By Savanah Mandeville • Photo by Artistic Expressions Photography

We’ll give it to you straight: The real estate market is wild right now.

Predictions and forecasts for 221 are being driven largely by two factors: s shortage of available housing and record low-interest rates.

Show Me The Ozarks Magazine decided to reach out to local real estate experts and get the skinny on our local market and what this unique situation means for buyers, sellers and investors in our area. In the following pages, meet some of the top real estate professionals and gain valuable insight into the wild world of the current real estate market.

Donny Allen

Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri

Donny Allen began his career as a real estate salesperson in 1996 and has been on an upward trajectory ever since. He acquired his broker’s license in 2002, and in 2006, he opened Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri with three partners and five agents.

Today, that number has grown to over 194 agents.

“As I have worked on my own professional development over the years, I’ve been able to give back and share that new knowledge with agents in my office, as well as agents throughout Joplin and beyond,” he said. “I enjoy that I get to serve not only as a realtor but as a teacher, trainer, team builder, motivator and mentor.”

Donny served as president of the Ozark Gateway Association of Realtors in 2008 and has received the three major awards given by his board, which include Rookie of the Year, Realtor Spirit Award and Realtor of the Year. He was inducted into the NAR RPAC Hall of Fame in 2016, and he was inducted into the NAR REBAC (Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council) Hall of Fame in 2019. Donny is a 2017 graduate of the NAR Leadership Academy, and he has earned numerous other honors for real estate, as well as civic affairs, service clubs and charitable causes he is involved with.

Donny continues to list and sell real estate in Joplin and the surrounding area in addition to being a national speaker focusing on realtor safety and security topics.

Donny’s accomplishments are indeed impressive, but the awards and accolades were never why he went into business.

“My motivation has always been a desire to offer value and be of service to others,” he said. “One of my favorite quotes is by Albert Einstein, and it has guided me for a long time. Einstein said, ‘Try not to become a man of success, but try to become a man of value.’ That’s what I continue to strive for each day.”

What are one or two of your top predictions for the real estate market in 2021?

In 2021, inventory will continue to be a challenge. We are currently in a seller’s market, and we will most likely continue to have a seller’s market in 2021. Interest rates should remain low and possibly go even lower as housing sales slow due to low inventory.

What advice do you have for people looking to buy in 2021?

Now is the time to buy, and if you see a home that meets your needs, make an offer. Be prepared to be in a multiple-offer situation, and be prepared to miss out on two or three homes before an offer is accepted. I’m not saying it will happen to every buyer — I’m just advising buyers to be prepared if it does happen. Get pre-approved and have your agent supply your pre-approval letter with your offer.

What advice would you have for people looking to sell
in 2021?

It’s a great time to sell. The market we are in now is the best seller’s market I have seen in my 25 years in the business. A seller must still be realistic when determining the list price. The home will still need to appraise in most cases. Work with your agent to determine the market value of your home.

What about real estate investors? Do you have any insights they should be aware of?

The number of renters is predicted to rise over the next few years. Now is a great opportunity to invest in single-family rentals, multi-family rentals and apartments.

Are there any other forecasts you’d like to share with us?

Unemployment rates should continue to improve, but there is an expected uptick in mortgage defaults. There will be a permanent shift in working remotely, which will have an effect on buyers’ housing needs. The number of renters will rise, and home prices will continue to rise in 2021.

Donald K. Allen

Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri, Broker/Owner/Agent

619 S. Florida Ave. • Joplin, MO • 417.850.7396 • 417.623.9900 Ext. 315


Jo Kleinsorge
Just Call Jo Team

Keller Williams Real Estate of Southwest Missouri

Jo Kleinsorge’s motto is: “It’s not just business, it’s personal.”

That’s because for Jo and the rest of the Just Call Jo Team, providing a personalized, client-centered approach to real estate is the top priority.

“We have a passion for providing an exceptional client experience that goes beyond unlocking doors and putting signs in yards,” Jo said. “We truly operate as a team. We review files together every week and help bring buyers and sellers together, often with homes that no one else knows about!”

That exceptional service earned Jo the title of 2019 Realtor of the Year and has given her a consistent place among the top 1 percent of agents in the Ozark Gateway Association of Realtors. The Just Call Jo Team is consistently a top-producing team in Carl Junction.

They are equally committed to giving back to the community through volunteering and sponsoring local projects. Last year, the team gave out free yard signs to support 2020 high school graduates.

“I believe in giving where we live,” Jo said. “I believe in team spirit and community pride.”

What are one or two of your top predictions for the real estate market in 2021?

Low interest rates will continue to make homes affordable. This will allow entry buyers to purchase rather than rent and allow existing buyers to move directly on to larger forever homes. Also, more work-from-home opportunities will increase the desire for larger homes with a private work environment. Working from home also means homeowners will have more flexibility in location since their daily commute won’t be such an important factor.

Based on your predictions, what advice would you have for people looking to buy?

Low inventory is leading to multiple offers on many entry-level and move-up homes. A skilled buyer’s agent who can negotiate and compose an aggressive offer is essential in getting the best homes. Buyers should interview agents to find someone who is experienced in negotiations and well connected to be able to locate homes that are not yet on the market. A great agent can make the difference between an accepted offer or a rejected offer. Discuss with your agent what terms you can be flexible on that may provide you with an advantage during the offer stage.

Remember, price is not the only factor that sellers consider.

What advice would you have for people looking to sell?

Any owner who is considering downsizing in the next 2-4 years should get a market evaluation and consider selling while rates are low and prices are up. Low interest rates make upper-end homes accessible to more buyers. Even a 1 percent rise in interest can greatly impact buyer supply on luxury homes. All sellers should consider if they can make temporary housing arrangements should it be necessary while they look for a new home. In a brisk market, many sellers will not take an offer if your home is not under contract so you may have to sell before you locate the next home.

What about real estate investors? Any particular insights they should be aware of?

Low inventory in housing also creates an opportunity for rental homes. Low interest rates provide an opportunity to purchase investment homes to fund your retirement. This may be the year to combine a vacation home with a great investment property. More employers are looking at permanent work-from-home arrangements, which will allow more people to travel for extended periods, renting homes where they can work remotely.

Jo Kleinsorge – Just Call Jo Team
619 S. Florida Ave. • Joplin, MO • 417.291.2025 • 417.623.9900


Melissa Gibbens
Charles Burt Homefinders

GRI Sales/Broker

Melissa Gibbens is a highly experienced real estate broker licensee in all areas of the industry, but her expertise is greatest at the intersection where farming, real estate and construction meet.

Melissa grew up in southern California until her teen years, when she moved to Crane, Missouri, near her aunt and uncle’s dairy farm.

“I began to learn a little bit about farming, and I came to love farmers and rural America,” she said. “I have found a niche selling poultry farms, which is very rewarding work.”

Gibbens also works side-by-side with her husband, David, the owner of Gibbens Construction. A big portion of Melissa’s work involves selling new-home construction.

“I first decided to go to real estate school just to understand the industry because of my husband’s business. I have been at Charles Burt since I got my license and have worked from the Neosho office since I started 15 years ago.”

There’s one more member of Melissa’s family who plays a big role in her career — her daughter-in-law Morgan Starbuck.

“I’m very blessed to have a daughter-in-law who is a realtor, as well, and works with me,” she said.

When she’s not on the job, Melissa enjoys nothing more than getting her four children and 12 grandchildren together for a big family gathering.

“They are the light of my life!”

Name one or two of your top predictions for the real estate market in 2021.

We are seeing many people relocating to our rural area from larger urban areas due to their ability to now work from home. We experienced one of the most aggressive real estate markets this area has ever seen in 2020. As interest rates stay historically low with no sign of significant increase expected in the near future, we can expect the market to stay strong well into 2021.

What advice do you have for people looking to buy in 2021?

Although there are not as many homes on the market as we have seen in the past, this shouldn’t discourage a buyer. My tip to them would be to find a good realtor who can help watch the market and will work aggressively to help with their new-home purchase.

Would that advice be different for a first-time buyer?

My advice to a first-time buyer who isn’t purchasing their forever home would be to make sure you’re not overpaying, and you will have equity in the home when you’re ready to sell in a few years.

What advice would you have for people looking to sell in 2021?

According to the National Association of Realtors®, all four major regions in the United States reported both month-over-month and year-over-year growth, with the Midwest experiencing the greatest monthly increases. With the housing market being so strong, there is no better time than now to consider selling. We have a very low number of existing homes on the market at this time with sellers experiencing multiple offers and offers over listing price.

What about real estate investors? Do you have any particular insights they should be aware of?

We have a tremendous need for rental properties in our area. Although we may not have as many bargains as we have seen in the past, it is still a great opportunity to invest in property with interest rates being historically low and many lenders offering longer terms on investment properties. Many investors I work with take advantage of the Section 1031. If you’re investing in properties, be sure you are aware of this and how it is used. I have many years of experience with 1031 exchanges and believe it is an important tool for investors.

Melissa Gibbens – Charles Burt Homefinders

1401 Waldo Hatler Dr. • Neosho, MO 64850 • 417.540.1627 • 417.455.2878