Your home: Clearing up misconceptions about the Prairie Village market

First let me thank you all, the readers who support our column. Last week’s story about the Larigans was our most read column to date. And it received the most shares on Facebook. Clearly good news spreads quickly.

I have received several comments about the sale of the Larigans home as well — several of them based in misconceptions. I would like to share them with you in the event that you were having similar thoughts about our market.

So lets get started!

Misconception 1: “Cape Cods always sell quickly. Especially with a two-car garage in PV!”

There is some truth to this statement. The truth is that Cape Cods are one of the most popular floor plans historically. And yes, a two car garage is quite a bonus. That said, it wasn’t too long ago that the average Cape Cod was selling for around $225,000. So even the coveted Cape Cod has had its tough times.

The truth is that Cape Cods sell quickly when they are priced at market value. Let’s continue with the example of the Larigans home. It is no secret that 71st Street between Tomahawk Road and Roe Avenue carries a decent amount of traffic. For some buyers, this would be a deterrent to purchase a home on 71st Street. Therefore, you must price accordingly. I had this exact conversation with the Larigans. If I could pick their home up and place it on a quieter street, its market value would have been closer to $265,000. By pricing their beautiful home at a market value that took into account the busier street, they achieved a fast sale with a contract over their list price.

So maybe the whole truth is that Cape Cods sell quickly (even on a busier street) when they are priced at a market value that takes all factors into account, such as location.

Misconception 2: “The $225,000-$250,000 price range is always a hot one!”

Again, there is some truth here — just not the whole truth. As I shared in last week’s column, that price bracket makes up part of the second most popular price range in Prairie Village right now. Yet due to the low inventory, there are hot price ranges all over the place ($140,000- $160,000, for example). There are only five homes for sale in that price range yet it is the HOTTEST price range right now in Prairie Village, representing 25 percent of all home sales in January. Now let’s talk about $300,000-$500,000. In Prairie Village right now there are five — yes, only five — single family homes for sale in this price range. That is a $200,000 swing and yet there are five. Hot doesn’t even begin to describe this price range.

One last thing on price. Here are more real life examples. In the last week, our team sold a listing at 6730 Reeds Road ($899,000 list price) the first day on the market with multiple offers. This is first home to sell in this price range in more than 30 days. HiResII (51 of 51)
The next was 8904 Holly Street ($149,900 list price) in Western Hills. It took a little longer at 12 days on the market. Yet on the twelfth day, it received multiple offers.HiResII (1 of 25) As you can see, there are hot price ranges all over the place!

Misconception 3: “Of course that home on 71st Street sold quickly. It is in Prairie Village.”

Yes, I love our Village. And yes, historically the market does, too. However, instead of me telling you why it is not just Prairie Village that is selling quickly, I thought more examples would paint a better picture.

  • 9010 Holly Street in Kansas City, Mo.:  SOLD-3 days on the market for 100 percent of list price (after being listed with another company for 141 days prior)HiRes (28 of 28)
  • 5024 Parish Drive in Roeland Park: SOLD-1 day on the market for 100 percent of list price.HiRes (17 of 26)

I could go on and on. Our team is so grateful to have the opportunities that we do to work with such great clients every day. Our sellers put the work in to prepare the home for sale and then put the faith in our team to price it accordingly to accomplish a quick sale while achieving top market value for their home.

So don’t listen to the misconceptions. Contact us today to talk about the reality of YOUR market. We would love to help!

Your home: A PV Cape Cod with 28 showings on one day and multiple offers? What a market!

That’s right folks, 28 showings in one day. Our team’s record up until now was 15. Congratulations to the Larigans!

On that note, I would like to thank the Larigans for allowing me to share their story and for their faith in our team to deliver. Tim and Amanda are incredible clients and absolutely deserve all of the success that they are seeing in this market. I would like to share with you both sides of their home’s story: seller and buyer.

The Larigans contacted me in late January to discuss a possible move. After our preview appointment I could tell that Amanda was getting excited about the opportunity to purchase a new home. Don’t get me wrong, she loves her Cape Cod. And you can tell. She even shared with me that she became a little emotional as she was drafting me her first email about the possibility of selling. That being said, Amanda is a “get’er done” kind of girl. So after our listing consultation, she and Tim were ready to get rolling. They appreciated the fact that inventory is low right now and that the demand for their home was high. Little did we know it was that high.

Next came the staging and the pre-inspection. The Larigans took the staging recommendations to heart as well as the needed repair items that were revealed by the pre-inspection (there were only six). Fast forward a couple of weeks and the house is being photographed for MLS. The Larigans followed all of the staging recommendations. It looked incredible!

PV_Cape_Cod

The Larigans’ Prairie Village Cape Cod sold quickly thanks to effective staging and pricing.

The home went “live” on Monday, Feb. 17. By 9 a.m. they had two showings and two previews scheduled already. From there the pace intensified throughout the day. It was so crazy that at 8:30 p.m. that night when I was presenting the first offer, a potential buyer caught Tim’s attention on the front porch and wanted to see the house.

So why did the market react so strongly to this particular home. Outside of the fact that it is a beautiful home in a great location, the major contributor was the price. It was listed at $249,900. It just so happens that the price range of $200,000 to $250,000 is the second most popular price range in Prairie Village right now. It represents 15.6 percent of the PV market. To be honest, it is one of the hottest ranges all over the city. Some might ask, “If you got that much activity, did you underprice the home?” That is a great question and the answer is “no.” Our goal is to list a home at market value. When a home is listed at market value and the demand is high, it will encourage multiple offers and typically sell for more than list price. Isn’t it better to have more than one buyer to choose from? If you only have one buyer, you have less leverage. Multiple offers=a happy seller.

The hottest price range in PV right now is $140,000- $160,000. It represents 25 percent of the PV market. That is a huge number. There are a lot of firs-time home buyers out there right now it seems. And of course when those homes sell, their next move is typically the $200,000-$250,000 range. Ah, the circle of life!

From the buyer’s perspective, this high anxiety market can be exhausting. Just think about those 28 buyers (and their agents) who had to drop what they were doing and go see this great home. I really feel bad for them. I had several agents joke about the fact that when they arrived there were potential buyers in the driveway and when they left there were buyers waiting for them to leave. Not to mention that after the home went under contract there were 15 additional showings that were scheduled. Yes, some of them canceled once they heard about the contracts received, but some showed anyway. Hoping that if something happened to the current contract, they could slide in as a back-up offer.

My point to the buyers out there is that you have to drop what you are doing and go see a home like this on day one. There is no time to waste. By day two, they are gone. If you are a potential buyer out there and you are looking for an agent who is up on the current inventory and is ahead of the market rather than chasing it, please contact us today. We would love to help.

Now to the potential sellers out there. I wrote a couple of weeks ago that if you wait until spring to list your home that it will cost you money. This home is the perfect example of that point. As inventory slowly increases as we slide into spring it will have a direct impact on your equity.

Your home: Ice dams be damned!

Ice_DamesPlease read this column if you still have snow on your roof. It could save you a lot of money.

I really do love winter. I moved to Kansas from Arkansas in 1998 and immediately fell in love with the fact that we have four distinct seasons. It is really spectacular. And now that I have two boys, Ben (6) and Harry (3), I love the snow even more. Just last week we were over at Westwood Park at 47th and State Line Road sledding like we thought we were at the Winter Olympics. What a great day that was!

However, as a Realtor the snow has a dark side. I don’t mean to sound so ominous, but it really does. Snow can appear to be so picturesque, especially when it is coupled with a trimming of icicles.

Homeowners beware! This is where the trouble starts. I am talking about ice dams. We have seen them in years past and as the snow continues to melt and re-freeze on our roofs, the potential is there. And although icicles are beautiful, they are the tell tale sign of an ice dam.

Ice dams are formed when heat escapes from your home and into your attic. As the attic warms, the snow on your roof begins to melt. The water from the melted snow then travels down your roof to the eaves. The eaves are typically a cold spot; therefore, the water refreezes causing an ice dam. The melted snow behind the ice dam then accumulates and begins to find its way under your roof shingles causing potential rotting of the decking and eventually leaks into your attic. Most homeowners don’t know of an ice dam until the water has caused staining on the ceiling of a room inside the home and at that point you may have a big problem.

So what is the quick fix? Let’s start with what NOT to do. Don’t go outside and whack away at all of the icicles. Although this could be a great way to relieve stress, it could also cause damage to your gutters and your roof. Additionally, if you have never been dive bombed by a falling icicle (unfortunately I have) you don’t want this year to be your first.

The best solution for an ice dam is to purchase a snow rake. It is specifically designed for removing the excess snow from your roof while you remain safely on the ground. Also, if you do have a slight leak under your roof, one tip I read was to place a box fan under the leak with hopes to circulate colder air from the eaves and refreeze the leak. Of course, this solution is just temporary.

If you do develop a problem with an ice dam and need to contact a professional, our clients have been thrilled with the service and professionalism that Ryan Horstmann with Christian Brothers Roofing has provided. Here is a link to their website.

Personally, I will be excited to watch the snow melt this weekend. Come on spring!

Your home: Waiting until spring to sell your home will probably cost you

Oh the spring market! The two words together have a great “ring” don’t they? I do love the spring market. Mainly because I love the weather. Not because it is the best market that we will see all year. Honestly, as a seller, the market of today offers better odds.

I have had the privilege of meeting with many potential sellers this year already and most of them ask the same question: “When is the best time to list our home?” And my response is almost always the same: “In a perfect world, it would have been yesterday. May I explain?”

Here is the explanation. The spring market is lovely. Everything is in full bloom, the temperatures are pleasant, and hopefully no one is shoveling snow! Additionally, real estate signs start popping up all over the place. Starting slowly at first, and then building to a more frenzied pace come April and May. And yes, the market seems to be more “active” at that time. The challenge is that activity and a “SOLD” sign in the yard are not the same thing at all.

Today most areas of NEJC have between two and three months of inventory available for sale. That is still a seller’s market and is teetering on a strong seller’s market. As the days pass by and we move into the spring, the number of homes for sale will increase. As will the number of active buyers. However, because we know that history tends to repeat itself and that this year seems to be positioned similarly to last year, please reference the graph below. This graph illustrates the inventory trends for February 2013 through June 2013.

2013_Inventory

As you can see, inventory steadily increases from February through June. Conversely, please notice that the number of pending listings peaks around May and then falls in June. Interesting huh? If you look more closely, the inventory from February to March increased by 207 homes. At the same time, the pending sales only increased by 183 homes. February of last year is when the contracts received were no longer able to keep up with new homes coming on the market. Therefore, the inventory began to increase. More inventory equals more competition.

Now let’s look at March to April: 101 new listings and 84 new contracts received. Inventory continues to build.

Let’s jump ahead to the period from May to June: 514 new listings added to the market (WOW!) and….yikes! The number of pending listings actually drops from 876 in May to 725 in June. The supply at this point is greatly outpacing the demand. When this happens, values tend to stay static (slowdown in appreciation) or in some cases values may settle a bit. In addition, more choices for a buyer means they can be more picky. Objections that were once overlooked when the inventory was tight are now under a magnifying glass when inventory is plentiful.

The last piece of the puzzle is that rates are on the move. Yes they have settled a little this week. But if we look at the trend, even just since right before Thanksgiving 2013, rates are up almost half a point. I call it the last piece because if a seller in today’s market is going to finance their next purchase, the interest rate will have a significant impact on their long term wealth.

More competition, higher standards of condition, static values, and a higher interest rate when they purchase. That is the answer to the question, “What are four things that all sellers want to avoid?”