How to navigate the buying process in a hot Kansas City housing - KCTV5

How to navigate the buying process in a hot Kansas City housing market

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If you’re a seller, it’s a great time to cash in on the hot Kansas City market. And if you’re a buyer, getting a house will take a lot of work, and you have to be smart about your choice.  (KCTV5) If you’re a seller, it’s a great time to cash in on the hot Kansas City market. And if you’re a buyer, getting a house will take a lot of work, and you have to be smart about your choice. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

If you’re a seller, it’s a great time to cash in on the hot Kansas City market. And if you’re a buyer, getting a house will take a lot of work, and you have to be smart about your choice.

KCTV5 News is giving you an inside look at the housing market and how to navigate the buying process.

Emily Washburn now lives in Overland Park, but she could never have seen herself landing her dream home six months ago. When she first began her hunt, she was blown away by how difficult it was.

“I looked at 75 houses over my span of looking,” she said.

She wanted a place to call her own, so began looking in September with Reece Nichols Realtor Alex Owens.

Owens said when beginning your hunt you have to be serious.

"They have to be prepared. They have to want it. How bad do they want a house?" she said.

In Washburn’s case, she wanted it bad.

Bad enough to wait six months as she lost offers, struggled to find her dream home and made sacrifices in what she envisioned her home to be along the way.

“It has been so difficult,” Washburn said.

The current home that Washburn lives in was not the first home she put an offer on. There were three others. She was outbid on each.

“The moment those houses came on the market, you had to get to the house, look at it, put in your offer within 24 hours,” she explained.

On top of that, she was told by many other listing agents on other homes that putting in an offer wouldn’t be worth it. They told her too many offers above asking price were pouring in.

“Now we have so many buyers hitting the market. Not only do we have millennials and first-time home buyers, but now we have second- and third-time buyers because they couldn’t buy or sell in years before,” Owens said.

A big part of that is thanks to the bounce back from the 2008 recession.

Owens said there isn’t enough inventory, and it’s driving prices up. Some houses aren’t appraising out. Some buyers are being forced to make sacrifices to win an offer.

“Getting rid of the inspection contingency in Emily’s case. We said that we would take the home as-is. We still had the right to inspect, but basically we said we wouldn’t ask for anything,” Owens explained.

When it comes to making an offer, chances are anything below asking price will be outbid.

This was a struggle for Washburn. As a first-time home buyer, she looked to her parents for advice. They told her to bid below asking, but then she lost those homes.

“They bought a house 30 years ago. Things have changed since then. It’s not the housing market that they knew. So I really had to listen to the direction of my Realtor and then take her advice,” she said.

Owen’s advice?

“Come in competitively with a number that will stand out," she said.

And 2017 is shaping up to be the fastest selling housing market on record.

Many homes are selling within hours of the listing time. Most are selling within a few days. Adding to the problem, there are nearly 50-percent fewer less homes in Kansas City on the market now than at this time in 2016.

Furthermore, according to Trulia, since the recession began, the metro has added nearly 100,000 people to its population.

“It’s a learning experience. That’s for sure,” Washburn said.

One tip of advice that Owens said could help you seal the deal is to write the sellers a letter.

“Writing a letter to your seller ... kind of being a little gushy. Tell them why you love it. Point out the things that stand out. That can also help win an offer," she said.

She said connecting with the seller on a personal level and explaining that you picture yourself living there works more often than people think. 

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