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So you want to be a real estate agent...

This week is about what a real estate agent does (besides doing the happy dance

) after they are told by the seller that they would like to list the property with the agent.

First thing that needs to be done is tons of paperwork; all the disclosures, the Exclusive Right to Sell contract, the MLS input forms, etc. A for sale sign needs to be put up on the property and then quality photos need to be taken. I usually take some myself so they go in when the listing does, then, depending on the property, I will hire a professional photographer. Quality pictures are important! So important that I'm going to dedicate a Things to Think about Thursday post to show examples of what to do and not do.

Once the documents are properly filled out and signed, the sign is in the ground, and the pictures are taken, the property is then put into the Elmira-Corning board of Realtors and, depending on where the property is located, I will also put it in the Ithaca board of Realtors. There is a lot of overlap between the boards, in terms of geographic location, so if a property is in that overlap area then it should be in both boards for agents in those boards to be able to find the listing. An example of an overlap area is Burdett/Hector/Odessa to Newfield/Enfield, or anything listed on the lake. An agent who only has it in one board in an overlap area is doing a real disservice to their seller/client.

Property is entered into the MLS(s) so it's officially listed. Now what? Now the agent has more work to do. Just Listed postcards need to be created and sent to the surrounding neighbors of the property, marketing materials need to be created and distributed and/or uploaded, advertising has to be created and run, and a Broker Open (to showcase the house to other agents in the board) has to be set up. What many people don't realize is that all of this costs money. The professional photographer, the postcards and stamps, the advertising, the marketing, and even the goodies for the Broker Open to entice other agents to come to the property. Real estate agents can easily spend several hundreds of dollars on each listing with no guarantee they'll recoup it.

Okay, the property is officially listed, the advertising & marketing are ongoing, and the Broker Open has been conducted. Is the agent done yet? Nope. The real estate market constantly fluctuates so the agent needs to do regular, usually monthly, research to make sure the property is still appropriately priced. Properties that have been on the market for several months and more can become shopworn....not a good thing. Think of a property you've seen a sign in front of for what seems like a long time. What do you think when you drive by? Gee, that house is still on the market? I wonder what's wrong with it? Even agents will occasionally wonder the same thing. This isn't good. Just because the CMA (comparative market analysis) showed, at the time of listing, the house would probably sell for around $200,000 doesn't mean it will still sell for that 4-6 months later. Statistics show that properties listed too high or that have been on the market for too long period end up selling much lower than their competition. Keeping in touch with the market and doing timely price adjustments helps combat this. If you have a friend or family member whose property has been listed a long time ask them when they last did a price reduction. The market might have passed them. Ouch.

Next week will be about showing properties to buyers and the perils and pitfalls that can come from that. Have a great week!

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