Realtor Scarborough finding homes in her own hometown

Maggie Scarborough, 29, of Burns & Ellis Realtors in Dover, appears in the May/June issue of Realtor magazine as one of the 2017 30 under 30 top realtors in the country. She is only the second Delawarean to ever receive the distinction. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Sitting opposite Tom Burns, owner of Burns & Ellis Realtors in Dover, for an interview, then-23-year-old former teacher Maggie Scarborough didn’t know what the future held. Mr. Burns, who’d known her from childhood, was convinced that she’d make an outstanding realtor. He picked up the latest edition of Realtor Magazine and flipped to the section showcasing the top 30 realtors under 30, and said ‘this is what I see for you.’

As it happens, the moment was prophetic.

Ms. Scarborough, now 29, appears in the May/June issue of the magazine as one of the 2017 30 under 30 — only the second Delawarean to receive the distinction since Realtor Magazine started holding the national competitions in the late 1990s.

“Having been the broker and owner of Burns & Ellis Realtors for 30 years, I have trained and worked alongside many terrific realtors, but I have never been more impressed by a person’s ability to so quickly learn, adapt and lead in the real estate community than by Maggie,” said Mr. Burns.

Dover bred

Born and raised in Dover, Ms. Scarborough attended Dover High School. Her first big sale the idea of her hometown was to herself, because after graduating from Duke University in 2009, she returned.

“When I decided to move back, a lot of my friends seemed surprised and said ‘Wow, you decided to stay in Dover?’” said Ms. Scarborough. “But I think there are a lot of great things about Dover and Kent County that really aren’t realized by the outside world. I’d say even a lot of the people who live here don’t really appreciate how nice our area is.”

After a brief career as a high school teacher, she decided to try her hand at real estate and applied with Mr, Burns. Not long after, she decided that she’d found her calling.

Starting in 2011, while the housing market was still in turmoil from the 2008 financial crisis, she remembers chasing down every single lead, regardless of the chances of success.

“People thought I was crazy for getting into real estate at that point,” said Ms. Scarborough. “I think it’s part of what made me successful though. A lot of realtors who were selling before the crash really struggled when it hit because they weren’t used to it, but I didn’t know any better because that’s how I started. I really had to fight tooth and nail to make sales.”

In recent years, she says that real estate in her Kent County territory has seen a significant uptick — especially in new construction.

“The builders I work with are swamped,” Ms. Scarborough said. “One builder I know just wrote 12 contracts in the month of May, which is insane. I don’t know how he’s going to build all those houses. It’s busy right now.”

Boom or bust though, Ms. Scarborough said one of her favorite parts of the job is selling people on the idea of Dover. Living in the heart of downtown herself, she said it’s always fun to give prospective buyers a tour.

“Bayhealth refers a lot of doctors to us who are getting recruited here and I love taking them around,” she said. “A lot of them come in thinking Dover is this little podunk town, and I like showing them that it’s not. We, of course, drive through the downtown area, The Green, Legislative Hall and all that. Then I take them to my favorite restaurants and we check out the schools. I’m proud of where I live.”

In 2016, Maggie Scarborough, a Dover native and Duke University graduate, was Burns & Ellis’ No. 1 producer. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Next generation realtor

It was announced on March 27, after several elimination rounds, that Ms. Scarborough would be one of Realtor Magazine’s 2017 30 under 30.

“For young realtors, it’s one of the biggest recognitions you can get,” she said. “It’s cool too because we’re competing

with much bigger markets like New York, where realtors have a lot higher sales volume.”

The magazine is the official publication of the National Association of Realtors. According to the association, there were more than 300 applicants nationwide for the 30 under 30 distinction. The selected group “represents the diverse landscape of the real estate industry in business specialties, market locations and personal strengths,” said the association.

“They’re trying to find realtors that are going to be the next generation of brokers and business owners,” said Ms. Scarborough. “They’re looking into how we’ve contributed to our businesses and communities.”

Ms. Scarborough has chaired the Kent County Association of Realtors’ foundation scholarship committee since 2013 and co-chairs their charity golf tournament. She also served on the association’s board of directors from 2014 to 2016.

“We give five $1,000 scholarships to graduating kids in Kent County,” she said. “Wednesday, I’m going to Lake Forest High School to award one to a student who won. There was an essay contest this year that asked students if home ownership was still part of the American dream. A lot of the kids who apply come from families who don’t own homes, so we had a lot of interesting and great responses.”

At the state level, Ms. Scarborough serves on a task force advising on revisions to license regulations. She’s also involved in the Southern Delaware Heart Ball, and the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Group Innovative Initiative.

In the last few years, her sales volume has continued to ramp up, reaching an individual volume of $10.2 million in 2016. In 2014, she was a top producer at Burns & Ellis, but in 2015 and 2016 she held the spot as their No. 1 producer in the company.

“Maggie is the very top agent in the company and near the top in the county,” said Mr. Burns.

“In 2015, she was named the Kent County Realtor of the Year — an amazing feat given her young tenure. Yet, it was incredibly well earned and deserved. Maggie’s smarts, instincts, determination, work ethic, energy, inquisitive nature, genuine curiosity, ornery wit and love of learning and people have led to her success.”

Not knowing for certain what’s next for her, the only thing Ms. Scarborough said she knows for sure is that her life will continue to be devoted to finding people houses in her home state.

“The ultimate goal is always to be a broker and manage a team of realtors. But I’m definitely in this business, in some capacity, for life,” she said.

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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