For the past year or more we have been telling readers now may be a good time to sell.  The market statistics prove that, and yet not everyone is doing it, including Realtors.  This year I took my own advice and decided to make a move.

Took My Own Advice

It’s not that we were unhappy where we lived.  It was a great neighborhood and a great house.  Our needs changed, and this market provided an opportunity that was too good to pass up.  If you love your home and your needs have not changed, you don’t need to sell just because there is an opportunity.  But if you have been thinking about what a move would look like to better your situation, the opportunity is there.

Took My Own Advice

For us we had 4 children, and the last is graduating high school this year and moving on to college.  My wife and I do not need a 5-bedroom 2 story home for just the two of us.  We were torn because we loved the community so much.

We put in a contract at a new home community.  That home is schedule to be built this year.  Later we listed the home we lived in and it sold within 9 days.  The buyers are thrilled with the home and we were able to jump into a rental that opened while ours is being built.

Not only did we get a good price for our existing home, but our future home has also already gone up $27,000 in price since we signed the contract, and they haven’t even broke ground yet.  This market is a win/win market for buyers and sellers.

Sellers get to take advantage of Top Dollar.  Buyers also win, because home prices are rising, and about a week after they move in the home is worth more than what they paid for it.  In fact, many times it is worth more before they close.

Values Are Changing by the Week

Our home for example appraised for $20,000 more than what we sold it for.  You might say how did you sell it for Top Dollar but below appraised value? After we signed the sales contract with new buyers several comparables closed which pulled the value higher.  It is a fluid market and values are changing by the week.

Do you know what your home is worth in today’s market?  If you have not had a thorough market evaluation and tested the market, then you really don’t know.  In the absence of sales data, we have been forced to put homes on the market at prices higher than any recent sales.  Then along comes several buyers we attracted through our marketing, and it sells for even higher than list price.

The market is setting new valuations right before our eyes, and the only way to get top dollar is to put the property on the market and market it.  We may set a price higher than the last sale and the market may scoop it up anyway, and then some.  They key is attracting multiple buyers.

Best Way to Determine Market Value

May times a seller has a tenant or family member that wants to buy their home.  They get an appraisal to find out the value.  But is that really the value?  An appraiser is looking at yesterday’s value because all they can work with is what has happened in the past.  They do not consider what is happening today, and what will happen next week when we place a home on the market.

If you own a home and want to explore your options, call Sande or Brett Ellis at 239-310-6500  Our marketing is different, and we can show you how to maximize the sale of your home.  You’re going to need it where you’re going, so why not get it?

We can even help you with your next home.  Or visit to get an idea of what your home is worth.  Our website will even email you your new price every month so you can keep track.

Good luck and Happy Home Selling!  Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty for Top Dollar!

Battling low appraisals.  In the past few months I’ve had agents call me from all over the country asking how we’re handling properties that sell for more than the appraisal.  We’re tied into dozens of private Realtor discussion boards, Realtor networks, and organizations and this topic has been popping up frequently, so we thought we’d take a moment to help those in SW Florida with some tips we’ve learned over the years to combat this problem.

Battling Low Appraisals

Let’s identify the problem.  Appraisers are looking in the past for data that supports today’s value, but the problem in a rising market is that the data in the past is lower by definition because prices have been rising.  When a market is on the move appraisers can make a time value adjustment but it seems they’re quicker to make adjustments in a declining market than they are in a rising market.

Here are some tips for agents to get appraisals up to market value:

  1. Once property goes pending make showings by appt only.  When appraiser calls meet them out there with comparables you used to value the property.  Appraisers have a difficult job.  They’re underpaid and expected to turn these around within a day or two.  If you have legitimate information that may help them it is usually welcomed.  If you go in with an attitude and trying to persuade them to come in with a value just because you need a sale at a certain price it won’t work.  Appraisers legitimately want to get it right; they just need facts that fall within accepted guidelines to backup the value they issue.
  2. If the loan was placed with a mortgage broker and not a direct lender and you feel the appraisal is bad, the mortgage broker can request an appraisal from a separate appraisal management company if the lender they’re brokering it to accepts from more than one management company.
  3. Since HVCC (Home Valuation Code of Conduct) went into effect May 1, 2009 lenders can no longer work directly with appraisers.  This is why agents may only get one chance to talk to the appraiser at the time they inspect the home.
  4. FHA appraisals are good for 6 months, so once it’s completed you’re pretty much stuck with that value.  You can dispute a FHA appraisal and provide documentation and it can be amended, but this is not guaranteed.
  5. The seller can pre-pay the mortgage insurance which might eliminate the need for the property to appraise
  6. If an out of town appraiser calls with an order to appraise the home, don’t let them in.  Call the lender and tell them you want an in-town lender and to re-order with another appraiser.  Over the years out of town appraisers unfamiliar with the local market have wrecked many deals.


Remember one thing about the new HVCC.  They have cut what they pay the appraisers and shortened the time the need results.  When you call an appraisal management company to ask for business the typical question is what is your cheapest price and fastest turnaround.  This isn’t always conducive to an appropriate value on the home.  Perhaps one day somebody in authority will re-work this process as it can hold back the real estate market.  Thank Goodness we have cash deals bolstering the market.

If you’d like to search the MLS, visit our website at  If you’re considering selling and would like the Ellis Team to show you what we think we can get for your home, go to or call us at 239-489-4042  Good luck and Happy Selling!

To search the MLS for properties go to or give us a call at 239-489-4042     Good luck and Happy House Hunting!!!

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