Knowledge is key in buying or selling a home

As a recovering economy slowly, yet surely, claws its way back, those who have all but lost patience in the rollercoaster ride of the real estate market may finally be able to catch their breath these days. Prudential Gallo real estate agent Barbara Morales has reason to believe that an upturn is right around the corner. Will you be ready when it arrives?

“It has been such a difficult market for all of us,” said the southern Delaware agent, “but we are in a transition year.”

According to Morales, recent numbers from developers, contractors and other Realtors have suggested that the local real estate market may be finally getting back out of the slump it has been in for the past three years. By 2012, she expects the market to show significant improvement, but for buyers and sellers alike, an upswing in the economy isn’t necessarily enough to get you back on your financial feet.

“More than 90 percent of consumers in real estate start their searches on the Internet,” noted Morales, who spent a decade as a contract specialist and negotiator at American Online (AOL). “The Internet can be a great tool for getting you what you want,” she said, “whether someone is looking to sell or buy a home. But you have to know what people and realtors are looking for.”

Visuals of a home on the market help to grab a buyer’s attention.

“There can be all the copy and text you want,” said Morales, “but we are visual people. Your house can be picked up by plenty of sites, but have you seen it and what it looks like? Do you know how others are seeing it? Is there a virtual tour? Does the listing have photos and all the information that buyers are looking for? Is there a Web site for your listing? Is it being picked up by the big real estate Web sites?

“These are the questions you need to ask your Realtor. People don’t realize just how much potential is available to them, especially in a real estate market that is struggling to bounce back and regain trust in the buyers and sellers.”

One of the most vital tools in finding success in the sale of a property or home is information, as Prudential Gallo realtor Kiki Hargrove explained.

“An educated consumer is the best consumer,” Hargrove said. “Now that your house is listed, can you inform others what it looks like on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?”

She reiterated the value of visual accompaniments to help buyers find what they’re looking for.

“Photographs and layouts of the home are what people are looking for when they’re searching these places out.”

Morales reminded those selling a home that it can be a demanding process, requiring more than just listing the basics.

“Don’t walk away from the marketing of your home,” she said. “You have to understand your market and your competition. You should know the positives and negatives of where you are in this market, and you have Realtors to tell you. Realtors play a significant role, and you have to know how to make use of the resources you have. You have to ask questions that Realtors can clarify. We’re in the business of selling property, not advertising it. We can educate the buyer via the Internet, but the seller has to be educated, too.”

Part of the reason that an upturn in the real estate market in this area is inevitable, noted Morales, is due to the attractive location.

“Southeastern Delaware draws a huge demographic of Baby Boomers,” she said. “We pull homeowners from all over. There is an appeal to Delaware. It’s a tightly knit community with a sense of security. It’s like the old ‘Cheers’ show. People want to go where everybody knows your name. Look at all of the national retailers moving to the area, too. They know it’s coming.”

Those looking to purchase a property or get an existing one out in the market can contact an agent who can help them find what they’re looking for and reach the people they need to reach. For more information about Barbara Morales, visit or or call (302) 344-9002.