Housing market seems to be going crazy in Pratt and around the state

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Kelsie Nauman and her girls, Aspyn and Laikynn, scrape old paint off their garage so they can repaint to meet FHA loan requirements needed to get their property sold in Pratt.

Home buyers, sellers and real estate agents in Pratt are fully immersed in a housing movement that seems to sweeping the state. During the month of May, Jody Little, agent for Sanders Real Estate Company, said her home sales went up from a usual 2 or 3 per month to 11 sold. Pratt home-owners Kyle and Kelise Nauman and Ron and Brenda Moser recently experienced a bit of a wild ride themselves in the current housing market.

"I've been doing this for 27 years and never seen anything quite like it," Sanders said. "Real estate is my part-time job, I sell insurance full-time, but showing homes and getting contracts together is keeping me very busy right now."

Sanders said that in past years there might be anywhere from 100 to 120 homes on the market at one time. As of Thursday, there were only 20 that she was aware of currently for sale in Pratt.

"People are moving, likely taking advantage of the low interest rates right now to upgrade their homes," Sanders said. "Some people are retiring, some are moving here for new jobs, but mostly I think people are trying to take advantage of the chance to better their economic picture."

Sanders said that while she is experiencing growth in sales for all level-types of homes, those that require little work and are move-in ready are going the fastest.

"Everything is moving, from $20,000 homes to the $300,000 ones, but I think, because more and more people are working from home now, the ones with more space are not on the market long," she said.

For Kyle and Kelsie Nauman who have lived at 601 N. Jackson, in Pratt, since 2012, the reason they entered the housing market recently was due to their expanding family. As parents of three young girls, Aspyn, Laikynn and newborn Lexington, they just needed more room.

"It has been very challenging for us to find a house to buy that was big enough for our family, yet able to fit our tight budget," Kelsie Nauman said. "We want some place with a safe neighborhood, proximity to parks and just well-kept surroundings. We found several places that we liked, but it seemed like people were moving really fast and we couldn't move that fast. It was really frustrating."

After several weeks of looking and trying to sell their own home at the same time, the Nauman family heard from a friend of a friend about someone who was selling their house in Sawyer by private treaty.

"We are super excited to have found a home that fits us and we know God has had His hand on this," Nauman said. "We got an offer on our home just about at the same time, after we were afraid that we might not be able to get it sold. Things are finally falling into place and we are a lot less stressed now."

Kyle Nauman, Pratt, is watched closely by his daughter as he builds steps on the home he is selling on Jackson Street in Pratt. The FHA loan process the Nauman's utilized required several upgrades before they could close the deal on selling their home recently.

Ron and Brenda Moser, who lived on Terrace Drive in Pratt, put their home on the market one day in mid-March, and it sold the very same day, causing them a bit of housing stress for the next several months.

"Turns out that our real estate agent had someone in mind that would be interested, so we listed it for sale and by the end of the day it was sold," Brenda Moser said. 

The Mosers were able to move into a friends house in Turon while they wrapped up job responsibilities in Pratt, where Ron retired from his job as chaplain at Pratt Regional Medical Center and Brenda left her job at Horizons Mental Health Center. Then they moved to Overland Park to stay with their children and grandchildren until they can find their own home.

"We thought the housing market was crazy busy in Pratt when we left, but here it is even wilder," Brenda Moser said. "People are putting bids on homes way over the asking prices and some are paying cash. It is very hard to find a home you like and then get a bid in on it before someone already has it bought. People aren't even thinking when they are paying so much for these homes. If there is ever a time when they have to sell, there is no way to ever get that money back out of their homes. They just won't be worth it."

Like the Naumans, the Mosers said they were certain God had a hand in helping them finally find a home they could buy just this week.

"Our realtor suggested we try looking for a sale-by-owner option and we found one in Paola," Moser said. "That is 30 minutes away from where we orignally wanted to buy, but it's a short drive and the home is worth it. We're just glad to have this settled, it's so tiring to be running around trying to get information on homes just to have them sold out from under you. It truly was a God-thing how it all worked out finally."

Former Pratt resident Brenda Moser reads a book to her grandchildren Maya and Milo, in Overland Park. She and husband Ron, considered themselves homeless for several weeks afer their home in Pratt sold the same day it was listed on the market for sale.

Little said that in Pratt she had not run into buyers putting in bids over asking prices yet, but she wasn't surprise to hear it happening and was aware that homes in Wichita were also selling by that same process. She said that with the housing market reaching a shortage now in Pratt, overbidding could happen, but she expects home sales to plateau sometime in the near future.

"Right now these homes, all homes, are selling," she said. "But this won't last forever."

Jody Little, Sanders Real Estate agent, said she has worked in Pratt for 27 years and never seen a housing market quite like May 2021.