In sellers market, seek help from qualified agent

The real estate market is back and active. The statistics tell us it is a sellers’ market and inventory is low, so if you have held off selling your home, now would probably be a good time to list.

As a seller, you do have choices and you may ask yourself, “Why use a real estate agent, when I can go about it myself? It could save me money right?”

According to National Association of Realtors 2012 data, 70 percent of homes for sale by owners who did not know the buyer said they have significant difficulty selling.

FSBOs (for sale by owners) accounted for 9 percent of home sales in 2012. Realtors get 19 percent more in sales price than FSBOs.

Not only do FSBOs take longer to sell, 20 percent of them end up relisting on the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, which converts to an average 68 days longer on the market than Realtor-listed properties.

The most difficult problem FSBOs faced was drawing up the contracts and understanding the legal paperwork involved in selling a home.

Rarely will FSBOs have data about comparable homes in the area. Most FSBOs make the mistake of pricing based on emotion instead of market factors. FSBOs have trouble focusing on what needs to be done to make the property worth its full potential and frequently invest in the wrong areas.

Real estate agents are well-connected within the industry and can help buyers and sellers find the right people to make the transaction go through. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.

Your real estate agent markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. Most real estate sales are cooperative sales – that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Your agent acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through an MLS or other cooperative marketing networks.

Your agent can help you objectively evaluate every buyer’s proposal without compromising your marketing position.

This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing, which could hold a lot of possible pitfalls.

Your agent can help you negotiate. There are myriad negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings.

Your agent can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly. Selling on your own is not an easy undertaking. It requires a significant amount of time to study the process, understand your obligations and do some of the complicated work that real estate agents do.

Kelly Kniffin is a Realtor with Legacy Properties West-Sotheby’s International Realty, and serves as president of the Durango Area Association of Realtors. She can be reached at