Home Selling in Alpharetta>Question Details

Hannah, Other/Just Looking in Alpharetta, GA

We have a house in Alpharetta 30005 it was valued at $265000 in Aug 07, if we put this house on the market

Asked by Hannah, Alpharetta, GA Wed Feb 11, 2009

now do you think we can get $265000 for it and how long could it take to sell?

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Nice lightning rod question because there isn't a solid answer; unless you put it up for sale (and do that effectively with a competent agency) you won't know. Lorie I've always liked your answers up until now...I think you're way off base regarding appraisals. In fact, I'm diametrically opposed to your opinion regarding them. Cutting my teeth as an appraiser in ’89, having run 20+ appraiser shops here and in NY and being an associate broker has allowed me to see the often contentious relationship between agents and appraisers. I don’t like most agents I meet and I find most of them to be driven by commissions, unskilled in this profession and mouthpieces repeating the hollow mantra talking points of their membership organizations with nary a clue as to the full story and how it impacts the client.

Hannah’s house is “worth” what some educated, ready and willing buyer will pay for it at a certain point in time. It’s not “worth” 265 because she has it appraised for that just as it’s not worth 265 because you did a CMA and said so. No matter what happens an appraiser will be through to validate the purchase price should she go under contract, and I have news for everyone; some purchases are getting twisted with appraisals coming up short. How is that possible? I’ve seen a few different reasons….emotional decisions by buyers, decisions made by them under pressure, (and here we go….) agents that are ignorant and unskilled on how to properly research and present data to their clients and agents that are “selective” in the data they present and don’t provide the full picture. I could bore you with the calls and stories I personally have received from buyers thanking me for flagging a deal destined for disaster. When purchases look shaky I always call the agents involved to see what they can offer and every time they become verbose, contentious and belligerent as they have nothing to support their position. They invariably ask “am I familiar with the area” but fail to respond to my requests for valid comps to support their argument.

Now, do you honestly believe that a “great realtor” can present the same level of data analysis as an experienced appraiser? I’m not talking about the blah blah blah BS that NAR and the rest of the organizations put out. You’re a veteran, have you seen “great realtor” present a well written narrative for a listing client that incorporates the same type of data that appraisers have, explain and apply it as appraisers will, detail how the characteristics of their home will be received by the market, analyze listed, pended, sold, distressed and REO homes in the area and their impact? Remember why “great realtor” is prohibited from quoting square footage? They chronically lie and misrepresent the real figures to enhance their position. Will the “great realtor” brief the client OBJECTIVELY; even it means losing them? Please…many of these agents can’t even properly pronounce “realtor” never mind present a cogent position paper. The goal for most agents on a listing is to list them and worry about price later….”oh my research shows we need to reduce price…” I challenge anyone to tell me that doesn’t occur or a regular basis.

The bottom line is that we’re in this mess because of flat stupidity by consumers, the last administration releasing way too much credit and removing all checks and balances, “great realtors” and “great mortgage people” that could care less about anything except big commissions and appraisers and underwriters that rubber stamped everything. The appraisal and underwriting guidelines during the run up were criminal…many purchases we approved via DESKTOP underwriting and a simple automated valuation mode “appraisal” – the idea being that the free market would police itself…I guess that didn’t work for real estate (and most other industries as we know).

I wear two hats and I’m fortunate to be able to be very selective with the sales clients that I work with. It takes just a few minutes to qualify any buyer or seller and if they’re not reasonable in their expectations there’s no point in me putting time into them. I expect every experienced and pragmatic agent would agree. We have a long way to go with the real estate business and we’ll never be perfect, there will always rubber stamp agents and appraisers. Having been through the S&L debacle and now this one, appraisers clearly deserve a target on their chest, along with everyone else. To say however that an agent can objectively come in and do the same unbiased job that an appraiser can is just nonsensical, they are there to win the business. Appraisers have no vested interest in the outcome; can “great realtor” say that?

Hank Miller, SRA, ABR
Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser
Prudential GA Realty
4 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
Lastly Hank, I think you threw around " Great Realtors" too freely in your answer. I would not consider any of your examples of Realtors equal to a "Great Realtor". What you described to me is bad seeds. A high producing agent does not always meant he person is a "Great Realtor".

My hats are off to you because I can see that you are truly passionate as I am about this business and about helping consumers!
Web Reference: http://www.HomesByLorie.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
Hank, I think I brought out the longest answer you have ever provided:) I am usually the one with the long answers. I thought my answer would strike a chord with you so let me explain and clarify.

I agree with you 150% when you say that the home is "worth" what a ready, willing, and able buyer is willing to pay. I actually mentioned that in my answer. It is because of that fact that I feel a listing appraisal is not necessary. And I guess I should have clarified that I feel that way about it for my sellers because they have me. I have never had a property not appraise. I do not do the typical lazy CMA that most do. I price a property three different angles always with thought that the property then has to appraise. I am not an appraiser but I am a very skilled Realtor who knows how to price and sell properties. I do a lot of research to price a property which includes utilizing many softwares which provide accurate information. I feel that my skills are a benefit to my clients and sellers because I price my listings so that they will sell and appraise. There is nothing more frightening to a buyer then a house that does not appraise. It somehow scares them and kills many deals.

Being an appraiser I am sure that you would oppose my answer but I would also like for it to be stated that I have nothing against appraisers nor would I. Appraisers serve and protect the mortgage institutions. Appraisers determine a homes value. But we have both agreed that at the end of the day it is the buyers that determine market value. I simply stated that many sellers take that appraisal to mean that their home will sell for that price... and that is not always the case. The appraisals can often times be higher than market value. When I read your answer, I actually believe that we think a lot more alike on this one than you are reading. I have great relationships with appraisers and I fully respect what they (you) do. I am not an appraiser nor do I claim to be. And probably 99% of agents in the community could benefit from having a listing appraisal because they do not know how to read comps, how to adjust comps, and how to read how buyers are going to react to their listings. I turned down more listings last year than I took because I am objective and I do speak the truth even if it means I do not get the listing. If I list properties that are overpriced I have committed an ethics violation. I am not in the business of carrying inventory I am in the business of selling homes. I cannot in clear conscious take a listing at a price that I know if will not sell. My reputation is too important to me and that does a disservice to the client. So do I have a vested interest, absolutely! But so does the seller because statistics show that overpriced listings take longer to sell and eventually sell for far less than if they would have just priced it right from the beginning. Consumers do not realize the damage that overpricing causes!

I do not have all the initials of membership organizations on my cards or in my marketing materials although I attend valuable training on a regular basis to keep my mind sharp and my skills sharp. I do not have my cards stamped with lifetime member of the million dollar club. I am not driven by commissions, I am driven by the satisfaction I get from helping consumers which is one of the reasons I am here on Trulia. You and I both know that there are bad seeds in every industry... including real estate and the appraisal industry. I know that you are not a bad seed and I know that I am not a bad seed so if I can help others avoid bad seeds then I have helped someone. I personally think that if we had the opportunity to meet in person you would like me and I would like you. And I think we both have no tolerance for ignorance in the industry.

I never realized you had such distaste for most Realtors. But I do think that Realtors should be fair to appraisers and appraisers to Realtors. With that being said, I would like to add that I disagree with your statement as to why Realtors cannot disclose square footage in Georgia because I feel your statement is unfair and not warranted. Square footage was being quoted from previous appraisals; however, there can be three appraisals with three different square footages disclosed. Consumers were suing because they felt they paid for one square footage and are now shorted. It then was decided that homes would not be sold price per square foot even though Appraisers absolutely use square feet to help determine price. Why else is it that Redlink can show 3 different appraisals with three different square footages...because you all do it a little different. I am sure that there were Realtors that inflated or did not check the facts provided from their clients... and I am sure that there are Realtors who mislead but again there are bad seeds in every industry, the appraisal industry included.
Web Reference: http://www.HomesByLorie.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
There are many good answers from some very qualified agents below. There is however a key question that none of them asked and that is, how did you arive at the figure that your house was worth $265,000 in 2007? Many sellers that I have spoken with and listed their homes over the last couple of years were convinced that their homes were worth more than they actually were because they believed that an appraisal for a refinance or even for an intial purchase was accurate. Unfortunately, many of these appraisals especially those for refi's were not accurate which has helped to lead us into the mess we are in today.
The best way to know what to sell your house for today is to use CURRENT data to estimate it's CURRENT value. Forget what it was worth in 2007 because it's totally irrelevant to 2009.
To your question on how long will it take to sell, that will depend on several factors but number one will be pricing. If you want to sell quickly, you will have to set the price where it is very attractive to todays buyers who are all about getting a great deal. If you have plenty of time to sell and are willing to have the house on the market for a longer period you have the luxury of setting the price a little higher. Beware of this approach because we are still in a declining market and the longer you wait, the more the price may go down.
I as many of the other agents would be happy to do a free analysis for you but make sure you are not just getting the answer you want to hear. There are thousands of homes currently on the market or that have expired where the sellers decided to go with what they wanted to hear rather than to list at what their property was really worth.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 11, 2009
I do not agree with getting an appraisal upfront for many reasons. First and foremost, an appraised value does not always equal market value (and usually does not) so I have actually seen this practice confuse sellers because they assume that they will be able to sell their home for appraised value and spend months attempting to get the appraised value when the buyers are not in agreement. Market value for homes is determined by buyers. In a sellers market there is less inventory and the buyers are willing to pay more because they do not want to lose out to the other buyer also bidding. In a buyers market there is an abundance of inventory so the buyers demand lower prices... the buyers are unwilling to overpay for a property. Secondly, appraisals are only valid for 6 months in a good market. Banks right now really want them 120 days or less because we are in a market of decline. Lastly, they are costly and I think a waste of money when there is no true benefit. A great Realtor that is working full-time and producing results for sellers in this market then you will know where you need to price your home. The facts speak for themselves.

There is not a zip code in metro atlanta that is not a declining zip code. The Radian report shows all declining zip codes. This is a report that appraisers and lenders use to determine value. Included on the list is 30075, 30076, 30004, 30005, 30022. With that being said, the real estate decline varies from neighborhood to neighborhood within a zip code. There are some neighborhoods that have maintained value. But I would bet that most who purchased in 2006 and 2007 are going to experience some level of decline. Especially when Metro Atlanta including North Fulton is averaging sales prices equal to 2001 and 2002. There is all factual data to back my statements.

In addition to all the data that our listing service and Brokers provide to us I pay a data expert to take all of the data per area to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each area (what price points are selling better and how long is it taking each price point to sell).

If you would like a straight forward no-obligation consultation I would be more than happy to meet with you to educate you on what your home will sell for in today's market and how long it will take. The market should not scare you. Homes are still selling in a short amount of time when they are properly priced... and I have seen many bidding wars happening also.

I have many great references within the Alpharetta area. I would love the opportunity to earn your business too.

Lorie Gould
Associate Broker
Keller WIlliams Realty Atlanta Partners

Web Reference: http://www.HomesByLorie.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 11, 2009
The Atlanta market peaked in the summer of 2007 and home prices have been decreasing ever since, including those in North Fulton and in 30005. I am a full-time Realtor and happen to live in 30005 as well. My personal home was valued at $310,000 in the summer of 2007 and I would be lucky to sell for $275,000 in today's market. That being said, it is impossible to tell about your situation without performing a detailed market analysis. Anyone who tells you that prices have held steady since the peak of the market are not being truthful. What are you basing the 2007 value on? Is that what you paid for it? Is that the value some bank gave you on a refi appraisal? There are so many variables that will determine your selling price and time of the market. If you are serious about selling, I would be glad to meet with you to discuss your options.

Please feel free to call me directly at 404-372-8462...

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 11, 2009
Hi Hannah,
We live in Windward in Alpharetta. My wife and I are full time REALTORS. We live and breathe this Alpharetta market daily. Joshua and Tori are correct. There is very little chance that your home will sell for a value that was appraised in Aug 2007. On average I have seen prices decline about 16% in the last 18 months. That can vary quite a bit from neighborhood to neighborhood and house to house. We would be happy to drop by to visit your home, give you a free opinion of value and discuss your options. If you really need to move somewhere and are worried about being able to sell, we also offer property management services in case renting your home until the market recovers is an option. We have had a lot of recent success with this alternative. Just give me a call at 770-722-6922.
You can also email me your address to deryk@deryk.com and I'll respond with a link to current market activity in your area as well as the most recent sales statistics. That should give you a much better picture of your current value and what you might expect to sell your home for in this market. Your home is in a price range for sale and for rent that is the most active in our area right now so there is still a chance that we can help.

Deryk Harper
Managing Broker
Key Locations Property Management LLC
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 11, 2009

I would recommend you get an appraisal before you put it on the market. I would be glad to do a free market analysis for you and then you would have homes to compare the most recent sales. What neighborhood are you in and what is the high school cluster? There are certain areas of Alpharetta where home sales are good for the schools. If you would like to talk please give me a call at 770-356-9302.

jane Mentzer
Mentzer & Associates
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 11, 2009
Hey Hannah. I would have to do the comps for your neighborhood to let you know what the true value of your home is currently. Appraisals are only good for about 6 months. Prices have dropped in most areas, however, Alpharetta has really held it's value. I'm in Crabapple and the prices have not fallen at all here. If you'd like, I'd be more than happy to send you over a CMA. I'd just need the specifics on your home (the neighborhood, # of bedrooms, # of baths, any additional updates/renovations, do you have a basement?, etc). I could email it to you and go over it with you. it just takes about 5 minutes for me to run.

The average number of days on the market is around 130 for the Atlanta area. However, my Marketing Plan is unique. My average number of days on the market is only 42.

Let me know if you'd like a CMA. It's really no trouble.

Talk to you soon.

Julie Brittain
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 11, 2009

Wish I had something good to tell you, but the market has gone down since 2007 so it's likely you would sell it for less. You really should consider getting a professional opinion.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 11, 2009
Joshua Jarvis, Real Estate Pro in Duluth, GA
I would recommend you contact a Realtor and see what the comps are doing, the appraisal from 2007 is very outdated at this point.
If you would like me to recommend anyone for you, please feel free to contact me anytime!

Best of luck

Tori Lawson
Prudential Georgia Realty
Web Reference: http://www.torilawson.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 11, 2009
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