Wichita Home

All About Wichita and Wichita Real Estate

On To Inspections

After the seller of a piece of real estate and the potential buyer come to an agreement it’s time to move on to inspections. Inspections are an important part of the home buying process and considered by most agents a must. In Wichita we have a form that has to signed saying we suggested it to you.

It is your responsibility as the buyer to find and pay a home inspector. You can ask your Realtor for referrals and then make a decision based on your own research or opinion. It’s best to find one that is registered with the state of Kansas. We have plenty to choose from in Wichita.

An inspector goes over the property checking components of the home insuring they are in working order and safe. This is a visual inspection and if the inspector finds something questionable he will generally suggest you hire a licensed contractor to further check it out. Most inspection reports come with a disclaimer that reads something like this:

“SCOPE OF INSPECTION
The scope of the inspection and report is a limited visual inspection of the general systems and components of the home to identify any system or component listed in the report which may be in need of immediate major repair. The inspection will be performed in compliance with generally accepted standards of practice, a copy of which is available upon
request or included with this report.”

After the inspection the buyer has a right to ask the seller to make certain repairs. The seller isn’t required to do so under contract unless he deems it favorable to the outcome of the deal. Then he or she  may make the repairs and move forward. The contract has a section that makes it possible for the buyer to back out if an agreement can’t be reached in a specified number of days.

Personally I recommend having the inspection done before the appraisal. That way if there turns out to something terribly wrong with the house and the contract doesn’t go forward your not out the appraisers fee, which can be substantial.

Once The inspection report is finished, accepted and any repairs are agreed on it’s time to move on.

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July 29, 2010 Posted by | buy, Home, house, kansas, real estate, Realtor, Wichita | , , , , | Leave a comment

Make An Offer

When my clients shopping for real estate in Wichita Kansas have found a home that they want to buy, they sit down with me, their Realty World agent and enter into an Offer to Purchase contract.  Along with standard  pre-printed legal clauses that protect the interests of the parties involved, there are also negotiable components of an offer including

  • The price
  • We can ask closing costs and prepaid items to be paid by the seller
  • Personal items that are conveyed with the real property
  • Summary of financing to be obtained by the buyer
  • The earnest money deposit, showing the buyer’s good faith desire to proceed
  • Date of deed transfer (Close of escrow.)
  • Any repairs we want completed
  • Any additional contingencies to the transaction

When the offer is presented to the seller, he has three options:  accept the offer, reject the offer, or make a counter-offer to any part of the offer.  Negotiations continue until an agreement has been reached.

There are also contingencies built into the contract to protect clients even after an agreement has been reached, just in case.

July 27, 2010 Posted by | buy, Home, kansas, real estate, Realtor, Wichita | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nasty Little Grass Grubs

My mole problem has prompted much research as I don’t want to kill them, just to drive them away from my home. I found that Moles love to eat grubs.

Grubs, nesting looking over weight worms, are actually the larvae of certain beetles,  as June Beetles or chafers.  They love munching on the roots of grasses, especially dead grass and weeds. Their over-voracious appetites, combined with their ability to easily procreate, result in infestations that can kill large areas of lawns.

Grubs are also a great source of protein for moles and other pests like raccoons and skunks.  These larger animals will rip apart lawns in their quest for a taste of these juicy larvae.  There are plenty wandering around the city here in Wichita KS. Imagine walking up to find the entire sod you just laid completely rolled back.

I’ve tried grub killing chemicals in the lawn which seem to work somewhat but never completely solved the problem. They still show up when digging holes and planting. Recently I discovered a better and more permanent way, of course only time will tell.

Supposedly one of the most effective and environmentally friendly remedies against grubs is the Milky Spore Bacteria.  Milky spores are ingested by grubs and eventually cause the larvae to die.  The grubs then decompose, releasing billions of bacteria into the ground, where they remain active without damaging the sod.  One treatment of Milky Spore Bacteria can last up to forty years. And it’s not unfriendly to the environment!

Maybe a Realtor can even proclaim a piece of real estate “grub free” in the description of property.

As I said, time will tell.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | Home, kansas, real estate, Realtor, Wichita | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ethics?, or mind your own business.

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of mis-information about the Governments tax incentives to buy a home here in Wichita Kansas. Everything from “how long will it take to the check to get here” to “I heard I don’t really have to live there”.

I was showing a home to a woman and her son when she posed this question to me, “if we write a contract on this house, how long will it take the check to arrive.”  Of course I asked what check, and she said the government check.  I explained to her the reality and sent her to the official website. (I don’t think she believed me.)

Apparantly she had been talking to a real estate agent who let her know that if she bought a house from him the Government was going to send her a check. A check she could cash, deposit in an account or whatever she wanted. A check for $8000.

She was shocked when I told her that wasn’t the case and looked at me like I didn’t know what I was talking about. True story. She ended up not buying as she was counting on that money to help. Or maybe she just was upset with me and went somewhere else. I’ll never know.

Another one was an honest mistake that could have been a disaster.

Sitting in a seminar  not purposely eavesdropping  I overheard someone tell someone else that you had to live in the home when you buy it to get the tax credit.  True enough. What followed was you can move out right away and turn it into a rental as long  as you own it for three years.  Not true.

The someone doing the telling was a Realtor. Maybe it wasn’t my business. Maybe it was, being a Realtor myself. I interjected and set the facts out. No, you have to live there for three years and if you move out before then the money has to be paid back.

Imagine if this person had gone through with a deal thinking that the case. That he could move out right away and make the home a rental.

Whether  by purposeful dishonesty or honest mistake either situation could have had grave consequences for the buyer. It is imperative that a professional, in whatever field, know the facts.

Another misconception I run into all the time is that people are being told that there is an $8000 tax credit for first time home buyers. While this is true somewhat, the other factor is “or 10% of the purchase price up to $8000″” which often gets left out. Several times I’ve been approached by first time buyers wanting to buy a fixer upper for, say $30,000, figuring on an extra $8000 around tax time to help in the restoration.

What do suppose happens when these types of deals go through and the client finds out after the fact. The Realtor is long gone, he doesn’t care. There’s generally nothing in writing saying the realtor made these statements. There’s  no one to sue. The buyer is just left with a bad taste in the mouth and a bad attitude towards real estate people.

What it does is give us a bad name, a bad reputation. So yes, it is my business, and I will continue to make it my business to set the record straight when ever I get the chance. Our reputation, our ethics and morality and our sense of right  is the most important thing we have.

January 24, 2010 Posted by | buy, house, kansas, KS, real estate, Realtor, Wichita | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Time to Buy Real Estate in Wichita Kansas

If ever there was a good time to invest in real estate, it’s now. Seriously. I happen to believe the bottom is in, or at least close in the residential market. Regardless of whether it is or isn’t there are several factors that weigh in to make one think this is a buyers market.

The first is that the banks need money. The way banks make money is by charging interest rates for money they lend. OK, simple enough. This contraction the economy is in has put most of these big banks in the red. Some are recovering and even paying us back but still need more money. The best and easiest way for them to become and/or remain profitable (and pay back all that money they owe us, the taxpayer) is to make more money, and they do this by raising interest rates. Credit card companies are already doing it.

The Wichita Real Estate market faired better than most during the latest housing bubble. It slowed, like the rest of the country, but in comparison actually did very well. This shows how well this particular market holds it’s value. Housing prices are on the rise though. On the sales front, People are buying, just not in droves yet. When the flood of buyers start, prices will react quickly. Builders and homeowners alike have been taking much lower prices than their homes warrant. Whether buying a home for the first time, buying a second or vacation home or just investing in Real Estate you want to buy while prices are low.

There’s always the chance, as many think, that prices will fall even further. That’s a gamble you’d have to be willing to take. Stack that up against the time left for the tax credits and it just doesn’t make much sense to wait.

The Government has extended an $8000 dollar tax credit to first home buyers and added a $6500 credit for homeowners who want to “move up”. It all ends at the end of June. This does not have to be repayed. It is a big incentive to get people to buy. There are many economists that believe the health of the recovery we are beginning to feel depends on the housing market. The Government is doing everything it can to promote this. Extraordinary measures are being taken. When the recovery comes, and it will, home prices and interest rates will rise quickly. The Government will not be so generous as the next task will be to repay all the money that was borrowed and printed.

The last really bad inflation we had was in the 1970s and 80s. I remember my family paying 17% interest on the home we lived in. Back then it certainly didn’t bother me, that was my Dads problem. Now it will be mine. When the economy becomes inflated the Federal reserve is inclined to raise interest rates to try and tame it. Just as the Feds started to drastically reduced rates around 1999-2000 to stimulate the economy they will easily go the other way to slow it down. Inflation is coming. With all the money the Government and Fed have had to print and borrow in 2009, inflation will surely come around. Inflation happens when there is to much money supply. It reduces demand making money not so valuable, causing the price of goods and services go up.

Now is the time to buy and this is the perfect market. A perfect storm of good news for investors and potential homeowners alike.

December 10, 2009 Posted by | house, Realtor, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Buy Builder Direct. Yeah, right.

The other day I drove past the entrance to a new subdivision in Wichita KS with a sign out front that begged, Buy builder direct and save money. I thought to myself, yeah, I’ll bet he will!

Buying real estate with out professional help is a mistake.

Two points here to make.

First, buying directly from a builder leaves you completely at his mercy. Everyone has heard horror stories about building a home. This is where those stories come from.

Unless you have some kind of back ground in construction a builder can pretty much do anything he wants including cutting corners, eliminating promised items or charging incredible markups on change orders and explain it all to you in a way you will accept but not understand.

To many future homeowners go into the building process with high expectations and blind trust. Buying “Builder Direct” means you don’t have anyone watching out for your best interest. I can promise you that the builder will be watching out for his.

For you it’s all about your dream home. For them it’s all about the money!

Second point is that a Realtor can make sure you have a solid contract that best protects you. He or she can also negotiate on your behalf having had the experience in doing so. He or she will make sure you are treated fairly when it comes to paying.

A Realtor will have had some experience and inside knowledge that separates the good from the bad.

Building a home doesn’t need to be a stressful and scary event in your life.

It should be a fun and positive experience. Something that you will look back on in the years to come and smile about.

October 9, 2009 Posted by | builder, buy, Home, Realtor | , | 1 Comment

What To Do About This Real Estate Market?

Unemployment was down today, which is good news, but so were existing home sales, which is not so good news for the real estate market. It was forecast by economists and other “experts” that sales would be up slightly from last month. They were down slightly instead. I emphasize slightly. Much ado about nothing in my opinion.

The thing is, we have to expect some drop in home sales as the first time buyer tax credit nears its end. The end being December 1st. There is still time for consumers to get in on the credit, but time is slipping away quickly. It is taking on average anywhere from 45 to 60 days to take a home purchase from contract to closing, and that’s if it goes relatively smoothly. So, as I said, time is running out and buyers realize it may be to late.

There are all sorts of bills running around Congress to extend the tax credit. That would be a good thing for the real estate industry and possibly even the economy. Lots of lobbyists are working overtime doing their part to make it happen. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is also at the party with a big push for an extension. You can find articles all over the internet about efforts to do so.

Some want to give everyone that buys a house a tax credit while others just want to extend the first time buyers opportunity.

If they do nothing and let it run out home sales are liable to drop drastically as that is what has been churning the market this past year. Better if they would not have done anything to begin with than let it go away.

Let me explain. We have taken all the first time homebuyers of this year and two or three years into the future and forced them into the market early. That’s why the market has been so busy lately. By taking all these sales now that leaves none for the near future. If the incentives are not there, there will be no more buyers. The economy, although improving in the Feds opinion, is not on its feet enough yet to support a robust housing market of its own volition.

In other words, by forcing the market we have used up all the buyers. I’m also sure that a lot of people have gotten into the real estate business as Realtors specifically to take advantage of all the extra buyers out there. That’s going to leave us with no buyers and a lot of extra agents. This is just my theory.

Without an extension of the first time buyer tax credit, the housing market could just possibly be doomed. I’m hoping they have a plan. A plan that would let business slow down, thinking the credit was over, and then around the middle of November or so pass the bill. That would create a whole new rush of buyers wanting to get in while the getting was good. That would be a good thing. Just maybe enough momentum to carry us through to the end of this recession.

September 24, 2009 Posted by | buy, Home, house, kansas, KS, real estate, Realtor, recovery, Wichita | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who’s Watching The Builder?

<!– @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –You have saved your money, planned, made a list of all you want, and had plans drawn up. The new home you have always dreamed of is now ready to be built in Wichita. Next task is finding a builder, and someone to watch that builder.

Do your research thoroughly. The best way to find a builder is through referrals. Find other people who have built with them and ask questions. If you already have found a good Realtor, get them to help. It can not be stressed enough the importance of finding a good and reputable builder.

There are good builders and bad ones. The one constant is that they are in it for a profit and are looking out first for their own best interest. Sure they may do quality work, maybe even be honest and ethical, but the fact remains that in their minds they come first.

When times are good every one and his brother wants to be a builder. It’s amazing the number of small building companies that pop up. A lot of these are questionable operations and if a downturn in the economy comes along you may just get stuck with a half built home and a lot of wasted money. After the market does some weeding most of the companies left are good ones with a solid financial foundation. Even these reputable companies need to cut costs and find ways to save money and if their working on your house….well.

That leaves you, as the future homeowner pretty much at their mercy. You can read books, watch HG TV and it seems every new homeowner has done some “remodeling”. Nothing can prepare you for the actual construction of your home. You can’t be there 24/7 to make sure it’s being done right and to your standards. It’s not the builder that does the work, but subcontractors. It’s not the subcontractors that do the work for the most part, but their employees and those employees don’t really care much about you and your dream home. Mostly they care about quitting time and the weekend.

Having spent nearly 20 years in the construction business, 10 of that in management, I saw a lot of what goes on. We were the people that watched over your house as it was being built and while we genuinely cared for the interest of our clients, the builders interests is always number one. Loyalty to the company and whatever policies it may have is key to collecting your paycheck.

That is why it is essential to have someone knowledgeable in the industry watching out for you and your interest. That is why you must have a Realtor. A Realtor will know their way around the local building scene. He or she will be able to recommend builders that maybe they have worked with or have some knowledge of. Having help to negotiate tricky building contracts always favoring the builder is a must for success on your project. When the time comes for the several different walk throughs that building a home requires, you will have someone watching out for your best interests. Last is the final walk through to make sure everything is done right and complete. It will be just you, the builder and his staff. That’s when you need a Realtor most. Their there to watch the Builder for you. At the closing table his/her job is to make certain no surprises appear and that your building and closing experience are a good one. That will give you piece of mind and the insurance that your dream home is built to your dream standards.

Now you and your family can live happily ever after.

July 24, 2009 Posted by | builder, Home, Realtor, Wichita | 1 Comment

   

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