Real estate survey says sellers are having more fun

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A home for sale sign hangs in front of a house in Oakton, on the day the National Association of Realtors issues its Pending Home Sales for February report, in Virginia March 27, 2014. (Larry Downing / Reuters)

Sellers appear to be having a better time in today's market. So says a national survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate, which compared responses in late April with the initial recovery years of 2010 to 2013.

It found that:

The offer the seller accepted recently was based more often on emotion than money.

About 25 percent say they sold their homes in less than two weeks.

Forty-seven percent received multiple offers this year, compared with 40 percent back in 2010 to 2013.

Sellers are again getting offers above asking price, and no longer feel the need to take the first offer.

Sellers and real estate agents in the Philadelphia region are not completely on board with the survey's results, however.

"There was no emotion involved," said Nick Lezzi, who recently sold the house in the Reserve at Trewellyn in Lower Gwynedd that he and his wife, Barbara Nugent, had owned for eight years.

"They made an offer that wasn't the price we had in mind," said the retired chief of staff at Peco Energy, "so we countered. They came back, and we split the difference."

While the sale prices was $10,000 less than Lezzi and Nugent, a lawyer, had wanted, "it was a cash offer and we could pick the settlement date," he said.

Lezzi and Nugent did sell the house within five days of listing it, and there were 16 showings the first day.

Although there were not multiple offers, there was enough interest - some prospects came back a second time - "so we weren't concerned," Lezzi said.

Mike Lentz of Keller Williams Realty in Sewell believes most of the survey results to be true.

In fact, Lentz's data show that nearly a third of 311 sales to date in Gloucester County have been in two weeks or less of the house's going on the market.

"About a third of my sellers and buyers have been in multiple-offer positions this year," he said, adding that "given two similar offers, my sellers have generally chosen the one that offered the least amount of risk - loan type or other contingencies."

Chris Somers of Re/Max Access in Northern Liberties said that although emotion plays a role, the sale price will override it.

"A cash, as-is offer will more often be accepted versus an offer where a buyer who has financing or more inspection contingencies writes an emotional letter trying to appeal to the seller," he said.

Emotion - the stress of the sale and moving - comes later, Somers said.

Multiple offers and sale price above list are governed by location.

This is very common, especially in hot markets such as Passyunk Square, Fishtown, South Kensington, and others "if the house is priced to sell," Somers said.

"I just listed a property in Passyunk Square, had multiple offers, and went under contract almost 7 percent higher than the list price."

Carol McCann of Re/Max Millennium in Fox Chase sold listings this year she priced just under market value and below competing listings and received multiple offers.

"This created bidding wars enabling my sellers to get more than their asking price," she said.

Clark Kendus of D. Patrick Welsh Real Estate in Swarthmore has a buyer looking in Media borough who has faced multiple offers twice within a few weeks.

Multiple offers "are not growing as a whole but occur as they historically have in the most popular areas," he said.

Kendus also said most real estate agents have found that the "subsequent offers tend not to be better than the first."

"Time [on the market] is the enemy of real estate," he said.

In Bucks County, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach's Sharon Ermel Spadaccini has not had many multiple offers outside the $200,000 price range.

"Anything less than $400,000" is the key in her market, said the New Hope-based agent, adding that "sellers need to make informed decisions and should not hold out if the offer is a good one."

Selling a house still depends on location and pricing for the market.

Gayle Whittle sold her house in Oreland last fall after three months on the market and moved to the Boston area.

"We dropped the price once while it was for sale, and we accepted a lower price from the buyers - the only one," she said, because "we really, really wanted to be done with the selling process."

"It worked out fine, no regrets," Whittle said.


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