Are you a homeowner in Wichita, KS who is finding it difficult to get accurate, and in-depth information on how the home buying and selling process really works? Have you searched the web tirelessly to only run across constant advertisements with people desperately begging for you to sell your home to them? If this has been your experience, you’re probably exhausted, overwhelmed and frustrated. So, let’s cut the crap, and get down to brass tacks. How does selling your Wichita home the traditional way work and what is a professional home buyer?
I’m Jason Lavender with Harmony Home Buyer and here’s a guide on how to sell your home:
How to Find the Perfect Tomatoes
For the first half of this article we’re going to discuss how you sell your Wichita home on the traditional market. You’ll often hear this called the MLS, which stands for (Multiple Listing Services.) So, what is the MLS? The MLS is essentially a huge list of properties, and any pertinent information associated with those properties, available to both buying and selling brokers in order to facilitate transactions.
Imagine this, think of a massive farmers market filled with all kinds of farmers selling off their crops. There are tomato farmers selling their tomatoes, and you’ve got potato farmers selling their potatoes. And in between all that you’ve got hungry customers, some are looking for tomatoes and some are looking for potatoes. But there’s just so many farmers selling their product, that not only is it difficult for customers to decide who they should get their tomatoes from, but it’s also difficult for them to find all the tomato sellers; they’re spread out everywhere!
Now imagine that this market is so big, that customers have to hire someone -who knows the market in and out- to help them find the farmer who sells the kind of tomatoes they want, and at the price they can afford. These agents are going to help them find the perfect tomatoes for a small percentage of whatever the customer ends up paying for the tomatoes. This is kind of like a real estate agent.
The farmers also have agents too, though! They hire people to go out and find hungry customers who want to buy tomatoes or potatoes, depending on their taste. As you can imagine, this market could get really competitive. But it’s best for the farmers, the customers, and the agents on both sides if there is a consolidated repository of information showing where all the tomatoes and potatoes farmers are, and how much they’re selling for, so that farmers get to sell their crops, hungry customers get healthy food, and the agents on both side get to have a paying job connecting the two together.
So, they create a big map that’s constantly updated with information on all the farmers; where their stand is, what condition their produce is in and how much it’s selling for. Where one agent may not have been able to meet their clients needs by themselves, the map fills in, pointing out a farmers stand selling just the right kind of vegetable for their client.
I think you get the metaphor, so we can stop talking about tomatoes and potatoes, and talk about what really matters: homes.
The MLS is this huge database of homes for sale in a target area. This info helps facilitate transactions by getting sellers to buyers. The MLS is really helpful for sellers because it connects them to the widest pool of buyers possible. Without it, selling your home would take much longer and it would be much harder to find the right buyer who is willing to buy at the right price.
There are over 800 different MLSs, each one corresponding to a different geographical area mainly based on a big city and the smaller cities or suburbs that surround it. So, for instance, the MLS that you would most want your house to be on would be one that covers Wichita and the greater surrounding area. This would include smaller cities like Valley Center, Haysville, Maize, Goddard, etc.
Essentially, the MLS is a big advertising service for home sellers. On the MLS, you’re going to get your house seen by the widest amount of people who are most motivated to buy your house. When I say motivated, I mean that they have the means to buy the house and they are actively looking for a house to buy. Not only does the MLS provide a service to get you to the widest amount of potential buyers, but, by having the ability to list specifics about your house (like how many bedrooms, whether it has a garage or not, is there a pool in the backyard?) you’re also able to give sellers the highest amount of information possible, which will make buyers even more interested and even more motivated to buy your house.
Okay, we’ve defined what the MLS is. The MLS is probably the single most important upside to selling your home the traditional way. Going through the MLS is a luxury service. You’re getting access to the highest quality buyers, no doubt. But you’re paying a premium for it. You’re paying in fees and commission, but you’re also paying in your time and energy.
Let’s break down exactly how the process of listing the traditional way works; from listing on the MLS to walking away from a closing.
Do I Need a Real Estate Agent, a Real Estate Broker, or a Realtor?
First thing that happens is you find yourself a real estate agent. So, should you go to a real estate agent, a real estate broker, or a realtor? What do these terms even mean? I know, it’s confusing, and these terms are often used interchangeably. So, let’s disambiguate between these three terms first (I swear, I will tell you how to sell your house soon.)
A real estate agent is someone who has undergone the required training and passed the requisite exams in order to obtain a license to sell real estate in their state. This is who represents you on a more personal level when you are listing your home on the traditional market. In your case, they will help you get your home onto the MLS and help find buyers and facilitate the purchase of your home.
A real estate broker sits slightly above a real estate agent in the chain of command. While they have the same capabilities as a real estate agent, a broker, or brokerage, will actually be the one who handles the paperwork and legal documents associated with the sale. In fact, they are the person or entity who is principally accountable for the transaction between the buyer and the seller. In Wichita, the biggest brokerage firm is Keller Williams (I’m sure you’ve seen their agents’ faces posted on front lawns all across Wichita.) They employ real estate agents who help you find a buyer and handle all the paperwork once the buyer is ready to pay up. Real estate brokers are typically more knowledgeable than real estate agents and have more experience.
What is a realtor, then? Well, it should actually be written REALTOR™ because the term is trademarked. A realtor is just a real estate agent who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors. They have all the same qualifications of a real estate agent, except they pay a fee to be a part of the National Association of Realtors and are bound to follow their code of ethics. Essentially, just really fancy real estate agents. Although, the title isn’t completely meaningless. Since realtors must pay to be a part of the association, you can guess that they are probably doing enough business for it to be worth the hassle, and therefore, may be a safe bet if you’re choosing a real estate agent.
All right, so we’ve cleared up the confusion around real estate agents, real estate brokers and realtors. And by now, you realize that what you really need is a real estate agent, whether they’re a realtor or not. So, you call a local real estate agent because their advertisement was really eye-catching and now you’ve got yourself a real estate agent, congratulations! You’re getting ready to make one of the biggest decisions of your life!
The first thing a real estate agent is going to do is come to your house and take a look at it. Then, if they think it’s sellable, they will have you send over as much information as you can about the property. From basic stuff like how many bedrooms and bathrooms, all the way to more nebulous things like how close is it to a nice school or how far from a fire hydrant is it located.
Once they’ve collated all the necessary information, you’re going to agree to a 3% commission fee, sign some documents that you probably won’t read (unless you’re a lawyer) and the real estate agent is going to list your house on the MLS. To do this, they will fill out an MLS sheet, which will contain all the necessary information (including the asking price the real estate agent has helped you come up with) concerning your home that a buyer would want to know.
The MLS sheet will also contain what is called a “co-operating brokerage commission,” which is a percentage of the purchase price (let’s say 3%) offered to anyone involved in the transaction of the home. This serves as an additional incentive to get a buyers agent to work with you. So, all the Is are dotted and the Ts are crossed, and your house is officially on the market. Time to go outside and proudly stake your “For Sale” sign onto the front lawn.
FYI, your real estate agent isn’t just going to throw a line out into the ocean and hope that they get a bite in the next few months (at least, a good real estate agent won’t do that.) They won’t just upload the MLS sheet and pray that something happens. They’re also going to reach out to real estate friends and see if any of them have any buyers who are looking to settle down with a property like yours. This is a huge advantage of having a real estate agent, they always have connections to help facilitate the sale of your home.
Now, here’s where the hardest part about listing on the traditional market comes up. Once you’ve got your house listed on the MLS, get yourself ready for the most stressful 3 to 5 months of your life. Because first of all, you’re not going to be able to sell your house in the condition that currently sits in. Even if your house is a perfect temple of cleanliness, your real estate agent is going to find any reason to get you to change something, if only to seem like they’re doing their job. So, you’re going to be walking around everyday after work with a vacuum cleaner in your left hand and a paintbrush in your right hand, fixing and cleaning every square inch of your house until it looks like the Queen’s palace.
And this is going to go on way longer than you want it to. Because as great of a deal as your house may be, buyers are picky, and even if you do find some motivated buyers in a reasonable amount of time, they’re going to come with a lot of conditions. They’re going to want a mold specialist to come through and check the place for mold, they’re going to want to have all the electrical redone, they’re going to want the walls painted, they want the water pressure fixed, one thing after another.
Look, not everyone keeps their house perfectly clean at all times. Houses are for living in, not to be showed off, right? Well, not if you’re trying to sell your house no. Your house has become a product now. A product that needs to be managed and marketed to have the highest appeal to a potential buyer. So, it’s not just going to be your real estate agent walking through your house, you’re now going to have buyer after buyer, waltzing into your house judging everything, taking note of anything that is out of place. I’ve worked with many sellers before, and this part of the process can frankly be humiliating for some. Hey, not even my house is in the condition right now to be sold, and I couldn’t imagine having to put in all the work it would take to have to stage my home right now. NO THANKS.
Okay, so you’ve weathered the storm. Your house has looked like the inside of an IKEA for about 6 months now, and you’ve finally found a buyer who is ready to purchase your home, what happens then? This is the part that most people don’t know about, because honestly, most people haven’t sold a home. Selling a home is something you only do once or twice in a lifetime (unless you’re a professional like me of course, I’ve lost count of how many deals I’ve done) so most people aren’t familiar with this process.
Closing Time, One Last Call
Your buyer is going to be represented by their own real estate agent who has negotiated a fee for their services. For this example, let’s say it’s 3% of the purchase price (the usual percentage in Kansas.) Or, they could agree on an “as per MLS” commission, which would be the “co-operating brokerage commission” listed on the MLS sheet, which, if you remember, was also 3%.
The buyer really wants the property, so they tell their sales representative to write up an offer on your home. This offer is going to include the purchase price, what conditions they have (of which there could be many,) a closing date (let’s say 1 month,) and a security deposit to show that they are serious about buying the house. This deposit will go towards the purchase price later.
If you like the offer, then you go ahead and sign off on it. Yay! One step closer to being done with this nightmare!
After that, your real estate agent is going to take the security deposit and hand it to the brokerage that they work for. Which will be escrowed in a trust account.
Alright, now here’s where the lawyers get involved. Usually, the day after the offer has been signed, both parties will get their lawyers involved in handling the paperwork and other important details. Then, the buyer will give their lawyer the agreed purchase amount for the home, plus lawyer fees. Their lawyer will then transfer that amount to YOUR lawyer, who will in return transfer the purchase amount to you, minus your lawyers fees.
Here comes the big moment. At this point, ownership of the home is transferred from you to the buyer and the property is now considered CLOSED.
You might be wondering, okay, do I pay my real estate agent now? No, ABSOLUTELY NOT. It’s not only bad business practice to pay your agent directly, but it is illegal. Your agent will be paid their commission fee from the brokerage who is holding onto the security deposit from the buyer, minus some brokerage fees.
This brokerage firm also handles paying the buyer’s brokerage who is represented by the buyer’s agent who then pays the buyer’s agent themselves, minus brokerage fees, of course.
Confusing, huh? Well, it’s kind of meant to be that way.
Looking at this insane blueprint must be making your head spin right now. No wonder you need a real estate agent, this stuff is complicated! You must be thinking, I don’t even have a lawyer! I’m supposed to get a lawyer?
But here’s the secret, it doesn’t have to be this way. Real estate lawyers and agents have intentionally made this stuff overly complex and have obfuscated this info for one simple reason: they’re jobs wouldn’t exist if you knew how to do this stuff yourself!
I told you at the beginning of this article that I would explain the difference between listing on the traditional market in the first half, and selling to a professional home buyer in the second half. But it ended up being that 95% of the article was about traditional home selling, and the remaining 5% is going to be about professional home buyers. Because that’s just how much simpler selling to a professional home buyer is.
Here is how it works:
1. Go Online and Fill Out a Short Form on Your Home.
2. Someone Calls You Same-day to Come Look at the House.
3. You Get an Offer, You Accept it, You Get Paid Cash, and the House is Sold.
This must sound too good to be true. But it really is that good, and it’s the honest truth.
Real estate agents are a scam.
There, I said it.
Why would you pay four different people to do the same job, and run you through the ringer for months on end? It’s insane.
So, how are professional home buyers able to offer you cash on the spot?
Professional home buyers don’t need a license to buy properties, and we don’t need lawyers to muddy up the waters. We buy houses as they are with cash, leaving just enough wiggle room to renovate while being able to turn around and sell the house again for profit. Then we take that money, and go offer cash on the next house.
Because we renovate the houses ourselves, we have the ability to buy houses in any condition, and because we work with trusted contractors, we get the renovation done fast, and at great price. We’re so good at finding and making deals, that we can turn properties around quickly, and turn those investments into profits.
Our expertise saves home sellers a lot of time and money. We take the hassle out of selling. Everything I just laid out about selling on the MLS can be done faster, and more simply by professional home buyers and all you have to do is sit back and figure out what to do with your cash.
It’s a no-brainer. And I say that because you really don’t have to think about it. Do you want to spend the next few months wading through the scary mess that is listing on the traditional market? Or, would you rather call us up and have cash in your hand by this Friday?
If you’re selling your home in Wichita, don’t go to a real estate agent. You deserve to be empowered by the process of selling your home, not intimidated into selling on someone elses terms.
Harmony Home Buyer is the #1 professional home buying business in Kansas.
We’ve got an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau and have a thriving community of clients and students who time and time again, have shared stories of how we turned the sale of their home around for the better.
Just check out these Google reviews!
Or these Facebook comments!
Become a part of our mission to change the city of Wichita, one flip at a time.
Go to HarmonyHomeBuyer.com and fill out the form on the homepage to sell your property.
Or, call us at (316) 217-9675 and get your cash offer today.
I’m Jason Lavender, and I hope this article was helpful.
Make the decision that’s right for you.
We’ll talk soon.