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


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

Caravans, Cattle Herds, and the Agent Open House

Open houses…A fantastic way to meet potential clients, an even better way to see what is on the market in a given price range, and an opportunity to connect buyers and sellers, its what we do!  What us realtors don’t always tell you is we discuss all of these things while we eat a Chipotle burrito hovering over a paper plate trying not to drop anything on your beautiful granite island. 

Today marked my second caravan, although my first was RIGHT after I passed my license exam, so it only kind of counts since I only walked around with my booties on and smiled politely.  Today on the other hand was such an eye opener.  Walking around with one of the most experienced agents in my office and 3 other new agents, we talked pricing, upgrades, and the pros and cons of joining a team.  All very informational to new agents like me.

The big A Ha! Realization for the day is for you home owners and buyers.  Agent Open Houses are a chance for your agent to get crucial feedback and ideas of what will help your house sell faster.  Some agents hold these open houses to appease you, others do it to get cold hard facts to present to you to back up something they already said, others play Open Houses as a numbers game- enough people walk through the front door, someone is bound to buy it.  Either way you dice it, Open Houses are a good thing…for everybody! This girl gets her burrito and you potentially get a sold sign! Winner!