You’re not around real estate brokerage for long before you hear the adage, “You’ve got to list to last.” It means that to be a successful career real estate agent, you need to be listing homes for sale.
Exclusive listings mean that the listing agent (technically the listing broker) is guaranteed to receive a commission when the house sells regardless of who found the buyer or is representing them. The commission is earned because the exclusive listing agent is the sole representative of the seller during the transaction. But how do brokers get exclusive real estate listings?
There are several ways that agents get exclusive real estate listings. Here we’ll identify some of the strategies that agents use to land lucrative listings. The type of listing that we’re discussing is the most common form of real estate listing in the United States, an exclusive right-to-sell listing. The only time this form of listing isn’t used to sell a residential property in the U.S. is when the homeowner wants to reserve certain rights to sell the home without the assistance of the broker and thereby save the commission. Outside the U.S., other types of arrangements, including shared-exclusives, are common. Although the commission structures are different, these principles of how to get exclusive real estate listings apply.
1. Relationships, Communication and Availability
As in all business, relationships are the most important thing. Good communication with the seller is an important part of securing an exclusive listing. The seller should know that the listing agent is committing to work with them and be their representative throughout the sales process. Agents need to make themselves available to the seller to discuss the property and any progress at any time. When presenting a proposal to a homeowner, listing agents might want to suggest regular discussion times at least once-a-week to discuss progress and activity, even when things are moving slowly. This is especially appealing to absentee homeowners.
2. A Unique Marketing Plan With Proven Effectiveness
Sellers mostly want the same things: to sell their homes quickly and for the most money possible given the market. To do this, a home needs good visibility. Agents should be prepared to demonstrate an understanding of the best audience for the home and to explain how the home will be advertised for sale. For some homeowners, marketing plans are the major distinguishing factors between agents. Agents should also have a plan for open houses, knowing when these will be held and how frequently, along with how they intend to attract qualified buyers.
3. Smart Strategy for Determining the Listing Price of a Property
A homebuyer may choose one real estate agent over another based solely on the price they think their house should be listed for, obviously going with the agent who values their home the highest. A home that’s too expensive won’t sell, so caution is always advised here.
To get listings, agents need to be knowledgeable about comparable properties that have recently sold, and also what else is on the market. An agent should know what’s on the market nearby in the same price range – the homes that a prospective homebuyer will be looking at. For a home to sell, the listing price needs to reflect how it compares to other similar properties currently on the market. When a homeowner is too aggressive about selling prices, sometimes it’s best for an agent to walk away and revisit listing the home after another broker has been unable to sell it.
In certain market conditions, there is a lot more latitude. Not long ago, agents used to suggest going to market at a low price and inviting a competitive bidding situation. Today, many brokers are comfortable going to market at a above-market price to appease homeowners (especially those who may be underwater on their financing), while advising buyer’s agents to present any offers no matter how much below the listing price.
4. Ensuring That the Property Shows Beautifully
“You only have one chance to make a first impression.” This applies to homes as much as it does people. Houses need to be clean, clutter-free, bright and even smell nice to sell. A listing real estate agent needs to be prepared to attend to these details and shouldn’t overlook the importance of these items when soliciting a seller for their listing. Agents should have contacts at staging companies and for tradesmen who can make repairs. If there are any cost-effective home improvements, like repainting, that can make a difference in the appearance or value of the home, a listing agent should suggest these to the homeowner and explain how they should lead to a faster sale for more money.
5. Get Competitive on Contract Details
In the U.S., for most types of homes and in most markets, brokerage commissions are uniform so agents aren’t competing on price. In rare instances and competitive markets, brokers will cut fees to get a listing, but more often than not, the above mentioned details make the difference between getting a listing or not.
There are a couple of items of the listing agreement that do vary, and movement on one of these items can make a difference for certain homeowners. Length of the listing agreement can be as short as 30 days to six months or longer. Some clients may be tempted to consider a shorter-term exclusive with renewal options rather than entering into a long deal.
The Final Word on Exclusives
A seller’s agent needs to start by selling to the sellers. They should be prepared to market themselves, their marketing plan and their savvy to sellers who are looking for the agent who will help them to get the best price for their house as efficiently as possible. They need to come up with creative ways of getting the word out about properties and encouraging buyer’s agents to attend open houses. When closing a sale successfully, let the neighbors know. This can be done with direct mail or other marketing strategies. The more unique the approach, and the more proven effectiveness shown in closing deals, the better an agent’s chances are of securing additional exclusive real estate listings.