After you put a client’s home on the market, interested buyers will have questions about the home. That’s where a listing information package becomes your secret weapon! The sooner you can answer a buyer’s questions, the more you speed up their decision-making. Learn how one agent has created a perfect listing information package to proactively sell more listings. —-
When you’re selling a home, it helps to anticipate a buyer’s questions.
“I had one listing that had some pools of water in certain places in the backyard,” says Danii Sedillo, a top agent of 15 years in the El Paso, Texas, area.
That sounds like the kind of problem that would cause alarm for any buyer looking at the home. But not to worry; the problem was already solved and explained in Sedillo’s listing information package.
“Because of that pooling, the home builder put in a filter to help with removing the water, and, so far, heavy rain has never been a problem. The water is always gone within a day or two.”
Sedillo’s sellers didn’t want the future buyers to be alarmed if they noticed water collecting in the yard, so she encouraged her clients to write a letter explaining that a solution was already in place. She included this letter in her listing information package to ensure that buyers were fully informed and wouldn’t run into any post-purchase rainy day surprises.
In this article, we’re going to outline what a listing information package is and why you should have one, then we’ll cover what goes into a stand-out package and how you can present your information to buyers. With tips from Sedillo and an introduction to Disclosures.io, one of our favorite resources for real estate agents, you’ll learn everything you need to know about enhancing your sales by answering buyer questions before they even have to ask.
What exactly is a listing information package and why do I need one?
A good listing information packet serves as a form of proactive marketing. When a buyer takes interest in a house — whether they’ve found it themselves or through their agent — they’re going to have questions.
Buyers will, of course, be curious about the home itself in regard to:
- Size and amenities
- Build year and materials
- Upgrades and recent maintenance efforts
- Areas of concern, such as opportunities for renovation or impending repair needs
But there’s always more to any listing story. When a home appears to be a viable candidate for a buyer, they’ll also want to know more about:
- The neighborhood
- Property values
- The HOA, if applicable
- School districts
- Public infrastructure
- Nearby shopping and dining
While it’s logical to assume that this research can be guided by the buyer’s agent, imagine the time saved if you’ve already compiled these pertinent details into an easily accessible, user-friendly packet of information.
Sedillo puts together what she calls a “home book” for each of her listings, and she does so largely in part to avoid those potential agent-adjacent delays.
“In my market, we have a military installation and a border patrol; people are constantly referring in and out and they may not have the facts of the city. They might ask their agent a few questions and I always assume that the buyer has an inexperienced buyer’s agent.”
Sedillo’s approach isn’t meant to offend. During whirlwind days where buyers may be viewing several homes and defining characteristics begin to blur, her aim is simply to protect her seller from missing out on offers due to unanswered questions.
“I don’t want that buyer to walk away with multiple questions and for the buyer’s agent to say, ‘Well, let’s go take a look at this other house and I can reach out to the listing agent later to get that question answered,’ because they usually never do,” Sedillo says.
In short: a listing information package is a win-win for everyone involved.
Your seller will be impressed with your proactive approach, the buyer’s agent will appreciate the saved effort on their end, and buyers themselves won’t have to worry about overlooking details that may later derail a transaction.
So, what should go into the perfect listing information package?
When it’s time to assemble your listing information packet, start with the basics:
- Home specs
- Square footage
- Bedrooms and bathrooms
- Special features (deck, garage, basement, renovations, etc.)
- Asking price
- Seller disclosures as required by your state or local MLS, which may include:
- Knowledge of structural or material defects
- Hazardous materials (lead-based paint, asbestos)
- Water damage
- Death in the home
- Neighborhood nuisances (think shooting range, industrial activity, train tracks)
- Historic district restrictions
- Property survey
- Floor plan
- Recent inspection reports
- HOA articles
Next, consider your package’s potential for above-and-beyond items. Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer — what more would you like to know if you were considering this home?
- Neighborhood data such as demographics, crime statistics, and median home values
- Information on school districts
- Details on local infrastructure and public services, like access to public transportation, distance to parks, fitness centers, hospitals, groceries, and so on
- Relevant utility providers
To ensure compliance with the Fair Housing Act, agents may feel more comfortable with simply sharing resources where buyers can go to find more information, such as NeighborhoodScout.com and GreatSchools.org.
Sedillo’s listing packets dig deep, providing information on everything from contact details of the builder if the home is a custom-build, to a list of recommended cafes and restaurants in the area. She also includes information on any service providers that have been in regular use by the seller.
“If my sellers have certain contractors who come in and out all the time, like the guy who maintains the fireplace, or the one who is responsible for the pool service, or the air conditioning, or maybe they have a landscaper they’re using on a regular basis — since those people are already familiar with that particular home, I would like the future homebuyer to have that information,” shares Sedillo.
Finally, she asks her sellers to write a letter to the future buyer. The letter is an opportunity to share what they love about the home and the neighborhood, as well as offer preemptive reassurance on unusual quirks about the house — like how that pooling water in the backyard after heavy rain is not actually a cause for alarm.
Presenting a listing information package
You’ve done the legwork to compile valuable information for potential buyers, now let’s make those details accessible.
Perfect in print
While our digital age may have turned yesterday’s flyer boxes into today’s QR codes, there’s still value in tangible documents. The COVID-19 pandemic has likely shifted your open house routines, but buyers are almost certainly still walking through a house before they’ll even consider making an offer.
Sedillo presents her packets in the form of a detailed binder that potential buyers are welcome to peruse during home walkthroughs. Her books open with a cover page of pertinent property information and pricing, while the next page summarizes the features of the house and any special incentives offered by the seller, then subsequent pages reveal her wealth of information as outlined above.
Due to the expansive, highly customized nature of her listing materials, Sedillo requests that her home books remain on the property.
“So many buyer’s agents ask me if they can keep the book,” she says. “I tell them that this is only for the future buyer. So I say, ‘If your buyer is ready to write an offer that we’re going to accept, it definitely goes to your buyer, but if not, please leave it on the premises,’ and I’ve never had an issue.”
If print isn’t an option for you, or perhaps in addition to your print booklet, HomeLight has a new tool that allows you to offer an online listing information package to buyer agents and their clients. Read on to learn more about Disclosures.io.
Delightful in digital
Even if your seller still prefers putting pen to paper, being able to effectively collaborate with other agents and tech-savvy buyers is key when it comes to navigating a high-stakes transaction. This means that your listing information package — no matter how glossy your in-house printed copy may be — should be accessible in a digital format and ready to present to prospective buyers.
You’re undoubtedly familiar with digital presentation options like PDFs and PowerPoint slides, and maybe you have a website or YouTube channel for your listings. Or, if you’re using a customer relationship management (CRM) system for your real estate business, you may have found a useful marketing tool within your chosen platform.
Those are all fine and good, but for today’s busy agents, the value of sharing information in a way that is secure and easily accessible to involved parties cannot be overstated. The human attention span is only trending downward; patience wears thin when buyers have to ask their agents to ask you follow-up questions about the home they’re watching a video on in one hand while flipping through a brochure in the other. Disclosures.io alleviates these concerns.
With Disclosures.io, you can:
- Organize all of your documents — marketing materials, property reports, contracts, everything — in one location
- Present listing information to clients and other agents in a professional, readable, user-friendly layout
- Monitor your efforts with reports on buyer interest, where you’ll see who has opened and read which documents and when, allowing you to identify what’s working, what needs improvement, and even anticipate upcoming offers
Disclosures.io helps agents create consistency and boost sales efficiency, all while keeping information secure and confidential. There’s no syndicating to major real estate portals, and you’ll never have to worry about the contents of your listing information package appearing in search engine results.
With a great listing information package, knowledge is power
After breaking things down, it’s clear to see how an all-encompassing listing information package — whether print, digital, or both — can help you (and your seller!) accelerate toward the closing table.
Clear, concise, relevant information facilitates the ability to make smart choices, which can result in an offer coming across your desk in less time and with fewer back-and-forth questions.
Sedillo has been assembling her home books for 7 years now — a process she admittedly enjoys so much that she refers to making them as her own little treat — and the positive feedback is a constant reward.
“I hear from buyers that they’re just blown away by the amount of information,” Sedillo shares. “They’ll say, ‘I didn’t even have to ask my agent anything. Any possible question I had was already answered just by looking at your book!’
“I don’t mind if it takes a lot of time and effort to make. I know that not a lot of agents do this, which helps set my listings apart.”
Header Image Source: (Dean Drobot / ShutterStock)
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