Why Use a Realtor

First of all not all real estate licensees in Tennessee are REALTORS®. REALTORS® are real estate licensees who have made a professional decision to become members of the National Association of REALTORS ® through the Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS® and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics with Standards of Practice that promote the fair, ethical and honest treatment of all parties in a transaction in addition to the Real Estate Laws of Tennessee. The term REALTOR® and the familiar Block "R" logo are trademarked by the National Association of REALTORS® and can only be used by REALTORS®. REALTORS® improve their professionalism through education and designation programs.

Many homeowners and home-buyers 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 their 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.

REALTORS® routinely provide a wide variety of services that are as varied as the nature of each transaction. Some transactions may not require as many steps to be equally successful. However, most REALTORS® 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 possibility even existed.

Through out a transaction, 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 REALTORS® will receive no compensation unless and until the transaction 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. A new Tennessee Law that became effective July 1, 2006 now requires a "limited services" firm to make sure the seller understands and agrees fully to the services they will and will not receive. In short, the marketplace truism is that "you get what you pay for."

Here are the typical actions, research steps, processes and review stages necessary for a successful residential real estate transaction and normally provided by a REALTOR® for which they are entitled to fair compensation:

  • 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 18 months from MLS and public records databases
    6. Research "Average Days on Market" for this property of this type, price range and location
    7. Download and review property tax roll information
    8. Prepare "Comparable Market Analysis" (CMA) to establish fair market value
    9. Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex lay-out
    10. Research property's ownership & deed type
    11. Research property's public record information for lot size & dimensions
    12. Research and verify legal description
    13. Research property's land use coding and deed restrictions
    14. Research property's current use and zoning
    15. Verify legal names of owner(s) in county's public property records
    16. Prepare listing presentation package with above materials
    17. Perform exterior "Curb Appeal Assessment" of subject property
    18. Compile and assemble formal file on property
    19. Confirm current public schools and explain impact of schools on market value
    20. Review listing appointment checklist to ensure all steps and actions have been completed
  • Listing Appointment Presentation

    1. Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections
    2. Review agents and company's credentials and accomplishments in the market
    3. Present company's profile and position or "niche" in the marketplace
    4. Present CMA Results to Seller, including Comparables, Solds, Current Listings and Expireds
    5. Offer pricing strategy based on professional judgment and interpretation of current market conditions
    6. Discuss Goals with Seller to Market Effectively
    7. Explain market power and benefits of Multiple Listing Service
    8. Explain market power of web marketing, the MLS IDX program and REALTOR.com
    9. Explain the work the brokerage and agent do "behind the scenes" and agent's availability on weekends.
    10. Explain agent's role in taking calls to screen for qualified buyers and protect seller from curiosity seekers
    11. Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan
    12. Explain different agency relationships and determine seller's preference
    13. Review and explain all clauses in Listing Contract & Addendum and obtain seller's signature
  • Once Property is Under Listing Agreement

    1. Review current title information
    2. Measure overall and heated square footage
    3. Measure interior room sizes
    4. Confirm lot size via owner's copy of certified survey, if available
    5. Note any and all unrecorded property lines, agreements, easements
    6. Obtain house plans, if applicable and available
    7. Review house plans and make copy
    8. Order plat map for retention in property's listing file
    9. Prepare showing instructions for buyers' agents and agree on showing time window with seller
    10. Obtain current mortgage loan(s) information: companies and & loan account numbers
    11. Verify current loan information with lender(s)
    12. Check assumability of loan(s) and any special requirements
    13. Discuss possible buyer financing alternatives and options with seller
    14. Review current appraisal if available
    15. Identify Home Owner Association manager if applicable
    16. Verify Home Owner Association Fees with manager - mandatory or optional and current annual fee
    17. Order copy of Homeowner Association bylaws, if applicable
    18. Research electricity availability and supplier's name and phone number
    19. Calculate average utility usage from last 12 months of bills
    20. Research and verify city sewer/septic tank system
    21. Water System: Calculate average water fees or rates from last 12 months of bills )
    22. Well Water: Confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report
    23. Natural Gas: Research/verify availability and supplier's name and phone number
    24. Verify security system, current term of service and whether owned or leased
    25. Verify if seller has transferable Termite Bond
    26. Ascertain need for lead-based paint disclosure
    27. Prepare detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact
    28. Prepare detailed list of property's "Inclusions & Conveyances with Sale"
    29. Compile list of completed repairs and maintenance items
    30. Send "Vacancy Checklist" to seller if property is vacant
    31. Explain benefits of Home Owner Warranty to seller
    32. Assist sellers with completion and submission of Home Owner Warranty Application
    33. When received, place Home Owner Warranty in property file for conveyance at time of sale
    34. Have extra key made for lockbox
    35. Verify if property has rental units involved. And if so:
    36. Make copies of all leases for retention in listing file
    37. Verify all rents & deposits
    38. Inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled
    39. Arrange for installation of yard sign
    40. Assist seller with completion of Seller's Disclosure form
    41. "New Listing Checklist" Completed
    42. Review results of Curb Appeal Assessment with seller and provide suggestions to improve salability
    43. Review results of Interior Décor Assessment and suggest changes to shorten time on market
    44. Load listing into transaction management software program
  • Entering Property in the Multiple Listing Service Database

    1. Prepare MLS Profile Sheet – they are responsible for "quality control" and accuracy of listing data
    2. Enter property data from Profile Sheet into MLS Listing Database
    3. Proofread MLS database listing for accuracy - including proper placement in mapping function
    4. Add property to company's Active Listings list
    5. Provide seller with signed copies of Listing Agreement and MLS Profile Sheet Data Form
    6. Take additional photos for upload into MLS and use in flyers.
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