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Guidelines to Win the Listing


What Realtors do wrong: The search terms we use to scour the MLS for comparable properties was too broad, and we consistently overthought every step of the process. We often never met or made plans to meet a seller and have a real, intimate conversation about their needs before compiling a CMA and emailing it to them. We didn’t give them a chance to get to know their would-be agent—and vice versa—before trying to sell them on our services.

How to fix it: When searching comps, stick to the subdivision in which the prospect is selling, if possible, to draw the most relevant results, search only sold properties, compare like models to like models; and keep the conversation with the seller focused on the task at hand. Present CMA in person, sitting at the seller’s kitchen table and presenting and explaining each comp one by one. Highlight the sold price, the closing date, the number of days on market, and the seller concessions, if any, with yellow highlighter.


What Realtors do wrong: We talked way too much about myself and boasted about our knowledge. Don’t get me wrong, prospective sellers wanted to know we knew what we were talking about. But didn’t spend enough time listening to what the sellers needed and expected from us, and we didn’t pay attention to the nonverbal cues they were giving us.

How to fix it: After presenting comps and giving the seller an opportunity to ask questions, ask one simple thing: “After looking at the comps, what do you think your property is worth?” Then remain quiet until the seller provides you with their thoughts. If they don’t say anything, sit in silence until they speak. This gives us a chance to examine their body language, which will hint at whether they will be realistic about their asking price. If they start to avoid eye contact, looking around the room, and can’t focus on answering the question, it’s a good sign they aren’t ready to handle some harsh realities. Many unrealistic sellers take up a lot of time and frequently don’t make it to closing.

Setting the List Price

What Realtors do wrong: Most Realtors don’t try to temper unrealistic expectations with education. If a seller asked for a list price well above what the market would support, we would end the conversation, advise that the seller rethink their game plan, and tell them to call us at a later time. We don’t want to offend the seller, but we also want to avoid wasting both our time.

How to fix it: Once the seller tells us what they think the list price should be, ask them, “Why?” This is another opportunity to watch their body language as they reply. If their price is too high, we take another look at the comps and repeat the process. Most sellers catch on quickly to market trends and price their property within a reasonable range. But at this point not to give up on the conversation or steering it in a different direction if you think the seller is off track is vital. It’s important not to lose the momentum of the conversation or else the seller’s thought process gets lost.

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