True or False: It will Cost Me Thousands to Sell My House

The summer market is in full swing and many families are eager to get situated in new homes before the new school year starts. In my area, 83% of homes are selling in 90 days or less and closed sales for my brokerage are up 60%. It is no wonder that people are asking themselves if their current home still meets their needs or if the grass is indeed greener down the street.

One common concern, and a valid question, among sellers is how much will selling my home cost me? What the real questions are how much will I make at closing, and how can I get the most money, right?

Let’s play a little game to see if you know how to increase your bottom line…

TRUE or FALSE If we re-do the kitchen and perhaps the master bathroom, my house will sell faster and for more money.

FALSE…Big remodel projects for the purpose of a sale might help sell your house faster, however you will not be able to recoup all of your expenses for the improvements to make financial sense. A better plan would be a coat of neutral paint where necessary, a thorough cleaning, and freshen up your curb appeal. It really is amazing at what a mowed yard and some fresh mulch can do.

TRUE of FALSE I will make more money by not paying for a Realtor.

FALSE… If you saw a gorgeous Tiffany watch at a garage sale still in the box, even with the tag still attached, would you still pay full price? Probably not, right? You would talk with the seller to strike a deal, and would probably walk away with a pretty sweet deal, wouldn’t you? For Sale By Owner homes are exactly the same.

89% of buyers will purchase their new home with the help of a real estate agent. They work for the best interest of the buyer, not for you. Real Estate agents, on average, will net a seller $41,000 more than you would have selling your house on your own. A good agent will prequalify buyers, negotiate on your behalf, (from contracts, to protecting your asking price, to saving you from spending thousands in unnecessary repairs). In some cases your agent can provide lenders with valuable information to make sure your appraisal comes in at the right price. It is up to you to protect your most expensive asset, do the right thing and leave it to the pros.

TRUE or FALSE Buyers will make me pay for everything.

FALSE…Many sellers fear buyers will throw them a low ball offer and ask for the moon on top. The fact is almost all of the terms of a real estate contract are negotiable. Once you receive the offer it is your turn to play offense. It is entirely acceptable for buyers to ask for some closing costs, a home warranty, a longer inspection period, even choose the closing date. However, just because they ask doesn’t mean they will receive. A good deal is a win/win for everyone. Giving them a few extra days to complete inspections and pushing up the closing date is just one way to save you money by keeping an extra month of mortgage payments and taxes in your pocket. The bottom line is your agent will work to make sure you are comfortable with the deal, or there is no deal.

Your home is your largest asset and misconceptions are often the largest hurdle a homeowner will overcome in preparing to sell. Consulting a trusted professional to help you get started will ease your fears and help you make the transition as easy as possible. An agent with the heart of a teacher, and not a salesman will make sure you are not just another MLS number. It is my honor to walk you through the process so you can get settled into your next chapter.

Happy Selling!

Do you know someone in the Kansas City area that would like to put my skills to work? Call me at 913-558-2053 or visit or find me on Facebook


Just Listed! Elegant 2-Story Colonial Behind the Exclusive Gates of Maplewood

For Sale by Sara Van Allen Keller Williams Realty Partners.

For Sale by Sara Van Allen Keller Williams Realty Partners.

Welcome home to this majestic all brick estate on nearly an acre lot in the tranquil neighborhood of Maplewood in Lenexa. The exquisite upgrades begin with a manicured, cul-de-sac lot with inviting circle drive and side entry garage. The main level is perfect for entertaining with gleaming hardwood floors throughout.  The formal living and dining rooms are waiting for your next event.  The bright kitchen boasts a large center island, built-in Stainless Steel appliances and walk-in pantry.  The 4 season sun porch is accessible from either the family room or the kitchen and is just the place to enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine at the end of the day.

Awake each morning behind the double doors of your private Master retreat with vaulted ceilings and full walk-in closet with enough storage for your entire wardrobe and then some.  Your newly renovated Master Bath with heated floors, dual vanities, free-standing spa tub, and separate walk-in shower will melt away the stress of the day.

Other remarkable extra features in this distinctive 7500sqft home include the convenience of a complete home gym, walk-in cedar closet on the bedroom level, and a private Den on the main floor with fireplace.  The full, finished walk-out lower level boasts a large Cherry pub bar with Corian counters, media room, and billiards room with a spacious hobby room or additional office space. New stone covered steel roof with a lifetime guarantee, zoned HVAC, and separate guest quarter access.  For a private showing contact me at 913-558-2053.

A new door awaits!

Would you like to take the Virtual Tour of 8335 Maplewood Drive? Click here

Find me on Facebook at or follow me on Twitter @SaraVAHomes

Home is Listed by Sara Van Allen, Keller Williams Realty Partners, Inc.
Each Office is Independently Owned and Operated, Equal Housing Provider

No News is Good News!


You have a Lovely Home has been a little quiet the last few weeks since I have been busy! Under Contract May 2014


Under Contract May 2014


SOLD April 2014! If you or someone you know is thinking about making a move this year, I would love to show you how I am helping families across Johnson County buy and sell their homes. 913-558-2053 or find me on Facebook at or visit my website at to see more homes like these in your neighborhood. Sold by Sara Van Allen, Keller Williams Realty Partners, Inc. Overland Park, KS. Each Office is Independently Owned and Operated.





Should We Stay or Should We Sell?


You may have heard a time or two recently that the housing market is looking pretty good.  If you have a home to sell, you may breathe a sigh of relief to hear that the average sales price for the month of February was 9% higher THIS year than last.  According to Heartland MLS, 68.1% of houses in Johnson County were sold within 90 days in the month of February.  On top of solid sales numbers, interest rates are holding steady somewhere around 4.5%.  You have heard me talk about “moving up” before, with interest rates staying put (for now) and the home prices on the rise, you have potential to find equity in your new home in addition to the extra space that you have been wanting.  So the $300,000 question is…Is NOW the RIGHT time for ME?

1. Do You Have Equity?

The price of any item (including residential real estate) is determined by the simple economic theory of ‘supply and demand’. If many people are looking to buy an item and the supply of that item is limited, the price of that item increases.  The current inventory in our market is tight.  According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the supply of homes for sale dramatically increases every summer. Putting your home on the market now instead of waiting for the increased competition of the summer might make a lot of sense.  Sellers in some areas are receiving multiple offers and frustrated Buyer’s Agents are clamoring to get the scoop on hot new listings which leaves you in an excellent place to negotiate.

So will this market work for you? Equity is the answer.  At one point in time, most found themselves a little upside down on what they owe vs. what the market says it was worth.  If you have been in your home for a few years and have been able to recoup that loss then it may be something to consider.  If you are ready to downsize, and you have equity, this is your time to shine.  Which brings me to the next question…

2. Does Your House Still “Fit”?

Now that the housing market has stabilized, more and more homeowners are considering moving up to the home they have always dreamed of. Prices are still below those of a few years ago and interest rates are still below 5%. There is no way to predict the future. However, you look at what happened over the last year. Let’s look at buyers that considered moving up last year but decided to wait.

Assume they had a home worth $300,000 and were looking at a home for $400,000 (putting 10% down and taking a mortgage of $360,000). By waiting, their house appreciated by 13.8% over the last year (national average based on the Case Shiller Pricing Index). Their home would now be worth $341,400. But, the $400,000 home would now be worth $455,200 (requiring a mortgage of $409,680).

Here is a table showing what additional monthly cost would be incurred by waiting:



So back to the question of, does it fit? If you feel the walls closing in or if you are ready to downsize, sooner rather than later is the way to go, wouldn’t you say?

3. Is When to Move a Factor?

Summer is one of the most common times to move for one BIG reason.  Sure most people would rather move in sunshine than in -10 and snow, but the most common reason given is that the Summer months are the least disruptive for schedules.  The kids are out of school, most people will schedule a vacation (or 2) over the summer months, so why not? For those with children, if a move involves a change in schools it is easiest to begin when everyone else is also returning.  If you have a pretty flexible schedule and schools are not a priority, the lower inventory of the Fall or Winter seasons may net you more proceeds if you are still working toward building equity.

When you are ready to list with me, I would be happy to provide you with a Custom Home Analysis to answer any questions you have as to whether the timing is just right.  I will give you a little hint…in my professional opinion.  If you even have a thought about selling right now, you should really entertain the idea.  I’m here to help you through every step of the way!

Happy Spring Market!


 Find me on Facebook at or Follow me on Twitter @SaraVAHomes

Sara Van Allen is a Licensed Realtor in the state of Kansas with Keller Williams Realty Partners, Inc.  Each Office is Independently Owned and Operated.



Graphics and Statistics from Heartland Multiple Listing Service and Keeping Current Matters

So How’s the Market?

So How's the Market?

In this ever changing world of real estate, things will sometimes open up a brilliant opportunity that may not be available tomorrow. Today’s lucky penny is the opportunity to “Move Up”, or in other words, sell their current home and move into something bigger. As you can see here, our average prices are lower as are the interest rates. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to buy a bigger home for less money and a lower interest rate now, and then find extra equity next year when the average home price goes up? Food for thought….

If you are thinking about making this market work for you, call me, 913-558-2053. Or follow me on Facebook at or Twitter @SaraVAHomes.
Happy Moving Up Market!

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.

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!