How Will You Price My Home?

How Will You Price My Home?

Let’s begin with this simple and true statement:

I am not the one who decides how much your home is worth. The market does.

It is my duty to you to interpret the market which will tell us exactly where to price your property to sell and how to approach the marketing of it. Here are the factors that will affect the value in today’s market:

Pricing your home properly from the start is the deciding factor on how long it will take to sell it. Overpriced properties are the #1 reason a house doesn’t sell. My rule of thumb for correct pricing is 10 days with no showing or 10 showings and no offer, we need to look at our pricing strategy. You don’t want to clean your house for showings over and over again for 6 months, and still not have an offer, do you?

Location, Location, Location
Location is the single most important factor in determining the value of your property.

The condition of the property affects the price and the speed of the sale. As prospective buyers often make purchases based on emotion, first impressions are important. I’ll be able to help in optimizing the physical appearance of your home to maximize the buyer’s perception of value.

Prospective buyers are going to compare your property – both the condition and the price – to other listings in and around your neighborhood. Those buyers will determine value based on properties that are listed or have recently sold in the area.

Property values are affected by the current real estate market. Because we can’t manipulate the market, we’ll collaborate on a pricing and marketing strategy that will take advantage of the first 30 days your property is listed. It’s the window of opportunity when buyers and their agents discover your property and are most likely to visit and make offers.

Are you ready to price your home to sell or know of someone that is? Visit my website at or call me, 913-558-2053. Happy home selling!


Ever Wonder What Your Neighbor’s House is Worth?

Has there ever been a time when you were just curious about the price or other features of a home and you didn’t want to call the agent or look it up on the computer? Ever just wonder what your neighbor listed their house for?

Well now is your chance to find all the information you want about real estate…any location, any property, anytime…from coast to coast with my FREE KW Mobile App for smartphones. It’s as easy as pushing a button to find everything you want to know, right now. My Agent Code is KW2DC46G, check it out!

Where is the Market Headed Next?

Where is the Market Headed Next?
**UPDATE (February 25, 2014)**Well of course that market is a tricky beast and we are in the official swing of Spring. While the thermometer may still say Winter, the Seller’s Market has picked up tremendously! Houses right now in Kansas City are selling for 99.2% of asking price! Which is huge if you are a seller, talk about a quick turn around. For buyers, however, be prepared for multiple offer situations. Some things that might help? Be pre-approved, make a realistic offer, write a handwritten note about your family, and ask for no closing costs. Your offer will look more attractive to the sellers and will hopefully leave you in a better position should anything arise in the inspections. Best of luck buyers and sellers, and of course if you need anything, just give me a call!

Whenever I meet someone new, after the initial introductions the next question is usually, “and what do you do?” After I say that I am a Realtor, inevitably the NEXT question is , “how is the market?” Sure I could just say it’s great, but that isn’t really what you want to know is it?

With that said, I don’t make the market, I only interpret it. However, I take some time to really understand what it means for my buyers and sellers. If you are anything like me, I find statistics interesting, but I really only dig deeper if they apply to my current situation. If statistics are right up your alley, then hold onto your socks, I am about to make your day!

If you have a home to sell, you have excellent timing! According to the NAR Market Report, Johnson County average home prices are up 6.6% and the average Days on Market is only 62 days. Also, the amount of homes for sale is down 11% which means you have less competition for buyers, which is great right? On top of that, interest rates are at the lowest that they will probably be this year which increases the buying power of buyers shopping for homes just like yours. And speaking of buyers…

If you are looking to buy, did I mention that your best buying power is now? As of today (Feb. 4, 2014) the interest rate is 4.25%. Both the National Association of Realtors and the Mortgage Bankers Association is projecting interest rates to reach 5.3% by the end of the year. This means that if you are thinking about “moving up” now is your opportunity.
The difference on a $250,000 house at 4.3% and 5.3% is a difference of $151.08 per month that you would save, that is $54,388.80 that you would save over the life of a 30 year loan!Right now is neither a buyers or sellers market. That could change any day, although who doesn’t love a Win-Win sale?

On the flip side, Mr. and Mrs. Buyer with low inventory and low rates, if you find something you want, you better act fast and expect that you will be in a multiple offer situation. And to you Mr. and Mrs. Seller, these numbers are based on homes that are priced right and marketed for a quick sale. Want to know how to do that, give me a call, I would love to show you how I get your house just where it belongs on this moving market.

Let’s make it a moving day!
Sara Van Allen

Visit my website at or like me on Facebook at

Photo and interest rate facts courtesy of Keeping Current Matters

I am “BURSTING” to find you new neighbors!

One extra step I take for my clients is to introduce myself to the neighbors. Whether the purpose is to build traffic for an open house or drive interest for your listing, it’s something as simple as hello that can make a sale go that much faster. And after all, time is money right?
Other ideas could be:
We have a “SWEET” home to share…Sweet Tarts
This “HOT” home won’t be around for long…Hot Tamales
Just reduced! …Chocolate Coins
Who do you know that is “Making a Move” in 2014…M&M’s

If you are looking for homes in my neck of the woods, please visit me at and Like Sara Van Allen Real Estate on Facebook.

Are you keeping your home from selling?

Statistics from NAR, graphic from Keeping Current Matters

Statistics from NAR, graphic from Keeping Current Matters

It is a new year with new homes coming on the market daily.  While the actual amount of homes sold is a touch down, the average prices are coming up and so is the amount of inventory to choose from. So why is your home still sitting on the market?

If you have a Realtor that is utilizing all of the tools in their marketing toolbox, it could be possible that it is you. Are you guilty of any of these 5 cardinal sins of selling your home?

1. Overpriced

This is the MOST common reason homes sit on the market. Many home owners, even some listed with agents, feel that they must stay on the high end of their price strategy because buyers will come in with a lower offer no matter what. The truth is while buyers are always looking for a good deal, a home is worth what a buyer is willing to pay. If you have had 10 showings and no offer, or no showings in more than 2 weeks, you are probably overpriced.

2. Staging

Family photos and knick knack collections are what makes a house feel homey. However, if your house is filled with personal touches, buyers find it very hard to imagine themselves buying your home. This also includes your favorite leather Lay-Z Boy recliner and your bright yellow bathroom. Neutralize it all. It may not feel like home to you after you stage it, but that is the point, it won’t be your house much longer.

3. Unfinished Projects

We all have those projects around the house that we get sidetracked from…a new faceplate here, a burnt out light bulb there, a light fixture still in the box in the garage. When your house is on the market is not the time to procrastinate. Even something as simple as a door that sticks or burnt out lights will make buyers think, “what else is wrong” and they will start looking for things with a fine tooth comb. I just showed a home last week with a beautifully done kitchen, but because what we thought was a light switch was reversed with the garbage disposal, the buyers started looking at grout lines to determine if it was done by a professional. Never mind the fact that the brand new stainless steel appliances were staying.

4. Inflexible

Selling a home is emotional. Whether you have lived there for years or just really love the property, if you have it on the market, there has to be a reason. Remember that reason throughout this process. When your agent asks you to do something to benefit your sale, try to understand why they are asking. If you receive an offer that is less than ideal, counter offer. They call it negotiation for a reason. But being inflexible is a quick way to make buyers walk right out the door.

5. Presentation

92% of home buyers begin their search online. If your home has been on the market for a while, it may be time to refresh the pictures. I always have to smack my forehead when a house for sale in September has pictures with snow on the ground. Keep things fresh! If the price is the same and the pictures are the same and we didn’t show your house the first time, we sure won’t 3 months later.

If you are needing a real estate reboot, now is the time to do it! It’s a new year, look back as to why you wanted to sell in the first place, be inspired by what is to come once you do sell.

Happy Home Selling!
To see houses for sale in my neck of the woods visit or call me at 913-558-2053 for a Custom Market Analysis or Buyers Consultation.

New Year, New Home?

New Year, New Home?

It is about that time of year again when we begin to set the bar for ourselves in the New Year. To lose weight, check some things off the bucket list, save money…whatever it may be. We also usually qualify that with an “I’ll start right after Christmas” disclaimer, I am certainly no different (more cookies for everyone!)

BUT if a new home is on your Christmas list or in your plans for 2014 there is no time like the present to make sure your financial situation is in line with your goals. The National Retail Federation forecasted the average holiday shopper would spend $737.95 on presents, décor, and greeting cards. So how do you save in a season of spending?

To start, I have 10 rules that I include in my buyer book that outlines the big no-no’s when you are preparing to apply for a home loan:
1. Do NOT change jobs, become self-employed or quit your job.
2. Do NOT buy a car, truck, or van (or you may be living in it!)
3. Do NOT use credit cards excessively or let accounts fall behind.
4. Do NOT spend money you have set aside for closing.
5. Do NOT omit debts or liabilities from your loan application.
6. Do NOT buy furniture.
7. Do NOT originate inquiries into your credit.
8. Do NOT make large deposits without first checking with your loan officer first!
9. Do NOT change bank accounts.
10. Do NOT cosign a loan for ANYONE.

These rules don’t just apply to home loans, they apply to any savings goals. Especially purchases that will need to be financed. The bottom line is to keep your money in your pocket.

If a home loan pre-approval is your main goal, my last bit of advice is to do your homework. Most buyers will start with a bank or a mortgage broker, however they are not all created equal. Many will have very different approval standards and some will have downright different interest rates that could save you a great deal of money down the road. Call a Licensed Realtor like myself. We work with lenders every day and could advise you on how to get started and even give you a list of lenders we have had the pleasure of working with.

A new home doesn’t have to be a dream. A little bit of planning and a little bit of guidance could have you in your new home sooner than you expect.

14 Reasons to List Your Home During the Holidays

14 Reasons to List Your Home During the Holidays

#1 ~ There is less competition for buyers.

#2 ~ Winter prospects are more serious and motivated buyers.

#3 ~ Homes shows better when tastefully decorated for the holidays.

#4 ~ If the landscaping is the one drawback to your curb appeal, winter is a great time to sell.

#5 ~ One of the highest ratios of “Listings Sold” to “Listings Taken” occur during this time of year.

#6 ~ You may receive more money for your home because there is less competition.

#7 ~ Throughout the holiday season you may restrict showings during personal family gatherings.

#8 ~ Buyers have more time to look at homes during the holiday season, especially during vacation time.

#9 ~ January is traditionally the biggest transfer month and they will use their vacation time to scout out a new city. So you must be on the market to capture them!

#10 ~ By selling now you can have a delayed closing or extended occupancy
until the beginning of the year.

#11 ~ If you sell during the winter, you may chose to purchase during the spring
when there are more homes to choose from and more competitive prices.

#12 ~ You may have fewer actual showings, but more qualified and motivated

#13 ~ Corporate transferees, who need to buy a home now, can’t wait until spring
to purchase.

#14 ~ Bottom Line- By listing NOW you may have fewer showings, but more
qualified and motivated buyers, which should result in a quicker sale and
better price for you!!!

If a new home is on your wish list, call me at 913-558-2053.
Happy Holidays to all of you!