Real Estate Buyers Checklist For Realtors: 3 Amazing Free Samples To Keep You Organized

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We know how tough it is being a buyer’s agent.

First, you’re busy—meeting clients, scouring the MLS for suitable properties, attending property viewings, and negotiating deals all take time. 

Then there’s the competition. The real estate industry is hot and the best properties get many offers. If your clients’ offer isn’t accepted, you won’t get paid. 

This leaves buyer’s agents with very little time to focus on the closing process. 

Closing is a notoriously complicated process. If you miss any key dates or lose track of important documents, the deal could be delayed—or worse, fall through. 

It’s therefore critical that the closing process runs as smoothly as possible once your client does get an offer accepted. 

The best way for a buyer’s agent to do this is by using checklists to help keep their real estate deals on track.

This article provides three free checklist templates that a buyer’s real estate agent can use. 

These are included free with Paperless Pipeline. If you like them and want to access more, sign up for a free trial today. 

Why Using Checklists Helps a Buyer’s Agent

Most of the buyer’s checklists that you can download for free focus on the real estate sales process—in other words bringing clients in, and helping them with house hunting and the assessment of multiple homes.  

But most buyer’s agents don’t need a checklist for this—they love finding properties for their clients and they are good at it. 

However, very few enjoy the closing process. This period starts when the contract is signed and ends when the deal closes. 

It involves a lot of paperwork and this is where things are most likely to go wrong if a buyer’s agent is disorganized. 

The checklists on this page have been designed to help buyer’s agents keep each deal progressing at a good pace after their client’s offer has been accepted. 

They help them to:

Stay organized

This is the most important reason. Many agents think that once an offer has been accepted they can move on to the next client. 

But the next stage is just as critical. If you miss key dates or lose documents, your real estate deal could be delayed, or even fall through.

This not only costs you money but also damages your reputation.

Using checklists ensures you know what needs to be done and when. It also means that anyone else involved in the deal—think your broker or transaction coordinator—can see what stage it is at.

Save time

There’s no bigger waste of time than sifting through notes and emails trying to remember what stage a deal is at. 

By syncing your checklist with your calendar you can see exactly what you need to do that day to keep the deal moving forward. 

This means you can spend more time helping clients to find their dream homes. 

Predict revenues

Here’s a benefit of using checklists that your typical buyer’s agent forgets about. If you know the different stages that a deal needs to go through before it can close, you can predict when you will get paid. 

You can also predict how likely a deal is to fall through. 

For example, a deal that is at final walkthrough is nearly complete. There is little risk of a critical issue and you are likely to close the deal in a week.

But if an offer has only just been accepted there is still a long way to go and any number of issues could arise.

The Real Estate Buying Process Explained

Before we give you some examples of buyer’s checklists, let’s remind ourselves what the real estate buying process looks like.

Here’s a quick overview:

Meet your buyer

This is usually a short 30-minute meeting where you build an initial relationship with your client, tell them how you work and find out what kind of property they want. It can take place in an office, coffee shop, or even over a video call.

Sign the paperwork

There’s a myriad of paperwork that needs to be signed in the buying process, including your own contract. Get as much of it signed upfront as you can.

Mortgage pre-approval

Ideally your clients will get a pre-approval letter for mortgage finance before they start searching for properties. Getting it early means they’ll have a clear idea of how much money they have to work with. As a result, making an offer and negotiating will be much easier.

Research properties

Start looking for properties that match the buyer’s requirements. Send them a shortlist and book viewings at the ones that appeal to them. 

View properties

Go to property viewings with your clients. This will help you get a better idea of what they like. You can also advise them on things like the cost of potential repairs.

Making an offer and negotiations

If your buyers like the look of a property then you can advise them on a suitable offer. If they agree, send their offer to the seller’s agent. They will either accept it, reject it, or make a counteroffer. You can then make another counteroffer on behalf of your clients. This process can continue until an offer is accepted or rejected. 

Under contract

Once an offer has been accepted, the property is under contract. 

Closing process

Once a property is under offer, it triggers a number of processes and deadlines that need to be fulfilled. This includes things like:

  • Home inspections
  • Title searches
  • Removing contract contingencies
  • Getting home insurance
  • Negotiating repairs
  • And more 

Get the keys

Once the closing process is complete, the buyer and seller sign the closing documents and the buyer gets the keys. 

3 Buyer’s Agent Checklists

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Each of these checklists takes a different approach to the transaction management process. 

You can choose which one works best for you. We recommend customizing them to suit your way of working.

Many buyers won’t know what’s expected of them during the buying process or closing process—especially first-time buyers. 

It’s therefore a good idea to meet with your buyers before you view any properties and go through the checklist to explain the buying process and what they can expect. 

A checklist will ensure that they understand which stages are urgent and it will allow them to prepare the relevant information on time.

If there are any parts of the checklist that you can fulfill in advance, then do so—don’t leave everything until after your buyer has had an offer accepted. 

  1. Pending buyer checklist

This buyer checklist example is tailored to suit real estate teams. It includes two tasks relating to approving a mortgage loan, just in case this is something you are providing as a service. 

It also notably includes sending a gift to buyers at closing. This shows you to value their business and helps you retain their loyalty. 

TaskRelative due date
Send contract timeline to buyers1 calendar day after acceptance date
Send buyers a list of home inspectors1 calendar day after acceptance date
Earnest money check2 calendar days after acceptance date
Schedule home inspectionTBD
Fully signed contract with buyersTBD
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure signed by seller and buyers (if applicable)TBD
Conditional loan approval due (if financing)TBD
Final loan approval due (if financing)TBD
Send utility list to buyers5 calendar days after acceptance date
Confirm closing date and time with client7 calendar days before close date
Send gift to buyersOn close date
  1. Pending documents checklist

This checklist example features several tasks related to the paperwork required for a pending transaction. Keep in mind that different states require completion of different forms. It is always a good idea to check with your state to see exactly what forms are needed. 

TaskRelative due date
Agency Disclosure1 calendar day after acceptance date
Business Disclosure1 calendar day after acceptance date
Buyer’s Affidavit1 calendar day after acceptance date
Purchase Agreement1 calendar day after acceptance date
Physical Inspection Report/Waiver3 calendar days after acceptance date
Toxic Mold Disclosure3 calendar days after acceptance date
Transfer Disclosure Statement 3 calendar days after acceptance date
Buyer’s Election of Inspection3 calendar days after acceptance date
Water Certification7 calendar days after acceptance date
Smoke Detector Certification7 calendar days after acceptance date
Termite Report14 calendar days after acceptance date
Home Warranty21 calendar days after acceptance date
  1. Contract-to-close checklist

Once an offer has been accepted by a seller, a contract is signed and the closing process begins.

This checklist focuses on this critical period. It is highly detailed and there are a lot of strict due dates that must be met.

However, it’s also the stage where mistakes can creep in and cause a transaction to fall through.

Many real estate agents are simply better at generating leads and selling properties than dealing with the deadlines and documents involved in the closing process.

Because of this, the contract-to-close phase is well-suited for transaction coordinators or a closing agent.

TaskRelative due date
Additional deposit due2 business days after acceptance date
Buyer to submit loan application3 business days after acceptance date
Buyer initial deposit to escrow or title company3 business days after acceptance date
Seller to deliver list of inventory to buyer5 business days after acceptance date
Verification of cash funds (if applicable)5 business days after acceptance date
Pre-qualification letter due5 business days after acceptance date
Buyer inventory review period endsTBD
Seller’s Disclosure delivered to buyer10 business days after acceptance date
Buyer Acknowledgement of Receiving Seller’s Disclosure10 business days after acceptance date
Property Inspection Completion by buyer14 business days after acceptance date
Title search and tenancy due15 business days after acceptance date
Seller’s disclosure review period ends15 business days after acceptance date
Conditional Loan Commitment Letter (if applicable)15 business days before closing date
Survey (if applicable)14 business days before closing date
Satisfaction of lender’s conditionsTBD
Final walkthrough by buyer5 business days before closing date
Seller removal of items from property5 business days before closing date
Interior/exterior cleaning5 business days before closing date
Scheduled closing dateOn close date
Home inspection schedule dateTBD
Survey schedule dateTBD
Termite inspection dateTBD
Condo Documents order dateTBD
Appraisal DateTBD

9 Tips for Better Buyer Checklists

Here are some general tips to help you make the best use of your checklists. 

  1. Personalize checklists

Whether you’re using one of the checklists above or a digital solution like Paperless Pipeline, be sure to adjust each checklist so it suits the individual client, agent, property, and market. 

For example, the transaction process for first-time buyers purchasing a small city center apartment will be very different to someone buying a 30-acre ranch via foreclosure.   

  1. Talk your clients through your checklists

Many clients won’t know or remember what to expect from the real estate transaction process. 

Therefore your checklists serve as a useful guide to talk them through each stage of the buying process. You can tell them what will happen and what is expected of them.

This prepares your clients and ensures that there are no surprises. However, knowing deadlines and important milestones will also help ensure they complete their tasks on time.

  1. Use checklists to understand your clients’ dream homes

Checklists don’t just need to guide you through transaction processes. They can also be used to establish the type of home your client desires.

Include things like:

  • Price range
  • Type of property
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Number of other rooms
  • Size of kitchen
  • Size of garden
  • Drive?
  • Garage?
  • Pool?
  • Any outbuildings?
  1. Create a checklist to record client reactions 

Similar to above, checklists can also be used to record your clients’ reactions once they have seen your prospective properties.

As you take them around the property, check off all the different things they like about it. You can also list more abstract factors like first impressions and value for money.   

  1. Talk about inspections early 

You need to act fast to get inspections completed, so it’s a good idea to have a separate checklist for this and to talk your clients through it.

Have a list of trusted home inspectors on hand who you can recommend to your clients.

It may also be worth having a checklist of things to look out for in the inspection report. If anything is missing, then you could question the inspector on behalf of your clients. 

This could include:

  • Is the home well-insulated?
  • Are there drainage issues?
  • Are the electrical components safe?
  • Is the plumbing in good condition?
  • Is the boiler in good working order?
  • Is there any damp or mold present?
  • Are the foundations solid?
  1. Check in on your clients’ progress

Some parts of your checklist will rely on your clients taking action. Don’t assume they will meet deadlines. They are just as likely to lose paperwork or miss critical milestones. 

Give them a friendly call a few days before a deadline to make sure they have everything they need and they are still on track to submit it. 

This gives you time to deal with any issues and avoids a last-minute panic.

  1. Partner with lenders

Getting a mortgage pre-approval letter is an important step on your checklist. You can speed up this stage and provide a better service for your clients by partnering with a local mortgage broker or lender. 

This presents a lead generation opportunity for both parties. By partnering with a lender you can offer finance to your clients. Equally, they can recommend your real estate agent services to their finance customers. 

  1. Partner with a closing company

Partnering with a closing company allows you to recommend a trusted business to clients. But there’s also another benefit. 

Getting their expertise on submitting documents and meeting deadlines will help develop a more efficient process. For example, they will know many common title issues and will be able to help you create a checklist that avoids them. 

  1. Be specific about tasks

Be as granular as possible when it comes to adding tasks to your checklist. This ensures there is no confusion and nothing is missed.

Think about each step and task that each person involved in the transaction needs to take. For example, home inspection can be broken down into many steps, like attending the inspection report, asking questions, approving the report, sending the approved report, etc.

How a Real Estate Agent Can Use Checklists to Boost Their Business

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Simply having a checklist isn’t enough—especially if you host it on a spreadsheet. 

For example, what happens on those busy days when you have hundreds of things to do? How can you guarantee that you’ll remember to look at your checklist?

What happens if you download a copy to use on the road? Can you guarantee that you will update the master copy back at the office?

The answer in both cases is no. So you need a transaction management system that is built around your checklists—like Paperless Pipeline.

Our transaction management software bases each deal around a checklist (or multiple checklists). This then becomes the heart of your real estate business, helping to drive every deal toward completion. 

Here’s how our checklists help keep you on track:

  • Your checklists sync with emails and calendars providing you with daily task reminders and to-do lists that ensure you don’t miss a single deadline.
  • Checklists can be automatically applied every time you open a new transaction. This allows you to instantly auto-populate due dates and reminders in your calendar. This saves you lots of time.
  • The checklist acts as a single source of truth—in other words if a task is checked off the list, you (and any colleagues working with you on the transaction) can be confident that it has been completed. 
  • Paperless Pipeline can be accessed from any device anywhere, so tasks can be seamlessly managed—no matter where you are working. 

Speed Up Your Clients’ Home Buying Process with Paperless Pipeline

If you’re a buyer’s agent and you’ve found these checklists useful, take advantage of our other free real estate transaction management resources, including:

Our complete guide to transaction coordinator checklists. This explains how to tell if you are coordinating transactions well, how checklists can give you the edge over your competitors, and how to create expert-level transaction coordinator checklists in four steps.

Our free transaction management spreadsheet. This helps you organize your real estate business by enabling you to:

  • Manage transactions.
  • Keep track of key dates.
  • Quickly and easily add key data. 
  • Filter your transactions by key areas.
  • Get an overview of the most critical data.

A guide to simplifying the real estate transaction process. This provides five steps to improve and streamline your real estate transaction process.

Or sign up for a free trial of Paperless Pipeline. You’ll discover more checklists and access tools to use them more effectively.