“I’m afraid to sell my house.” Does this sound familiar? It might be something you’ve thought, or you’ve heard it from friends or family.
With houses fetching top dollar due to the low inventory in Kansas City, a lot of people want to sell their homes and move up, but they’re afraid they won’t find anything suitable to buy within their price range. In fact, 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. 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’d 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 last year, we had two big kids, a crazy dog, no Gateway, and I was DONE sharing one bathroom. We had some equity in our house, better income that 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 we’ll only find crappy listings or we’ll lose out on the good ones. And then we’ll be homeless in 30 days.” Okay, yes, 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, yep yep, 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! And he 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 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 the key to our success. It took about two weeks, but Leah found a house that checked all of our boxes. We had 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 got 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, we 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 could not 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.
If you find yourself in the same situation, my advice is to find your team of experts – both agents and mortgage providers – and go for it. You’ll get a great price for your home right now, and rates are historically low. There are amazing houses to be had, and you can find them with the right team and a little bravery.
Feel free to call me or Mike Miles at Fountain Mortgage if you need a little hand-holding – or a little 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.