SCAOR: Take advantage of a Realtor’s expertise when buying or selling

In these trying economic times, there’s no question that home prices all around the country have fallen – in some places, dramatically – from record highs set just a few years ago. And because of the unique climate that exists today, more and more homeowners are attempting to sell their homes by themselves, forgoing fees charged by real estate companies when a piece of property is sold.

While this may look like a money-saving endeavor, according to the Sussex County Association of Realtors, it’s often anything but.

“Realtors know the local markets like the back of their collective hands,” representatives said, “and they can usually negotiate a better purchase price on a seller’s behalf.”

In fact, national statistics show that homes sold by Realtors sell for roughly $20,000 more than homes listed as “For Sale by Owner.”

“Selling a home is a lot different than selling a piece of furniture, or even selling a car or truck,” said SCAOR representatives. “Knowledge about current real estate trends, local and state tax laws, title requirements and statutes and disclosures, among many other things, are all necessary when deciding to sell a home without the help of a qualified professional.”
Another benefit to using a Realtor when buying or selling a piece of First State property, they said, is the extensive Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, that all Realtors have access to at all times.

The MLS is a privately-owned database used by Realtors that can literally get a home in front of hundreds of more potential buyers than it would otherwise. Selling a home without this valuable service can often be a frustrating, and very time consuming, ordeal, they noted.

“While I have no doubt that many homeowners are capable of selling their own homes, and may be tempted to do so in our current environment, I would certainly recommend taking full advantage of all the benefits a Realtor can bring to the table,” said Sandy Greene, 2011 president of the Sussex County Association of Realtors. “The MLS, for example, is an extremely valuable asset in the selling process and can expose your home to a much greater group of people locally, as well as regionally and globally.”

In addition to utilizing the MLS service, she said, using a qualified Realtor has other benefits, including negotiation tools, advanced and varied types of advertising, help with scheduling and negotiating inspections, advancing a transaction toward closing and providing valuable information about any neighborhood or municipality in Sussex County.

Before deciding to tackle the daunting task of selling a home without the assistance of a real estate professional, SCAOR recommends sellers consider the following question: Most homes sold in southern Delaware today are easily in the $150,000 to $250,000 price range. If someone had a $200,000 tax problem, would they be better off dealing with the Internal Revenue Service on their own, or should they seek out the help of a qualified accountant and/or attorney?

Also, they said, consider that the person buying the home will likely have a Realtor working for them on their behalf.

“If a homeowner has no experience in the process, his or her lack of knowledge will shine through during the negotiation process, and that precious money ‘saved’ by not using a Realtor will quickly disappear.”

“I’ve seen many sellers who have been taken advantage of simply because they didn’t know all the rules, regulations and disclosures required in a transaction. Quite frankly, they didn’t know what they were doing,” said Greene. “Unless they’ve done it before, there’s no way any seller can be prepared for what they will face during the process. That inexperience can prove very costly during negotiation, and also at closing.”

The bottom line is really this, according to SCAOR – selling a home without the benefit of a Realtor will likely cost more than a homeowner could ever save by forgoing a Realtor’s valuable advice and services.

It may look like a good idea on paper, but it rarely is, they said.

“I would highly recommend using a Realtor to sell a home, much like most people hire mechanics to fix their cars or accountants to prepare their taxes,” said Greene. “It will likely work out better for sellers in the long run.”

To read more about issues related to Sussex County’s real estate industry, visit SCAOR’s Web site at