Paul Amirto
Associated Appraisal Group, Inc.
3442 Tampa Road, Suite A Pal
m Harbor, FL 34684
(727)712-0555, x1026

Sellers have difficult role when house hits market

PHILADELPHIA – April 11, 2012 – Spring arrived very early this year in much of the country, bringing what traditionally is the best time to buy and sell real estate, even through the downturn.

Issues of tight credit linger, and median home prices continue to decline, though more slowly. Yet there appear to be enough positive indicators to push once-reluctant sellers into the market.

Among those pluses: record-low fixed interest rates for mortgages and the highest affordability levels since record-keeping began in the 1970s.

For sellers, it is time for real estate theater. The house is the star. The cast includes agents and brokers, home inspectors, title people, mortgage companies, lenders, underwriters, and, obviously, buyers.

What is the seller’s role, and how big is their part?

That varies, said Diane Williams of Weichert Realtors in Blue Bell, Pa.: Some sellers’ personalities make them very “hands-on”; others consider the agent “the professional with great experience – ‘you handle the transaction, I am too busy to worry about the day-to-day.’”

Some sellers proofread entries in the multiple-listing service and brochures about their properties “with a microscope,” Williams said. Others won’t even bother to look at their listing.

Paul Leiser of Avalon Real Estate at the New Jersey shore said he believes the Internet has “empowered both sellers and buyers with more data than they have ever had access to before.” While “we are dealing with more informed involvement on the part of both the buyers and sellers, it still requires the Realtor to analyze all that data and summarize it in a way that provides useful information that can be utilized,” Leiser said.

Confrontation can be minimized, he said, if an agent keeps the seller informed every step of the way.

“Sellers get particularly ‘brainy’ in terms of the value of their home, but the reality is that they may not be aware of all recent comparable sales, or been inside those comparables, to really pinpoint value,” said Mark Wade of Prudential Fox & Roach in Philadelphia.

These days, said Art Herling of Long & Foster Real Estate in Blue Bell, houses are sold twice: once when the sales agreement is signed, and the second time during negotiation over the home inspection.

“Communication with the seller during the process is always important,” he said.

Broker Craig Lerch Jr. of Lerch & Associates in Abington, Pa., said sellers needed to know that there were two “wars that you need to win: the beauty pageant and the price war. Once both are in line, the house should sell.”

Sellers seem open to what he and his agents suggest, Lerch said. First is to have the house professionally staged, rather than have an agent tell them how to do it.

Sellers are “changing colors that are too bold by having them repainted,” he said. Some are having their houses tested for radon, inspected, and even appraised before they hit the market.

“A savvy and engaged seller looks at comparable sales with an open mind, rather than a ‘This is what I want or need’ approach,” said Joanne Davidow of Prudential Fox & Roach in Philadelphia.

“A seller who thinks he or she knows it all may be left with an unsold house and a disappointing outcome,” she said. “They often move on to the next agent and sometimes the next, but at the end of the day, the house sells for less.”

Sellers should make their houses available for showings, said John Duffy of Duffy Real Estate in the Philadelphia area. The seller should not, however, enter into conversation with the potential buyer or his or her agent, or the appraiser or home inspector, “for any reason.”

Noelle Barbone of Weichert Realtors in Media, Pa., said a seller’s presence at a showing not only makes buyers uncomfortable, “but makes it hard for them to visualize what it would be like living there.”

Cherry Hill, N.J.-based home inspector Harris Gross said sellers “interpose themselves” in one of every 50 inspections.

Sometimes, the seller perceives the inspection as a reflection of their maintenance habits or “they are there to defend each point raised during the inspection with the goal of saying their home has no defects and the issues raised are without basis,” Gross said.

“I typically try to tactfully discourage this type of seller behavior when these situations arise,” he said.

Sellers seem to be intervening a bit more in this market because they’re aware of the competition – and recognize that it might be a while before another prospective buyer shows up, said Kristin Keller, of Key Building Inspections in Kimberton, Pa.

Having the seller present can make the buyer feel “awkward and intimidated about asking questions, Keller said. “The objective of the home inspection is for the buyer to understand the condition of their purchase. It’s an education process.”

Still, said Marilou Buffum of Prudential Fox & Roach in Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood, she understands the emotional reaction of sellers who “have lived in and love their house.”

“Our job as their agents is to advise and to educate them as to the present climate and conditions,” Buffum said. “We cannot make decisions for our clients. We only advise and represent.”

Copyright © 2012 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

The above article is reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved.




A direct quote from NAR:

  • "Owners who sold their home themselves (FSBOs) found setting the right price to be the most difficult part of the process (23%)."
  • A listing appraisal supports your asking price

    If you’re selling your home, how can you be sure the asking price is accurate?  Did you take the advice of a real estate agent, ask around in the neighborhood, or even check the most current tax assessment?  While all of these methods can be helpful, the only true way to know is to get a listing appraisal.

    A listing appraisal from Associated Appraisal Group is a full appraisal of your property similar to one a buyer would receive on the purchase of your home but with a few distinct advantages:

    • You’ll have a valuable negotiating tool once you have a potential buyer
    • You'll be aware of any problems and eliminate last-minute repair hassles that might delay a closing. We keep current on Underwriting guidelines so you won't run in to unexpected delays prior to closing.
    • Decrease the chances of unknown problems that cause sales to fall through.
    • You’ll have all the current market data with verified status of all the comparable sales so you can differentiate your property from others on the market

    And a listing appraisal from Associated Appraisal Group gives you an expert opinion, an opinion that is unbiased, from a certified appraiser like me. My only job is providing customers with accurate property values.  Banks and mortgage companies always use appraisers to value homes before they approve a loan. Why? Because they want to know what it’s worth. When hiring a professional Real Estate Appraiser, you are hiring a professional buyer. Due to the high volume of homes we see, we know what is typical and what is not.

    Call us at (727)712-0555 or visit our website at to learn more about our company and to place your order online.

    We look forward to doing business with you.

    Paul Amirto

    Home Seller Services

    If you are going to sell your home you would be wise to invest in a professional appraisal. Professional appraisals do not cost money, they pay in the long run! Unless a homeowner studies real estate values on a day to day basis, like a professional appraiser does, it's difficult for them to get a handle on real estate values. We are not talking about how much you have invested in your home, how much you paid for it, or how much you want for it. We are talking about the true market value of your home.

    Many people are surprised when they find out that the market value of their home is much more than they thought, so investing in a professional appraisal actually allowed these people to receive several thousand more dollars than they thought they would when their home was sold. Others have an inflated opinion of their home's value and an appraisal helped them to realistically price their home in order for it to sell. An overpriced home will not attract buyers, which means no offers and no closing and that you have wasted valuable time, money, and efforts. It is a proven fact when a home is overpriced and exposed to the market over the normal marketing time, the home sells below market.

    In addition an appraisal will help you by pointing out needed repairs and visible deficiencies in the property which will allow you to correct these items before placing it on the market. It is very hard to be objective about your own home because of your emotional attachment to it. A Professional Appraiser is objective and will tell you what you need to know, not just what you want to hear.

    For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO)

    Homes that are listed for sale by the owner, without the assistance of a real estate agent, are known as FSBOs (pronounced FIZZ-BO). Selling your home "on your own" will require a significant amount of "homework" if you're going to do it right.

    It's very hard to be objective about your own home because of your emotional attachment to it. One piece of advice that is consistently given by the experts in selling your home FSBO . . . .

    See our page for FSBO's

    Do NOT "Overprice" Your Home!

    In addition to helping you set a realistic selling price so your home will attract buyers, a professional appraisal is very valuable as a negotiating tool once you have a potential buyer. It gives you something concrete to show your buyer. It's an independent third party's opinion of your home's value, and not just you saying how much it is worth. Potential buyers know you have an emotional attachment to your home and will be far more likely to give credibility to a professional appraiser's value opinion than yours.

    Maybe you feel like you don't need an "appraisal" but you'd still like some help gathering local property and sales data. Our reports help you to make an informed buying decision. We understand the complexities of buying a home and know what you are going through and will do our best to make it easier for you by giving you a high quality, professional appraisal that you can depend on!

    When you order a report from us, you can expect. . . .

    • Prompt response to your initial inquiry: We will give you personalized information for your particular appraisal need. Just tell us your situation and we will make suggestions. Quick turnaround time: Typically one week or less from the date the request is received. If you've chosen to receive a copy of your appraisal or consulting report via the Internet (EDI), you'll receive it within MINUTES of its completion.
    • Appraisal and consulting reports formats to suit YOUR needs: When it comes to appraisal and consulting, "One size does NOT fit all!" We offer a variety of report types and delivery methods. Express mail too slow? We can deliver your report attached to a standard email, or notify you of an Internet site to download your report, the MINUTE it's completed!
    • Quick response to follow-up questions: Our reports are clearly written, understandable, and meet or exceed the Uniform Standards of Professional Practice that governs the appraisal practice. If you have any questions regarding your appraisal, after you've read the report, we encourage you to email or call us!


    Pages of Interest: MLS Listings

    Got a Question?

    Do you have a question relating to real estate appraisals? We can help. Simply fill out the form below and we'll contact you with the answer, with no obligation to you. We guarantee your privacy.