Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

Things aren’t always what they seem…

Take Manayunk (19127) for instance. If you were to look at the numbers for 2019, you would think that Manayunk is on fire and that median sale prices are shooting through the roof. Last year, the median sale price in the 19127 MLS Area ranged from $215,000 to $288,000. But in December, the median shot up to $430,000!






However, when you take a closer look at the sales data, you notice something that jumps out. While there were only 12 settled residential sales in 19127, five of them were well above anything else sold in 2019. As it turns out, “The Locks” townhouse development was able to close on a number of properties before the end of the year. They ranged in value from $788,415 all the way up to $991,188. These five sales skewed the market so much that if you were to look only at the raw data, you would be convinced that Manayunk is the new Point Breeze.






This is why Appraisers tend to look deeper into the data to understand real estate markets. In this situation, if the five outliers are removed, the chart tells a much different story. The median sale price falls to $250,000 which is much more in-line with what 19127 had been indicating all 2019. In fact, Manayunk may be experiencing a seasonal downturn, which is typical of this time of year.







Things aren’t always what they seem in data, life and especially real estate. If you need help understanding the trends and indicators in your market, please feel free to contact us. Have a great 2020!


Don’t Rely on the Public Records…

Don’t Rely on the Public Records…When It Comes to Reporting Gross Living Area Accurately.

Just today, I had a situation where I was asked to appraise a property in the Graduate Hospital area.  As it turns out, the homeowner informed me that I was the second appraiser to look at the property.  This was a For Sale By Owner, as well.  The owner also stated that the reason that a second appraisal was ordered was because the first appraiser “muffed-up” the sketch and got the GLA all wrong.  Apparently, the calculations on the sketch were a couple hundred square feet smaller that what was recorded in the public records.  I could feel my eyes beginning to roll backwards.

The homeowner was hanging her hat and the potential sale of her property on the Philadelphia public records.  Geez.  She was very insistent that the other appraiser had no idea what they were doing.  The idea that the public records could be wrong never crossed her mind.  She’d been living in a house of certain size for 10 years and no one was going to tell her different.

So, I went about my inspection, making sure to measure twice.  Upon getting back to my office I drew the floor plan up using my sketch software.  As luck would have it I must have “muffed-up” the sketch, as well.  My calculations were some 200 SF smaller than what was reported in the public records.  Imagine that, two, seasoned, professional appraisers made the same mistakes and arrived at almost the exact same GLA for her home?!?!

The lesson here is it’s never a good idea to rely solely on the public records when it comes to matters of GLA.  Think about it.  Where does the information in the public records come from?  Did an assessor measure the property?  Did a developer provide the info when submitting plans?  Was it taken from an architects rendering?  Who knows?

If you really want to know the accurate GLA of a property, you have to measure it…whether you measure it yourself or use a measuring service!  It’s not difficult to do and can help you avoid all sorts of headaches and misunderstanding.  If you have any questions about how measure a house or about our Home Measuring Services, just let me know.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or



Appraisers Helping Philadelphia Realtors

AppraiserHelpingPhiladelphiaRealtors - Cover Page

Hi Everyone.  Thank you for all your support of the Philly Appraisal Blog over the past couple of years.  In an effort to take the Appraiser/Realtor interaction to the next level I’ve created the Appraisers Helping Philadelphia Realtors Facebook group!!

The group was created to be “THE” go-to source of help and information for realtors in the Greater Philadelphia region looking for answers to their appraisal questions, to stay at the forefront of appraisal issues that are affecting the real estate industry and to bridge the gap of misinformation that often exists between realtors and appraisers in Philadelphia’s ever changing marketplace.

As part of this group, we have assembled a network of “THE” top appraisers locally and nationwide whose focus is on helping Philadelphia Realtors. You’ll notice that some of the leading real estate professionals in the Philadelphia area are also members, including the top agents, brokers and mortgage professionals. All are here to share ideas, provide information and help realtors and their clients in making informed real estate decisions and provide solutions to your valuation questions.

From time to time we will spotlight members of the group so that you can hear their story, learn from their experiences and network with your peers.

We will also be posting PDF files that may be helpful on topics such as “FHA Repairs”, “How to Contest a Low Appraisal” and “How to Calculate the GLA of a House.” So, be sure to check the “File” button under the cover photo.

Please accept this invitation to join the Appraisers Helping Philadelphia Realtors FB Group by clicking on the link or image above.  You are encouraged to introduce yourself to the group, get involved, share your stories and ask questions. Also, please feel free to tell other Philadelphia real estate agents and brokers about the group.

Get involved, ask questions, share your experience and add value!




Geographic WHAT?!?!

The Coyle Group - Geographic Competency - Philadelphia AppraisersYou may have heard the term Geographic Competency as it relates to appraisers. It’s been a hot topic in the appraisal industry for the past few years. It basically means that an appraiser has to be knowledgeable and capable enough to produce accurate and reliable appraisals within a specific geographic area. The appraiser should also have access to data about a geographic area. It’s the coupling of local knowledge and accurate data that can make the difference between a reliable report and one that’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.

As the appraisal market began to change over recent years, many appraisers found themselves expanding their coverage areas in an effort to stay busy. For some appraisers this meant working in areas with which they were not familiar. This often resulted in reports that were poorly supported and wildly off the mark.

If an appraiser finds themselves in a situation where they do not feel Geographically Competent, they have a few options. All are designed to protect the user of the report from getting inaccurate information from the appraiser.

1) They can decline the assignment

2) They can obtain the knowledge necessary to become competent to appraise in a certain area

3) They can seek assistance from another person who is Geographically Competent in that area

Over my 15 years of appraising in the Philadelphia market, agents have shared stories about appraisers coming from miles away to complete appraisals. My favorite is a tale of an appraiser from Parsippany, NJ who drove two hours (both ways) to complete an appraisal in Philadelphia. That’s insane! Not to mention that after time and travel the appraiser was literally working for peanuts!

But keep in mind that an appraiser doesn’t have to live close to a property in order to be competent to appraise there. Most appraisers are capable of appraising in several different counties or even states. I have an appraiser friend who lives in Lower Bucks County and routinely appraises homes at the New Jersey shore. It turns out that he has a house down there and actually worked in that market for several years. He’s competent to appraise there even though he lives in PA.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are not sure if the appraiser has experience appraising in your area, talk with them about it. Interview the appraiser. Ask about their experience in your area. The answers you receive could save you from a “bad” appraisal.

Do you have any stories about appraisers traveling far and wide to look at properties? If so, please share them.


The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia appraisers is a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing appraisals.  If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call.  We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have.  For more information please visit our website at  You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or




2013 Philadelphia Region’s Most Expensive Homes

Let’s face it, 2013 is pretty much over.  With Christmas falling on a Wednesday and New Year’s Eve and Day following shortly thereafter, there are only about 8 “real” work days left.  So, it seems like a perfect time to take a look back at the 2013 real estate market.  In particular, let’s take a look at the ultra high-end sales in the market.*

The Philadelphia Metro Area (Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Bucks County, Delaware County & Chester County) had its fair share of heavy hitters this year.  In total there were 20 sales over $3,000,000 and there are currently five sales pending over that amount.

The Coyle Group - Bucks County MansionBucks County posted a $3,300,000 sale with the property at 6356 Meetinghouse Road, in New Hope.  In this case, the price gets you a 20-year-old, 12, 376 Sq Ft, Colonial situated on 92.78 acres.  A perfect little “country” getaway home for New Yorkers.



The Coyle Group - Villanova MansionIn the Villanova section of Delaware County there was a $4,000,000 sale at 265 Abrahams Lane.  What’s interesting is that price was achieved at auction, down from the original $7,695,000 list price.  Looks like a pretty good deal for the 12-year-old, 10,268 Sq Ft, Mansion sitting on 9.90 Main Line acres. 


The Coyle Group - Philadelphia Rittenhouse Mansion


At $4,200,000 cash, the “McIlhenny” Mansion, at 1914-16 Rittenhouse Square was the highest sale in Philadelphia.  This mansion faces Rittenhouse Square and is built on five property lots.  The 8,600 Sf Ft structure was listed as being “in need of complete restoration.”  Kind of pricey for a fixer-upper but, that being said, there is nothing else like it in Philadelphia.  New owner Bart Blatstein just received the “go ahead” from the planning commission for renovations to the historic property.


 The Coyle Group - Chester County Mansion

Saddle up!  If you like privacy, views and horses, and you happen to have $5,000,000 lying around then you could have purchased the property at 2300 Hilltop View Road, in Chester County.  This 27-year-old, 10,061 Sq Ft, Converted Barn sits on 143.70 acres.  This is a true equestrian property with 14 stalls, paddocks, indoor riding ring, tack room and abuts 800 acres of preserved land. 


The Coyle Group - Montgomery County MansionThe honor of being the most expensive home in the Philadelphia Metro Area for 2013 goes to 648 Creighton Road, in Villanova.  This Tudor Mansion is over 80 years old and boasts 13,464 Sq Ft of living space situated on 3.13 acres, in Lower Merion.  This is a classic Main Line residence with a $5,700,000 price tag to prove it.



The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy and Tax Appeal.  If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call.  We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have.  For more information please visit our website at  You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or

* Only sales advertised in the MLS were included.  No private sales were used.  Photos are courtesy of TReND MLS.