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Why Should You Use a REALTOR?

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Four statewide and county representatives of the Delaware Association of REALTORS®—Beau Zebley (2020 President), Sandi Bisgood (2020 President, Sussex County), Monica Leblanc (2020 President, Kent County) and Carl Wahlig (2020 President, New Castle County)—offer an overview of why working with a real estate agent that carries the REALTOR® trademark is your best bet when buying or selling property.

All Real Estate Agents Are Not the Same

Look for the REALTOR® logo when choosing a real estate agent: It means they have the knowledge and experience to represent your needs in a fair and honest manner. 

Although an individual can be a licensed real estate agent, only members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) must maintain minimum levels of continuing education and can earn national accreditations and certifications in areas of specialization such as land, commercial, residential, short sales and foreclosures, luxury homes, appraising and more.

Sandi Bisgood

Carl Wahlig

“Delaware is always ranked as one of the best places to retire because we have great quality of life, combined with low taxes. Seniors bring their own unique needs and concerns, and REALTORS® are prepared to give them the very best service,” says Bisgood.

Only REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics that is designed to protect the public, updated routinely to align with growing trends, and often used as a model for state laws. With the growing use of the Internet for buying and selling real estate, NAR also closely monitors hot-button issues related to truth in advertising and virtual staging of listings.

For Sale by Owner (FSBO)? Here’s the Downside

People decide not to use a REALTOR® because they think they’ll save money: Buyers think they’ll pay less, and sellers think they’ll save the commission. But neither party can know the nature of their liability and cannot see behind the scenes the way a professional REALTOR® can.

Buying and selling goes far beyond simply finding a suitable property and writing a contract. Inspections, for example, can expose both parties to liabilities that may delay closings and result in the need for permits and/or repairs—especially for essentials like septic systems and wiring. On a walk-through of a property, REALTORS® are trained to look for defects and to point out necessary repairs that will make a difference in the bottom line for both seller and buyer.

FSBO contracts—often one page and handwritten—don’t protect either party or can tie properties up in court indefinitely. Even apparently ‘simple’ transactions can produce complications.

“I work in an area where most of the housing stock is 50 or more years old, and sellers often think they need to fix or renovate prior to a sale,” says Wahlig. “However, they may spend money on unnecessary remodeling and not take care of key essentials that would increase the value of their property.”

REALTORS® ensure all parties have the information needed to make informed decisions and provide guidance that more than makes up for a commission. And, because commissions are always negotiable, the listing broker and seller can arrive at a mutually agreeable percentage.

Sellers: Your REALTOR® Partnership Advantage

One big misconception stems from the amount of information available on the Internet. There is a lot there, but people don’t always know how to make sense of it or apply it to their situation.

Sellers: Your REALTOR® Partner Advantage

  • Access to current market data, prices, financing, terms and conditions of competing properties, etc.
  • Assurance that your property is marketed to other real estate agents and the public
  • Analysis of when, where, and how to best market your property
  • Objective evaluation of every buyer’s proposal with you without compromising your marketing position.
  • Expert negotiations
  • Support during the closing process to ensure a smooth transition

They may think, for example, a finished basement is worth what they actually paid for it. Home improvements, however, may be beneficial or detrimental, depending on market competition.

One of the first things a REALTOR® will do as your partner is to help sellers identify what their house is worth within a fairly tight range.

Monica Leblanc

Beau Zebley

“Our job is to help sellers get the maximum for their property in a reasonable period of time, and we’re geared to take the emotions out of the process and make transactions go as smooth as possible,” says Leblanc.

Though people think a quick closing from someone who will give them cash is a good thing, the buyer will often re-sell your house for the profits you left on the table.

Buyers: Your REALTOR® Partner Advantage

Buying a home can require a lot of sweat equity and lessons learned—and you can get in over your head fast. There’s quite a bit more to the process than getting a contract signed.

“We help buyers uncover their motivations and discover what their real needs are versus what they say they want. When necessary, we can serve as the voice of reason to protect our clients,” says Zebley.

Buyers: Your REALTOR® Partner Advantage

  • Access to multiple resources to help you find the right home
  • Analysis of market
  • Objective information about each property
  • Expert negotiations
  • Determination of your buying power
  • Guidance during the property evaluation
  • Support during the closing process to ensure a smooth transition

REALTORS® educate and counsel buyers throughout the transaction, including appraisals, home inspections and repairs, mortgage agreements, financing options, and much more.

For example, it’s a good idea to have a REALTOR® with you when you visit a builder because they know the questions to ask. The price you’re quoted and the bottom-line cost of buying a home can be very different. Fees, appliances, sewer hookups, and other costs are details many buyers may not consider without a REALTOR® to guide them.

For commercial real estate investors, solid business and marketing plans must be in place to make a success of a venture. REALTORS® provide key links to resources that can help entrepreneurs buy or lease the perfect property.

How Does the NAR REALTORS® Code of Ethics Help Buyers and Sellers?

The NAR Code of Ethics was established by the NAR to protect the public and create an ethical environment for buying and selling real estate. It defines general conduct among REALTORS® and how REALTORS® work with both clients and other agents.

REALTORS® must adhere to such principles as honesty and confidentiality. They are held accountable by such practices as keeping funds of clients/customers in escrow; disclosing potential conflicts of interest; avoiding exaggeration, misrepresentation or concealment of facts; assuring, whenever possible, transactional details are in writing; accepting compensation from only one party except with full disclosure and informed consent; not engaging in the unauthorized practice of law; and obtaining assistance or disclosing lack of experience.

NAR is the largest trade association in the country. With 1.4 million members nationwide, they are the nation’s biggest proponents of private property rights, and advocacy is key to their mission. A few examples of their work include efforts to extend the national flood insurance program, support for the 30-year mortgage (which doesn’t exist in other countries), and ongoing support for such issues as affordable and workforce housing and the Fair Housing Act, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

REALTORS® are committed to Smart Growth and Housing Opportunity programs to expand home ownership opportunities.

Click here to partner with a REALTOR® today!

The Delaware Association of REALTORS®, in conjunction with member boards/associations and NAR, serves and supports its membership by recognizing and addressing their needs and concerns, and by developing, providing and promoting programs/services that serve members and protect the public. The association is proactive in government affairs at the local, state and national levels, seeking to protect an individual’s right to own, use and transfer property. 

Delaware Association of REALTORS®
134 E. Water Street
Dover, DE 19901
(302) 734-4444

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