Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kansas City Realty Announces New President

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BHHS) Kansas City Realty announced today that Jim Raines has assumed the role of president. Jim Manning, former president, will continue as managing broker of the Lenexa, Kansas and Overland Park, Kansas offices and will work alongside Jim Raines to grow the offices. Manning had been at the helm of BHHS Kansas City Realty since the introduction of the brand in the Kansas City market in 2013.

“Jim (Raines) has a proven track record of success in growing offices and helping them flourish,” Manning said. “I’m excited to work alongside him to continue to develop the brand in Kansas City and support our terrific agents.”

Raines has 22 years of experience in real estate, ten of which have been in management. His career has taken him to six different states, where he successfully launched start-up offices and turned around struggling offices, largely with Keller Williams Realty, increasing their profitability. Most recently, Raines was a member and co-owner of the Shanan Group in Olathe, Kansas. Together with his wife and business partner, Shanan Steere Raines, they’ve sold more than 1400 homes in their lifetime.

Raines will focus on growing the profitability and productivity of the BHHS Kansas City Realty office, with a goal of increasing agents to 150+ and office locations to five.

“I’m really excited to join the Berkshire Hathaway family — I truly believe it is a family.” Raines said. “Having had the opportunity to observe the agents from the outside looking in, the comradery and the fellowship they exhibited was amazing. They have one of the most unique company cultures I’ve ever experienced and I’m extremely excited to be a part of that.”

Advertisements

Get A Home Warranty

Whether you’re a homebuyer or seller, a home warranty can give you peace of mind. Also known as a home service contract, the home warranty typically covers mechanical systems and built-in appliances in the home.

Not to be confused with homeowner’s insurance, which covers damage from external forces, home warranties are designed to fill the gap between the original manufacturer’s warranty and normal wear and tear, according to HomeServiceContract.org.

Here’s how it works. If your AC goes out, or your dishwasher breaks, you contact the home service company and describe the problem. The dispatcher will send the appropriate licensed plumber, electrician, or appliance repair specialist to service the call. Expect to pay a service fee of about $50 or higher for each visit.

Remember that home warranties don’t provide blanket service. They don’t cover repairs or replacement for pre-existing conditions or for elderly mechanicals that are beyond their useful lifespan. But they are good for emergencies if your toddler clogs the toilet trying to “wash” his teddy bear.

For home sellers, home service contracts improve the home’s marketability to homebuyers and diminishes liability. For buyers, warranties can absorb the costs of unexpected repairs or replacements. Extended coverage for non-built-ins such as clothes washers, dryers, and stand-alone refrigerators is usually available.

When you think about the wide range of systems and appliances that it takes to operate your home, a home service contract is a bargain at approximately $400 to $500 and could pay for itself with one use.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

Don’t Deal with Unrepresented Homebuyers

To some people, the idea of paying third parties to find you a home, close the sale, and later, help you sell your home, seems like a formality they can live without. But there are many more jobs your agent performs for you, and the most important is your protection.

When your home is listed with your real estate professional, it’s marketed worldwide, including to other real estate professionals.  The first place it’s listed is in the multiple listing service, which has compensation rules that allow other licensed professionals to bring their qualified homebuyers to see your home. If your home sells under contract, they’re compensated by your real estate professional.

The reason this system has worked so well for decades is that the only homebuyers who will see your home are motivated, understand the process, are willing to take the appropriate steps, and are ready to buy.

Unrepresented homebuyers may come to your door and ask to see your home, but beware. They think your listed home is an open invitation to look around. Other buyers simply aren’t quite ready to buy, or they’d have their own real estate professional. Whatever their reasons, they’re strangers who haven’t been vetted and shouldn’t cross your threshold.

It’s best not to discuss your home, your reasons for selling, or provide other information to unrepresented buyers. Instead, direct them to your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kansas City Realty professional. They’re trained to help both buyers and sellers.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

Co-borrowers and Mortgages

First-time homebuyers may face challenges when it comes to securing a mortgage loan. They may not have a long enough credit or work history, and they are often paying off student loans, among other reasons. Many turn to co-borrowers to make their dream homes come true.

Co-borrowers can be anyone, including a spouse, who is willing to be co-liable for repaying the mortgage loan. According to The Lenders Network, a co-borrower’s income, assets, and better debt-to-income ratio (DTI) can be equally considered with the main borrower’s, improving the chances of getting loan approval for more money and with a lower interest rate. Lenders will consider the credit scores of both the main borrower and co-borrower, but will use the lower of the two.

A co-borrower is equally liable on the loan documents regarding repayment, but they may not have ownership interest in the home. In this case, the co-borrower is called a co-signer and is not on the title of the property, meaning the co-signer can’t borrow against the home as an asset.

If the home is sold, the co-borrowers split the proceeds, while a co-signer is not entitled to split any profit. Because the co-borrower or co-signer risks their own DTI ratio and potentially their credit score, as well as liability for loan payments should the main borrower default, why would they participate?

It’s a matter of love, trust and the expectation that once the main borrower’s financial situation improves, they’ll refinance the home into their name only.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

Why You Only Need One Real Estate Professional

4163121.large.jpg

When you’re searching for a home, it makes sense to put all available resources to work for you. That’s why it’s tempting for some buyers to communicate with more than one real estate professional. But, using multiple professionals in the same area could work against you.

Real estate professionals are state-licensed and most choose to specialize in their own cities or their own neighborhoods. They have access to the same multiple listing data as others. If you’re working with multiple agents, sooner or later they’ll find out, and you may miss being the first to see new listings coming onto the market. They’ll show those to dedicated buyers before notifying you.

Your Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices agent has all the information, contacts, and experience you need to find a home, plus the backing of one of the most respected names in the real estate industry. He or she will network with other professionals to help you meet your goals. With such a strong support system, you’ll be quickly apprised of relevant homes for sale as well as those coming on the market.

The best course is to be honest about your goals and preferences. If you’re interested in more than one community, say so and ask for a referral to a specialist in the other area. Both professionals will help you with enthusiasm.

What you don’t want to do is keep your intentions secret. No professional can meet your expectations if they don’t know what you really want.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

The Credit Scores You Need to Buy a Home

4163118.large.jpg

Mortgage lenders check your credit history before approving a home-buying loan. Your credit scores are crucial to getting the amount you want to borrow at a good interest rate.

Your income vs. your debt, your payment history, the length of time you’ve had credit, new credit you’ve opened, and the types of credit you owe (such as student loans or consumer debt) are all calculated in a valuation system known as credit or FICO scores.

FICO scores range from 300 to 850, but because mortgage loans are so large and have such a long payback period, most lenders require scores between 520 to 700 and above, depending on the type of loan.

“Conforming” loans are guaranteed by the federal government, including FHA or VAloans. They require a minimum score of 500 to 520 and any scores lower than 580 will increase the minimum down- payment required to 10%. If you’re married or have a co-borrower, their scores must meet the same requirements.  All FHA loans require private mortgage insurance, which reduces the amount you can borrow.

“Conventional” loans are federally sponsored by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to be packaged into securities bundles and sold on the secondary market. Lenders can manage risk by requiring scores of 700 and above, using loan-level price adjustments, based on loan-to-value ratios and credit scores.

For any loan, the larger your down- payment, the lower your credit score can be. Credit scores also impact interest rates. The better the score, the better the rate.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

Decorating with Red

4163119.large.jpg

Red is the go-to color for drama, but it’s also a preferred color for hospitality. You can literally “roll out the red carpet” to make visitors feel welcome to your home.

From joy (paint the town red) to love (my love is like a red, red rose) to bravery (red badge of courage), red suggests celebration, passion and power. Use red when you want a room to be filled with energy and spirit. Red stimulates conversation and activity, making it a great choice for living and dining areas, bedrooms and kitchens.

Red can be soft as well as bold, depending on the shade, intensity, and percentage of red you decide to use in your decor. Red ranges from light pink to deep burgundy.  Reds and golds are opulent, while red with black is sophisticated. Reds can also be casual, as in country or coastal décor.

How much red should you include in your decorating scheme? The closer the hue is to primary red, the brighter it will be, and the more it will draw attention. Reds play well with neutral greys, taupes, beiges, blues and browns.

To see the true impact of red, grab fabric and paint samples to see how various shades of red interact with other colors. Brown-reds, burgundy-reds, and orange-reds add spice and earthiness to your décor.

Whichever red you choose, have fun with it. Paint an accent wall with red, or buy throw pillows and afghans in red. It can be a warm, happy color.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!