Selling a Home?  Learn and Save Money, Stress and Headache! Part 3

As a listing agent, marketing is where we can excel when selling a home.  The better our marketing plan is the better we can serve our clients.


Since they read my pre listing package before I came, they were familiar with my marketing strategy… most of it.

Maximum Exposure for your home is Imperative.

Picture provided Petr Sejba of

I briefly explain some other aggressive marketing that I do that is not listed in my pre listing package.   My marketing is meant to give their home maximum market exposure so we reach that one perfect buyer sooner rather than later. 

One item that I spoke with them in detail was getting a home warranty.  (Get more details on Home Warranties here and how to use it to get offers.)

In the beginning we can get a seller’s home warranty, which will transfer to the buyer once we close.  We can actually use the home warranty while the home is on the market and something goes out.

We’ll offer the buyer a free 1 year home warranty, which covers many items in the home, including:

  1. Electrical
  2. The AC and heating units
  3. Plumbing
  4. Appliances and more.

Having a Home Warranty can save us headaches after closing in case an appliance all of a sudden does not work or an issue with the electrical, plumbing or the AC doesn’t work.  They can use the Home Warranty to fix those items and we don’t have to worry about having to take care of those items after closing.

 asked, “Do you have any other questions before we fill out the paperwork? 

They said, “No.”


When selling a home, agreeing on a price is where most agents and their sellers have the most disagreement.  But we agreed on the price already and they knew how I was going to aggressively market their home.  We were all on the same page...

It was time to fill out the paperwork.  We discussed the different terms in the contract, like:

  • List Price
  • Length of the listing agreement - typically 6 months
  • Commission amount, among others.

The listing agreement and disclosure have a lot of legal mumbo jumbo, which can be scary.  We went over them in detail.

While they were filling out the paperwork I gave them a list of items to gather for me and also gave them homework.

Among them were to…

  1. Call their current lender and order their payoff from your mortgage company.  We’ll give it to the title company later.  This will expedite the closing process.
  2. Make sure they have a working smoke detector in every bedroom close to the door and  1 more smoke detector in the hallway.  This will prevent us from paying for appraisal re-inspection.
  3. Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in EVERY level of their home.
  4. Give me 3 copies of the front door key - one for the lockbox for the other agents to access, one for me for emergency and one I will put in a contractor’s lockbox as a back up, just in case someone loses the key or takes it with them by mistake.
  5. Make sure the electrical panel is accessible.  Some people lock theirs, therefore, I wanted to make sure their electrical panel will be available

I also said I’ll go ahead and order a seller’s home warranty that will be transferred to the buyer at closing.

After they signed the listing agreement and other paperwork, we discussed filling out the seller’s disclosures.


“How would you like to see the future?”  I asked.

Future Gazing provided by Matt Brown

“Of course!  That would be nice.  We’d both me zillionaires by now if we could.” They both laughed, then asked, “But, what do you mean?”

“Transparency” I answered and I went on to explain...

Imagine, if you were the buyer and you see a home that you liked enough to make an offer on it.  Then your agent tells you that she will pull comparables and see what the value of the homes is.

She also tells  you some good news on the property… She tells you that you won’t have to order any inspections since the seller has already supplied a copy of the 3 inspections - Home, Termite/Pest and Roof and has supplied you their disclosures (what they know about the property in writing) as well.

Imagine you're the buyer of your home and you already know the condition of the property.  Would you feel comfortable making an offer?  Much better than if you didn't, right?

Photo by 

“What does that mean?” you say.  It means…

  • You won’t have to spend $550 for inspections (always a good thing), but more importantly,
  • You’ll know the condition of the property ahead of time, which means, 
  • You’ll feel more comfortable making an offer since you already know the condition of the property
  • You can make a decision ahead of time whether you feel comfortable with the amount of repairs needed, which will..
  • Help you make a decision whether to ask for the items to be repaired or not 
  • Your lender can order the appraisal sooner so your closing timeline can be shorter, thus giving you a better chance of getting your offer accepted.

All good things, right?

As the seller, it means…

  1. You’ll get a cleaner offer.
  2. If you didn’t plan on doing the repairs in the report, you’ll have an idea, if they were to ask for those items to be repaired, how much those repairs will cost and you can make your decision on how to respond to the buyer’s offer, so...
  3. You have a good idea how much you’re going to net at closing, but more importantly, you’ll have...
  4. Less stress and headache since you’ll know ahead of time what the worst outcome could be regarding the amount of repairs on the property
  5. Shorter transaction timeline

As you can see, being as transparent to the buyer as you can has many advantages.

They said they’ll get back with me regarding ordering the reports.

The disclosure paperwork are for their copy only.  I’ll have my transaction coordinator send them these forms that they can fill out online for their convenience.  However, I wanted them to fill out 2 forms so I could use it to market the home - the TDS (Transfer Disclosure Statement) and SPQ (Seller Property Questionnaire).

These forms tell the buyers what the seller knows about the property - part of our transparency marketing plan.

We finished the rest of paperwork then moved on to...


I reminded them our best marketing is pricing the home correctly, which we’ve already agreed.  So, we have that going for us.  The next thing was to schedule for the photographer to come to take pictures and also when I could come back to make a video.

Done.  Times set.

I gave them homework - a checklist of things to do:

  • Move as much of your personal items out of the way as possible.  The less personal items the buyer sees, the better.  This way they can envision where their items can go.
  • If possible - Go to the bank and get a safe-deposit box to store all of you valuables - do not leave them in the house anywhere.  We’ll just be inviting for bad things to happen.
  • A list of the items you repaired and/or upgraded.
  • Putting away all of their expensive jewelry or items that can be easily stolen - if you can’t get a safety deposit box
  • Clean the home to get it ready for photo shoot
  • Call their current lender to get the mortgage payoff amount.
  • Prepare a utilities page for the buyer - who the utility companies are and what their average monthly costs are
  • Put all of their appliance paperwork and warranties for the buyer at closing
  • And a few more items, like garage remotes, mailbox keys, etc

I gave them another questionnaire to fill out that will assist me in creating a marketing package for their home.  Some of the questions include:

  1. What are the most memorable things you and your family have done in this home?
  2. What do you love most about your home?
  3. Why did you buy this home to begin with?  Was it the home itself?  The Neighborhood?  The city or area?
  4. Why are you selling now?
  5. What’s is your moving plan?  
  6. What is your timeframe?
  7. If you weren’t moving, what else would you do to the home?  Why?


Our goal is to  is to make it as easy to view your home as possible.  If possible, do not be at home when someone is viewing.  Buyers tend to not stay as long when someone is home because they feel they’re intruding.

Having worked with many buyers and viewing thousands of homes, I can tell you that the easier the home is to view, the more we want to show it to our buyers.

With that said, think about how you want to handle the showings.

  • Do you want to be given a days advance notice?
  • Two days advance notice?
  • Will an hour or two advance notice do?
  • Is it okay if someone shows up without notice?  (I don’t recommend this, but some sellers are okay with it)

However, you want to handle the showings, when selling a home, it’s best that the home is very easy to view.

Another tip is to always have the agent use the local lockbox.  It registers them and the time they were there and when they left.  This is for your safety.


Timing when to allow showings and when to put it on the market is crucial.  We can create buyer’s anticipation by ...

  1. Sign contract 2 weeks in advance and place a sign on the yard that it’s “Coming Soon.”  
  2. I’ll market to my peers and list of buyer know about the property.  We can do a broker’s tour and show to agents only so they can tell their buyers in advance. 
  3. Thursdays are the best days to put property on the market, BUT do not show until the 2 hour-only Open House in the weekend. 

At the open house, we’ll have the following paperwork for the buyers to review so they’ll know about the property’s utility costs and, more importantly, the condition of the property:

  • Reports and repair clearance, 
  • CMA, 
  • List of updates, 
  • Cost of monthly utilities, 
  • Solar paperwork (if any) and what they need to do to transfer under their name, 
  • Cost of the solar and their monthly savings, 
  • Home Warranty (upgraded) for the buyer, 
  • Your time table and what you’re looking for in an offer

OPEN HOUSE:  Do it Right!

Our open house will only be a 1 day open house from 1 to 4.  I’ll advertise it starting on the first day on the market (Thursday) that we will only be showing the property during the open house.

Do it right and put at least 20 open house signs and cover all major corners leading to the home!

We’ll let the agents and the buyer know we’ll be reviewing offers on Monday evening.

I will have over 20 open house signs all over the neighborhood to make sure we get plenty of traffic.

I will be knocking on your neighbors doors before the open house so they’ll know about the open house and invite the to come.  Buyers can come from many sources.  Your neighbor may have friends or family members who are looking to buy or move into the neighborhood.

We will cover all out bases.

With property pricing, broker tours, marketing your home to my list of buyers and associate agents, as well as the open house, we should look forward to getting an offer the first weekend.

When we receive offers, we need to know how to handle them.

Here is what we need to do… 

Go Back to Part 2          Continue to Part 4

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About the author: All of the articles in this site were written and provided by Rico Castillo (DRE# 01234643) with Coldwell Banker.  If any information is provided by another source, such as the local MLS or by Metrolist, then a disclaimer will be on that page.

Rico can be reached by cell at (916) 934-3146 or email at   Visit his YouTube Channel at

My aim is always 100% client satisfaction by helping you accomplish your real estate goals and finding you the home you've Dreamed about in the area you and your family can feel proud and safe to live in!