At Home: Home sellers reaping higher prices

Inventory continues to be low in Shawnee County

According to the Sunflower Association of Realtors, the real estate market in Topeka and surrounding counties remained strong throughout the first half of 2017, despite home sales falling 1.1 percent since June 2016.


Total sales volume in the first six months of 2017 rose 8.3 percent since the same time last year, indicating that although inventory continued to be low, limiting the number of overall sales, sellers enjoyed more traffic and higher sale prices, making this a seller’s market.

The median sale price of homes in the area increased from $114,900 this time a year ago to $124,275 in 2017. Homes spent an average of 45 days on the market before selling and sold for 97.1 percent of their listed asking price.

Because of the rising demand from potential buyers and the decreased supply of homes currently available on the market, buyers may find they have less room for negotiations on listings of interest. Hiring an experienced Realtor can be an invaluable resource when one’s planning to buy, sell or both.

“If people are interested in selling, it’s a good time because values are up,” said Jamie Sauder, SAR president. “Don’t hesitate to contact an agent.”

Sauder points out that one reason homeowners might be holding off on selling is because they locked into a loan after taking advantage of low-interest rates and refinancing options over the past few years. They also may face the prospect of not feeling like they will find a home on the market that is right for them to buy if they do sell their existing home.

Sauder encourages anyone on the fence to contact a professional Realtor instead of simply relying on online market browsing.

“Agents are more tuned in in terms of what homes are available than a third-party site,” said Sauder.

Realtors are able to learn about potential homes on the market through previous clients, friends and family, often before they hit third-party websites, and a Realtor will work for you to craft a purchase agreement that is most beneficial to your situation. They also adhere to a strict code of ethics based on professionalism and protection of the public.

Additionally, hiring a professional ensures that an expert is on your side as you navigate forms, reports and disclosures and will help prevent costly mistakes and delays.

An experienced Realtor also can offer information and referrals for financing a home purchase. It’s a misnomer in the market that a buyer must have 20 percent to put down on a mortgage loan. With interest rates still below average and many programs available to help first-time buyers, financing a home is easier than ever for borrowers with good credit.

Whether buying or selling, as long as interest rates remain at historic lows and demand continues to increase, the forecast for the real estate market appears strong. With the supply of houses currently on the market struggling to keep up with the number of interested buyers, sellers will reap the greatest benefits this year.

“A much higher share of homeowners compared to a year ago think now is a good time to sell, but until homeowners decide to act, sales will likely stay flat and low inventory will keep price growth moving swiftly,” said Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist.

Shanna Sloyer is a freelance writer from Topeka. You can reach her at