What can a Wichita homebuyer get for $2 million?

12/30/2013 9:30 AM

12/30/2013 11:03 PM

How much house do you get for $2 million?

A lot, not surprisingly.

A $2 million home is approaching the top of Wichita’s real estate market, where the average existing home in 2013 went for $130,000.

As of Friday, there were nine area houses on the market priced at or above $2 million, excluding properties that are mostly land.

In that price range, several variables push up the price, said real estate agent Cindy Carnahan, who sells many high-dollar homes.

“When you get into the multimillion range, the value will come from more than one source,” she said. “It’s the size, the details, the land, the specialness. It has to be special enough to compete with what the buyers can build – or think they can build.”

Basically everything in houses in this range is a notch, or two, or three, above the ordinary, said builder Tom Kemp, of Kemp Construction, who has built many such houses.

Instead of shingles, tile or slate. Instead of wood siding, brick or stone. Instead 6-foot, 8-inch hollow doors, 8-foot tall solid doors, and list goes on.

Kemp said that the biggest difference between one of these houses and a high-dollar celebrity home in Beverly Hills or Miami Beach is location.

“If you took our $2 million home and put in Los Angeles, it would be $8 to $10 million,” he said. “If you put it in Phoenix, it would be $4 to $6 million. It’s not the cost of materials. It’s the cost of the land and the cost of the labor.”

Jim and Laurie Cole built such a house in the Flint Hills National housing development in Andover.

Their house is 9,000 square feet on 8 acres with lots of granite. It has hickory flooring, because oak is too common. It has a six-car garage, 10- and 20-foot ceilings, a Viking stove, sound-insulated interior walls, a coffee bar in the bedroom, a full-size home theater, a wine cellar, a fishing pond, a heated swimming pool and a pool house.

The Coles, who are both real estate agents with Prudential Dining-Beard, had the house custom built and moved in in 2007.

In a $2 million house, you get more square feet, Jim Cole said: 8,000 to 12,000 vs. 5,000 to 7,000 in a $1-million-plus house.

And you get luxurious materials and details carried through every room and space.

In a $1 million house, the fifth and sixth bedrooms might be 10 feet by 12 feet, while in the $2 million house, they’re are as big and luxurious as the master bedroom.

“There are no short cuts,” Jim Cole said.

The Coles are selling the home after Jim recently sold his business, Rent1st stores, and the family works through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which was filed in June.

The market for high-end houses hasn’t snapped back, yet, Cole said, so there are still only a few buyers and a few sellers in that price range.

The Coles have it on the market for $2.5 million, even though they have $3 million in it, Laurie Cole said.

On the market for a year and a half, the house has hosted a lot of visits from potential buyers. They remain hopeful.

“It’s priced to move,” Laurie Cole said.

Craig Pate of Craig Pate Construction, who built the Coles’ house, said there aren’t a lot of new, high-dollar houses on the market.

“In 2007-08, I built three out there in Flint Hills National, and then it just died,” Pate said. “It’s coming back now, but maybe not the very high end, yet.”

Although $2 million may seem like a lot, Carnahan said, there are a number of houses in Wichita worth a lot more than $2 million.

She said Wichita has a lot of “expensive real estate and exceptional homes.”

“But they don’t come on the market,” she said. “They pass from family member to family member.”

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