Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Move Quickly to Buy Favorite Houses in Kansas City
Competition for Kansas City homes is creating bidding wars and some disappointed buyers.  That is why it is important for serious buyers to get preapproval, view the favored homes, and be ready to place offers quickly.  There is no time for procrastination or indecision!  Desirable properties in the Kansas City area are being snatched up in the blink of an eye.  Offers even come in before homes are officially on the market and during open houses. 
Here are some ways buyers can get a surer foothold in the Kansas City home market:
1.       Get a preapproval letter from your lender.
2.       Write a personalized cover letter to show buyer’s motivation.
3.       Make strong offer. 
a.       Increase the price or earnest money deposit.
b.      Pay cash.
c.       Wave contingencies such as inspections and other liabilities.
4.       Request accelerated acceptance date.
Most especially, those homebuyers looking for homes at medium price points in good Kansas City neighborhoods need to be prepared.  Today’s Kansas City real estate market is experiencing a short supply of homes for sale.  In March 2012 there were 7.1 months of existing homes available and today there are only enough homes on the market to last for 4.8 months. 
Sellers have it pretty good with many of them entertaining multiple offers.  They can choose the cream of the crop.  This is not the market for low-ball offers.  Most homes are selling for amounts close to the asking price or more.  In March 2014, the average sales price for an existing home was up 5.5 percent to almost $160,000.
The supply of new homes is a bit better.  The Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City announced a 4-percent increase in building permits for single-family homes during the first quarter for a total of 863.  According to a recent article in The Kansas City Star Newspaper by Kevin Collison, “The supply of new homes was 26 percent higher in March than a year ago, with 1339 on the market.”  The average new home sales prices have increased year over year approximately 1 percent to almost $341,000.

Several elements are at play.  Continuing low interest rates, new jobs relocating to Kansas City, and affordable cost of living are a few of them.  Kansas City was ranked as the 7th Most Affordable Market among metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people in the United States, according to Collison.  The information came from nerdwallet.com, a San Francisco-based consumer finance website.

Shelly O'Boynick
Realtor, Broker Associate
RE/MAX Realty Suburban
12701 W. 87th Street
Shawnee Mission, KS 66215
cell-816.830.3370
www.ShellyOBoynick.com
email ShellySellsRealEstate@gmail.com

Saturday, April 26, 2014

USDA Rural Development Expands to Lansing KS Real Estate

USDA Rural Development Expands to Lansing KS Real Estate

Beginning May 6, 2014, buyers in the Lansing KS real estate markets, as well as, Gardner, Dodge City, Garden City and other nearby communities may be able to take advantage of the Guaranteed Rural Housing (GRH) Loan Program.  The zero-down payment and up to 102 percent financing are popular benefits of GRH versus FHA loans.  In a nutshell, the GRH includes:

  • ·         30-year fixed rates
  • ·         Flexible credit and qualifying guidelines
  • ·         Less expensive than FHA loans
  • ·         No limits on sources or amount of gifting to pay closing costs
  • ·         Streamlined credit approval with credit scores of 640 +
There are several excellent reasons to find out about real estate in Lansing and the surrounding areas that is suitable for the needs and goals of today’s home buyers.  For more information about opportunities for home ownership in the Lansing KS real estate market, contact Shelly O’Boynick, Broker Associate RE/MAX Realty Suburban at 816.830.3370.
Background
The GRH Loan Programs were created to help rural communities become self-sustaining, re-populating, and prosperous.  They are initiatives sponsored by USDA Rural Development.  The USDA also seeks to promote the conservation and restoration of private working lands, and hence water resources, promote agricultural production, and increase food security.  Therefore, larger parcels are eligible.
The agency targets communities with populations under 10,000.  Lansing and these other communities have surpassed that limit.
Enter the 2014 Farm Bill.  The definition of “rural” has been changed in this new legislation.  Communities of 25,000 to 35,000 residents are able to claim they are “rural in character.”  Homebuyers may be eligible for USDA Rural Development loan programs until the census in 2020.
Eligibility

The USDA Rural Development mortgage programs cover rural acreages.  There may be existing homes or vacant acreage with plans to build a home.  There may be outbuildings on the properties as well.  These homes must be used as principal residences.  There are some income restrictions.

Shelly O'Boynick
Realtor, Broker Associate
RE/MAX Realty Suburban
12701 W. 87th Street
Shawnee Mission, KS 66215
cell-816.830.3370
www.ShellyOBoynick.com
email ShellySellsRealEstate@gmail.com

Saturday, April 19, 2014

What are Unacceptable Conditions when Selling Kansas City Homes?

What are Unacceptable Conditions when Selling Kansas City Homes?
Unacceptable conditions in the Kansas City homes market are those discovered during a home inspection and/or an appraisal.  Inspectors and appraisers inevitably find “unacceptable conditions,” even when inspecting brand-new homes in Kansas City.  They are par for the course. 

The Residential Estate Sale Contract used by the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors defines an “unacceptable condition” as any condition identified in the written inspection report prepared by an independent qualified inspector of the buyer's choice.

After the unacceptable conditions are delineated, the buyer has a few options.  The buyer may accept the desired Kansas City real estate in "as is" condition.  The buyer can also decide to cancel the contract.  Most Kansas City homebuyers take a middle route.  They offer to renegotiate the contract.  In modern times, most negotiations are based on a sort of goodwill.  Sellers try hard to sell the home in good order and buyers understand that real property is composed of thousands of elements that could be perfected.

How do the parties negotiate the repairs?  Some contracts limit the dollar amount for repairs of unacceptable conditions.  However, many a closing has been postponed or canceled because this limited dollar amount is based on estimates.  Estimates are notoriously too low when compared to the actual charges.

The seller has a certain number of days (usually five) after he/she receives the buyers offer to renegotiate a resolution for unacceptable conditions.  If the allotted time passes and a new agreement has not been reached by the buyer and seller, or the buyer has not communicated a written willingness to accept the property "as is," then either party may cancel the contract by written notice after the renegotiation period expires. Review your contract for specific terms and details.

In conclusion, unacceptable conditions may not be unacceptable at all to a buyer who earnestly wants or needs to close the deal in a timely manner.  On the other hand, depending on the severity of the problems outlined by the inspector and/or appraiser, unacceptable conditions may be a deal breaker.


Also see our article entitled, "How Pre-Listing Home Inspections Benefit Sellers in Kansas City."

Shelly O'Boynick
Realtor, Broker Associate
RE/MAX Realty Suburban
12701 W. 87th Street
Shawnee Mission, KS 66215
www.ShellyOBoynick.com

cell-816.830.3370

email ShellySellsRealEstate@gmail.com

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pre-Listing Home Inspections Benefit Sellers in Kansas City

Pre-Listing Home Inspections Benefit Sellers in Kansas City

Sellers of Kansas City homes:  Get a home inspection and use it to your advantage.  In fact, the Home Inspection Report can actually be used to market your Kansas City real estate. The strategy has helped many sellers of Kansas City homes to achieve their goals in a timely manner. 

How?  For one thing, a pre- inspection will remove the last-minute scrutiny that unwinds all of the agent's hard work.  So Kansas City real estate agents will consider property with a pre-listing inspection to be a good risk.  They will more readily suggest your home to potential buyers in the Kansas City home market.  Combined with a good price and available financing, a favorable home inspection adds transparency to the listing. 

We are speaking here about having a home inspection completed before the home is put on the market or as soon as possible thereafter.  If sellers wait until an interested party the inspection, they leave themselves open.  Remember, the buyer wants to find reasons to negotiate lowering the price.  Worse yet, defects revealed after the buyers are ready to buy could send them running. 

On the other hand, if the seller orders the home inspection and fixes any problems or repairs, then major obstacles to the smooth sale and closing are eliminated.

A seller’s inspection also adds confidence and protects the seller from unreasonable terms during negotiations.  The inspection adds transparency, an important element if the seller wants to sell the property AS IS.  Even if the buyer orders a second inspection, it will not uncover additional major defects or deal breakers. A seller’s home inspection also comes in handy in the case of a lawsuit. 

The focus of a home inspection is on the structural integrity of the property.  The inspector goes over the electrical systems and plumbing, the heating and air-conditioning, the foundation, the roof, wells and the septic, and evidence of environmental problems such as asbestos, mold, and fungus.  Sellers can also order additional tests for bacteria in the water, carbon monoxide, radon, and other well-known toxins.

A highly experienced, certified professional will best accomplish the task.  Inspectors do not judge the home design and cosmetic details.  The inspector tests the mechanicals and appliances, materials and condition of the property.  Once problems become known, they can be solved.  As an overwhelming majority of buyers do not want a fixer upper these days, sellers who take seriously the repair list are doing themselves a favor.

Shelly O'Boynick
Realtor, Broker Associate
RE/MAX Realty Suburban
12701 W. 87th Street
Shawnee Mission, KS 66215
www.ShellyOBoynick.com
cell-816.830.3370

email ShellySellsRealEstate@gmail.com

Friday, April 4, 2014

Purpose of Staging a Home for Sale in Kansas City

The purpose of staging Kansas City homes for sale is to make them appealing to buyers. After completing the cleaning, de-cluttering, repairing, and painting, sellers of Kansas City homes are ready to think about staging.  Staging is one of the top home improvement measures available to owners of properties in Leavenworth, Lansing, Leawood, or Olathe. 
Well-staged real estate Kansas City sells more readily and fetches a higher price.  Owners of Kansas City real estate can accomplish staging themselves or hire a professional staging company.  Staging can cost anywhere from $500-$5000, depending on the size of the home and what additional items need to be procured or rented.  Whatever the cost, the investment in staging will bring great returns.
Home staging professionals such as Elizabeth Weintraub from About.com create an appealing ambience in each home.  Weintraub explains staging as a way to make the house look bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, and more loving.  To accomplish this end, the staging professional employs a series of techniques that lure all five senses into action.
Professional stagers use a number of methods.  They arrange furniture in small groupings.  They add soft fabrications such as silk and lamb’s wool.  Thoughtfully, they accent shelving, mantels and bookcases with unique accessories.  Knickknacks or collections are carefully arranged with one item, three items, or five.  Each room has one specific purpose—the office, entertainment room, guest room, etc.
Staging involves more than a method.  It takes an artist's eye to stage a home.  Optimally addressing each room takes a sixth sense, vision, and creativity.  Remember, the end result must be simple and not eccentric.  The decor must woo the right buyer by making him/her feel at home and comfortable.  Homeowners can experiment by strategically placing items such as mirrors, plants, silk flowers, area rugs, lighting, Afghans, pillows, baskets, loveseats, and ottomans to achieve the desired outcome. 
The bathroom decor helps the buyer to feel pampered and relaxed.  The kitchen could use pops of color and maybe a bowl of fresh fruit.  One creative gentleman filled the atmosphere with the sweet aroma of homemade jam before showing his condo! 
Designers also stage the exterior of the home by strategically placing seating areas, plants or flowers, and possibly setting the picnic table with colorful settings.

Shelly O'Boynick
Realtor, Broker Associate
RE/MAX Realty Suburban
12701 W. 87th Street
Shawnee Mission, KS 66215
www.ShellyOBoynick.com
cell-816.830.3370

email ShellySellsRealEstate@gmail.com

Friday, March 28, 2014

Buying vs. Renting Homes in Kansas City- Leavenworth to Olathe

Buying vs. Renting Homes in Kansas City - Leavenworth to Olathe
There are many reasons to buy Kansas City homes and reasons to rent.  The benefits of buying versus renting real estate in Kansas City are relative, depending on a person's needs and goals.  Those who can afford to purchase their condos or homes in Kansas City weigh several factors including the financial aspects of the equation.

When comparing the financial aspects of buying versus renting, it is important to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.  Using this rough equation, a quick estimate of the financial picture can be determined:  Look at the cost of purchasing one home in the same neighborhood as renting a similar home.  To determine the price-to-rent ratio or P/R ratio, simply divide the price of the Kansas City home by the yearly cost of rent.  If the number is less than 20, it may be a better financial decision to purchase. 
Money is only one factor to weigh.  Many people do not purchase a home to make money or to save money.  There are other advantages to owning Kansas City real estate – from Leavenworth in the northwest corner to Lansing homes and Johnson County real estate in Olathe. 
Homeowners take pride in ownership.  Owners gain certain freedoms such as the ability to paint the walls whatever color they choose or change out the cupboards, install a gourmet kitchen or modify the property in other ways.    They also develop relationships in their neighborhoods and gain a certain amount of confidence and stability from being familiar with their surroundings.
For some people, a few major reasons make renting a better than buying.  What are the future plans?  How long does the buyer envision staying in the home?  And finally, does a person really want the responsibilities of maintaining a home, paying property taxes, and being tied to a mortgage payment for a long period of time? 
The primary deterrent to buying is a debt and/or lack of savings.  In Oprah Magazine’s May 2011 article, financial expert Suze Orman says "If you have credit card debt and haven’t saved for a sizable down payment, you are not yet ready to own."

Orman also talks about the financial risks of buying a home and selling it within 5 to 7 years.  She explains that when you sell a home, you should plan on paying the full agents fee, closing costs, the cost of moving, and other expenses.  She says that the property will evaluate at approximately 3 percent annually.  So do the math.  When buying, plan to stay in the home long enough to recoup the costs of moving.
Shelly O'Boynick
Realtor, Broker Associate
RE/MAX Realty Suburban
12701 W. 87th Street
Shawnee Mission, KS 66215
cell-816.830.3370
www.ShellyOBoynick.com

email ShellySellsRealEstate@gmail.com

Friday, March 21, 2014

How to Prepare Kansas City Homes for the Market Part 2

During Part 1 on this subject, we suggested creating helpful checklists months ahead of putting a Kansas City home on the market.  Also we spoke of the important projects of de-cluttering and staging.  Sellers must also take care of as many major and minor home repairs before listing real estate in Kansas City. 
Smart sellers of Kansas City properties obtain a pre-listing inspection of the home and repair anything else that surfaces.  The home will sell most quickly and at better price if it looks well-maintained from the get-go.  Homes that are sold in “as is” condition move quite slowly on the Kansas City real estate market.
Let’s go over some basic repairs.  Depending on the season of the year, homeowners can tackle the outside elements or the inside elements first.  Examine interior and exterior paint on the walls and trim.  Perhaps the front door could be painted one of the new neutral colors that complement the trim on the home's fa├žade. 
As your Kansas City real estate agent, I may suggest the entire exterior repainted, and with good reason.  The colors should be neutral.  Not only walls but wood floors, cabinets, doors, woodwork, and built-ins may need to be refreshed.  A good hardware store can refer products for this purpose. 
Decide if the flooring is in good condition or if it somehow dates the home.  Hardwood floors are very popular these days.  Fortunate property owners may discover that the old carpeting covers pristine wood floors.  For example, the old shag carpeting styles from the 1970s and 80s deter from the property value as do certain colors.  Damaged linoleum and floor tiles, counter tiles and backsplash tiles must be replaced.
Any leaks in the home need to be fixed.  The plumbing and plumbing fixtures, toilets, tubs, showers, hot water heater, washing machine, icemaker, air-conditioner, and other water-bearing elements in the home should be examined for leaks.  Be sure all appliances are in good repair and remove others.
The roof shingles must be in good repair.  Examine carefully the roof tiles, especially around seams where the roof is pitched.  At the same time, clean out the leaves from the gutters.  Run a hose down the gutters and downspouts to be sure they do not leak.  Seal all of the seams on the gutters if they leak.
Look at the garage floor.  Hardware stores sell compounds that can remove oil drips from cement.  Consider washing the walls in the garage and/or applying a coat of fresh paint.

Shelly O'Boynick
Realtor, Broker Associate
RE/MAX Realty Suburban
12701 W. 87th Street
Shawnee Mission, KS 66215
cell-816.830.3370
email ShellySellsRealEstate@gmail.com