R5Realty News and Notes

Market Snapshots and Commentary on Value and Quality of life along the former Main Line of the Pennsylvania Rail Road, up until recently called the R5 Line, and now officially known as the Paoli /Thorndale line. R5Realty runs from Center City Philadelphia through the walkable, Westward outlying Towns & Townships.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Listing Smaller Homes and Condos in Early Autumn Makes Sense (and Dollars) for Mainline Sellers

Cozy Cottage/Twin, Condos Have Early Autumn Appeal
Following springtime's crush and summer's malaise, early fall can be an ideal time for certain Mainline-area  homeowners to sell and take advantage of opportunity in the housing market.

While early fall - September/October - is probably Not the best time to get top value for your family-sized (4+bed/2+bath) Mainline-area home, right now does offer a  very worthwhile window to sell smaller 3bedroom homes and condominiums at top dollar.

The market for larger, family-houses is at its peak in the spring and early summer, when buyers with children are looking to get settled for the new school year. The 2013 market saw a buyer frenzy for quality homes of this ilk in our high-quality Lower Merion, Haverford and Radnor school districts.

But with the school year now underway, demand for family-sized homes has decidedly ebbed. Owners of larger homes, who seek to maximize sale price in our family-friendly neck-of-the-woods, would do well to use fall's nice weather to prepare your home for market 5-6 months from now and the early 2014 market. I can help to plan a strategy, along these lines, that will yield the most lucrative results.

Right Now; however, there is Opportunity for owners of smaller homes and condos to appeal to singles, down-sizers, and professional couples. These folks, traditionally, are very active home-buyers in the post-Labor Day market.

With the lazy, vacation days of summer over, the back-to-business singles, downsizers and couples without school-age kids are as motivated to buy now as they are at anytime of year. For sellers, the marketplace is less cluttered with competition this time of year, yet the interest in smaller homes and condominiums is as high as ever.

From Labor Day until Halloween, ideal opportunity exists to sell your 1 to 3-bedroom smaller house or condo at a great price. There is a captive, eager audience of singles, down-sizers, and young professionals motivated to make a move.

As a Realtor focused on the Mainline-area market, I can help you get your smaller home ready for this active early-autumn, market in a matter of weeks, while the weather is still good and homes still show beautifully and at their best.

Sellers: Save Money, Skip the Pre-Sale Home Inspection, and Let the Buyers' Beware

Pre-Sale Home Inspection: Most Sellers Already Know the Flaws

With quite a few misgivings, I do recommend that nearly all home Buyers invest in a Home Inspection report prior to purchasing a home. But I draw the line when it comes to recommending that Sellers purchase a home inspection prior to listing.

As recently described in a posting to my local Ardmore-Wynnewood-Merion Patch News site, some Realtors do advocate sellers shelling out the $400 to have a professional home inspection performed. I say save the money and put it to better use toward purchasing attractive accessories or obvious repairs that have greater chance of affecting a quality sale of your home.

The Seller-should-spend for inspection camp does have some good logical grounding. Sellers should want to present an upfront and honest assessment of their product. It promotes good-will and an air of transparency which will assist the transaction. Sellers should also want to be informed - ahead of time - of defects that could derail or adversely impact a smooth sale.

But these worthy goals can be accomplished without sellers draining the wallet. As far as appearing open and transparent with buyers, Sellers can accomplish this goal for free by providing a Candid and Informative Seller's Disclosure document and making it readily available to all prospective buyers.

As far as assessing defects to your home, a quality realtor who is not looking to blow-smoke and puff-you-up, can easily advise items that need repair to affect a quality sale. The Realtor can't  guarantee that all major elements of the home are satisfactory, but most homeowners have had years to come to grips with their home's shortcomings. It is very unlikely, a home inspector is going to tell you something you don't already know about your home.

If there is something major wrong with your house that you haven't discovered in the years you've been there, it's unlikely a buyer or home inspector is going to uncover in only a matter of hours. Experienced Realtors are not qualified to certify your home, but we've been on dozens, if not hundreds of home inspections and know exactly what home buyers and home inspectors are likely to call out. And if a buyers' home inspection does reveal a major concern, you can deal with at that time and - in the meantime - hope for the best. Believe me, if a Buyers' inspection report identifies a problem, a clean sellers' inspection report is unlikely to help.

And this brings us to the biggest fallacy about sellers paying for a Home Inspection, which is that it will substantially assist a seller in negotiations. Only the rarest of gullible buyers would entertain a seller-financed, potentially-biased and redacted report as a serious avenue for discussion or negotiation. Even poorly-coached or un-informed buyers will shell out the money for their own Home Inspection and have no need to have it usurped by a sellers' report.

Home Inspections do offer some value for their substantial cost, and this value is almost entirely for a buyer's benefit. This value includes:
*Buyer Peace of Mind (whether warranted or not)
*List of Items/Repairs to Negotiate the Price Down
*Possibility of Uncovering a Fatal or Costly Flaw.

None of this is of use to a seller. If you are selling a home you have owned for years, you don't need peace of mind about the home. You are moving on and have had years to discover the home's defects and flaws. At no charge, your Realtor can advise what's necessary to disclose or fix to sell the home. And as far as providing a Buyer with bargaining chips in advance, or the unlikely chance of discovering an unknown major flaw, buyers are going to do their own diligence so let it be on their dime and not yours.

Lower Merion and Narberth's Home Sale Transactions Under One Million for August 2013

66 Marywatersford Rd. listed for $425,000. Settled for $385,000.
For the most part, modestly-priced, family-sized homes in Lower Merion flew off the shelves this year. One exception was this 3-bed/2.5-bath, split-level single on Marywatersford Rd. near the Belmont Hills Swim Club. While lacking in recent upgrades, the home was move-in ready, featuring attached garage and a quarter-acre of property. It hit the market in early May at $425,000, about equal to its 2010 sales price of $420k. While other LM School District homes of similar ilk found buyers in days or weeks, I was surprised to see this comfortable contemporary continue to be overlooked, even as the list price dipped to $399,000. By mid-July, value-minded buyers emerged and the home settled in August for $385,000.  
We think it was one of the better deals of the month, with the rest of August sales listed below:

Lower Merion and Narberth's Home Sale Transactions Under One Million for August 2013

Street AddressTownSold ForBedsBathsSq/Ft.Ask Price
143 Walnut AveArdmore$90,000 211,064$94,000
212 Greenfield TerArdmore$120,000 311,032$125,000
222 Edgemont AveArdmore$192,500 51.11,845$199,900
309 E County Line Ardmore$255,000 511586$279,000
145 Sutton RdArdmore$300,000 311,550$349,000
23 W Spring AveArdmore$310,000 41.11,972$309,000
140 Sutton RdArdmore$343,000 31.11,608$360,000
128 Rockland AveBala Cynwyd$230,000 311,394$249,900
66 Marywatersford Bala Cynwyd$385,000 32.12,269$399,000
202 Conshohock St RdBala Cynwyd$512,500 53.12,525$525,000
31 N Highland AveBala Cynwyd$547,000 43.12,447$569,000
410 Kent RdBala Cynwyd$587,500 53.12,781$592,500
127 Righters Ferry Bala Cynwyd$612,000 42.23,342$639,000
49 Penarth RdBala Cynwyd$626,000 53.13,011$669,000
38 Llanberris RdBala Cynwyd$774,000 43.12,901$774,000
333 Llandrillo RdBala Cynwyd$957,500 53.14,098$995,000
1060 Floyd TerBryn Mawr$165,000 31.1996$179,900
718 W Railroad AveBryn Mawr$173,000 311,058$179,900
860 Summit Grove Bryn Mawr$312,000 41.11,312$319,000
301 Baintree RdBryn Mawr$599,900 432,528$599,900
119 Kennedy LnBryn Mawr$650,000 42.22,918$675,000
1611 Winston RdGladwyne$570,000 42.12,590$579,000
1607 Mount Vernon Gladwyne$635,000 544,200$699,000
123 Winchester RdMerion Station$265,000 311,248$268,000
133 Winchester RdMerion Station$295,000 311,280$295,000
357 Meadow LnMerion Station$700,000 53.23,078$699,000
18 Sabine AveNarberth$294,500 31.11,512$315,000
416 Anthwyn RdNarberth$625,000 42.12,387$625,000
1275 Bobarn DrNarberth$630,000 42.22,858$665,000
6 Narbrook ParkNarberth$740,000 42.12,700$749,900
1217 N Woodbine AvePenn Valley$420,000 42.12,284$430,000
527 Sprague RdPenn Valley$495,000 42.23,009$499,900
1101 E Tower Ln EPenn Valley$915,000 43.34,512$959,900
2062 Matson CirVillanova$300,000 32.11,191$299,900
250 Broughton LnVillanova$560,000 321,894$599,000
1438 W WynnewoodWynnewood$320,000 32.11,461$329,900
519 Glen Arbor DrWynnewood$404,250 432,022$422,000
24 Allendale RdWynnewood$470,000 32.23,000$475,000
413 Wister RdWynnewood$490,000 33.12,564$525,000
341 Wister RdWynnewood$545,000 43.12,961$559,000
901 Nicholson RdWynnewood$600,000 32.12,100$625,000
1023 Cedargrove RdWynnewood$680,000 43.22,816$675,000
1111 Berwind RdWynnewood$697,000 53.13,820$719,000
18 Meredith RdWynnewood$700,000 53.13,065$735,000
501 Foxglove LnWynnewood$765,000 42.12,602$765,000
217 Gypsy LnWynnewood$905,850 44.13,484$942,500

August 2013's Home Sale Transactions in Haverford Township, Under One Million

7 Days to Sell: 523 Brookline, Havertown
With tip-top finishes and nice located in walking distance to shops at Brookline and Recreation sapce on Karakung Parkway, this nearly 2500 square foot Havetown colonial featured a handsomely updated kitchen and nicely redone baths.

Typical of 2013's hunger for great homes at good prices, this 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath on Brookline Blvd (below Earlington) lasted just 7 days on market and sold in August for $10k above its $429,000 list price.
Below are the Haverford Township home sale's for August, with purchase prices under a million dollars.

August 2013's Home Transactions in Haverford Township- Under One Million

Street AddressTownSold ForBedsBathsSq FtListed For
2225 Bryn Mawr AveArdmore$175,000 31.11,260$195,000
2721 Morris RdArdmore$209,155 311,324$225,000
1 Wickam RdArdmore$219,900 321,393$219,900
618 Kenilworth RdArdmore$265,900 32.11,356$264,900
805 Wynnewood RdArdmore$267,500 41.11,728$299,000
246 Lee CirBryn Mawr$350,000 41.11,520$375,000
1 Tracy TerBryn Mawr$627,500 42.24,000$649,900
28 Sycamore RdHaverford$180,000 31.11,668$180,000
355 S Manoa RdHaverford$200,000 321,724$219,900
703 Buck LnHaverford$269,000 321,306$269,000
1814 Melrose AveHavertown$175,000 311,350$219,900
158 Juniper RdHavertown$192,000 32.11,500$197,500
208 Earlington RdHavertown$220,000 31.11,532$227,900
1400 Virginia AveHavertown$225,000 321,228$224,500
20 W Marthart AveHavertown$225,000 42.11,805$225,000
405 Pembroke RdHavertown$225,000 31.11,292$225,000
1103 Garfield AveHavertown$230,000 41.11,448$234,900
221 Westwood Park Havertown$230,000 311,212$239,000
215 Juniper RdHavertown$232,000 32.11,712$232,000
409 Hill RdHavertown$232,000 31.11,285$239,900
42 Rodman AveHavertown$232,000 311,232$239,000
200 E Benedict AveHavertown$233,500 321,645$249,000
415 Maryland AveHavertown$246,000 41.11,496$265,000
14 Walnut Hill LnHavertown$247,500 321,438$247,500
625 Washington AveHavertown$255,000 321,624$259,900
153 Friendship RdHavertown$260,000 31.11,664$264,900
1612 Winton AveHavertown$260,000 42.12,048$274,999
308 Ivy Rock LnHavertown$262,000 321,743$270,000
1618 Mount PleasantHavertown$268,000 31.21,825$279,000
416 Brentwood RdHavertown$280,000 311,292$289,900
2107 Winton AveHavertown$282,000 321,688$293,500
2308 Poplar RdHavertown$285,000 321,392$297,500
315 Kenmore RdHavertown$285,000 31.11,856$299,900
524 Paddock RdHavertown$288,000 31.11,610$299,999
241 Clamar AveHavertown$300,000 52.12,092$299,977
2628 Wendy RdHavertown$300,000 32.11,716$315,000
213 Rodmor RdHavertown$305,000 421,902$310,000
1815 Melrose AveHavertown$311,000 42.12,424$339,900
1738 Ridgeway RdHavertown$313,000 32.11,698$329,000
1806 Earlington RdHavertown$315,500 321,526$319,000
1629 Mount Pleasant Havertown$320,000 31.21,800$324,900
2710 Prescott RdHavertown$325,000 421,664$329,900
264 Glendale RdHavertown$326,500 42.22,250$334,000
288 Golf Hills RdHavertown$330,500 42.12,308$339,900
1527 Lawrence RdHavertown$332,000 41.23,500$339,500
1204 Center RdHavertown$340,000 31.12,126$349,900
208 E Turnbull AveHavertown$351,000 32.11,633$350,000
312 Lincoln AveHavertown$365,000 322,134$365,000
38 N Belfield AveHavertown$370,000 432,682$375,000
501 Strathmore RdHavertown$380,000 321,862$399,900
416 Cherry LnHavertown$400,000 522,374$399,900
523 Brookline BlvdHavertown$439,500 42.12,443$429,000
61 Woodcroft RdHavertown$460,000 42.12,246$449,000
14 Llandillo RdHavertown$468,500 53.13,241$468,500
608 Hirst AveHavertown$482,000 53.12,968$510,000
1013 Severn LnWynnewood$387,500 32.12,073$394,000