Vol 8 No. 15 - January 2, 2008

A professional can save you time and money

By Louise Bolger
sun staff writer

The holidays may be over, but the real estate crunch the entire country is living through sure isn’t. Florida in particular is experiencing a large number of foreclosures, an oversupply of inventory and a scarcity of buyers. If you’re in a position where you must sell your property, from now until April is your window of opportunity, so the decisions you are about to make are vital.

In a depreciating market, sellers are naturally looking to achieve the highest financial return available. Frequently they feel selling the property on their own without the assistance and advice of a real estate professional is the pathway to maximizing this net return. But be careful, it is exactly this type of market with all of its complexities that requires specialized help.

When you hire a real estate agent, you gain access to a wealth of knowledge that can help keep you out of trouble, as well as providing for a smooth transaction. Experienced real estate agents have a vast number of connections that can reduce your time on the market substantially. In today’s busy world, buyers with limited time are more inclined to look for properties with the help of a realtor. Brokers have the resources to market their listings through print advertising, massive Web sites and real estate networks

In addition, when you’re home is listed through a multiple listing service, it is available to all brokers who subscribe to the system. There is a good chance your property will be sold through another broker rather than your listing agent, therefore, marketing to the entire real estate community is just as important as marketing to potential buyers.

Real estate professionals can also provide invaluable knowledge regarding federal and state fair housing acts relative to discrimination. Specifically race, national origin, sex, religion, handicap and familial status must be treated in an unbiased manner which is easy to violate if you are not aware of the laws.

For instance, these are some of the words that cannot be included in advertising: bachelor apartment, children welcome, couples, golden agers, handicapped, married, mature, mother-in-law quarters, professional, seniors, singles only. Most of these terms seem to be perfectly innocent, but they could easily subject you to a fine or worse if included in an advertisement.

Knowledge of specific state laws regulating the sale of real property are also diverse and confusing to the novice. Although there are similarities in real estate laws from one state to the next, each state has its own set of rules that must be followed. If you don’t have a full knowledge of these laws, you can inadvertently break the law when selling your home. For instance, Florida has strict disclosure laws that require a written disclosure from the seller relative to the condition of the property. These forms must be signed by both the seller and buyer involved in the sale of real property.
Finally, real estate professionals can look at your home with a critical eye and advise you on proper staging that will appeal to buyers. They can also suggest areas where small repainting projects can make a vast difference, as well as pointing out potential roof, plumbing and mold issues that could influence a buyer’s decision.

Penny-wise, pound-foolish is usually a bad practice. When it comes to real estate, especially in the market we’re in, it could lead to a longer selling process, less money in the end and a lot more stress. Using a real estate professional to help you sell your most valuable asset, may keep you out of danger and give you a good night’s sleep.


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