Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do I need a pre-approval letter before I start looking for a house? 

A: Any offer without a pre-approval letter is not considered a strong offer. When you complete the application process the lender will also help you determine how much house you can afford.  

Q: How long does it take to buy a house? 

A: This question depends on how fast you find a house. From contract to close is typically 45-60 days.  For a timeline of the process, please click here.

Q: Is it ok if I start buying furniture for my new house before I close?

A: Only if you are paying with CASH. Prior to closing, it is important that you do not open new credit accounts, make large purchases, change jobs, or make large, untraceable deposits. Any of these actions could jeopardize your close date. 

Q: Why do I need to do inspections? 

A: Most buyers are not experienced in home construction. Inspectors are trained professionals that can help determine if the house has any structural or other problems. Especially with older homes, there may be hidden problems such as termites, tree roots in the sewer, wood rot, etc. 

Q: How much do inspections cost and who pays for it? 

A: Be prepared to pay between $500-$800 depending on how many inspections you choose. Typical inspections include a whole house, termite, radon, and sewer. The buyers are responsible for inspections. This is because the buyer has the option to back out of the contract if they do not like something found during the inspection. A contract is not 100% binding until after all terms in the contract have been met, one of which is the inspection process. 

Q: What is the best time to sell my house?  

A: In general, buyers are the most active March-May and the least active November -January. However, because there are fewer homes available in the winter months, it is not necessarily a bad time to try to sell. Seek advice from a realtor for an answer pertaining to your specific home.

Q: Why should I install new carpet or spend money on paint before I sell my house? If I lower the price the new buyer can select what they want.   

A: The majority of buyers don't have the resources to buy a house AND spend money on painting, carpet, etc. The rule is - those that spend the money make the money.

Q: What are the most important factors in determining how much a house is worth?

A: Condition and location. That is why it is best for sellers to have their home in the best possible condition the first day the house is placed on the market. Often times sellers rush to place their home on the market thinking they will make the last minute repairs if someone gets interested. Most buyers make a decision on if they are interested during the first couple of minutes they enter the property. Bad odors, doors that don't open, or dirty bathrooms will turn off a would-be buyer.

Q: Why does the Zillow ® estimate of a house not agree with the list price? 

A: In the Kansas City market area, sale prices of homes are not public information. Therefore, the price used by Zillow ® (and other automated pricing services) is typically the value of the county tax appraisal. The county tax appraisal is generally lower than the current market value.

Q: What are closing costs?

A: Closing costs are fees associated with obtaining a mortgage, registering the title, performing a title search to ensure the property does not have any liens, paying any real estate commissions, and setting up the escrow account. 

Q: What is the escrow account?

A: An escrow account is a savings account held by the lender to pay the property taxes and insurance. A typical mortgage payment consists of three parts: principle/interest payment, taxes & insurance. Taxes are typically paid twice per year and insurance is paid once per year.

Q: Do I need a real estate agent to sell my home?  

A: No. If you are comfortable with real estate contract law, negotiating large purchases, understand the inspection process, have the time available to develop marketing brochures & mailers and feel secure escorting people through your home, you do not need to solicit the help of a real estate agent. However, most buyers will not buy a home without the help of an agent. Before deciding to work alone, consider the true cost of the listing agent. Most sellers find that the listing agent is well worth the expense due to increased market exposure, professional marketing, guidance in contract negotiations and pre-screening people that enter the property.