8 Steps to Buying a House in Kansas

Jamie Ayers

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Jamie Ayers

September 16th, 2022
Updated September 16th, 2022

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8 Steps to Buying a House in Kansas

Save for down payment | Find a real estate agent | Get preapproved for a mortgage | Choose your neighborhood | Go house hunting | Make an offer | Inspections and appraisal | Final walkthrough and closing

Buying a house in Kansas is an exciting milestone, but the process can take some time. Several factors, like your financial situation, market conditions, and the local economy can affect both how long it takes you to find a home and how much it costs you.

For example, homes in Emporia are hitting the market at $179,000 and selling within 45 days — 21 days faster than the state average! — so you'll need to move quickly if you want to beat out the competition.

The more you know about the home buying process and Kansas's current real estate trends, the more prepared you'll be to navigate this complicated process as quickly and smoothly as possible.

No matter where you are in your home buying journey, Clever can connect you with local real estate pros who will help you purchase your Kansas dream home!

The best part? Clever's service is 100% free! You can meet local lenders and real estate agents with no obligation. If you don't find the perfect match, you can walk away at any time.

» START: Find top local agents today!

Step 1: Save for a down payment

🔑 Key takeaway:

Your down payment can be less than 20% of the purchase price — $41,718 for the typical home in Kansas — but you'll have to purchase mortgage insurance and pay more interest over the life of your loan.

Your down payment is the first part of your home's purchase price that you pay at closing. Your mortgage lender will pay the remaining balance.

Typically, mortgage lenders in Kansas want you to contribute 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. That would be $41,718 for a $208,591 home — the typical home value in Kansas.

However, you have options to lower your down payment amount.

Government backed loans, like VA and FHA loans, allow you to contribute 0% and 3.5% of your home's purchase price respectively. Even conventional loans allow for down payments as low as 3-5% (though the minimum varies by lender).

Mortgage type
Minimum down payment (%)
Down payment ($)
VA Loan
0%
$0
FHA Loan
3.5%
$7,301
Conventional
3%
$6,258
Based on typical home values from Zillow (August 2022)

But making a down payment of less than 20% comes with some risks.

First, because you're borrowing more money, you'll have a higher monthly payment and pay more in interest over the life of your loan.

Down payment
Monthly payment
Total interest
Total Cost
5%
$1,138
$211,376
$419,967
20%
$958
$178,001
$386,592
Based on home values from Zillow (August 2022) and a 5.60% interest rate for a 30-year loan.

Second, you may have to purchase mortgage insurance.

Conventional loans require private mortgage insurance (PMI) until your loan balance reaches 80% of the purchase price. FHA loans, on the other hand, require a mortgage insurance premium (MIP) for the life of your loans.

Mortgage insurance costs around 1% of your mortgage balance annually. However, rates vary based on your down payment and credit score. Typically, your mortgage insurance payment is added to your mortgage payment each month.

VA loans don't charge mortgage insurance. Instead, you'll pay a VA loan funding fee at closing, which can range from 1.4% to 3.6% of the purchase price.

» READ MORE: Everything you need to know about low-income home loans

Kansas down payment assistance programs

Kansas offers several statewide and localized down payment assistance programs to help first-time and low-income homebuyers. If you meet eligibility requirements, you may be able to receive financial aid to offset closing costs or a down payment.

Here are just a few programs for Kansas homebuyers to consider:

Kansas Housing’s First Time Homebuyer Program

The Kansas Housing Resources Corporation offers a 15% or 20% loan to first-time homebuyers outside of certain major cities. This loan is progressively forgiven over time, which means you won’t pay anything if you live in the purchased home long enough.

To be eligible for this program, you must contribute at least 2% of the purchase price as a down payment.

KansasDPA

The KansasDPA program offers eligible participants a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan with a grant of up to 5% for down payment assistance. The maximum purchase price of the home is $548,250, and maximum income limits apply based on the county you live in.

To qualify for this program, you must be a first-time homebuyer with a credit score of at least 640.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

HUD’s list of alternative programs in Kansas can be found here.

Step 2: Find a great real estate agent in Kansas

🔑 Key takeaway:

Interview multiple agents to find one who knows your target neighborhoods, has experience in your price range, and communicates well.

Your real estate agent will be your main ally during the home buying process. Besides finding and showing you properties, your agent will help you make offers, negotiate contracts, and navigate the closing process. Plus, they can recommend other service providers like title companies and inspectors to help you buy your home in Kansas.

Don't rush into choosing an agent. Instead, take the time to research and interview multiple real estate agents who have experience in the neighborhoods you're interested in. You should pay attention to a realtor's:

  • Years of experience
  • Number of transactions in the last year (the more the better!)
  • Experience in your price range
  • Overall review score
  • Individual reviews and complaints

Top Local Agents Hand-Picked for You!

Clever matches you with multiple agents in your area so you can interview, compare, and choose the best one to help you buy your next home.

Step 3: Get preapproved for a mortgage

🔑 Key takeaway:

Once you're preapproved for a mortgage, it's imperative that your financial situation doesn't change. If your credit drops, it can derail the process and keep you from closing on your house.

Here are some easy ways to ensure your credit doesn't change after you receive your preapproval letter:

  • Avoid opening new credit accounts
  • Don't close any accounts that have been open for a long time
  • Make all of your credit card payments on time

» LEARN MORE: What factors do mortgage lenders consider?

A mortgage preapproval letter is an offer to lend you up to a certain amount of money to purchase a home. It shows sellers that you are a serious buyer who is financially qualified to make an offer on a home.

Most sellers in Kansas will require preapproval before showing you their home.

You don't have to decide on one lender right now. In fact, you should compare interest rates and preapproval amounts from several lenders to make sure you're getting the absolute best terms when you buy your Kansas home.

Get Pre-approved Today!

Get matched with a lender who can tell you how much house you can afford. To get started, where do you plan on buying?

Step 4: Choose the right location

🔑 Key takeaway:

Search for neighborhoods where:

  • Home prices are within your price range
  • Home values are on the rise
  • The local amenities support your lifestyle

Currently, the typical home value in Kansas is $208,591, but don't worry if that doesn't perfectly match your budget. Home prices vary dramatically from city to city and even from neighborhood to neighborhood!

Also, look at past home value trends. This will give you an idea of how much your home's value could go up over the next few years.

To give you an idea of how appreciation could impact what your house is worth in the future, consider these examples from three neighborhoods in Wichita:

Home value appreciation in Wichita

Neighborhood
2015
Current
Appreciation
Southwest
$77,273
$129,387
40.3%
Chisholm Creek
$136,280
$218,639
37.7%
South Central
$47,528
$85,803
44.6%

Step 5: Start house hunting in Kansas

🔑 Key takeaway:

Listing prices in Kansas have increased in the past year while inventory has barely moved. This may make hunting for a house a bit more challenging. Although there may be options that check all your boxes, they may exceed your budget — but keep an open mind when your realtor shows you listings. You may either have to be flexible with your requirements or have a larger budget to compete in this state.

Searching for homes in Kansas is the fun part of the home buying process! You'll get to look at a variety of homes and discover what you really want in a home.

Make a list of everything you want in a home and prioritize them. At the top of the list should be the items that are most important to you. This will help you separate your "must-haves" from your "nice-to-haves."

Your agent can help you understand if your wants are realistic for your budget and favorite neighborhoods or if you need to rethink what you're looking for.

Look at current housing inventory

The timing of your house hunt in Kansas can have a big impact on your number of options. For example, in Kansas, June has historically seen the most homes for sale. Searching in this season could give you more options and a greater likelihood of finding your dream home.

On the other hand, December gives you the fewest choices in Kansas. Historically, there are 49.4% fewer homes for sale than during Kansas's peak season.

Housing inventory in Kansas by season

Season
New listings per month
Spring
4,048
Summer
4,041
Fall
3,410
Winter
2,654
Based on data from Realtor.com (August 2022)

Step 6: Make an offer

🔑 Key takeaway:

Although homes are sitting on the market for longer than usual, the limited inventory is leaving Kansas with a rather tight market. If you find a great listing, put in a strong offer as there will probably be a lot of competition for it. Work with your agent when deciding your offer — their intimate knowledge of your local market will make it easier to come up with a competitive but fair figure.

Once you find a Kansas house you love, it's time to make an offer. Your real estate agent will help you write a compelling offer that gives you the best shot of convincing the homeowner to sell to you.

Currently, in Kansas, homes stay on the market for 67 days before going under contract. However, every market goes through seasonal changes. During busier months, homes get snatched up more quickly than others.

Historically, Kansas homes sell fastest in July, where the average property is only on the market for 57 days. If your home search falls around this time, you should be prepared to move quickly and potentially make offers on several homes before yours is accepted.

On the other hand, if you buy in January, you have a bit more time to search. Homes typically stay on the market 21 days longer than Kansas's annual average.

Average time homes spend on market in Kansas

Annual average
67 days
January
85 days
February
84 days
March
64 days
April
56 days
May
55 days
June
55 days
July
56 days
August
58 days
September
61 days
October
64 days
November
68 days
December
76 days
Based on data from Realtor.com (August 2022)

» LEARN MORE: What should an offer include?

👋 Next Steps: Talk to an expert!

If you're weighing your options for buying or selling a house, Clever can help!

Our fully-licensed concierge team is standing by to answer questions and provide free, objective advice on getting the best outcome with your sale or purchase.

Ready to get started?

Give us a call at 1-833-2-CLEVER or enter your info below. Our concierge team will be in touch shortly to help.

Remember, this service is 100% free and there’s never any obligation.

Step 7: Inspections and appraisals

Inspections and appraisals are an opportunity for you to better evaluate the home's condition and value before officially purchasing it. You may have an opportunity after this step to renegotiate the terms of your contract with the seller if something unexpected pops up.

🔑 Key takeaway:

  • Inspections: A licensed professional checks the house for any unseen, unexpected, or potential issues.
  • Appraisals: An appraiser hired by your lender examines the house to determine how much it's worth.

Home inspections in Kansas

Having your Kansas home inspected by a licensed inspector gives you peace of mind about the condition of the property before you commit thousands of dollars to purchase it.

Your inspector should check out the following parts of the property:

  • Roof
  • Foundation
  • Electrical system
  • HVAC system
  • Plumbing

If the home has a septic system, you should also pay for a septic inspection to make sure it doesn't have any problems that wouldn't be covered in a typical home inspection.

Kansas-specific inspections

Although Kansas has strict disclosure laws, sellers may not be aware of all issues prior to closing. This is why it's recommended for buyers to complete specialized tests, in addition to a general home inspection, to ensure a property is safe. Here are a few important inspections to consider:

  • Radon testing: Radon is a prevalent problem throughout the United States. If the seller hasn’t performed a radon test in the past year, buyers are encouraged to do one before purchasing a property.

    Get in touch with your county’s Kansas Radon Program extension office and find out where you can get a testing kit here.

    • Termite inspection: Even if your loan doesn't require you to have a termite and pest inspection done, it’s a good idea to ensure that no infestations are hiding beneath the floorboards.

    Appraisals

    Appraisals determine the value of the property. If you're using a mortgage to buy your new home, your lender will order an appraisal to make sure the home is worth the money that it's loaning you.

    » LEARN: 3 options for buyers after a low appraisal

    Step 8: Close on your new home!

    🔑 Key takeaway:

    Before you close on your new home, you and your agent will do a final walkthrough of the property to ensure that it's still in the expected condition.

    Before you can close on your home in Kansas, you'll have to meet at the title company to complete some paperwork and settle your closing costs.

    On closing day, you'll be expected to review and sign several important legal documents to transfer the title of the home to your name. Make sure you fully understand each page and verify that the information is correct before you sign anything.

    Here are just a few documents you'll be asked to sign:

    • Your final loan application
    • The deed
    • The mortgage promissory note
    • The disclosure statements

    After you finish the paperwork, you'll settle your closing costs. The title company will collect the total amount you owe to your various service providers and disburse the funds on your behalf.

    Generally, a homebuyer's closing costs can be divided into four main categories:

    • Lender fees: Fees paid to your mortgage lender for originating and underwriting the loan.
    • Prepaid costs: Ongoing costs of homeownership. Some lenders require buyers to prepay for certain expenses, such as property taxes and homeowners insurance.
    • Title and escrow charges: Fees for your title company's services. These funds will cover the cost of the title search, title insurance, and facilitating the closing process.
    • Other closing costs: Miscellaneous fees that vary based on your unique situation. These costs may include home inspection fees, natural disaster certification fees, or real estate attorney fees.

    Buyers in Kansas typically pay 3–5% of the purchase price in closing costs. For a $208,600 home — the typical home value in Kansas — that's between $6,258 and $10,430!

    » LEARN MORE: Closing costs for buyers in Kansas

    Should you hire a real estate attorney?

    Kansas does not require you to hire a real estate attorney to buy a home. However, depending on your circumstances, you might consider hiring one anyways. If you do, treat the process similarly to hiring an agent. Interview multiple attorneys and proceed with the one that best meets your needs.

    Frequently asked questions

    1. Save for down payment
    2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage
    3. Choose your preferred Kansas neighborhoods
    4. Partner with the right real estate agent in Kansas
    5. Go house hunting
    6. Make a strong offer
    7. Inspections and appraisals
    8. Do a final walkthrough and close

    Yes, the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation offers its First-Time Homebuyer Program to eligible buyers. Participants can receive a loan of up to 20% of their home's purchase price. The loan accrues no interest and is forgiven if the borrower lives in the home for at least 10 years.

    To qualify, you must be approved for a 30-year conventional, FHA, VA, or USDA loan. You'll need to contribute at least 2% of the purchase price towards the down payment, and your annual income must not exceed 80% of the area median income. Home purchase price limits also apply and vary by county.

    » READ: What are the top first-time homebuyer programs?

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