Winning a Bidding War

Every homebuyer’s biggest concern is winning a bidding war when they finally find their dream home. And every home in today’s market is part of a bidding war. How in the world will your offer be the best offer so the seller chooses yours over the others.

How things have changed over the years

I’ve been a licensed Realtor since 1987. Things have certainly changed since then. It used to be, you’d look through the MLS book of homes for sale to find homes you would show your buyers. Heaven forbid if you let those buyers take your book and find their own homes. That was forbidden.

Then every day, new hot sheets would come out of new homes on the market. Granted, this was before we had computers. You would go look at a house and maybe make an offer. I don’t ever remember being up against another offer.

Showing houses in 2021

Today, buyers find houses they want to see sometimes before I even see them. After we’ve looked at between 10-15 houses right off the bat, we narrow it down to what they are really looking for. After looking at a number of houses, buyers know what they like, what they don’t like, and what they want to see more of.

My typical buyer is set up on an automatic search through our local Multiple Listing Service and receives new listings as soon as they are entered into the system. With each buyer, there is always the best time of the day for them to look at homes.

So every day, I plan my schedule around my buyer’s best time of day. We typically look at one house a day, maybe two. Then they have to decide 3 things:

  1. do we like it enough to make an offer?
  2. how much over asking price will we offer?
  3. what other options will we offer to be the winning offer?

Winning a bidding war when making the offer

There are so many options anymore when making an offer. It’s no longer about price and the perfect closing date for the seller. And it’s definitely not about writing a Dear Mr. Seller letter.

What begins with feelings – ends up with paperwork.

Winning a bidding war has a lot to do with the Realtor you choose. As your Realtor, I want to know:

  • what price will you offer?
  • how much earnest deposit will you offer?
  • what’s your preferred closing date?
  • what is your escalatory price?
  • how much over any other offer will you offer in the escalatory addendum?
  • will you offer an appraisal addendum and if so, how much are you willing to pay should the house not appraise?
  • will you sign the In Its Present Condition Addendum and are you willing to check box 2? I won’t let you check box 3!!!

Once we get past the price, earnest deposit and preferred closing date, the hard pieces of the puzzle come into play. And honestly, each piece builds on your past experience in writing offers.

Writing a winning offer

Writing an offer is tricky. It helps to know what other offers you’re up against and whether any of them are all cash. That’s not readily accessible information though. And very honestly, I’ve had sellers accept a higher-priced offer than an all-cash offer. So that technique doesn’t always work either.

You also need to know how offers on the home are going to be addressed. Will they:

  • be presented as they come in
  • collected for a few days or
  • do they have a specific time the agent and sellers will be reviewing all offers?

With every home for sale, the whole scenario changes. You have different sellers, a different agent and a different offer rules.

But once you try one thing and it doesn’t work, the next offer you write will be stronger than the last one. You’ll take more chances and more risks the more offers you write.

Just remember, persistence pays off. And eventually, you’ll pull out all the guns and get your offer accepted. Hang in there.

In conclusion

If you’re looking for a great Realtor who has a good track record of winning the offer and has more persistence than you do, call or text me at (913) 515-3250 or contact me here to set up an appointment for a buyer consultation.

Be sure to check out today’s new listings in Overland Park below. Contact me if there is anything you’d like to see.

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Looking for the Perfect House to Buy

When buyers start their home search, they are always looking for the perfect house to buy. After all, if you’re going to spend that kind of money, you certainly want what you want!

Unfortunately, what buyers soon come to realize is there is no such thing as the perfect house to buy. I’ve been licensed since the 1980’s, have bought several homes myself and I know as a buyer, you’re never going to love everything about a house.

How to choose the perfect house to buy

In an ever busy real estate market in Overland Park, once you’ve looked at around 10 houses in your price range, you should have a pretty good idea what you’re going to get for your money as well as what you like and don’t like. All of this is in the first phase of the buying cycle – the search.

After all, searching online versus in person are two entirely different things. Do you ever really see online the way it is in person? “I thought the kitchen was bigger than it really is!”

If you’ve seen 10 houses in person and haven’t yet made an offer on any of them, your requirements may need to be tweaked a bit. Since there is no perfect house to buy, you’ve got to figure out what you have to have and what you can give on.

What kind of house can you buy for $375,000 in Overland Park?

For example, I’m currently working with a couple who is looking to purchase in the $375,000 price range in Overland Park. That price range covers a lot of territory and lots of different age ranges of homes. They have seen lots of houses they “like” but not like enough to write an offer.

At this point, here’s what I know for sure:

  • She wants the perfect kitchen
  • He wants the perfect finished lower level
  • They both want the perfect master bath and closet

Other than that, I think they are somewhat flexible. I am showing them 2 houses today and 2 tomorrow. We are going to have that conversation this evening that when we find the kitchen, lower level and master bath and closet that they like, they need to consider making an offer.

When is it time to stop looking and start making offers?

As a result, they are probably not going to get the first house they put an offer on. So we’ll move into the second phase of the buying cycle of actually writing the offer. Many agents tell me that their buyers have actually written as many as 10 offers and have not won one yet.

In contrast, I always like to tell my buyers that after 35 years in real estate, I don’t need contract writing practice. Let’s offer a good price and other terms that might get accepted. You can look at houses from now until the end of time and never find the perfect house to buy. At some point, you’re just looking at houses which some people do as a hobby.

How to schedule a buyer consultation

If you are looking for the perfect house to buy in Overland Park or surrounding areas, I can help you eliminate much of the stress by taking you through the different phases of the buying cycle. Call or text me at (913) 515-3250 or contact me here to schedule your initial buyer consultation.

Search for homes

You can start your online home search here.

Check out today’s new listings in Overland Park below and let me know if there is anything you want to see!

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(all data current as of 10/28/2021)

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How Many Offers Does it Take?

Everyone wants to know just how many offers does it take to sell your home in Overland Park.

The local real estate market is so crazy in certain price ranges, but come on, how many offers do you really need to sell your house? Some agents like to brag about how many offers their latest listing received. It’s the best way to boost their ego and they think it will make all sellers want to use them to sell their home as well.

Other agents like to take advantage of the hot market. They will actually let offers stack up for a couple of days before presenting them to the seller. While there is nothing wrong with doing that, it does tend to make other Realtors and their buyers mad. When buyers make an offer, they like to know whether they are going to get the house or at least be considered. Wouldn’t you if you were a buyer? They don’t like waiting a couple of days to find out they had no chance of their offer being accepted.

What’s the best game plan?

There are many options an agent can employ when strategizing their game plan to sell your home. Each agent thinks their plan is the best and is unique to them. From what day is the best day to list your home for sale, to how many offers they will accept, to the number of days they will collect offers.

But after all, how many offers does it take on one house? Some agents say it’s in the best interest of their seller to let the offers pile up. Why? What’s the most any house is going to sell for? We’re in Kansas. This is not California. A $300,000 house in Overland Park is not going to sell for $350,000. How much can you push the price up before the house doesn’t appraise for the price offered – maybe $15,000?

Home buyers are desperate to buy

Today’s buyers are desperate to buy a home. With low inventory and reasonable prices in the local market, most buyers have lost out on more than one house. When I tell a buyer that they probably aren’t going to get the first house they make an offer on, they look at me with dismay. After losing out on many houses, they make crazy offers on houses that really aren’t worth what they are offering.

For example, a friend of mine told me her neighbor’s house had received 14 offers and sold for $22,000 over the asking price. When we researched that, the sale price was only $5,500 over the list price. 14 offers??? Really?

Did the house sell for $22,000 over asking and the appraiser didn’t see the value? Or did the seller exaggerate the sale price to my friend? If the house actually did sell for $22,000 over asking and it didn’t appraise, then the seller probably was forced to reduce the price to the appraised value.

But in the end, if you’re the seller, don’t plan on using that $22,000 extra money on your next house until you determine you are actually going to receive it. If your house doesn’t appraise, you may not have the money you were hoping for and it could sure screw up your next purchase in a hurry.

How many offers does it take to sell your house?

Here’s my strategy when I list your Overland Park home for sale. My goal for my listings is to get 3 great offers the first day on the market. Everyone will have a final chance to bring their best and final offer by the end of the day.

That’s exactly what happened with my house in Leawood South. My sellers ended up with $12,425 over their asking price. (In the end, they took the lowest offer but it was a cash deal and it closed in 2 weeks – with no appraisal).

Don’t expect agents and their buyers to wait around for a couple of days to hear whether or not they got the house. Buyers today certainly don’t want to miss out on another house while you’re busy collecting offers. Your best offer could end up walking away because they found another house.

If you have a great house that’s priced right and looks good, you only need one great offer in this market. You’ll keep everyone happy and save yourself unnecessary stress.

Call me at (913) 515-3250 or contact me here to see what it’s going to take to keep things stress-free when selling your home. I promise not to bring you 20 different offers that I have to present. I won’t put you through all that. 3 great offers will accomplish the same exact thing and in much less time.

Search for homes

You can start your home search here and have the most up-to-date information on active listings versus searching on Zillow and getting on their radar.

Also, check out today’s most recent homes for sale in Overland Park below and call or text me at (913) 515-3250 when you find a home you’re dying to see!

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(all data current as of 10/28/2021)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

 
 

Selling Your Home this Winter

If you are selling your home this winter, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Keeping it ready for showings though can be challenging especially when it’s snowing outside.

Bad weather poses a problem for agents, buyers and sellers. But if you think you won’t get any showings in this cold weather, don’t ever underestimate home buyers and their agents.

In February 2011, I had a listing sell in Overland Park the day it snowed 2 feet. The sellers were out of town and nothing had been shoveled. As most people were hunkered down at home, I had a showing scheduled. Those were some serious buyers. I did call the buyer’s agent and ask him if he was crazy and told him to take a shovel with him. He shoveled his way to the front door and they bought the house. 

Here are 3 helpful tips for winter home selling

  1. Be sure to clear your driveway and front walk when it snows – if you want buyers to come into your house make it easy for them to get there. Don’t expect them to trudge through a foot of snow to get into your house. You may think they’re crazy for looking on a snowy day but everybody has their reasons. They might be in from out of town to buy a house. It’s not their fault it snowed. If they’re out looking at houses in bad weather, they are obviously very serious buyers.
  2. Have a big rug inside your front door – with snow on the ground, it’s more than likely going to end up in your house. Having a large, washable rug inside your front door will give your buyers the opportunity to remove their boots without worrying about tracking snow through your house. If there is room, you might also include a small chair in case they need to sit down to get their boots back on. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness and you will appreciate them not tracking snow through your house.
  3. Keep your front door lock lubricated– there has always been a problem with front door keys freezing in the lockbox and breaking off in the lock. If your key doesn’t work easily, you’re probably going to end up with a broken key in the lock.

Additional tips that agents appreciate

Do yourself and the buyer’s agents a favor. Go to the hardware store and buy a graphite spray (for about $5) that is specifically made for door locks and spray it into the lock. DO NOT USE POWDERED GRAPHITE OR WD-40. These do not evaporate and will tend to make the lock even dirtier and literally impossible to work.

Even with showing restrictions, give the agents a bit of a break on the time frame when showing your home. They might need a little extra time to get there which might get them off schedule a bit. Showing houses in bad weather always takes more time.

Do these 3 things and you’ll be way ahead of the other houses for sale that those motivated buyers may be looking at on a cold, snowy day in Overland Park. Little niceties pay off!

If you want to learn more tips and nice things you can do when selling your home this winter, call or text NICE to (913) 515-3250 or contact me here. I have a whole list of things I do to help my sellers stand out from their competition. Why be average when you can be SOLD FAST and get more money?

Dear Mr Seller Letter

If you are selling your home in today’s hot real estate market, would a Dear Mr Seller letter help you choose one offer over another? That’s a great question. Negotiating the highest price is usually the order of the day and what sellers care about the most.

Typically, when presented with more than one offer, you would choose the one that nets you the most money. But in today’s crazy real estate market, there are other factors that sometimes come into play – especially if there are two identical offers.

For example, I wrote an offer on a fixer upper ranch in a sought after, well established neighborhood. My buyers offered more than $15,000 over asking price and they didn’t get the house. The listing agent told me they had 2 offers that were the same and the sellers chose the young family. The young family? What did that mean other than apparently our competition wrote a Dear Mr Seller letter and included a photo to play up to the seller’s emotions.

What letter could my retired buyers have written to this older couple and still be able to compete with a young family who was just starting out in life, raising a family?

With 2 identical offers, how do you choose? Would a Dear Mr Seller Letter entice you to choose one offer over the other?

What Exactly is a Dear Mr Seller Letter?

Typically, as a buyer’s agent, I don’t know much about the seller when I write an offer for my buyers. First of all, it’s hard to even get the listing agent on the phone. Sometimes the buyer wants to know something more about the seller and especially why they are moving.

But depending on the circumstances, as a seller, would you tend to be swayed if the buyers wrote you an emotional letter?  Some agents use it to their advantage but it can also backfire. What if the buyers said something that you took the wrong way or it offended you? Would you look at that offer differently?

A typical Dear Mr. Seller Letter would

  1. Make an emotional statement about how much they love your house
  2. Talk about seeing themselves (and their growing family) living there
  3. Reflect on how much better their lives would be living in such a well loved home
  4. Share how they’re so stressed out with making offers on houses they don’t get and
  5. Indicate they could soon be homeless if they don’t find a house

And on and on. You get the point. Some agents will go so far as to include a photo of the buyers to include with the offer. As a listing agent, I’ve received letters like this and oftentimes my sellers felt it was a bit over the top and chose another offer instead. After all, depending on my sellers, this is a business transaction and there are many more negotiations to get through.

As a seller, do you really care who buys your house? As a buyer, do you really care about the people that live there? Maybe, but in our local market, typically the sellers and buyers will never see or meet each other. However, one wrong move by either party could put an end to the transaction.

Is the lack of inventory in the current real estate market suggesting I need to have a Dear Mr Seller Letter template? Can my buyers fill in the blanks so we’ll be ready when they find the perfect house and when we’re short on time?

Be Careful What You Say

I recently received a Dear Mr Seller letter on one of my listings. The buyers had a family photo at the top of the letter with a quote from The Bible. The buyers talked about how much they loved the home, the neighborhood, the floorplan of the home, and the unfinished basement with the workbench.

At the final walk through, the sellers had already moved out of town and the buyer’s agent told me the workbench in the basement would need to be removed prior to closing. I reached out to my seller and he reminded me of the Dear Mr Seller letter that talked about the workbench. Needless to say, the workbench was never brought up again.

I learned early on in real estate NEVER EVER discuss politics, religion or other people’s sports teams. Adding to that are your personal preferences on current events and your opinions of whatever is going on in the news. Bottom line, you will end up offending someone and if you are a buyer, you don’t want your opinions to insult the home seller.

Is it For You?

So be careful what you say in your Dear Mr Seller letter to make sure it doesn’t contain anything offensive or anything you don’t really mean. Fluff might come back and bite you in the you know what.

If you were a seller, what would convince you to take one offer over the other? Would you be emotionally swayed by a Dear Mr Seller Letter?

If you’re thinking of selling in the next few months, I’d love to help. Call me at (913) 515-3250 or contact me here for a FREE walk through of what you need to do to get your home ready for the market.

Click here for your INSTANT LOCAL NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT versus the Zillow Zestimate.

Download our new app and tap into our local Heartland MLS system just like the Realtors do. It’s free for you with up-to-the-minute accuracy. You’ll know about a house as soon as it comes on the market! Download the app here.

Search for homes

Start your search for homes here versus on Zillow where they will never stop chasing you.

Also, you can see Overland Park’s newest and latest listings of homes for sale below. Call or text me at (913) 515-3250 if you see something you’d like to see!

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(all data current as of 10/28/2021)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

 
 

Why People Love Zillow

I am always amazed about why people love Zillow. As a real estate professional, I understand Zillow appears to have the market cornered. They have a great website that’s easy to use and they seem to have all the answers. That’s what they have going for them.

But at the same time, it’s hard to believe their information is so inaccurate and yet people tend to believe everything they find on Zillow. I hear it day in and day out…

“Zillow says my house is worth $400,000. My natural thought is, “Has Zillow ever been to your house?”

Or the other one…

“How much is the house at 123 Main Street?” My response is “That house sold last year.”

Their natural response is, “No it didn’t, it’s on Zillow.”

And then it starts. When people tell me what they found on Zillow, I know I’m in big trouble trying to prove Zillow is wrong when I already know how much people love Zillow.

What is Zillow?

According to Wikipedia:

“Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help.”

Actually, Zillow is a computized database that allows you to search for homes and estimates your home’s value. Neither of those is very accurate. But one thing is for sure, once you give them your information, they will sell it. That’s what they are very good at…getting you to give them your information.

The Zillow Zestimate

One of Zillow’s unique features is the Zillow Zestimate where consumers can see how much homes are worth. Zillow’s algorithms update property values three times a week, which comes from public data and from data submitted by users.

According to Zillow, most Zestimates are “within 10 percent of the selling price of the home.”

10%? On a $300,000 house, their Zestimate could be off $30,000 either way – too high or too low.

A Perfect Example of an Inaccurate Zestimate

In July of 2015, Zillow’s CEO, Spencer Rascoff, sold his house. The Zillow Zestimate said his house was worth $1,750,405. That alone would be a reason why people love Zillow. That’s like hiring an agent to sell your house that tells you they can sell your house for more than any other agent without any data to back it up. Prove it.

However, his house actually sold for $1.05 million which was 19% below his original list price. Does that make you believe the people at Zillow have all the answers?

The day after his house sold, the Zillow Zestimate once again said the house was worth $1,750,405 which is why Zillow should never be used to determine the market value of your home.

The Truth about Zillow

What Zillow is really good at is keeping consumers in their loop, giving you information about a home that might be available or could already be sold. When you give Zillow your name and contact info, they capture it and then sell it back to the agents that provided them with the listing in the first place.

Zillow has agents around the country that pay top dollar for those leads. (We are not those agents). They also pressure some Realtors into entering into costly advertising contracts just to protect and maintain their very own listing information. Buying leads is expensive and that’s why you will hear from an agent as soon as you enter your contact information. That agent just paid big bucks to try to nab you as a client.

The only SOLD information Zillow ever receives is when an agent goes in and updates their own listing. Zillow doesn’t want to have houses that are sold on their site so that’s why they don’t update it when a house sells. SOLD houses don’t attract buyers. Zillow wants every house to be available.

Zillow wants you to inquire about any house you see. Capturing your information is what they want to do so they can sell it back to the agents and any other businesses that want you as their customer as well. Selling your information is not in their Wikipedia description.

What Else Does Zillow Own?

These are other entities Zillow owns:

  1. Buyfolio
  2. Diverse Solutions
  3. dotloop
  4. Hotpads
  5. Mortech
  6. Mortgage Lenders of America
  7. Naked Apartments
  8. Postlets
  9. RentJuice
  10. Retsly
  11. StreetEasy
  12. Trulia

It seems as though, they want to acquire any real estate related company that has a huge database behind it.

Keller Williams had a contract with dotloop which helped them with the storage and signing of real estate documents online. When Zillow bought dotloop, Gary Keller ended that relationship. He didn’t want KW’s customer information to be readily available to Zillow. Good for him!

Want a Better Way to Search for Local Real Estate?

Whether you are looking at houses for the fun of it or for real, you don’t have to go to Zillow to do that. Zillow doesn’t have the most accurate information available. That’s why you’ll see a house that sold a year ago show up on Zillow as an active listing.

There are better ways to find out what’s for sale locally and discover the real value of your home versus the Zillow Zestimate without having your information sold. You can:

  • Search local homes for sale with our app through Heartland MLS
  • Receive your home’s current value based on recent activity in your neighborhood
  • Call or text (913) 515-3250 for a quick walk through of your house to see how it actually compares to other homes that have sold in your neighborhood
  • Contact us here and we’ll get right back to you! And we won’t hound you because we paid for the lead.:)

Overland Park latest listings

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(all data current as of 10/28/2021)

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