's profile and position or "niche" in the marketplace.

21 Present CMA results – Comparable Sold units, Current Listings & Pending.

22. Present Absorption Rate Analysis & explain importance.

23. Offer pricing strategy based on professional judgment and interpretation of current market conditions.

24. Discuss Goals With Seller To Market Effectively.

25. Explain market power and benefits of Multiple Listing Service.

26. Explain market power of web marketing, multiple digital pictures, Virtual Tour and REALTOR.com.

27. Explain the work the brokerage & agent do "behind the scenes" and agent's availability.

28. Explain agent's role in taking calls to screen for qualified buyers and protect seller from curiosity seekers.

29. Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan.

30. Explain different agency relationships and determine seller's preference.

31. Review and explain all clauses in Listing Contract & Addendum and obtain seller's signature.


Once Property is Under Listing Agreement

32. Review current information.

33. Measure square footage.

34. Measure interior room sizes.

35. Confirm lot size via owner's copy of certified survey, if available.

36. Note any and all unrecorded property lines, agreements, easements.

37. Obtain house plans, if applicable and available.

38. Review house plans and make copy.

39. Prepare showing instructions and agree on showing time window with seller.

40. Obtain current mortgage loan(s) information.

41 Discuss possible buyer financing alternatives and options with seller.

42. Discuss any possible incentives with seller.

43. Review current appraisal if available.

44. Identify HOA/Condo Association manager if applicable.

45. Obtain HOA/Condo Fees.

46. Order copy of HOA/Condo bylaws, if applicable.

47. Verify city sewer/septic tank system.

48. Well Water: Confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report (if available).

49. Natural Gas: Verify supplier's name and phone number.

50. Verify security system, current term of service and whether owned or leased.

51. Verify if seller has transferable Termite Bond.

52. Ascertain need for lead-based paint disclosure.

53. Prepare detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact.

54. Prepare detailed list of property's "Inclusions & Conveyances with Sale".

55. Compile list of completed repairs and maintenance items.

56. Explain benefits of Home Owner Warranty to seller.

57. Assist sellers with completion and submission of Home Owner Warranty Application.

58. When received, place Home Owner Warranty in file for conveyance at time of sale.

59. Have extra key made for lockbox and office.

60. Verify if property has rental units involved. And if so:

61. * Make copies of all leases for retention in listing file.

62. * Verify all rents & deposits.

63. * Inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled.

64. Install yard sign and/or flyer box with property brochures.

65. Obtain completed Seller's Disclosure or Disclaimer form.

66. "New Listing Checklist" Completed.

67. Review Curb Appeal Assessment & provide suggestions to improve salability.

68. Review Interior Décor Assessment & suggest changes to shorten time on market. 


Entering Property in Multiple Listing Service Database

69. Prepare MLS Sheet --Agent is responsible for accuracy of listing data.

70. Enter property data from Profile Sheet into MLS Listing Database.

71. Proofread MLS database listing for accuracy.

72. Add property to company's Active Listings list.

73. Provide seller with signed copies of Listing Agreement and MLS Profile Sheet.

74. Take additional photos for upload into MLS and use in fliers.

75. Take Virtual Tour pictures and upload to MLS, Realtor.com, etc.


Marketing The Listing

76. Create print and Internet ads.

77. Coordinate showings with owners, tenants, and other Realtors®. Return all calls.

78. Install electronic lock box if authorized by owner; program with agreed-upon showing time windows.

79. Prepare mailing and contact list.

80. Prepare fliers for brochure box.

81. Review comparable MLS listings regularly to ensure property remains competitive in price, terms, conditions and availability.

82. Arrange for printing or copying of supply of fliers.

83. E-mail agents announcing “new listing.”

84. Upload listing to company and agent Internet site, if applicable.

85. Mail "Just Listed" notice to neighborhood residents or building.

86. Provide marketing data to buyers coming from referral network.

87. Submit ads to various Internet real estate sites.

88. Submit print ads.

89. Display property on agents’ personal website.

90. Price changes conveyed promptly.

91. Reprint/supply fliers as needed.

92. Obtain feedback from buyers' agents after showings.

93. Discuss feedback from showing agents with seller to determine if changes will accelerate the sale.

94. Update seller to discuss marketing & pricing.

95. Promptly enter price changes and/or updates in MLS listing database.


The Offer and Contract

96. Receive & review all “Offer to Purchase” contracts submitted by buyers or buyers’ agents.

97. Evaluate offer(s) and prepare a "net sheet" on each for the owner for comparison purposes.

98. Counsel seller on offers. Explain merits and weakness of each offer.

99. Contact buyers' agents to review buyer's qualifications and discuss offer.

100. Fax/deliver Seller's Disclosure to buyer's agent or buyer upon request and prior to offer if possible.

101. Confirm buyer is pre-qualified.

102. Obtain pre-qualification letter on buyer from Loan Officer.

103. Negotiate all offers on seller's behalf, setting time limit for loan approval and closing date.

104. Prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptance or amendments to buyer's agent.

105. Provide contract and addendums to closing attorney or Title Company.

106. When Offer to Purchase Contract is accepted and signed by seller, deliver to buyer's agent.

107. Record and promptly deposit buyer's earnest money in escrow account.

108. Disseminate "Under-Contract Showing Restrictions" as seller requests.

109. Deliver copies of fully signed Offer to Purchase contract to seller.

110. Fax/deliver copies of Offer to Purchase contract to Selling Agent.

111. Fax/deliver copies of Offer to Purchase contract to lender.

112. Provide copies of signed Offer to Purchase contract for office file.

113. Advise seller in handling additional offers to purchase submitted between contract and closing.

114. Change status in MLS to "Sale Pending.”

115. Assist buyer with obtaining financing, if applicable and follow-up as necessary.

116. Coordinate with lender, if appropriate.

117. Order septic system inspection, if applicable

118. Receive and review septic system report and assess any possible impact on sale.

119. Deliver copy of septic system inspection report lender & buyer.

120. Deliver Well Flow Test Report copies to lender & buyer and property listing file.

121. Verify termite inspection ordered, if required.

122. Verify mold inspection ordered, if required.


Home Inspection

123. Coordinate buyer's professional home inspection with seller.

124. Review home inspector's report.

125. Explain seller's responsibilities with respect to loan limits and interpret any clauses in the contract.

126. Ensure seller's compliance with Home Inspection Clause requirements.

127. Recommend or assist seller with identifying and negotiating with trustworthy contractors to perform any required repairs.

128. Negotiate payment and oversee completion of all required repairs on seller's behalf, if needed.


The Appraisal

129. Schedule Appraisal, if appropriate.

130. Provide comparable sales used in market pricing per Appraisers request.

131. Follow-up on Appraisal.

132. Assist seller in questioning appraisal report if it seems too low.


Closing Preparations and Duties

133. Contract Is Signed By All Parties.

134. Coordinate closing process with seller, buyer's agent and lender.

135. Update closing forms & files.

136. Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale.

137. Confirm location where closing will be held.

138. Confirm closing date and time and notify all parties.

139. Assist in solving any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc) or in obtaining Death Certificates.

140. Work with buyer's agent in scheduling and conducting buyer's Final Walk-Thru prior to closing.

141. Request final closing figures from closing agent (attorney or Title Company).

142. Receive & carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy.

143. Provide "Home Owners Warranty" for availability at closing, if applicable.

144. Provide earnest money deposit check from escrow account to closing agent.

145. Coordinate this closing with seller's next purchase and resolve any timing problems.

146. Have a "no surprises" closing so that seller receives a net proceeds check at closing.

147. Refer sellers to one of the best agents at their destination, if applicable.

148. Change MLS status to Sold with appropriate sales information.


Follow Up After Closing

149. Answer questions about filing claims with Home Owner Warranty Company if requested.

150. Attempt to clarify and resolve any conflicts about repairs if buyer is not satisfied.

151. Respond to any follow-on calls and provide any additional information required from office files.





The Critical Role of the Realtor® in the Real

Estate Transaction was created by ORRA.

Dave Whittington  Associate Broker
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