Your home: The fastest selling prices, locations and floorplans in NE Johnson County right now

All of them! Just kidding, kind of. With less than three months of inventory in our area, most homes are selling quickly. The average time on the market right now is hovering around 60 days. However, if a home is priced right and in good condition, it is selling within days. Most of our homes in the Prairie Village/Leawood area are selling in less than a week.

Even though the market at large is quite healthy, there are still several price ranges and floor plans that are remaining the most sought-after. Let me give you some examples. In Prairie Village right now the most popular price range for a home is $160,000- $180,000. South of 75th Street this price range represents over 20 percent of the market. That is a big number. I attribute the popularity of this price range to the cross section of residents who are moving up in size and price. As I have said before, there has never been a better market for a move-up. Not only are you selling a home with very little competition, you are also financing a home at historically low interest rates. Talk about a one-two punch!

The second most popular price range is $200,000- $250,000. Kinda makes sense doesn’t it? Where do you think the $160,000- $180,000 seller is moving? To a $200,000- $250,000 home. This price range represents about an average of 11 percent of the market. So where are the other 9 to 10 percent of the buyers moving? Out south and west seems to be the answer. Due to the low inventory in this price range, more buyers are considering a move a bit further out of the area.

Now that we have talked about price ranges, let’s talk about floor plans and other features that are highly sought-after in today’s market. Here is the hit list. If your home fits one or more of the following criteria, you might want to consider giving us a call. It could be the market that you have been waiting for!

Completely remodeled from stem to stern: The ROI on home improvements is quite high right now compared to the last several years AND a majority of today’s buyers are looking for an updated home
Completely original condition and very well cared for: I am referring to a home that is in great condition and just needs to be updated. As a Realtor, I applaud the homeowner who can maintain a home built in the 1940′s or 50′s and keep it in pristine condition. These homes offer a great benefit for those seeking a certain floor plan or location, and would like to personalize any updates.

A two-car garage home: Enough said. If most of your neighbors have a one car garage, and you have two, you might consider selling.

3+ bedrooms with 2+ baths: Again, this is a potential move-up home and is under high demand.

$300,000-$500,000 homes:This price range represents about 10 percent of the market. Please note that is a huge price range yet only represents 10 percent of the market. Therefore, inventory is this price range is pretty much non-existent. If you have a home in this range, now is your time!

Master suite on the main floor: This floor plan appeals to almost all buyers, especially the empty nester market.

Now, I will be so BOLD as to name a few subdivisions that I get calls about almost weekly: Indian Fields, Reinhardt Estates, Corinth Hills, West Riding, Kenilworth, and Prairie Village/Prairie Hills (right by the shops). If you live in one of these areas, we should talk. How would it be to get top dollar for your home and pretty much name your terms when it comes to closing/possession dates, inspection repairs, etc.? That’s what I thought you would say.

Your home: An insider’s view from a recent home buyer

A few days ago I reviewed all of my columns from 2013. And I must admit, I have done a lot of talking about the seller’s market that we are in right now. So much so that the buyers out there may feel a little left out. Well not anymore.

This week I had a chance to interview one of our most recent buyer clients, Chris Rogers. On Aug. 7, 2013, he and his girlfriend, Elizabeth, closed on their first home purchase. Congrats Chris and Elizabeth!

Here is what he had to say:

Chad: Based on your experience with buying a home recently, how would you describe the market?

Chris: I would describe it as both a buyer’s market and a seller’s market. We really enjoyed the whole process and with rates so low, it was a great experience!

Chad: How much time did you spend researching the market before you started actively looking for a home?

Chris: Three weeks to a month. We used Trulia and Zillow a lot. We researched city data to get more comfortable with the different areas and we also talked to friends and family who lived in the areas that we were interested in.

Chad: What did you look for in a Realtor?

Chris: I didn’t really know what to look for in a Realtor. My friend recently worked with you guys (Leah was his buyer’s representative) and said that he had received the best service. That was all that I needed to hear, so I gave you guys a call.

Chad: What surprised you about the process, good or bad?

Chris: We didn’t really have any big surprises. Leah took the time to walk us through the entire process. We really enjoyed learning how everything works and all of the steps involved.

Chad: What would you do differently if you could do it all over again?

Chris: Maybe buy a house sooner. I have rented for quite a while and each month’s rent has just been wasted. Now that I understand more about real estate as an investment, yes, I would have bought a house sooner.

Chad: If you could offer a potential buyer only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Chris: Be patient. The process takes time. Finding a home that works for you and fits your needs is very important. So just be patient.

Thank you so much Chris for your time and your candid responses. We are thrilled for you and Elizabeth and Leah had a blast working with you two as well.

I must say that I was a little surprised to hear Chris say that he thought it felt like both a buyers and a sellers market. As a team, we are constantly trying to streamline our systems and processes to make a home purchase a great experience. No matter what market you are in, a well-informed buyer with proper expectations can have a great experience. So buyers out there, don’t take my word for it, take Chris’s: “Buy sooner!”

Your home: Home prices wait for no man!

As time keeps marching along, home values just keep climbing! Just last month, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index was up 12.2 percent compared to a year ago. This index is a comparison of similar single-family home sales that have taken place year over year. This method is strongly touted as being presented in “real terms” due to the fact inflation is taken into consideration.

The 12.2 percent improvement represents the biggest year-over-year increase in home values since March 2006. In fact, national home prices have increased every month since June 2012. Even better, the percentage of increase has increased compared to the previous month since last June.

Ok, so I will lay off the stats for a minute, but, man, that is a strong message — and a message that both buyers and sellers need to hear. But I will get back to that in a moment.

According to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, current home values are still 24.4 percent below the peak of values in 2006. However, at the current improvement rate, we are catching up quickly. The difference between now and then is that the current values are still much more in line with the cost of living. That is what got us into trouble as a nation in 2006. Values were quickly outpacing the cost of living.

Although our market is still going strong, I am already seeing the intensity level subsiding. And, personally, I am happy about that.

Inventory is still really low, but appears to be holding steady in most areas of town. This could be due to the increase in interest rates over the last two months, or it could just be our normal seasonality taking effect. Or a little of both. Either way, the market appears to be taking a slight pause — a deep breath, if you will. My prediction is that we will pick up where we left off in the next two to three weeks (after school is back in session). This deep breath is causing more price adjustments and more sellers to think twice before they over-price their home in hopes that the current appreciation rates will justify their price. So, what should we take away from this column?

Here you go:

Buyer’s out there: As rates continue to climb, and values do the same, now is your time. I know that I sound like a broken record, but don’t try to time the market. All indications are that you will come out as the loser if you wait. Remember that an increase in your interest rate will have the biggest impact on your future mortgage.

Now, to my seller’s out there: The current trends seem to paint a picture that the longer you wait to list your home, the stronger the re-sale value will be. Not necessarily true. With Fall and Winter on the horizon, the number of active buyers will decrease as it always does. Seasonality is a fact of life. Less demand equals less leverage for the seller. If you want to be in the driver’s seat for your home sale, act now.

Next week: What do recent home buyers think about the market of today? Another great interview!

Your home: An insider’s view from a recent NEJC home seller

This past week, our Director of Operations (Rebecca Holcombe), had an awesome idea. She suggested that I interview a recent seller and buyer for our column. Immediately, I loved the idea. I can go on and on about our market, but nothing speaks to a potential seller or buyer like someone who just sold or bought a home.

My first client interview was with Mrs. Sara Callen. She and her husband, Clayton, recently sold their home in Prairie Village. Unfortunately for us, they have moved to Dallas, but Sara was kind enough to make some time to answer a few questions for me. Here is what Sara had to share.

Chad: Based on your experience with selling recently, how would you describe the market?

Sara: It is a strong market! We had a lot of showings in just a few days on the market and then sold quickly.

Chad: How much time did it take for you to prepare your home for sale?

Sara: We spent several weeks preparing our home. We rented a storage unit for extra items that we weren’t using (like off-season clothing, kitchen items, etc…). We also took down personal photographs and replaced them with other artwork. Lastly, we replaced worn items like rugs and towels to freshen things up.

Chad: What did you look for in a Realtor?

Sara: Our main goal was to find a strong advocate. We wanted someone who would get to know our home and then create a marketing plan that would play to its strengths. We wanted someone who was organized and communicated well. It was also important to find someone who was familiar with our neighborhood.

Chad: What surprised you about the process, good and bad?

Sara: I will give you the bad first. I was surprised at how difficult it is to have and keep your home show ready at a moment’s notice. The good surprise was how quickly we sold our home. Actually, it was a great surprise.

Chad: What would you do differently if you could do it all over again?

Sara: Clayton and I have both discussed it and we would have hired a Realtor from the beginning instead of trying to sell it on our own. Having a good Realtor made the process of selling much faster and much easier. We could have saved ourselves several weeks of work had we just done that from the start.

Chad: If you could offer a potential seller only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Sara: Don’t wait on your projects. Start preparing your home today.

Chad: Is there anything that I should have asked you that I did not? Any other advice for a seller?

Sara: Sure. Stay updated on the market because it changes quickly. And then make sure that you research the Realtor that you are considering for the job.

I would like to offer a special thank you to Sara for her time and honesty. We wish you the best in the big “D”!

We will be chatting with a recent buyer client in an upcoming post. I am excited to see what the other side says.

Stay tuned!