Mega Agent Collier Swecker discusses pre-listing appraisals

How top real estate agent Collier Swecker uses pre-listing appraisals to sell more homes

Collier Swecker and pre-listing appraisalsI recently spoke to Birmingham area real estate agent Collier Swecker about how he uses pre-listing appraisals to sell more homes.

Collier Swecker is a top producing agent who takes advantage of every tool available to set himself and his agency apart from the crowd. I first met Collier several years ago through his video blog, which he utilizes to educate buyers and sellers about the home selling process.

In his video blog Collier answers common questions and addresses problems that buyers and sellers may have when buying or selling a home. In our recent discussion Collier shared with me how he utilizes pre-listing appraisals to sell more homes and how it made a tremendous impact on his companies sales figures. My hope is that agents that read this will learn how to include the pre-listing appraisal in their “sellers toolbox” so that they also can sell more homes.

An interview with Collier Swecker

Tom: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your company Collier?

Collier: I lead the Mega Agent Real Estate Team at RE/MAX Advantage in Birmingham, AL and Mega Agent Rental Management with locations in Birmingham, AL, Atlanta, GA & Macon, GA. I am a former tax and real estate attorney turned real estate developer, turned real estate agent. My primary role on our sales team is as the lead listing agent, working with home sellers throughout the greater Birmingham area.

Tom: How long have you been an agent?

Collier: I have been a real estate agent for nearly 10 years.

Tom: Where are you located and what areas to do you cover?

Collier: We are located in Hoover on Valleydale Road. We service all areas of Jefferson & Shelby Counties along with parts of St. Clair and Blount Counties

Tom: How many agents do you have and what type of services to you offer?

Collier: We have 3 full time sales agents, 1 showing agent, 1 property manager and 3 full time administrative staff. We offer full service real estate services for homebuyers and sellers and full service property management for rental properties and investors.

Tom: What do you see as some of the biggest challenges that you and other agents face in selling real estate in 2016?

Collier: I think that one of the biggest challenges that agents are facing right now is the very low inventory of homes on the market. Although we have plenty of buyers wanting to buy a home, there is not enough good inventory to keep up with the demand. Notice I said GOOD inventory.

Additionally, appraisals continue to be a challenge given the fact that appraisers aren’t willing to move this market higher price wise as fast as the home buyer/consumer is willing to. Granted, much of the issue with appraisers has to do with the government sponsored entities (i.e. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, HUD etc) guidelines that are given to the appraisers.

Collier Swecker talks about pre-listing appraisals

Tom: Can you share with the readers your thoughts on the use of pre-listing appraisals and how they can be used to solve some of these problems?

Collier: Pre-listing appraisals are one of the most important tools that a real estate agent & home seller can utilize to get homes actually sold fast and for the most money. I am always perplexed at why so many agents and sellers don’t utilize this relatively inexpensive tool that I can honestly say has helped build our extremely successful business and helped our clients sell their homes.

We utilize pre-listing appraisals for a number of important reasons. Obviously and most importantly to price the home so that once we get an offer we know that we can get that home to closing after the purchase appraisal is performed. One of the biggest issues facing sellers today, is finding home buyers willing to pay one price and an appraiser coming in appraising it for less. It is far better to know that on the front end of the transaction than waiting until a buyer has completed their purchase appraisal.

Additionally, it allows sellers to come to grips with the reality that on some occasions their home is not worth what they think it is worth and if they plan on marketing their home for more than it is worth, they may never get to the closing table.

Tom: What positive results have you seen from using pre-listing appraisals?

Collier: We started recommending pre-listing appraisals to every client in January 2011 and we have sold more listings every year since. In fact, it helped us make sure that we were not taking overpriced listings and wasting time & money on homes that wouldn’t sell.

Tom: What type of advice could you give agents who don’t currently utilize pre-listing appraisals in their business?

Collier: Agents who don’t partner with an awesome appraiser to provide pre-listing appraisals for their clients are missing out on one of the most important tools available given how important the purchase appraisal has become in this real estate market. I think many agents are afraid to ask their seller to pay for the appraisal because either it makes the agent not know how to price a home or they are afraid that the seller will tell them no. In fact, I think that the seller gets the cost of the pre-listing appraisal back by selling quicker and hopefully for more money. The seller is investing in the sale of their home.

Agents are depriving home sellers of a vital tool. Agents need to also remember that what a home buyer is willing to pay is in most cases an emotional price (what their gut says it’s worth to them) while an appraiser comes to a home’s value with an “engineer’s” / “black & white” intrinsic pricing methodology with very little emotion involved in the process. Personally I think appraisers need to loosen up a bit and let the free market dictate prices again, but until they do, we as agents must understand the role that appraisers play in the sale of a home and we must position our sellers so that the purchase appraisal has very little impact on their ability to get to the closing table.

Tom: Thanks for sharing your thoughts Collier. If anyone wants to contact you what is the best way?

Collier: They can visit our sales website at www.MegaAgents.com , our rental website at www.MegaAgentRentals.com or my video blog at www.CollierSwecker.com. They can also email me at collier@megaagents.com or by phone (205) 249-3535.

4 Takeaways regarding pre-listing appraisals

Here’s 4 tips that we can takeaway from Collier’s discussion of pre-listing appraisals:

  1. By getting the appraisal upfront you decrease the impact of the mortgage appraisal at the closing table.
  2. Pre-listing appraisals can help you determine whether to take an overpriced listing that may never sell but take up your time and money.
  3. Pre-listing appraisals reduce the emotional component in the home purchase which can result in buyers offering more for a house than the market can support.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller to pay for the pre-listing appraisal since the price will most likely be recouped when the home sells quicker and hopefully for more money.

Question

Do you have any additional questions about pre-listing appraisals? If you’re an agent do you have a positive story to tell about how pre-listing appraisals have helped you sell more homes? I’d be interested in hearing your story so please leave a comment below and let’s keep the conversation going.

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Comments

  1. Nice job, Tom. A credible appraisal on the front end can be very helpful in many cases – especially if the market is price sensitive.

  2. Tom Molinari says:

    “Personally I think appraisers need to loosen up a bit and let the free market dictate prices again, ” As is the case with many Realtors and Mega Agents, Collier does not understand the appraisal process and what appraisers actually do. A simple appraisal class would help agents understand that appraisers analyze and report on the market. We do not dictate market prices.

    • Thanks for you comments Tom. I think what Collier meant was that the GSE’s have imposed various overreaching guidelines that sometimes inhibit appraisers from providing a non biased appraisal. I think some appraisers may be scared to put a certain value on a home for fear that they may be audited and in some instances this has caused them to be more conservative. Of course this does not explain every situation where an appraisal came up short since a lot of this is caused by agents not knowing the market or allowing owners to set the price.

  3. Great job on the interview about pre-listing appraisals. Many of my clients also order appraisals before they place homes on the market. My clients have told me it allows the agent to step aside and remain in more of a role of helping the seller make decisions rather than giving them a price that can appear to be a conflict of interest and sometimes offensive to the seller. With an appraisal, even if sellers do not agree with the appraisal, sellers and agents can list the property with more confidence and information.

    I’m guessing that you’re the “awesome appraiser” mentioned in the article.

  4. Once again, great information Tom! Particularly the response to why more agents don’t use pre-listing appraisals. Collier indicates that appraisers need to “loosen up and let the free market dictate prices again”. Unfortunately, the GSE guidelines often prevent an appraiser from doing so. It is important for realtors to understand the guidelines that are placed on appraisals. These are the very guidelines that can result in an appraised value that falls below the contract price.

    • I think that’s what Collier meant when he was talking about Mark with the GSE’s. One thing that can help in situations like this though is to not only use closed sales but also consider actives and pending sales since they reflect what is currently happening and can be some of the best indicators of value.

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