Well-known actor, humorist and economist Ben Stein once wrote a column entitled “Pieces of Heaven.” It was a love letter of sorts about the many homes he has bought, sold and enjoyed over the years – and the many real estate professionals who helped him find his little bit of paradise each time.

The properties were located all over the country – the California coast, Beverly Hills, the Eastern seashore and Washington D.C., to name a few. The one thing they all had in common, Mr. Stein said: “We could never have gotten them without brokers.”

“Every time I use an agent, I am amazed at how hard they work…always available around the clock,” he wrote. “They handle even the most minute details like inspections, and the big ones like financing. They show endless patience. They are relentlessly upbeat. They need to be a diplomat, design expert, financier, psychologist, surrogate parent, and often surrogate spouse.”

Some sellers may think you just stick a for-sale sign in the front lawn and buyers will beat a path to your door. Guess again! Real estate professionals develop comprehensive marketing plans, take professional photos, arrange inspections and appraisers, oversee home staging, hold open houses, place print and online ads, reach out to their networks to find potential buyers, and negotiate with buyers’ agents to get the best price and to get the deal closed.

Pre-sale activities

A Listing Agent’s work starts with researching the current market to aid the Seller in determining the right list price. They provide information about professionals who can help get the home ready for sale, arrange and develop disclosure packages for potential buyers.

Before any potential buyer sets foot inside the home the Listing Agent will work with the Seller to find out the Seller’s preferences regarding a menu of options as to how to best market the home.  Depending upon the Seller’s preferences, the Listing Agent will assist in choosing a stager and/or a landscaper to make the property look it’s best inside and out; to have multiple photos and/or a virtual tour, post signs, create a website as well as put together compelling marketing material to highlight it’s positive attributes and features.

Maximum exposure marketing

Putting the home on the local MLS is just the start of what goes into effectively marketing a home listing. Real estate professionals may create and distribute a just-listed postcard, create and send out open house invitations, submit ads to various publications, promote the home to the Listing Agent’s network locally and regionally, as well as use relocation referral networks to promote the home to relocating buyers from around the country.

And because 90 percent of buyers begin their search for a home on the Internet, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, Listing Agents will promote the property on many of the country’s top real estate websites. Through web syndication, Coldwell Banker listings, for example, are featured on an unsurpassed 700-plus websites around the world – including Coldwell Banker’s exclusive websites.

Open houses and tours

Listing Agents may host a broker’s open tour to let agents working with potential buyers see the property first before holding any public open house. They may canvass the neighborhood to invite people to the open house, as well as alert past client referrals about the listing. In addition, they will schedule individual showings to let more serious potential buyers tour the home personally and privately. Listing Agents will then follow up with those potential buyers and their agents to gauge their reaction and discuss next steps.

Negotiate offers/acceptance

Once a buyer or multiple buyers make an offer, Listing Agents will schedule an offer presentation with the seller, presenting the offer(s), discussing the terms and the seller’s options.  At the Seller’s direction the Listing Agent will negotiate terms on behalf of the Seller and prepare contract documents. They coordinate and attend inspections and work with all parties to help resolve problems and challenges relating to the property.

Last but not least, the Listing Agent will help secure all of the necessary paperwork and coordinate the closing.

There is much more to successfully selling a home than putting up a sign. A professional REALTOR® can make the process seem so much easier through their hard work, their expertise and their attention to details. Buying and selling a home is often the largest financial transaction that any of us will ever make. But with the help of a real estate professional, the next generation of buyers and sellers can find their own “pieces of heaven” – just as Ben Stein has been able to achieve so often over the years.