Listing with a real estate company is like asking someone to go steady with you. You're trusting that it will be an enjoyable friendship.  

But, you're not in high school anymore, so let's get smart about thinking ahead. Let's make sure your listing agent and you have an honest and mutually profitable relationship.  

Here are five ways to guarantee your Realtor will be impressed with both you and your home, so that she's glad to be working with you!

Schedule an inspection

The best way to get ready for selling (besides staging your home!) is to hire a home inspector. Realtors love a pre-inspected home. 

Most buyers will hire their own professional inspection because their lender will require it.  For every black mark a buyer sees on an inspection report, the price and his enthusiasm go down.  

By hiring an inspector before you list, you're ahead of the game. There are plenty of DIY fixes you can do yourself or that can be tackled by an experienced handyman. Check faucets and drains, the toilets, your doorbell, all lights, the thermostat, and any appliances that will convey. Here is a checklist of what inspectors look for.  

Good curb appeal is what tells buyers it's worth 
looking at the details, whether they drive by or see it online. 

Know what her rules are

Any healthy relationship depends on good communication. Know how your agent will contact you -- by phone call or text or another notification system. How does she feel about you showing the home yourself if friends or neighbors show interest in buying it?  Will she give you feedback after she shows it to clients? 

Ask about your agent's marketing plan so you know what's expected of you. Does she plan an open house? (Most agents don't do this anymore.) Does she prequalify her clients so she knows they are not just looky-loos? Does she want your home to be available for short-notice showings? Do your pets have to vacate for viewings? Does she expect fresh floral arrangements in your house every week? Working closely with your listing agent will increase the likelihood of a clear and friendly ongoing relationship.

Flowers and plants are a must for homestaging.
It's your choice whether you use real or fake ones,
or a mix of both in each arrangement.
Diane at In My Own Style blog decorated her foyer
with these silk peonies, but added water
to the vase for a touch of reality

View your house online

If you have not done this yet, Google your address and see what comes up. Correct any mistakes in your info if you can on the owner's online dashboard. Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia make it fairly easy., not so much. Is the square footage correct? Are the numbers for baths and bedrooms correct? Those are the most important stats online that home shoppers check. 

Are the photos in your present listing out of date? If the online photos are unflattering or too private, delete them. Make sure the profile photo is fairly recent and shows good curb appeal, even if once you're planning to have professional photos taken once you list.  

Sometimes older photos of your home appear online. 
Or your Realtor may judge your home from its
previous condition. Be the PR agent for your property!

While you're researching your own home online, check who your competition will be. It's easy to do by entering a few facts about your own home as though you were a shopper, and see what pops up in your area and price range. Doing this will help you have a realistic conversation with your listing agent about how to market your home. 

Remember, there may be benefits your home or neighborhood has that your listing agent may not know about. Check your listing before it goes live. Get in the driver's seat instead of signing off on all decisions. I have previewed and then rewritten the real estate sales copy of some of my homes once I saw what my well-meaning but naive Realtor wrote.   

Be clear on what conveys

I will assume that you plan to stage your home. Not all real estate agents know the value of staging. Hire one who will support your decision. Make sure your agent knows what stays with the property so she can do an accurate listing. Often appliances such as washers and dryers, microwaves, closet shelving, hot tubs, pools, outdoor sheds, playsets, and outdoor ornaments are negotiable items.

Some sheds are portable and some are stationary.
If you have a shed, let your listing agent know
whether it conveys. Photo: Lowes

It's smart to let your agent know when some of the furniture is rented. Often people purchasing a second home or one they plan to use as a short-term rental (Airbnb or VRBO) are eager to buy the whole package! I like to work with a small local rental company if additional furnishings are necessary. They are more likely than a major chain to offer flexible, friendly service. I'm more aware than ever of things like delayed deliveries, complicated contracts, and data breaches that can occur with larger corporations.

Price it fairly

Be realistic about the value of your home. Listen to your agent and don't be greedy, but don't underestimate its attributes. Your Realtor should show you comparable properties -- on paper or online. Since location is a major puzzle piece for establishing a fair asking price, educate yourself by driving by homes comparable to yours to judge the neighborhoods' amenities, and compare them to yours.  

Tell your agent what improvements you have made and what they cost. Get as specific as possible. Give her details like the brands of appliances and the dates of upgrades. A Realtor has a job to do, and I have learned that if you can make someone's job easier, you have made a friend. 

A broker is trained to negotiate, so give her
some variables. If she brings an offer that
is below your asking price, offer to leave
the washer and dryer, or other appliances
to sweeten the deal. Photo: Erin Kelly

My advice is not to boast or go into detail about any home improvement projects you have done yourself. You may be proud of the shelves you built or the bathroom you painted, but agents and buyers are more impressed when they think all improvements are professionally done. It shows you invested money in your property rather than go the DIY route.  

You can still brag about your home. Remember that you don't have to discuss problems or defects. There's no gain for you in mentioning that the neighbor's dog barks, or that cable service is problematic, or that someone has died in the home, or you suspect there are some lead pipes, or that you're strapped for money. An agent is legally obligated to reveal to interested buyers what she knows of defects, if asked. Just deliver the good news without lying.   

But, in the end, let the broker be the one that sets the price. If you have conveyed info accurately, the ball is then in her court. You hired an expert, so let her earn her commission. 

Get the look, get the book

Don't leave without downloading my eBook DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar. You can start your staging today! Remember, staged homes sell faster and for more money than unstaged homes. What are you waiting for?! 

Top Photo: Kim Scodro Interiors