The Complete Home Sellers Checklist (Interior Preparation)

Before putting your house on the market, make sure that every room inside your home has the best chance of passing the standards of even the most meticulous visitors.

It may seem like a daunting task, but don’t be overwhelmed. We made this complete checklist to help you get the job done.

Remember that first impressions last -- so it’s important to really strive to make your home stand out. Once you finish checking all the items on this list, your agent will then be ready to market your house at the best price possible.

How To Get Pre-Approved For A Home Mortgage Loan (It's Easier Than You Think!)

Getting pre-approved for a home mortgage loan may seem like a daunting task until you read on and find out that it doesn’t take much work!


If you’re eyeing a home that is the stuff of your dreams – good location, best imaginable layout and finishes, and reasonably priced -- the odds would be in your favor if you get a pre-approved mortgage loan. The process doesn’t happen overnight of course, but with enough patience and cooperation, it won’t be a hassle to jump through the hoops.

Be sure to know what a good credit score looks like, as well as how to prepare a gift letter.

Transactions between you and the lender will run smooth if you are attentive and cooperative. After all of the necessary documents are given, the automated underwriting system will give a pre-approval letter and will enumerate any conditions that need to be fulfilled for full approval.

Custom Branded Real Estate Website For Agents

You know, I think that if you ask an experienced agent what is one of the hardest things that you – you know, to do as a real estate, right? And they would say differentiation because at the end of the day, as there’s – just in San Diego, there are thousands of agents in this one city, right? I mean there are over two million realtors in the country. So when at the end of the day, you are looking to build a relationship, you’re looking to – with consumers, you’re looking to recruit other good agents, you have to differentiate yourself in some way, right?

Your kind of “storefront” on the web is your brand and website, right? What are consumers going to see when they come to your website? The reality is that if you use a platform like Sync or BoomTown or Conversion and whatever.

Every site that you have is going to look like the site that everyone else has. It is not unique in any other way and that doesn’t help promote your brand. What’s different about what we do here at Ylopo is we have invested in building – we will continue to improve on building the best possible home search experience that we can build. You don’t want that to be different for every person, right? Every consumer just wants the best possible experience for when they’re actually looking at home.

Btu we build our home search experience into a branded square space website that we build on your behalf., you might have seen their Super Bowl commercials. The reason that we’ve selected them as our branded side partner is because they have in my opinion by far the most intuitive content management system out there for any website builder.

What is a content management system? It’s a system that you use to go into – to edit the content, build a content, expand the content yourself, right? That’s just simply what it is. So what we’ve done with Squarespace is because we’ve built it on such a flexible platform, we will give you many beautiful templates to choose from in terms of what you want your home search experience to start off as. But that’s just the starting point.

From here, if you wanted to expand this from a brand perspective to look different, to highlight your uniqueness, to make it stand out, you can do that yourself through the very easy CMS that’s available for Squarespace. You can hire us to do it at a reasonable hourly rate or frankly, you can go on the web and find another Squarespace developer or designer where there’s – and there’s a ton of them out there to do that for you, right? So we don’t restrict your options. We actually give you more opportunity to build the brand and the website that truly defines and differentiates you. That’s something that none of our competitors can provide.

Worlds Best Home Search Site - For Real Estate Agents

So at Ylopo, we started all of our technology development and focus on the consumer home search site, because if you think about it, you’ve got to win the hearts and minds of the consumer first. Everything goes downstream of that.

If you don’t have that, if you don’t have the consumer mindshare, you don’t have great leads. If you don’t have great leads, you can’t build and grow your team and double your transactions. So one of the things that I’m always lecturing my team about and they’re sick and tired of hearing about it, but I will never stop talking about it, is our goal, our mission, our objective to have the world’s greatest search site.

It kind of sounds corny, right? But that means that we’re never going to stop. We’re never going to stop investing in building what could be the world’s greatest home search site and the devil is in the details, down to literally the low time of the site and the low time of homes, which really greatly affects do consumers stay on the site.

But we’re really, really focused on mobile, the mobile home search site experience because mobile keeps eating up the market share off of desktop in terms of digital time spent. So it keeps trending up and now the latest stats are that we’re at 68 to 70 percent of all of our digital time is on mobile, not on desktop.

So we damn better make sure that our mobile search experience is the best out there. That’s really, really critical. So we’re focused on mobile. That doesn’t mean that it’s a bad search experience on desktop at all. I mean it’s a great search experience on mobile. But instead of starting desktop and going mobile, which everyone else does, start mobile and then migrate to desktop.

The other future trend that we want to talk about is getting people back to the search site. It’s one thing to get them into the search site. But how do you get them back to the search site? So if your search site can be sending out listing alerts that are dynamic, dynamically changing, not just static, not just based on the first search the consumer ever ran, because maybe that first search they ever ran wasn’t really where they’re at. Maybe they found out that they qualify for a little less, qualify for a little more.

Maybe they changed their search. Maybe they decided, “You know what? We were thinking suburbs. Now we’re thinking city center,” or “We were thinking condo. But now we’re thinking single family home.”

Consumers’ search behaviors change. Wouldn’t it be cool if it could change with them? That’s what happens with Ylopo. We’re watching it. We’re watching their search behavior. As it moves and as it transforms, our listing alerts are being modified automatically to be responsive to what the consumer really wants.

So building the world’s greatest search site, it’s about building a site that’s going to capture them. But it’s also about building an experience that’s going to keep them coming back to the Ylopo search site, which is your search site that you’re licensing from us. All of this is preventing them from ever going on to the big portals and it’s preventing them from ever going back to the big portals. They don’t want to. They don’t need to. They’re going to tell you we love the search site. It’s simple. It’s easy to use. I get all the information I want. You’ve got it.

So the Ylopo search site is something that we’re building for you, our client. You, the real estate agent. They’re going to see your brand throughout the search site. As a matter of fact, we built something really cool in the listings gallery view where after every few homes, they can actually see your brand. They can see a message from you. They can see testimonials about you. They can see a video from you. So it’s your brand very subtly throughout the search site without any clutter from any other advertisers. So really the search site is something you’re just licensing from us. But it’s your local area search site. It’s branded by you. It’s brought by you to the consumer.

Ylopo is very, very invisible to the consumer. It’s not a consumer brand. It’s really just a brand that you guys see, but not a brand that the consumers never see. They just see great homes in your area brought to them by you.

Lead Nurturing & Lead Cultivation ...

You know, as I’ve said before, it’s one thing to capture a lead. But the real trick in this business is to get the lead coming back to my client’s search site over and over and over again. We obsess about statistics, statistics like what percentage of the time do they come back to a listing alert. What percentage of the time do they click through? How many homes do they look at on the second time if they visit the site? How long are they there? What’s their length of stay, right? The time and the visit.

All of these statistics are really, really important. I think about three major ways of cultivating, nurturing, incubating leads. We’re helping our clients do that. We’ve already talked about listing alerts, right? A lot of people do listing alerts. But the old school way is very static. You remember their first search. Keep getting them homes there and it’s just a static experience. The future as I said before, it’s dynamic. It’s watching the consumer search behavior change and having the listing alerts being very responsive and really targeted to what they’re searching for now and if they’ve changed from looking at condos in the city center to looking at single family homes in the suburbs, the listing alerts need to change as well. So we’ve talked about that.

The second really, really cool thing that we’re doing are these intelligent behavioral communications and this is using algorithms, artificial intelligence to automatically notice when the consumer search activity is getting elevated when they’re saving searches, when they’re tagging homes as favorites, when they’re looking at homes more than three or four times. That’s a huge cue. We want to send an automated message to you that they’ve looked at a home three or four times. But we also want to send an automated text right to the consumer. Hey, I’ve noticed you’ve looked at 123 Main Street four times. Would you like to go see the home or can I send you a few more homes that match that home exactly? Really, really cool stuff. So we can look at six, seven, eight different behaviors that would elicit basically an automated text response.

Now we never, never want to over-text consumers. You never want consumers thinking that they’re on these automated drip campaigns. We think that’s the past. We want them every once in a while when it’s right, to get a little text from our agent that seems very personal and is a call to action.

When all of a sudden my client – when my Ylobo client gets a response on their cell phone and says, “Yes, I would like to go see 124 Main Street,” my client loves it because they didn’t do anything. The system did it for them automatically. So, intelligent behavioral communications is number two.

Number three, which is really exciting is the shift that we’re seeing in what we call “remarketing and retargeting”. A lot of real estate tech companies out there that talk about remarketing and retargeting. But they’re really doing it in an old school way, which is getting your brand back in front of the consumer when the consumer is online in their Facebook news feed or they’re on or, wherever they are. But that’s really generic, right? We have all this data. Why aren’t we using it? We know exactly where they’re searching, what towns, what price range, what type of structure. We have all this data. Why don’t we use it?

So when we go back and remarket or retarget to that consumer, why are we just getting our brand? Sure, let’s get our brand. But let’s wrap that brand around a specific new home on the market that matches their search requests exactly. So if that consumer in your area is looking for a single family home, three bedrooms plus, between $400,000 and $500,000 and we know that, shame on us if in our remarketing message we don’t show them a new home in the market. That’s $450,000, three bedrooms plus, right in the towns that they’re looking and that’s what we can do now.

The analogy would be you guys all notice that sometimes maybe you’ve looked at shoes or you’ve looked at cars and then all of a sudden, lo and behold a week later, you’re online searching and there’s the shoe, right? Or there’s the car. But specifically, what if we got more granular?

What happens if – not only did we just see a message from let’s say Amazon generically about a specific sort of type of shoe. But what about if it’s an actual dollar offer on a specific brand of shoe that we looked at, look like? That offer came from a shoe store that was five minutes away. That’s how granular remarketing and retargeting is getting and that’s how granular it should get in our world in the world of real estate technology.

Lead QUALITY Over Lead Quantity

Lead quality versus lead quantity. And it’s true. I keep talking about it. But specifically, what are we doing at Ylopo to solve this problem of really poor lead quality across the industry?

First off, for our clients, we really dig in. We don’t treat every client the same. We really dig in. What type of market are you in? Are you in a normal sort of bread and butter, bedroom community or are you in a military market or are you in a second home vacation market? These things matter because we’re doing digital marketing across the internet. We’re across social. We’re across search. But not everyone should be across the internet. If you’re on a vacation market, potentially a military market, you want to be really, really heavily looking at search.

If you’re in a normal bedroom community, you want to really heavily look at Facebook. Most areas, we’re going to do both. We’re going to be across search and social. But the bottom line is that some of my clients love the social leads more than they love the search leads. So quality very often is also in the eye of the license holder or the eye of the beholder. What type of leads do you like? Do you like the social leads? Do you like the Facebook leads where you have sky-high email and phone number validity, where you can target all of the homeowners in your sphere or do you like search leads? Do you like leads where we’re not broadcasting to you? But search leads have intent. They’re coming on looking for certain things.

So my clients are different and we’re always optimizing, always changing that mix. So that’s the first thing that’s really, really important. But whether we’re doing search or social, what we want to do now is take all of this demographic information that’s now available and not treat every campaign the same. We want to basically go out for example on search and not necessarily bid on all the traffic the same. There are people who are coming in searching for homes in your area. They all live in different zip codes. All of those different zip codes that they live in have different profiles. So we can bid differently on the zip codes, where people are searching from, that we have – that we know that have been proven as higher value. That’s really, really important.

On social, we can actually – with pinpoint accuracy, we can target those demographic groups that are much more likely to transact in the next three to six months. So those folks that we know that are going to be ready to trade up, those folks that are going to be ready to trade down, those folks who are investors. So there are 15 different groups that we will go after as those groups who are much more likely to want to transact.

So using all of this sort of behavioral, psychographic information, demographic information, to be much more efficient on the traffic that we’re actually bidding for every day. One of the most important things above almost everything else is the fact that we’re really focused on lead exclusivity and while a lot of people say they produce a truly exclusive lead, in reality, I can go and register on let’s say one of my competitors’ sites. I’m going to register on 10 different sites in your market today. I can go register because they’re oversold. They’re all over the place. I can go register on 10 different sites today and they will sell me 10 different times.

But we won’t do that at Ylopo. So if somebody tries to register on a second Ylopo site and they’ve already registered on a prior client site, we will redirect them back. We know who they are. We will redirect them back, so it is a truly exclusive lead and that’s why we just simply won’t produce as many leads in a market as everyone else.

Above and beyond that, the thing I’m most excited about is lead filtration and this is the – this goes back to Ylopo which is the last five letters of the word “monopoly” spelled backwards, turning things on its head. Everyone else is incentivized to produce as many leads as possible. We’re the opposite.

So we’re actually showing messages to people as they’re searching. We’re actually going to ask them a lot more questions, so that we can filter out those consumers who really aren’t ready to transact, people who have timeframes that are way too long, people who are just casually browsing, people who aren’t really serious. We can filter them out and the only way we can do that is by asking a lot of questions. Well, the dirty little secret in digital marketing is the more messaging, the – every single additional question drives people away, which my competitors don’t want to do. But in reality, we want to do that. We want to drive people away who are not really ready.

Now, we don’t throw them away. We can actually put them in what we call the Ylopo cauldron. So we just don’t have to sell them to our realtors, right? Because they’re not a great lead yet. But we can cauldron them. We can still let those people come back in the future and search and if their search activity heats up, we can pop them. As they heat up, pop them out of the cauldron and then get them to our clients. So that’s really counterintuitive. But it raises lead quality sky high. Filter out those leads that are just not ready.

What Is Ylopo?

2016 Club Wealth Conference - Las Vegas

Everyone was asking me, “What the heck does Ylopo mean?” Well, Ylopo is the last five letters of the word “monopoly” spelled backwards. Symbolically turning the ultimate game of real estate on its head. So it’s true. Back in 2007, which was a decade ago, when we founded TigerLead, it was a whole new ballgame for realtors.

I was talking to realtors about why they needed to do digital marketing, direct return on investment marketing. We really changed the industry. So Ylopo is the next generation. It’s looking back over the last 10 years saying, “Everyone is still doing the same darn thing.” We started doing it in 2007. So our focus is an obsession about lead quality versus lead quantity.

One of the things that I lecture about the most is what has happened in our industry over the last 10 years. Home sales have done this. We always sell between five and six million homes every single year. No matter what’s going on, it’s a buyer’s market, a seller’s market, we do that.

Have you seen what’s going on with lead generation in our industry? It’s exponential. It’s global warming. It’s geometric. It’s this. What does that mean for you guys? It’s really, really bad news. OK? Leads that are not responsive. Leads that have been called by 20 other realtors. Leads with bad phone numbers. Leads with bad emails. There’s a massive lead glut in this industry. That’s what we’re trying to solve.

I have a very bad business model at Ylopo. I have very, very few clients in any market. San Diego has 50,000 realtors. I just was told that today by someone here. We have two clients. We’re sold out in San Diego. We are getting sold out quickly, because I just can’t have that many clients, because if you are incentivized to have a lot of clients, that means you’re incentivized to produce as many leads as possible. We’re the opposite. We’re Ylopo. We’re turning on its head. OK?

We do things that actually turn bad leads away. We ask them lots of questions. We only target certain types of folks that are more likely to transact. So I can’t even say hello in two minutes, let alone try to explain my product.  

So just sign up for a demo. We’re running two demos in the day, every single day. Sign up for a demo. There’s a lot there to absorb. It is a full platform.

I have the best technology team I’ve ever had in my life, rapid technology development, and we’re a start-up. We’re 15 people. I’m not 200 people. I’m not owned by some giant conglomerate. It’s me. It’s Howard. You can have my cell phone. You can text me on Sunday. Everybody knows it, right?

Small family, small company. So we’re a start-up. A lot more tech. Where we’re going to be a year from now we’re back here, it’s going to be unbelievable.

5 Biggest Mistakes that Real Estate Agents Make ...

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