Here’s an overview of the basics, including seller disclosure requirements.
Most listing agents will want you to sign an exclusive right to sell listing, which obligates you to pay a commission to the agent regardless of who brings in the buyer.
Working With a Real Estate Agent
Most people selling their home in Kansas work with a licensed real estate broker or agent. A good real estate agent will help price your house, based on acomparative market analysis(or comps), accurately assessing the current values of similar homes in your area; effectively market your house to prospective buyers; and handle other tasks, such as reviewing buyer offers and negotiating with buyers.
Before signing a listing agreement (discussed below) with any agent, get references from other home sellers and check customer reviews on sites such asZillowandTrulia. You can find licensed Kansas real estate agents at theKansas Real Estate Commission’s License Verification.
Home sales in Kansas were up 7.5% in 2015, compared to 2014. Source: Kansas Housing Market Stats , December 2015, Kansas Association of Realtors
Signing a Listing Agreement in Kansas
Once you find a real estate agent you want to work with, you’ll sign a “listing agreement” giving the agent the right to market and handle the sale of your house. Most real estate agents use standard forms created by their state or local Realtor association, such as theKansas Association of Realtors.
Listing agreements typically cover the following terms.
The real estate agent commission that you (the seller) will pay.This typically ranges from 5-6% of the house sales price, and is split between your real estate agent and the buyer’s agent.
The type of listing.Most listing agents will want you to sign anexclusive right to sell listing,which obligates you to pay a commission to the agent regardless of who brings in the buyer. (See the sampleKansas Real Estate Commission’s Exclusive Right to Sell Contract.) Other arrangements are possible, however, such as anopen listing, in which you agree to pay a commission to whichever agent brings in a buyer, or anexclusive agency listing,in which you agree that your agent is the only agent authorized to sell your house, but that you will pay a commission only if the agent brings in the buyer (not, for example, if you do).
Duration of listing.In all cases, the listing agreement will cover a set amount of time, such as 60 or 90 days.
Listing price.Your agent will recommend the appropriate selling price by comparing prices of similar homes (“comps”) that have been listed in your immediate area, based on his or her experience and data found in a Multiple Listing Service (MLS). To educate yourself as to whether the agent is recommending an appropriate price, theNational Association of Realtors’ websiteis a good source of information on prices of houses currently on the market, and websites such asZillowandTruliaprovide data on actual sales prices. See the Nolo article,Listing Your House: What List Price Should You Set?For more details.
Items included or not included in the sale.For example, you may plan to leave behind a built-in dishwasher (which is therefore part of the property that the agent is contracted to sell), but exclude a refrigerator that you plan to move to your new home.
Duties and obligations of seller and real estate agent. Your agreement will spell out how the real estate agent will list or market your house, what type of insurance you must maintain on the property, and what disclosures you must make.
Making Real Estate Disclosures in Kansas
Unlike many other states, there are very few specific seller disclosure requirements in Kansas. The main statutes addressing disclosure are found under the Brokerage Relationships in Real Estate Transactions Act (Kansas Statutes Section 58-30,106). When sellers are using a broker, the statute reads in relevant part:
(d)(1) A seller’s or landlord’s agent owes no duty or obligation to a customer, except that a licensee shall disclose to any customer all adverse material facts actually known by the licensee, including, but not limited to:
(A) Any environmental hazards affecting the property which are required by law to be disclosed;
(B) the physical condition of the property;
(C) any material defects in the property;
(D) any material defects in the title to the property; or
(E) any material limitation on the client’s ability to perform under the terms of the contract.
And, if the seller/broker makes disclosures that are false, incorrect, or omit material facts, it can be a violation ofKansas Statutes Section 50-626(“Deceptive acts and practices” under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act).
Also, there are requirements that Kansas sellers must include the following specific disclosures in sales contracts:
brokerage relationship disclosure language (Kansas Statutes Section 58-30,110(c).)
any special assessments (Kansas Statutes Section 12-6a20.)
a radon gas notice (Kansas Statutes Section 58-3078a.), and
disclosure of potential proximity of registered offenders to the property (Kansas Statutes Section 58-3078.)
Your real estate agent should be able to provide specific details on Kansas seller disclosure requirements and practices and relevant forms (for a sample, see theKansas City Regional Association of Realtors’Seller’s Disclosure and Condition of Property Addendum form).
What Goes Into Kansas Offers, Counteroffers, and Purchase Agreements
A buyer who wants to purchase a particular Kansas home will make the seller a written offer, specifying the price, proposed down payment, and any contingencies, such as a satisfactory inspection report. (See the Nolo articleContingencies to Include in Your House Purchase Contractfor details). Other common contingencies include the buyers’ arranging financing or selling their current house.
You may reject an offer outright, accept it as, or (more typically) respond to a buyer’s offer, with a counteroffer. A counteroffer accepts some or most of the offer terms, but suggests changes to others, such as a higher price or a closing date that’s sooner than the buyer proposed.
A legally binding contract, typically called a purchase agreement, is formed when you accept a final offer (agreeing to any changes from the original offer), and notify the buyer of its acceptance. Your agreement will contain key terms of the sale, such as the agreed-upon price, contingencies, financing terms, dispute resolution, and closing date.
Once a purchase agreement is signed by both buyer and seller, the transaction will go into what’s called “escrow.”
What Is Escrow?
Escrow is the time period between signing the purchase agreement and closing on the house. You will choose an escrow or title agent, a neutral third party, to serve as intermediary and supervise the process (preparing title reports, processing loans, removing buyer contingencies, and so on).
The buyer typically has a lot more to do during this time period than the seller. By the close of escrow, the buyer will need to finalize financing, remove all contingencies, have the house appraised (typically required by mortgage lenders), and gettitle insurance—usually under set deadlines. Issues often come up that require negotiating, such as who will pay for repair problems identified in an inspection report. The buyer may insist that you pay to remedy a defect or lower the purchase price. If you cannot reach an acceptable agreement, the buyer may have the right to back out of the deal.
What Happens at the Closing of Your Kansas Home
By the close of escrow (known as the closing or settlement), you and the buyer should have fulfilled all the terms of your purchase agreement. At the closing itself (sometimes a meeting of the parties, other times conducted in separate locations), all final documents and funds will be exchanged between buyer and seller. The buyer pays you the purchase price, and you give the buyer a deed and other transfer documents and clear title to the house or condo. You pay off any outstanding loans on your property and pay commissions to the real estate agents (per your listing agreement).
The closing normally takes place on one day, though it’s possible to go over several days.
Sellers do not usually need to be present at a Kansas closing so long as all costs are paid and documents are signed.Typically, the buyers will sign the final documents at the office of their title company or escrow agent and pick up the keys. Then the buyers will record the new deed their name at a local government office, and the home is officially theirs.
For more details, seeEscrow and Closing in Buying or Selling a Home. You’ll also find useful information onSandy Gadow’s website, Buying, Selling, and Closing Simplified, which includes astate-by-state guide to closing practices.
Working With a Lawyer
Unlike some states, Kansas does not require that sellers involve a lawyer in the house-selling transaction. Even if it’s not required, you may decide to engage a lawyer at some point in the process—for example, to review the final contract or to assist with closing details. Or, you may want a lawyer’s help drafting a lease agreement if you plan to rent the home back for an extended period of time after the house closing, or if problems show up on the title report. And if you are selling your home without a real estate agent (a “for sale by owner” or FSBO), it may be useful to hire an attorney to help with the legal paperwork.