Buyer’s FAQ

What about Inspections?

Buyer’s choose their inspector and they usually will start with a Level 1 inspection.

Level 1 inspections:

1. WHOLE HOUSE – The inspector checks structural components (foundation, floors, doors, windows, attic, roof, fireplace). Plumbing/water components (baths, kitchens, faucets, drains). Electrical components (switches, plugs, appliances, electrical boxes). HVAC (furnace and air conditioning). $300-500

2. TERMITE/WOOD-DESTROYING INSECTS – The lender usually requires the buyer to have a satisfactory inspection. $75-$125

3. RADON – A common test done by an inspector, some lenders are requiring this test now. $100-$150

Level 2 inspections – These are more in-depth and the Whole House Inspector will recommend these if they find more testing is appropriate. You can also do these without waiting.

1. STRUCTURAL – A Structural Engineer will inspect and make recommendations. $175-$400

2. FIREPLACE/CHIMNEY – A video camera is lowered into the firebox to check the flue and components. $150-$200

3. SEWER – A video camera is snaked through the sewer line to check the integrity. $150-$250

4. HVAC – A technician takes apart the equipment to test and check each component. $75-$100 per furnace/air conditioning unit

5. ROOF – A roofer walks the roof and checks all components. $100-$150

6. MOLD – Air and mold samples are taken and then evaluated by a Mold Laboratory. $200-$400

7. ARBORIST – They will check trees, canopy and the landscaping for any issues. $100-$200

What is the Earnest Deposit?

The Earnest Deposit is attached to an Offer to show your intent. In Missouri and Kansas, it is a legal requirement to complete a legal contract. It is usually a personal check made to either the Listing Company or a Title Company. It is required to be deposited within 5 days in Kansas and 10 days in Missouri into the escrow account once the Offer to Purchase has been signed by all parties. It is usually 2-5% of the offer price. It is applied to the Buyer’s down payment at closing and there are timed contingencies within the contract to allow it to be returned to the buyer, passed along to the seller or applied to the closing.

Why is a pre-Approval letter important and am I committed to that Lender to do the loan?

A pre-approval lender is critical to the negotiating strategy. It informs the Seller that the Buyer is qualified to purchase their house. Even a cash offer would require some verification of funds from the Buyer. A local Kansas City lender will have the best resouces for obtaining a loan and will put the Buyer in the strongest negotiating position. You do not have to commit to the lender until you have an accepted Offer to Purchase. The buyer can’t “lock” in an interest rate until you have a contract with a Seller. That is the time to make your final decision of what lender to use.

Are Zillow and Trulia the right place to get information?

These are great places to get some information regarding homes. They are very popular, easy to use and both Zillow and Trulia have great marketing departments to keep their names in front of the buyers and sellers. BUT they are not accurate!! They pull their information from unverified and unreliable locations so often their information is outdated and not even close being accurate in the current real estate market. It is an easy tool to use but the most accurate information will come from the MLS. The Heartland Mulitiple Listing Service is where the most accurate and verified information is accumulated for active “on the market’ listings, under contract and sold information for the entire Kansas City region. Realtors pay dues to belong and share all the informtion to other members to have the most accurate data available. The real estate market can change very rapidly, so it is critical for buyers and sellers to adopt to the market. That information can only be obtained through the local MLS.

What do backup, contingent and pending mean?

A home that is available to be purchased is considered to be ACTIVE on the market. When an Offer to Purchase has been accepted by all parties then the status changes. BACKUP means the Seller is still showing the home and any additional Offers would be in a BACKUP status in case the first Offer doesn’t continue. CONTINGENT means there is a timed contingency that has to be met by either the Buyer or Seller, it usually means the Buyer has to sell their home in order to perform and the Seller has an option to sell the home to someone who does not have to sell their home or non-contingent. PENDING means all the contingenices have been removed and the escrow period is moving toward the closing.

What is the best strategy for buyer’s to compete in fast market?

Don’t be shy – If you are competing then the ability to negotiate diminishes. Get into the home fast and if the comparables are strong, don’t be afraid to bid higher that the full price. You may only have one opportunity to present your offer to the seller so make your first offer your best offer.

Have your ducks in the right row. Have your pre-approval letter ready. Write a letter to the seller telling them why you love their home and why you want to make it YOUR home. This can separate you from the many other offers. Think with your brain but buy it with your heart!

Be creative – If you keep beating out by other buyers then evaluate what is not working. If you don’t like to compete then have me knock on some doors of your favorite streets. You never know who is getting ready to sell. I have a fun, successful system in place of how to do this, called a lottery ticket for sellers.

Wait it out – Markets can fluctuate very quickly, so with some time the market will probably cool down, then you can buy with less competition. You must consider though if interest rates are increasing your buying potential diminishes. This is great conservation we can have.

Are there silly question for a Buyer to ask?

Do appliances come with the house? Built-in appliances would stay with the home. Refrigerators, washers and dryers are usually negotiable. You do have to be careful of what is included because the lender will only loan money on the real estate and not the hot tub or the car in the garage left by the seller. It is all a strategy to consider.

How many lenders should I talk to?

Only one, any more is a waste of time. Once you are under contract then you can shop around.

How do you pick houses you want to see?

Once you register on HomeMatch, you can search on the MLS and save the homes that look interesting. Open houses let you see different neighborhoods quickly. Model homes in new subdivsions let you see new housing trends very easily. I’m also another pair of eyes looking for homes on your behalf and following your goals.

How many houses can you look at?

Usually, 6-8 homes are the most at any one time. More than that, they begin to run together and it gets confusing. It is always a good idea to view the home another day for a second showing. You will see everything differently the second time and it is easier to eliminate it or you are more excited to move forward. It is helpful to keep the home flyers with your notes so you can better remember features of every home.

Does the realtor schedule the showing appointments?

Yes, all property is appointment only and the realtor does the scheduling. It is their job to walk through with you and will point out the features that are important that you may miss.

Seller’s FAQ

Do I need to leave the house during a showing?

Yes, 100%. Please take all the animals away as well. Most showings take around 30 minutes. Always set the stage, LIGHTS on, soft MUSIC playing or the TRAVEL channel should be on the tv. SMELLS are important. NOT strong perfume. If you can smell bad/animal oders, you can’t sell it.

What do I need to do to get my home ready to sell?

Once you decide to sell your home and put it on the market, it is no longer your home. It is a product. This product needs to appeal to the masses. De-cluttering and de-personalizing this product is key. I have the best professional stager that can assist in editing and preparing your home as a “model” home. Landscaping and curb appeal are very important. Each situation is different, and we will be able to help you decide exactly what you need to do to get your home ready.

What do I have to disclose?

When we list your home, you fill out a Seller’s Disclosure. This is a form that covers everything in the home. You simply disclose what you know about the condition of the home. If you know the roof is bad, you need to disclose that.

Should we list it high so we have room to negotiate?

It depends. If we think that your home is going to sell for approximately $250,000, pricing the home at $262,500 isn’t unreasonable. Listing it at $300,000 is unreasonable. Most houses sell in the 3-5% of list price. If you miss the “sweet spot” of the listing price to encourage offers, the market will reject your house and it is best to stay pro-active and adjust the price to the market. If you never adjust and you don’t sell, you may have to wait for several market cycles to gain strength to achieve your price.

How long of a contract do I have to sign?

That’s negotiable. We normally sign a 6-month contract with our sellers and we normally sell the house long before the contract is up.

Safety Tips for Sellers: 6 Points to Consider – Safety experts offer the following tips for safety.

1. Prescription drugs: Remove or lock them up prior to showings.
This is the most common theft, leaving prescription drugs out or in unlocked cabinets during showings. It’s a safety issue for clients and I don’t want to be confronting someone taking this while in your house. I also want you to be protected and to keep your medications safe.

2. Stow away valuables
Valuables include everything from the mail left on the countertops (which may contain personal information and bank statements) to such items as jewelry, artwork, cellphones, and gaming systems. My photographer is also very careful about capturing valuables in a photograph. Before you leave the house for a showing, try to walk through the house and make sure everything of value is out of sight.

3. Remove family photos: It’s for your safety.
Best to remove family photos from your home, not only from a safety and identification standpoint but it also allows the buyer to imagine themselves living in the house as opposed to being a guest in your house.

4. Make a house safe for the buyers and the agent.
Turn on the lights prior to showings — whether it’s daytime or evening — so that agents and buyers can move safely through your home and not have to face any dark unknowns. You don’t want to risk someone tripping and falling in your house and potentially open yourself up to liability. It is also important to remove weapons like guns before showings.

5. Keep the house locked: Consider extra monitoring.
Doors need to be kept locked at all times. A house is being presented to the public and it may attract intruders. Motion-sensor lights can be a good option for outdoor areas for added security. Windows should be checked to make sure they are locked securely.

6. Beware of unexpected visitors coming to your doorstep
You may also get some unexpected visitors who ask to see your house. Proper procedures for showings: Only real estate professionals using the lockbox should gain access to their home.

When is the best time to sell my house?

The quick answer is when you are ready. Houses sell throughout the year. It is all based on supply and demand and the real estate market is always flucuating like every true market. Real estate is one of the few industries where the seller and the buyer truly control the value. Ranking the KC seasonal market as to the most active would be Spring, Fall, Summer then Winter.

During the summer, the market usually slows. The end of July and August are often the slowest months for real estate sales. The strong spring market often places upward pressure on interest rates, many prospective home buyers and REALTORS® take vacations during mid-summer.

After the summer slowdown, sales activity tends to pick up for a second, although less vigorous, season which usually lasts into November. The market then slows again as buyers, sellers and REALTORS® turn their attention to the holidays.
The supply of homes on the market diminish because sellers often wonder whether or not they should take their homes off the market for the holidays. There are still buyers in the market place, but now those buyers have fewer homes to choose from. Those homes on the market at that time have considerably less competition. Generally speaking, you’ll have the best results if your house is available to show to prospective buyers continuously until it sells.

How much is the commission?

Commission is negotiated at the time of listing the property. There are different strategies to consider, different price ranges, market conditions and timing. We take a look at all the options and strategize what is you best choice to meet your goals.

Are Open Houses necessary?

It depends. The MLS agent open house is important. New listings are toured on Tuesday’s allowing agents to tour without scheduling an appointment. Reece Nichols promotes a Celebration Open House once a month. It is another option that we will discuss to see it if make sense for you.

Once I close, how long does it take to get my money?

The seller’s closing usually takes place several days prior to the buyer’s or lender’s closing on the contract closing date. Either the lender or a title company will close the buyer and once they have all the funds, they will disburse your proceeds. Usually a wire is the quickest way to obtain your funds but banks sometimes like to hold the money overnight so either the same day or the next business day you should have your funds.