- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By Toshie Murrell
Realtors add value to the real estate transaction; they can expose homes to more buyers and save owners time and money throughout the home selling process. Despite the housing market setting five consecutive record years for home sales from 2001 through 2005, and with 2007 the fifth highest sales level on record, the percentage of un-represented sellers has shown a sustained decline – dropping from a cyclical peak of 18 percent of the market in 1997 to a record low of 12 percent in 2007, according to the 2007 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
Many unrepresented sellers are people who are selling to family, friends and neighbors. These sales account for 5 percent of all home sale activity. That means that homes placed on the open market by unrepresented sellers represented only 7 percent of all recent home sales.
Several factors appear to account for the decline in unrepresented sellers: the increasing complexity of the transaction process, with more disclosures and legal requirement than ever before; the amount of time required to market and show property; and security concerns about the motivation of strangers dealing directly with owners and walking through their homes.
Unrepresented sellers often do not understand the complexity, range and timing of tasks they will have to perform if they don’t use a real estate professional. The biggest problems for owners selling without professional assistance include understanding and completing paperwork, preparing the home for sale, setting the right price, marketing the home effectively and selling within the time planned.
Unrepresented sellers have no access to fundamental marketing services, such as a Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and cannot list their homes there. They also have no access to other major marketing avenues such as Realtor.com and other Web sites with a large pool of listings to which buyers are attracted. Although there are sites that cater to un-represented sellers, their total listings are in the tens of thousands in contrast with more than 3 million homes showcased on Realtor.com.
Realtors are real estate professionals who are experts in marketing and negotiation, as well as understanding local market conditions. Real estate professionals assist both sellers and buyers with a variety of the details surrounding a real estate transaction. Real estate professionals can help a seller set a realistic price and ensure that the proper paperwork and various disclosures and inspections are handled correctly. Agents know best how to prepare a home and maximize value, provide broader exposure to the market and are more likely to generate multiple bids than sellers on their own.
In addition, Realtors are experts in attracting qualified buyers. A professional can show a home more objectively than can a seller who may be emotionally attached to the home and who might become unnerved by prospective buyers’ critical comments. Realtors also check the financial capability and bona fides of buyers before allowing them onto a seller’s property.
- Toshie Murrell, Director of the Heart of Kentucky Association of REALTORS