selling_homeWhen it comes to selling your home in the Brookside and Midtown area of Kansas City, you want a real estate agent that will work diligently to not only help you find a potential buyer but also get you the best price for your home. Brookside Real Estate Company, the most knowledgeable real estate agency when it comes to Brookside, Crestwood, Ward Parkway, Armour Hills, Waldo and surrounding neighborhoods, will help sell your home at a fair and competitive price – fast!

Brookside Real Estate is here to assist you from start to finish in selling your home. We promise to answer all your questions, provide you with honest, trustworthy advice throughout the entire selling process and also share with you the “insider” knowledge that comes with working in real estate in the neighborhood for over 30 years. (In fact, we liked the neighborhood so much, we named ourselves after it!)

For your convenience, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions for homeowners wanting to sell their homes. We hope they’re helpful – and when you’re ready to sell, make a call to the local real estate company that knows Brookside and surrounding areas best: Brookside Real Estate Company!

Getting Started

What should I do to prepare my home for sale?

Start by finding out its worth. Contact your Brookside Real Estate agent for a comparative market analysis, an informal estimate of value based on the recent selling price of similar neighborhood properties.

When is the best time to sell a home?

The best time to sell is when you are ready, or when you must. That is, when you have outgrown the space in your current home, or you prefer to trade down to something smaller. Perhaps your marital status has changed, which necessitates a move, or you need to relocate for a job.

Market conditions also play a role, as do seasonal conditions. For example, your chances of getting top dollar for your home are more likely in a seller’s market, when demand outweighs supply, than in a buyer’s market.

Local and national economic factors also may dictate when to sell. However, no matter when it’s time for you to sell your home, Brookside Real Estate Company will be there to make the best sale for you no matter the market conditions.

Should I sell my home first or wait until I have bought another home?

This is a tough decision, but the answer will depend on your personal situation, as well as the condition of the local housing market.

If you put your home on the market first, you may have to scramble to find another one before closing, which could cause you to buy a home that does not meet all your requirements. If you cannot find another home, you may need to move twice, temporarily staying with relatives or in a hotel.

On the other hand, if you make an offer to buy first, you may be tempted to sell your existing home quickly, even at a lower price.

The advantage of buying first is you can shop carefully for the right home and feel comfortable with your decision before putting the existing home on the market.

On the flip side, the advantage of selling your existing home first is that it maximizes your negotiating position because you are under no pressure to sell quickly. It also eliminates the need to carry two mortgages at once.

Talk with your Brookside Real Estate agent for advice. They can walk you through the pros and cons of each and whether certain contingencies written into the contract can ease some of the pressures.

What are some tips when it’s time to start showing my home and we still live there?

Once your home is available to be shown, strive to keep it in tip-top shape. This will require a lot of effort on your part, but you want buyers to feel welcomed and not turned off by unmade beds, cluttered floors, and grungy bathrooms.

Realize, too, that your life will be temporarily inconvenienced. When an agent – yours as well as others – calls wishing to bring a buyer to see the home at the last minute or on the same day, respond favorably. Remember your goal is to get the home sold, and that can only be accomplished if people get to see it. Flexibility is the key to a quick sale.

Plan not to be present when buyers pass through. It is awkward and unsettling for them to have the owners present. If you cannot leave, sit in the backyard. Do not attempt to have conversations with the buyer. Speak only when spoken to; be brief and polite.

Finally, pay special attention to pets, particularly dogs. They can be intimidating. Put them on a leash and in the backyard. Better yet, when possible, take them with you. And be keen to pet odors. They can turn buyers away.

Are there tips for selling a vacant home?

Upon selling your home, there are many preparations you should make to ensure you get the best offer possible in the shortest time. Your Brookside Real Estate agent will be able to best advise you on what you need to do, but in the meantime, here are a few tips:

  • Repair. Once your house is empty, all of the little imperfections you grew to love become glaringly clear. Just because you’ve gotten used to the blemishes of your home doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point. Buyers are very curious and looking for any reason to reduce the selling price, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may never even walk through the front door.
  • Neutralize. You want buyers to see themselves in your home. Eliminate any wild colors, family photos or anything personal to your family that would make it hard for a potential buyer see themselves living in the house. Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with something more neutral—beiges, tans, and whites. Repainting and reflooring will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities.
  • Stage. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to give it a makeover. Brookside Real Estate can help add details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture. Home staging can be particularly useful if your home is especially old or if the exterior looks dated.

Do I need an attorney to sell a home?

Some states require an attorney to sell a home, however, Missouri is not one of those states. Most homebuyers can generally handle routine real estate purchase contracts as long as they read the fine print and understand all the terms. However, when you use a Brookside Real Estate Agent, they will help you read the fine print and fully explain the details of the contract.

How can I get a quick sale, particularly in a slow market?

Common incentives that can help with a quick sale include having your property pre-inspected and paying for a home warranty policy.

Sometimes cash is used as an incentive. You could offer the buyer a $1000 to $2000 decorating rebate upon closing the deal.

Another option you might want to consider is reducing the price of your home or, at the very beginning, set it at a low price that will generate more buyer interest.

If you are worried about a slow sale, contact your Brookside Real Estate agent to discuss your options. Your agent will work hard to find a buyer within a reasonable range of your price and get you the most from your sale.

What are some costs associated with selling my home?

Besides the costs related to making repairs and improving the overall appearance of the home, as the seller you will also need to pay the following:

  • A real estate commission, if you use an agency to sell.
  • Advertising costs, marketing materials, and other fees if you sell the home yourself.
  • Title insurance premiums
  • Prorated costs for your share of annual expenses, such as property taxes, homeowner association fees, and fuel tank rentals.
  • Any other fees normally paid by sellers in your area.

To get a better handle on all costs, ask your Brookside Real Estate agent. They are experienced in dealing with this information daily and can give you a fair estimate of the closing costs you can expect to pay.

Negotiating

Any advice on negotiating?

Be patient, know your home’s worth, adopt a positive attitude, and do not let emotions – anger, pride, greed, or prejudice – get in the way of negotiating the best deal. Your home obviously means a lot to you, but you have already made the decision to move on, so begin to think of your home as “the house” instead of “my home.”

Let your Brookside Real Estate agent take care of the negotiating for you. They will work hard to get you a fair and reasonable price for your house.

Can the seller also include contingencies in a contract?

This is not commonly done. However, if you decide to sell your existing home before buying another one, you can make the sale of your home contingent on finding a replacement home. Some sellers opt for this contingency to avoid a double move, such as moving to a hotel or rental until a new home is found and made available.

However, there is one problem with this type of contingency: it can inconvenience the buyer, particularly if his own home is in escrow. He may not be willing to wait for you to move. This strategy has a better chance of working when the market is relatively strong, your home is a rare find, the price and terms of the transaction are very favorable for the buyer, or the buyer is in no hurry to move.

Contact your Brookside Real Estate agent to discuss additional contingency options. They will help you to better protect yourself from potential issues by including the proper contingencies in the contract.

Do I have to consider contingencies made by the buyer?

You can reject, accept, or counter any offer that is presented to you. Most offers include contingencies, which protect the buyer in case something goes wrong.

The two most common contingencies deal with financing, which makes the sale dependent on the buyer’s ability to obtain a loan commitment from a lender within a stated time period, and an inspection, which allows the buyer to have a professional inspect the property to their satisfaction.

There really is no reason not to consider these contingencies because they are quite reasonable and standard. However, if you have any questions regarding the offer, your Brookside Real Estate agent will be able to advise you whether or not the offer is likely the best you will get, or if you should continue negotiating.

How do I respond to a low-ball offer?

If you receive an unacceptable offer, let your Brookside Real Estate agent know it is too low to warrant a counteroffer and that you are willing to negotiate but only once a more reasonable offer is made. Your Brookside Real Estate agent is committed to getting you the best offer possible. You do not have to settle for less if you are realistic about your chances of getting more.

Appraisals & Market Value

Are there standard ways to determine how much a home is worth?

Yes. A comparative market analysis (CMA) and an appraisal are the two most common and reliable ways to determine a home’s value. The trusted professionals at Brookside Real Estate Company are here to guide you through every step, by providing a fair and honest estimate of your home or prospective home’s worth.

  • Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
    An informal report, compiled by your Brookside Real Estate agent, that provides the recent selling prices of neighborhood properties similar in size, amenities, and location.

The information listed on the CMA could include properties either currently on the market, recently sold, or were listed but expired due to being priced too high and no one bought within a reasonable time frame. With strong ties within the Brookside community, your Brookside Real Estate agent will have a comprehensive knowledge of all the available Brookside properties and help fully explain and offer advice on the comparable homes that have sold within the past year along with the listing, or asking, price on current homes for sale to help prevent you from overpaying.

  • Appraisal
    A certified appraiser can provide an appraisal of a home. After visiting the home to check such things as the number of rooms, improvements, size and square footage, construction quality, and the condition of the neighborhood, the appraiser then reviews recent comparable sales to determine the estimated value of the home.

How do you determine how much a home is worth?

There are many determining factors that comprise the value of a home, but ultimately it comes down to one thing: a house is worth what is paid for it. Another factor that can affect a home’s valuation is timing.

In a seller’s market, when demand for housing is higher than the inventory of available homes for sale, a home can sell above and beyond the asking price. However, in a buyers’ market, when the market is saturated with homes for sale, buyers have more leverage to negotiate a lower price; therefore, lowering the original estimated value of a house.

Regardless of the current market, Brookside Real Estate Company agents are committed to helping you get the most out of selling your home and negotiating a fair, reasonable price.

What about appraised value and market value?

Appraised values are driven by experts. The appraised value of a property is determined by a professional conducting the appraisal who then assesses an exact number for the value of the property.

Market value has more flexibility than the appraised value. Unlike the exact number of the appraised value based on gathered data, buyers have influence over the market value of a property because a property is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay.

Brookside Real Estate agents will help you through this process from start to finish to ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your specific needs.

What is the difference between list price and sales price?

The list price is the price listed for a house for when it’s put on the market. This price can change during the listing should the owner opt to lower or raise the price before it sells. The sales price is the final price the buyer pays for a house.

Your experienced and knowledgeable Brookside Real Estate agent will help eliminate the guess work when determining an acceptable and fair price of a home in the Brookside area.

Disclosure

Do I have to disclose information about my home?

Disclosing potential issues with your home and being honest about any defects could protect you from a lawsuit. Brookside Real Estate Company will require sellers to fill out a form disclosing material facts about their homes. Material facts are details about the home’s condition or legal status, as well as the age of various components.

What kinds of things are considered material facts that should be included on a disclosure form?

The following examples include details that would qualify as material facts that should be revealed by sellers about their homes:

  • Damage from wood boring insects
  • Mold or mildew in the home
  • Leaks in the roof or foundation walls
  • Problems with sewer or septic systems
  • Age of shingles and other roof components
  • A buried oil tank
  • Details about any individual who claims to have an interest in the property
  • Information about a structure on the property that overlaps an adjacent property

If you have any questions regarding what should or should not be disclosed, contact your Brookside Real Estate agent for assistance.

Foreclosures

Can a home be sold for less than its mortgage?

There are instances when a home can be sold for less than its mortgage, however it is a complicated process and a lot will depend on the lender. This process is called a “short sale,” which occurs when a lender agrees to write off the portion of a mortgage that’s higher than the value of a home.

How long do bankruptcies and foreclosure stay on a credit report?

Bankruptcies and foreclosures can remain on your credit record for seven to 10 years.

However, a borrower who has worked hard to reestablish good credit may be shown some leniency by the lender. In some cases, the circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy may also influence a lender’s decision. For example, if you went bankrupt because you were laid off from your job, the lender may be more sympathetic. If, however, you went through bankruptcy because you overextended personal credit lines and lived beyond your means, it is unlikely the lender will readily give you a break.

If faced with foreclosure, what are my options?

If faced with foreclosure, immediately contact your lender. The lender may be able to arrange a repayment plan or the temporary reduction or suspension of your payment, particularly if your income has dropped substantially or expenses have shot up beyond your control.

You also may be able to refinance the debt or extend the term of your mortgage loan. In almost every case, you will likely be able to work a deal that will avert foreclosure.

If your money problems are long term, the lender may suggest that you sell the property, which will allow you to avoid foreclosure and protect your credit record.

As a last resort, you could consider a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. This is where you voluntarily “give back” your property to the lender. While this will not save your house, it is not as damaging to your credit rating as a foreclosure. Contact a Brookside Real Estate agent to help you explore all viable options before coming a decision.

Working with a Real Estate Agent

Do I need an agent?

Absolutely! Most home sellers hire real estate agents to list and sell their homes. Those who do not are known as For Sale by Owners, or FSBOs. They market and sell their homes themselves.

If you are a FSBO, but are interested in hiring an agent, contact Brookside Real Estate Company. Our agents will handle all the details of a successful home sale – including negotiating the contract, forms, and disclosure statements – and expose the home to the widest range of prospective buyers.

How do I find the right agent for me?

Finding the right real estate agent requires an equal balance of credentials and chemistry. You want to choose someone you like—after all, you might spend the next six months working together. However, you need to find an agent that is going to safeguard your financial interests as well.

Find someone trustworthy and reliable. Make sure that they truly listen to your priorities and focus on honoring your wishes. Brookside Real Estate Company values our clients’ priorities and promise to openly listen and act in your best interest.
Real estate is a local game, and to win you need someone who is familiar with the area where you’re wanting to sell. Brookside Real Estate agents are not only up to date on market trends, but they will be able to find the right buyers for your house. They have a largest network of Brookside listings, so they what the properties around you are selling for and won’t settle for less.