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If I Only Had One Listing

Editor’s Note:  This article first appeared in the October 1975 issue of the Real Estate News Observer.

I would make sure it was a win­ner: If I had only one listing, I certainly would not have any ex­cuse for not having all the home­work, research and data pertain­ing to the listing and the area where the listing is located.

THE 80% AND 20% RULE

It is a fact, 80% of the work in converting a listing to a closed transaction is in the area of   counseling. However, more transac­tions are lost due to a lack of facts than any other single factor. Thus, it does not take any assumption to recognize the importance of doing the homework on a listing.

Attorney Malcolm Misuraca said, “Most court cases are not won due to the fact one attorney is more clever than the other, but court cases are won because one attorney has superior knowledge of the facts in the case.”

“In Real Estate,” said San Luis Obispo Realtor, Bill Broadbent, “a listing worth accepting is a list­ing worth doing the homework on.”


Why is it important to do the very best work in the research on a listing? The answer to this ques­tion is simple but carries a high level responsibility for the listing agent; it gives the client facts to base a responsible decision on rather than a hunch.

It is not the purpose of this article to detail the homework re­quired in various listings. The in­tent of this report is to detail what would be done to market the list­ing if the Broker had completed the preliminary counseling and actually done a responsible job in securing the necessary homework prior to entering the marketplace.


The following, not necessarily in order, are offered as a sugges­tion:

  1. The listing agent should take an hour of uninterrupted time to establish a marketing plan. This plan would be written and detail what work the agent should do to best market the listing.
  2. Each person in your office should be personally informed about the listing, the owner’s objectives, and the type of terms the owner would accept. This will allow those within your own office to have the benefit of knowing the total details on what your SELLER is attempt­ing to accomplish in the sale. This will also allow those within your office a better chance to FIELD calls from “Ads” or “Sign Calls.”

NOTE: The objective is to make sure your sales associates are very familiar with your client’s objectives as well as the com­prehensive facts gathered on the property.

  1. Should the owners adjoining your listing be contacted? YES! And, contrary to a lot of opin­ions, so should owners within a reasonable radius of the sub­ject property. Of course, you will not only have the benefit of a chance at a “one on one” sale, but also you’ll have the benefit of the input of facts gathered from the neighbors. This input might give you the extra edge of superior facts when dealing with the ultimate client. A side benefit is the fact you are again “eyeball to eyeball” with other buyers and  sellers of real estate.
  2. The listing agent should con­tact at least ten brokers who specialize in selling listings of the same type as you have listed. Don’t just mail the data to these agents. Personal con­tact with these specialists will allow you a greater chance to have these specialists work on your listing. Again, their com­ments, ideas and suggestions will benefit you on the market­ing of the listing.
  3. A trip to the title company or abstract company will give you a list of recent comps. Don’t stop there: comps are important as far as justifying your listed price. However, perhaps more importantly, the names of the BUYERS and SELLERS don’t have to be sold on the area as they have al­ready expressed an interest in the area via equity ownership. Again, if you want to lose, mail the data to these clients. How­ever, if you want to be a win­ner, it’s “eyeball to eyeball.” Again the listing will have the benefit of data input from those who have owned or own prop­erty in the area of the listing.
  4. It is now time to compile a list of the type of buyers who would be interested in the list­ing. Do not, at this point, list the names of BUYERS but at­tempt to list the types of BUY­ERS (i.e.: if you had a parcel of land, list builder, developer, corporate investor, land broker, R.E.I.T. institutional lender, etc.).

After you have completed the list of types of owners, list all of the names of people or corporations under each cate­gory (i.e., with the same land example: Builders – ABC Con­struction; XYZ Development Company; The MNO Trust; John Caldwell, A.I.A.; Fred Bigwig, Land Engineer; Norm Pencil, Investor). Now you have a list of potential clients to contact.

Think about who calls on the type of client who would buy your listing. By thinking about who calls on the type of buyer who would purchase your list­ing, you now can compile a list of further individuals to con­tact. Let’s assume you listed a professionally zoned lot. Think about who calls on profession­als. These people should be contacted and given data on your offering. These people contact professionals on a daily basis. If you establish a contact with the person who calls on professionals on a regular basis, you’ll soon find out what pro­fessionals are looking for a new location. This fact is based on the knowledge every beer and liquor distributor or sales rep­resentative knows what bars and liquor stores are for sale. Do you think the person calling on doctors and dentists knows what doctors or dentists are thinking of relocating?

People love to help! Recognize that people love to help solve a problem. Don’t be afraid to give everyone a chance to help solve the problem. A brief talk with a banker, a title officer, lawyer, a C.P.A., as well as a fellow realtor will cause many to spend a few moments trying to find a buyer for your listing.

Certainly, there is no end to the list detailed above. The idea is to make a plan prior to jumping into action. This plan can make a lot of sense when put into action. However, the choice is up to you. Do the work (and it’s work) or flip the listing on the multiple listing service, slip an ad in the paper, pop a sign on the property and hope and pray.

Clifford P. Weaver, S.E.C., CCIM (San Jose, California) was a member of the Society of Exchange Counselors. Mr. Weaver personally administered the real estate interests of multiple partnerships, corporations, and joint ventures throughout his career. His articles appeared in the leading national real estate journals. He was named S.E.C. “Counselor of the Year” in 1968, and was the 1975 President of the Society. He authored articles and books on Broker Estate Building and was a founder of the original S.E.C Real Estate News Observer. He created a real estate education program on Broker Estate Building and taught throughout the nation in the 1970s. Known for his creativity, good nature and fun-loving spirit, today, the S.E.C. honors his name with the Cliff Weaver Award for Most Creative Transaction of the Year.

One Comment »

  1. When it comes to houses, leave it to the experts! Thanks for sharing this!