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
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 $208,591 home — the typical home value in Kansas.
However, you have options to lower your down payment amount.
Government backed loans, like VA and FHA loans, allow you to contribute 0% and 3.5% of your home's purchase price respectively. Even conventional loans allow for down payments as low as 3-5% (though the minimum varies by lender).
Minimum down payment (%)
Down payment ($)
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Step 5: Start house hunting in Kansas
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
New listings per month
Based on data from Realtor.com (August 2022)
Step 6: Make an offer
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
Based on data from Realtor.com (August 2022)
» LEARN MORE: What should an offer include?
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.
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:
- Electrical system
- HVAC system
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.
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 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.
Step 8: Close on your new home!
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
Frequently asked questions
- Save for down payment
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage
- Choose your preferred Kansas neighborhoods
- Partner with the right real estate agent in Kansas
- Go house hunting
- Make a strong offer
- Inspections and appraisals
- 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.