Imagine arriving at an appointment to find that the sellers already know about you and what makes you the best choice to sell their home. They’ve already reviewed your listing agreement and completed your questionnaire about the home’s features. The listing is almost yours, and all you’ve done is walk in the door.
You don’t have to imagine this rosy picture if you send a prelisting package to prospects a few days before each appointment. A prelisting package is a standardized packet of information that introduces you and your company and explains to sellers how you can help them achieve the best price and quickest sale for their home. It usually consists of all the paperwork the seller will need in order to list with you—including a listing agreement and agency and property disclosure statements. Allowing sellers to preview these documents also helps them understand the real estate transaction, saving you time during the appointment. Another benefit is that sellers can refer back to the package every time they have a question, cutting down on calls to your office.
Here are some items you’ll want to include.
- Cover letter. In one or two pages, describe yourself, your team, your company, and your skills. Focus on benefits. Explain how your experience helps you sell homes faster or at a better price. Or substitute a detailed marketing brochure.
- Testimonials. Excerpt quotes from several past clients on one page, along with each client’s full name, title, and address. Ask clients’ permission to use their quotes. Include press clips about your accomplishments, which also help build credibility.
- Sample documents and contracts. Include your standard listing agreement; agency, property, and other required disclosure forms; and any other forms required in your state. You might also want to include samples of what you’ll provide buyers, such as neighborhood statistics on crime and schools, and demographics from sources such as eNeighborhoods (www.eneighborhoods.com).
- Sales process. Develop a simple flowchart or checklist that explains the steps in the selling process, including listing, disclosure, qualifying buyers, showings, offers, inspections, and closing. Be comprehensive, but don’t overwhelm the prospect.
- Pricing. Include a sheet on the value of setting the right price and the risks of overpricing, such as selling delays. Use recent local market statistics to illustrate prices for comparable properties. This will help prospective sellers begin to think about a realistic price. For a graphic showing the impact of poor pricing on sales, go to www.GoStarPower.com/Resource and look under Alphabetical Listing of Resources for the Pricing Target illustration.
- Marketing program for the property. Cover advertising strategies, including the importance of placing properties on the MLS and suggestions on where else you’ll post the listing online. Explain signage, lockboxes, and open houses and the ways you’ll use each to sell the property.
- Showing tips. Explain what the sellers can do to make the home more salable and discuss the benefits of staging if you offer that service.
- Home questionnaire. Provide a check box questionnaire so that sellers can indicate important features of the house that will help you write the sales flyer. Leave spaces for longer, detailed comments as well.
- Customizing your package. Although much of what you include in a prelisting package will be the same for every prospect, it’s also important to tailor your packages to your market. Star Power’s market research has found a need for two basic package configurations—mainstream and high-end. In addition, we’ve seen a growing demand to have both packages available in Spanish.
The mainstream package serves the majority of clients. It’s aimed at owners of homes valued near the median price for the area. This market sees a house as a haven for family and a place of security. The tone of a listing package for these emotionally driven customers should be warm and conversational to build a sense of personal contact with the sellers. Testimonials demonstrate the strong bond you build with your clients. (“We just loved working with Joe!”) Use lots of bright colors. Cute images showing kids and pets are fine, too.
The high-end package is aimed at the more sophisticated buyer, perhaps a high-net-worth client, such as a corporate executive whose home is priced at the top end of the range for your market. These buyers frequently view their homes, at least in part, as investments. They’re bottom-line oriented and analytical. They’ll respond best to a presentation that offers facts, charts, and market trends.
Tailoring the packages for mainstream or high-end prospects is largely a matter of language:
- Mainstream: “Let’s get your home sold!”
- High-end: “Realize maximum profits.”
- Mainstream: “We’re here to help.”
- High-end: “Professionals who accommodate your homeselling goals.”
- Mainstream: “Ten ways to make your home even more appealing to buyers.”
- High-end: “How to get your home ready to show in 10 minutes.” (Great for busy two-career couples.)
Whatever your market niche, providing prospective clients with a compelling, complete prelisting package is a great way to set yourself apart and make securing their business much easier.