So, who is Howard Hanna?


Just like Nothnagle, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services is a family-owned company. Established in 1957, Howard and Anne Freyvogel Hanna opened a single office in Pittsburgh, PA to start. They are now the 3rd largest real estate company in the nation. Why does this matter? This merger will give our clients access and support from 259 offices and more than 9,000 agents & employees nationwide. The Howard Hanna website ( has a monthly average of 1 million visitors.

While you may not notice a direct impact or change, this merger is an incredibly advantageous move for our local real estate market. That being said, please know that we are committed to offering the same extraordinary service to our clients and look forward to what our new name has in store for us!

FAQ - Choosing a Realtor

How do I choose a real estate agent?

Okay. I know what you’re thinking… This blog is going to be all about why it is that you should work with the Mark Siwiec Team. Wrong. In fact, one of the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned throughout my 26 years in the business is that in order to be successful, one must know their strengths and weaknesses. Let me explain…

Just recently, a friend asked if I wanted to take on a listing in Franklinville, NY. A real estate agent who is eager to land their first listing might have jumped on the request. I, however, respectfully declined. Why would I turn away business? Simply put, my team and I were not the best agent for the job. We would not have represented the client in the way that she deserved and to the degree by which we typically operate on behalf of our clients. When choosing who it is that will represent you during the sale of your home, there are a number of things to keep in mind.

  • First and foremost, choose an agent about whom you’ve heard great stories. Pick someone that your sister or your neighbor used and had a fantastic experience. Word of mouth, if possible, is always the best way to choose a real estate agent. It’s why we’re so proud of our business being over 78% referral-based.

  • If, however, you’re unable to select an agent based on a recommendation, conduct a simple Google search and identify three real estate agents that you would like to interview. During these interviews, there are a number of questions that you should consider asking. In order to choose who may represent you and your home in the most efficient manner, analyze the following criteria:

o  Does he or she work full-time or part-time?

o  What type of experience do they have, specifically, in your town/neighborhood?

o   How many years have they been selling real estate?

o   How much have they sold annually? Compare this to the annual sales for all agents in the region.

o   How much have they sold annually in your town/neighborhood?

o   What is their marketing plan?

  • During these interviews, resist the urge to go with the agent that gives you the highest number! This is where so many sellers go wrong. Of course, I realize that it may be impossible to ignore the sweet, seductive soliloquy of the agent professing to sell your home for $25,000 over what it is that other agents are proclaiming. However, there are much better indicators to look for that will determine who is the best man or woman for the job. In this moment, pause, breathe, and make two decisions.

1. What is the best list price based on the analysis of all three agents?

2. Who is the best agent to market the property and get it sold?

Finally, after eventually selecting a real estate agent, my last piece of advice would be to, most importantly, hold your agent to their claims and promises. Listen carefully when he or she talks about their marketing plan and be mindful throughout the process as to whether or not it is being executed. Best of luck!

ROC Spotlight Series - Dan Goldstein

What are you reading?  

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen.  It’s good, but just finished Shoe Dog by Phil Knight which was awesome!

What are you listening to?

I cannot shake my obsession with Van Morrison…..but have added in some newish stuff like Avett Brothers, and real new stuff like Trapo (young hip hop/rap artist managed by my nephew Steven Goldstein)

What is the last album or song that you downloaded?  

Shade Tree by Trapo

Do you have a favorite podcast(s)?  

SCL radio on Sound Cloud. Very cool and done by my nephew out of the new Sweet Chick (chicken & waffles) LA location

What are you currently watching on TV?  

Stuck in the sit-com era….30 minutes and done!  Modern family and Blackish

What is the last movie you saw?  

Beauty & the Beast (with my daughter)

Who are you following on Twitter?  

I don't use twitter - I'm trying to cut back a bit on social media!

How do you spend your Sundays?  

At my farm with family & friends -  hiking, fishing and riding ATVs as much as possible.

ROC Spotlight Series - Adam Goldfeder

What are you reading? 

I read three newspapers a day front to back. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Democrat and Chronicle. I feel between the three of them I can hit it all. I love print media. I get them delivered to my house daily. I also just got a book called Getting Things Done by David Allen. I haven’t started it yet, so it obviously isn’t working ;)

What are you listening to?

I primarily listen to old school hip hop. Could be one of my biggest hobbies. Some notable albums of the year: Anderson .Paak’s “Malibu".  A Tribe Called Quest’s “We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service”. Great stuff. I’ll also listen to pop music with my kids. There’s always room for pop music.


What is the last album or song that you downloaded?

John Mayer - The Search For Everything. He is a master guitarist. One of the best.

Do you have a favorite podcast(s)? 

I listen to Howard Stern daily (technically he only does three live shows a week). Undeniably the best interviewer in show business.  Hands down.


What are you currently watching on TV?

I watch a boatload of PBS (WXXI - I’m a huge fan), Amazing Race, Jeopardy and sports (NFL, NBA) with my kids, and the occasional trashy show on Bravo. Definitely not the Bachelor. On ABC. On Mondays. At 8. Also, see question 8.

What is the last movie you saw?

Wonder Woman. I really enjoyed it, and so did my children. I’m a super comic book geek kind of guy. Excellent movie. Gal Gadot is the real deal.

Who are you following on Twitter?

I do have an account. I never check it, and have never posted. Not a huge fan.

How do you spend your Sundays?

My favorite day of the week. Up early’ish to catch my man Willie Geist on Sunday Today on NBC, and then right in to CBS - Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley. The best hour and a half of television all week. Beautiful show. Bagels from Bagel Land at 12 Corners, and usually a workout.

FAQ - Contingencies

What are contingencies?

When buying or selling a home, one word that you’re guaranteed to hear over and over is  “contingency”. Unfortunately, “contingency” also happens to be one of those words that is difficult to define without using the actual word, itself. Here’s the gist of it:

Think of a contingency as a sort of safety net that a buyer puts in place in order to ensure that they purchase a property only after certain conditions have been met. Still with me? Rather than providing any more of a lofty or confusing definition, why don’t I give you a few examples… Most purchase offers contain three traditional contingencies.

1. Almost all buyers want to have their attorney review their purchase contract.

2. The majority of buyers want to have inspections conducted on the property.

3. And, finally, most buyers need to secure a mortgage.

Taking these contingencies in order, here’s a little more information:

ATTORNEY REVIEW: Both buyers and sellers want to have their attorney review what is often times a dense and legalistic four page document. The reason for this is that a real estate attorney can ensure that none of the conditions written into the purchase contract by a potentially wily and unscrupulous agent are detrimental to their client’s financial well-being. Attorneys will traditionally spend ten or fifteen minutes reviewing a purchase offer with their client before issuing their approval and, by extension, removing the attorney approval as a contingency of sale.*

*The end goal for any contingency is removal, once all conditions have been met.

INSPECTIONS: I think that we can all agree that the average person does not want to purchase a property where the furnace is non-operable or the roof is leaking water into the living room or the foundation is about to collapse in on itself. The means by which buyers are able to avoid this disastrous predicament is by ensuring that their purchase offer is contingent upon professional inspections. Traditionally, within seven days of acceptance of an offer, buyers will have an engineer and often times a chimney or furnace inspector walk through the property on their behalf. Shortly after, based on the inspection report, the buyer will then ask the seller to make certain repairs that they deem necessary in order for them to feel comfortable moving forward. If, after some negotiating, buyer and seller can agree to a list of repairs, this inspection contingency will then be removed as a contingency of sale. Once our office receives a signed Inspection Contingency Removal, we typically consider the deal to be solid and the property goes pending in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

MORTGAGE: Without writing a mortgage contingency into a purchase contract, a buyer could potentially be sued by a seller for non-performance should they find themselves unable to secure financing from a bank or lending institution. As a result of having this mortgage contingency in place, the buyer is obligated to move forward and transfer title into their name only if a bank or lending institution finds them credit worthy and approves their financing. Once a buyer has been approved for a mortgage, the bank will distribute their approval letter and, in doing so, they have assisted the buyer in removing the mortgage as a contingency of sale. This is very often the last contingency to be removed.

Occasionally, a fourth contingency may be written into a purchase offer, having to do with the sale and transfer of title of the buyer’s existing residence. This, ironically, is what most real estate agents refer to as a contingent offer. Because the aforementioned contingencies are so common, they don’t typically stick out as an impediment to the sale. However, because a contingent offer relies upon the sale of the buyer’s existing residence, this contingency is not quite as common or appealing to a seller. That being said, there are certainly occasions in which a seller, unable to sell their property through more traditional means, is willing to work with a buyer who needs to first sell their existing residence in order to finance the purchase of their next.

Of course, there are a host of additional contingencies that can be written into any purchase offer. However, these four conditions constitute what is common to perhaps 98% of all purchase offers. While the wording may seem a bit tricky, I hope that this breakdown makes things a bit more clear!