Kansas is among the best places to live and is home to 2.34 million people. The affordable housing market and rising employment opportunities make Kansas a real estate haven for families and professionals. However, navigating the Kansas property market can be overwhelming to newcomers and first-time buyers since available homes sell fast.
If you’re considering moving to the Sunflower State, the following guide will take you through the process to help you buy a home in Kansas.
1. Evaluate Your Finances
While you may be excited to view potential homes, evaluating your finances is best before you can begin the search. Typically, your debt-to-income ratio and credit score are essential factors when determining your price range.
Your credit score determines your likelihood of getting the loan for the purchase. Most low-credit loan options come with additional costs, so it may be better to focus on improving your credit score and qualify for an affordable mortgage. Your debt-to-income ratio is a factor of your total monthly payments and income, and it determines the amount you can afford to pay on your mortgage.
If you don’t have sufficient money for your down payment and don’t want to keep your current home, selling your property can give you the money you need. You can list the home on the market or sell it to a cash buyer.
2. Get Your Mortgage Pre Approved
A mortgage pre-approval letter shows that a lender is ready to lend you the money to buy a home. It shows a potential seller you are financially qualified to make a valid offer on their home, and most home sellers require a pre-approval letter before you can tour their property.
However, you don’t have to settle on a lender immediately. To ensure the best loan terms, it’s prudent to compare different pre-approval amounts and interest rates from potential lenders.
The process involves a lender’s investigation into your finances and often requires a formal application. It also requires various documents, including tax returns, proof of income, pay stubs, and an exhaustive list of active debts. The vetting process may take up to 10 days, and when the lender is satisfied with your documentation, they will determine the loan amount and offer a pre-approval letter.
3. Start House Hunting
House hunting is fun and allows you to view different homes and narrow down your requirements. It’s important to understand the features you want in your home and prioritize the most important items. Typically, single-family homes comprise up to 60% of the total properties on sale in Kansas City.
Your timing determines the number of available homes. For instance, more homes are listed for sale in June in Kansas and searching for a property around this time can improve your chances of finding your dream house.
Understanding the current housing market in a certain location helps you set feasible expectations about the price and availability. Typically, Kansas is a seller’s market where few homes are listed, leading to a high demand and price. Regardless, the cost of housing is 28% lower than the national average.
A good real estate agent can be resourceful since they can offer professional expertise and fast-track your home hunting and closing process.
4. Make Your Offer
The speed at which you will make an offer depends on the current housing market in Kansas. The average time any property stays on the market is lower during peak seasons and higher during off-peak seasons.
When in doubt, it’s vital to consult your real estate agent and determine the current time frame for making a winning purchase offer. Also, the agent can guide you to ensure you write a compelling offer to improve your chances of convincing the owner. However, you may need to make offers on several homes if you are buying during a busy season.
5. Execute the Contract
The period between your initial offer and the final contract is crucial. You should maintain close communication with your real estate agent to ensure you have all the details and guidance to make an informed decision on the contract terms.
The contract includes your personal information, contract initiation date, contingencies, property disclosures, necessary inspections, moving date, and the kick-out clause. While the agent will guide you through the negotiations, deciding the amount you are comfortable paying for a particular property is vital. However, it’s best to let go of a property if a bidding war drives the price too high. Also, you can walk away if the inspector finds undisclosed defects and the seller is unwilling to make the repairs.
Appraisals, inspections and funding problems are some of the most common reasons for contract delays and failures. It’s prudent to consult your agent when navigating a complex real estate contract.
6. Schedule an Inspection and Appraisal
Appraisals and inspections allow you to evaluate the home before the official purchase. Ideally, you can renegotiate the contract terms if the inspection report finds unexpected issues.
While Kansas enforces strict disclosure laws, homeowners may be oblivious to some issues. You should go beyond a general home inspection and schedule specialized tests to ensure safety and structural integrity.
The home inspection process should start as soon as the seller accepts your offer. It may take longer to find a less-occupied inspector if you buy during the peak season, but your agent can point you toward a great home inspector.
Appraisals determine the home’s value and most mortgage lenders require accurate appraisals to ensure the home is worth the loan amount.
7. Close the Deal
Before closing the deal, you must complete the paperwork and settle any outstanding closing costs. However, you’re free to choose your preferred title company for the search.
Typically, you’ll review and sign the legal documents necessary to transfer the title to your name. The documents include the loan application, disclosures, deed, and mortgage promissory note. Ensure you read and understand the details before appending your signature. Also, be ready with your payments since the title company collects the total closing costs and pays the respective service providers.
Buying a home in any location can be overwhelming, and Kansas is no exception. The Sunflower state is one of the best places to live in the US, becoming a top real estate attraction for most families. However, it’s important to understand how to navigate the home market.