By Charity Ohlund
“I’m afraid to sell my house.” Does this sound familiar? It might be something you’ve thought, or maybe you’ve heard it from friends or family.
With houses often fetching top dollar due low inventory in Kansas City, many people want to sell their homes and move up, but they’re afraid they won’t find anything suitable in their price range. Most people say something like, “I want to sell my house, but I don’t want to be homeless.”
In the spring of 2016, this was me. I’m guest posting for Mike Miles today, and I now work for Fountain Mortgage, but in April of 2016 I was working for a non-profit organization, and my husband and I were still living in our Roeland Park starter home we bought in 2008. That was back when we had one baby, no dog, and the promise of an exciting Gateway project getting underway just a few blocks from our house.
By the next year, we had two big kids, a crazy dog, no Gateway, and I was SO DONE sharing one bathroom. We had some equity in our house, better income than we had eight years prior, and interest rates that were about half of what they were in 2008. Moving into a larger home should have seemed like a no-brainer. But we, like most people, were obsessively looking at Zillow, and what we saw had us paralyzed with fear.
“If we put our house on the market, it’s going to get multiple offers in one day,” I would say to my husband. “And then we’ll be out there fighting to get our ‘forever’ house, but only finding crappy listings or losing out on the good ones. And then we’ll be homeless in 30 days!” I’ll admit, I can be dramatic at times, but in this case, I called it just being a realist.
Then one day I read a Shawnee Mission Post column by real estate agent Chad Taylor with the headline, “The Reluctant Move Up Buyer.” If you can relate to what I’ve written so far, I highly suggest you read it because it hits the nail on the head. I didn’t know who Chad was, but I emailed him and said, “Okay, that describes our situation perfectly. Can you help us?”
Chad met with us and described several strategies that his team uses to help sellers and buyers like us. For example, we let buyers know we needed 60 days to close. Most transactions take at least 30 days, so this wasn’t a deal-breaker for the buyers that made offers – and yes, we received multiple awesome ones! Chad let us know that in a worst-case scenario, he had connections to apartment owners in Prairie Village that would offer short-term leases. That took a little pressure off. Not a lot, but at least my dramatic homeless scenario was off the table.
Then he introduced us to his business partner and wife, Leah, who is very well-connected in the Northeast Johnson Country neighborhoods we were shopping. Leah was able to bring us listings that either hadn’t gone to market yet, or that had been overpriced and overlooked. This was key to our success. It took about two weeks, but Leah found a house that checked all our boxes. We’d seen it online but disregarded it because it was priced higher than our budget. They hadn’t received any offers, so we came in lower and snagged it.
Another key to our success was interviewing mortgage providers before we listed our home. This gave us a head start and a solid plan before we began shopping. We talked to at least four different companies, and like most buyers were simply shopping for the lowest rate.
But once we met Mike Miles at Fountain Mortgage, we knew we had found the right place. Mike put us at ease and was the only loan officer who outlined several different options and scenarios for our financing plan in addition to giving us a competitive rate. For example, he showed us how we could put less money down and retain an extra $8,000 from our sale proceeds (yes! furniture money!), which would only increase our monthly payment by $26. Plus, we liked that Fountain Mortgage is a locally-owned, Prairie Village company and not a big bank.
Today, we couldn’t be happier with our new home. In fact, not a week goes by without me saying, “I love this house.” I never would have imagined that selling our house and jumping into the crazy real estate market would have worked out so great for us in the end.
If you find yourself in the same situation, my advice is to find your team of experts – both agents and mortgage providers- and just go for it. There are amazing houses to be had, and you can find them with the right team and a little bravery. So, get out there and get shopping without any fear, and feel free to call myself or Mike Miles at Fountain Mortgage if you need a little hand holding or a gentle push.
This weekly Sponsored Column is written by guest columnist Charity Ohlund, director of business development at Fountain Mortgage. Located in Prairie Village, Fountain Mortgage is dedicated to educating, and thus empowering, clients to make the best financial decision possible for their situation. Contact Fountain today.