The Checklist – An Assistant’s Most Lethal Weapon

I once heard someone say that if your real estate business is stalling, you either need to add a person or you need to add a system. When it comes to systems, don’t overlook the power of the checklist. This weapon will tame your unruly files, your hectic day, and your scattered brain. Whenever I’m feeling out of sorts, a checklist helps remind me what I need to be doing and checking things off the list proves to me that I’m actually accomplishing something.


You probably already have several checklists in your arsenal that you use on a near-daily basis. The “starter set” of checklists should include:

  • A list of documents needed when your agent is ready to list a home
  • A list of documents needed when your agent is ready to make an offer for a buyer
  • A list of things that need to be done when you receive the signed listing documents from your agent
  • A list of things that need to be done when you receive a signed contract from your agent that will take you all the way through the closing date
  • A list of things that need to be done to market your listings

Your checklists are going to be different than mine depending on your state’s or board’s forms and what platforms your agent is using to market your team and your listings. Some additional checklists you might consider:

  • Your morning routine. Are there things that must get done every day? Perhaps printing out mailings, writing blog posts, updating social media? Make a morning checklist and timeblock for the amount of time it will take to complete everything on the checklist. This makes it easier to not get sidetracked by other things that seem more urgent. Just like your agent should be timeblocking for lead generation, this is YOUR “lead generation” time. These types of activities (marketing) will bring in leads that keeps the business coming in.
  • A frequent task. Is there something you do that has a formula you like to follow? For instance, if you are blogging, you’ll want to include your keywords, some links to your website, some photos, a call to action and a way to contact the team. Create a checklist for this that you open every time you sit down blog. Or, perhaps you like to cover the same information every time you place a first call to a client who just signed a listing agreement or went under contract? Write a checklist that includes scripts for what you want to say and you will never fumble for your words or missing information again!
  • Team meetings. Do you cover the same material at every meeting? Write a checklist that will cover everything so nothing gets missed. Typically we call this an agenda, but really “agenda” is just another word for checklist!
  • A checklist for your buyers and sellers. Give a more simplified version of your contract to close checklist to your clients. Some people are VERY process oriented and giving them a checklist that they can follow along with will help reduce their stress and keep them from bugging you with questions about what comes next.
  • Your evening routine. What needs to be done before you leave the office? Or what needs to be done before your agent leaves the office? There’s an assistant in our office whose agent was constantly forgetting things she needed when she left the office. So right next to the door, the assistant posted the following checklist. This helped the agent cut way back on frantic calls to the assistant!
    • Keys?
    • Purse?
    • Sunglasses?
    • Listing or contract paperwork?
    • Sign and lockbox?

I advise writing your checklist on paper or using a Word document before going to the lengths of setting it up in your CRM. Use it for a month and make the necessary changes. Evaluate whether each step is necessary or whether you can eliminate some things. You want to whittle it down to its most efficient version.

The beauty of a checklist is that if you are out of the office and someone else needs to take over for you, they can easily look at your checklist and see what you have done and what the next step is.

What checklists are you using? Do you have a checklist for something I haven’t mentioned? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!



  1. Meredith from Penelope Loves Lists

    I’m digging your website! You, my friend, are a girl after my Penelope heart.

    This post made me think of The Checklist Manifesto, one of my favorite books by Atul Gawande. His thought is that everythng – EVERYTHING – should have a checklist. That it truly is the secret to success in every industry.

    Great post!

  2. Amber Gardner

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

  3. Pingback: How Well Are You Really Doing This Key Aspect of Being an Administrative Assistant? – The Assistant Files by Elizabeth Gilbert

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