How to Get Real Estate Listings

Three Methods:Finding Listings as a Real Estate AgentListing your Home for SaleUsing Listings as a Buyer

To list real estate is to put it on the market by posting it publicly. Electronic media has provided real estate agents with a plethora of new tools for finding clients who might be interested in listing their property. The rise of electronic media has also made it easy to search and post listings independently. However, because of the complexity of real estate exchanges, it is often better to work with an established agent.

Method 1
Finding Listings as a Real Estate Agent

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    Think about the market. In high end real estate markets like New York or San Francisco, you will need to spend money on meals and cards to finesse upscale clients. For low end markets, you might want to lower your commission and use the internet to find a variety of clients and focus on volume. New agents, without connections, might want to build on personal connections[1].
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    Build a database. You should build a database of contact information for people you know who could be clients. This includes friends and family or anyone with whom you have had a business relationship in the past. Offer to provide an estimate of the value of their home.
    • Most people are interested in knowing how much their home is worth. If they find that it is worth much more than they believed, they might be inclined to sell. Even if that is not the case, you have established a relationship with someone who might be inclined to get in touch with you when they do decide to sell.[2]
    • Send holiday or anniversary cards to individuals in the database. This will remind them about you and encourage them to get in touch when they want to relocate. If you send a card for the fifth or tenth year anniversary of the date on which you secured a property for a former client, you might find that they are back on the market.[3]
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    Look for expired listings. The MLS retains information for owners who have taken their property off their listings. Many of these owners might have been unable to sell their house at a reasonable price during the market downturn. If you contact them with good news about the prospects of their sale, you might find that they are interested in putting the house back on the market.[4]
    • MLS listings are available at
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    Network at open houses. When you stage an open house to advertise one of your current listings, you will meet a number of potential clients. Attendees are quite probably looking for an agent to help them buy a property, but might well be looking to sell their own property as well.[5]
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    Search Zillow's Make Me Move database. Zillow offers a service by which potential sellers indicate that they would be willing to sell their house if it reached a certain value. Search the database for people whose properties might have accrued enough value for them to sell.[6]
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    Look at rentals. Properties are often put on market for lease because the owner wasn't able to sell the house for as much as they would have liked. Now that the market has improved, it is possible the owner will reconsider selling the property. Contact them and offer to assess the value of the property.[7]
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    Visit houses with "for sale by owner signs." The owner here has decided to go it alone, but might be reevaluating that decision if the home has languished on the market for some time. Inform the owner that for sale by owner houses are often ignored by buying agents, and that with proper advertising you can sell the house for more than they can.[8]

Method 2
Listing your Home for Sale

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    Contact a real estate agent. A real estate agent should be able to market your house more effectively than you would. She will be able to sell your house faster and for a better price than you would. She will charge a fee of 5-7% of the total sale price of your house, but will often be able to compensate for that with a higher sale price.
    • Studies have shown that when real estate agents sell their own homes, they do so for on average 3% more than they sell their client’s houses for. That suggests that agents undervalue houses to sell them quicker. However, the increased volume of buyers they attract can counteract this effect.[9]
    • Conversely, home owners have a tendency to price their houses too high. This will mean that your house might languish on the market for a long time.[10]
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    List your own home. There are a variety of services that help you list your own home. Visit and for a list of local organizations that provide help pricing and advertising houses.[11] Visit to have your house listed on a variety of online databases, including the MLS.
    • In the end you might not be able to avoid paying half of the commission. That is because your real estate agent would usually split half of her commission with the buyer’s real estate. To secure the deal, you might need to give 3% of selling price to a buyer’s agent. [12]
    • Approximately 10% of home sales are conducted by the owner.[13]
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    Price your home. One of the most difficult parts of selling a home is picking a price that people are willing to pay, without going so low that you lose money in the sale. Begin by looking at comparable properties online to see what owners are asking for them. You should strongly consider finding a local appraiser to perform a professional valuation.[14]
    • Remember, you bought your house because it was to your taste. Not everyone will have the same preferences. It is very difficult to be objective when pricing your own home.
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    Advertise. Think about what makes your house special, take pictures that highlight its strengths and then cast a wide net. You should take out advertisements in local newspapers. You should also spend some money to have your price listed on the local “multiple listing service” (MLS). Don’t forget to design a sign to put outside of the house; this can often be an effective advertising tool because buyers interested in the area might already spend time there.
    • This process can cost money. The principal location for listing houses (MLS), can charge $400 a month.</ref></ref> charges around $80 a month for listing your property, though rates vary depending upon how extensive your advertising package is. Zillow, Yahoo! Real Estate, and Craigslist are free.[15]
    • Be sure to discuss any high-end fixtures or appliances that you have in the house. These might not be conveyed with pictures alone.[16]
    • If you do plan to pay the buyer’s agent, advertise this on the listing. Otherwise, agents will be less likely to inform their clients about your property.[17]</ref>
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    Be prepared to hire a lawyer. If you do find a buyer, you will ultimately need to draw up a contract. An improperly constructed sale contract can make you liable for a lot of money. It is important to have expert assistance from a lawyer who specializes in real estate.
    • The services of a lawyer should cost at least $300 per hour.
    • If you there are structural problems with the property that are not disclosed in the contract, you could be liable for a lawsuit.[18]

Method 3
Using Listings as a Buyer

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    Hire a real estate agent. The buyer’s real estate agent is paid for by the seller and so, in a sense, will be free. She will find houses for you, will tell you if the house is overpriced, and will help negotiate a lower price for you.
    • It is easy for buyers now to work without a real estate agent, but there is some safety in having a professional review a property on your behalf. Also, because you don’t pay your agent as a buyer, it isn’t clear that you will save money by not using an agent.
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    Find a house on your own. Now that most houses are advertised online, it is easy to find a house on your own. You might even be able to cast a wider net than your real estate agent would. While technically you won’t save any money looking for a house on your own, you might be able to negotiate the price of the home down.
    • You do not pay your agent but the price of your agent is built in the house. So, if you have opted not to use an agent, you should negotiate for a lower selling price. Normally the buyer’s agent would ask the sellers agent for a 3% commission on the sale. You should try to negotiate with the seller’s agent to lower their commission and then with the seller to lower the price.
    • Often a buyer’s real estate agent will not look at houses being sold by owner. If you are conducting the search on your own, you might have better access to these properties.
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    Review listings. Look up the local MLS online for a comprehensive list of local properties. All properties that are listed by a real estate agent should be listed on the MLS. Alternatively, visit for sale by owner, for a list of properties in your area that are being sold independently. [19]
    • Real estate agents used to have exclusive access to the MLS listings, making them a nearly indispensable part of the process. Now, however, these listings are publicly available at
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    Verify the price. One of the principle advantages of having a real estate agent is that she can tell you if a property is overpriced. However, there are other ways to do that. These include, hiring an appraiser, getting a CMA, and doing online research.
    • Websites like Yahoo Real Estate, Zillow, Find Comps Now, eppraisal, and Real Estate ABC will give you a free estimate of a property’s value. This is not a perfect system, but it will give you a sense as to whether the asking price is close enough to actual value to merit contracting out an appraiser.
    • Ask a real estate agent for a competitive market analysis. For approximately $75, she will give you an estimate of how much a property is really worth. Be sure to specify that you do not plan to contract with them as your agent in the sale.
    • For $400 you can have an appraiser estimate the value of the property. This will the most detailed and comprehensive analysis. Though this might seem pricey, at some point your bank will require that you have an appraiser look at the house before granting the loan. Consult with the bank to determine if it requires that a specific appraiser conduct the valuation.[20]

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Categories: Real Estate