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Buying a House in Arkansas: An In-Depth Guide

If you’re considering buying a house in Arkansas, now is the right time. The state’s real estate prices are rising quickly but it’s still an ideal place for first-time and low-income home buyers. Here’s what you need to know about finding the perfect home in Arkansas.
If you’re considering buying a house in Arkansas, now is the right time. The state’s real estate prices are rising quickly but it’s still an ideal place for first-time and low-income home buyers. Here’s what you need to know about finding the perfect home in Arkansas.

Buying a house can be one of the most stressful events in your life. In fact, a 2018 survey from Homes.com found it was the most anxious life event for 40% of respondents. Another 44% were nervous through the entire home buying process.

Many people find that buying a home is worse than a job interview or hosting a dinner party. But it doesn’t have to add stress to your life. You can relieve much of the anxiety by working with a professional realtor. They will make your home buying experience virtually stress-free because you will be able to lean on their expertise.

When it comes to buying a home in Arkansas, there’s little doubt that this is one of the best times to purchase. The state’s property values are extremely affordable and they are rising fast, so they are also a solid investment.

Here’s our guide to what you need to know about finding the right buyer’s agent, understanding the housing market, and determining your potential property taxes.

How to Find a Buyer’s Agent

There are almost unlimited options when it comes to buying a home. There is a multitude of online sites that let anyone jump on and start house hunting.

But if you want to buy your dream home at the best price, you should work with a professional buyer’s agent. Buying a home is stressful for a reason. It is not easy. A professional realtor can be an invaluable source of guidance and support. Clever can connect you with a top-rated buyer’s agent in Arkansas who knows the local communities and market trends.

A buyer’s agent will represent your financial interests in the real estate transaction. Partner Agents have full access to MLS listings and can search a wider range of homes in your price range than you would be able to find on your own.

Local real estate agents are also experts in the pros and cons of homes in specific Arkansas neighborhoods. They can tell you about the best (and worst) schools in the communities that you are considering, give you details about the quality of life, and share crime statistics about particular neighborhoods.

They are up-to-date on the market conditions nationally, state-wide, and at a neighborhood level, so you can be confident that they will guide you through the house hunting process.

They can tell you if your offer is too low or too high, and they will also work with you through counter offers from sellers. Remember that a real estate transaction is a negotiation. You need a top negotiator working with you to make sure you don’t end up paying too much.

They can also temper your potential over-exuberance which can sometimes lead to costly mistakes. Buying a home is a specialized process. You need people who know how to negotiate on your side.

Learn More: What Does a Real Estate Agent Do for a Buyer?

Housing Market Forecast for 2019 and Beyond

The real estate market in Arkansas is red hot and extremely affordable. According to data from Zillow, the median house value is $126,800 in the state. It’s slightly higher in Little Rock at $140,200 and it is significantly less in Fort Smith. The median home value there is $108,900.

The state’s housing sector has seen robust activity over the past couple of years. It saw a one-year change of 5.1% between 2017 and 2018. That’s expected to continue this year though at a slower pace of about 2.8%.

The median price of homes currently listed in Arkansas is $179,500 while the median price of homes that sold is $147,500.

Time of Year to Buy a Home in Arkansas

There are no hard and fast rules about the best time to buy in Arkansas. The most important factor depends on when you are ready to buy. That means beginning the process of figuring out if you can afford a home purchase.

The best time of year for Arkansas home buyers are the winter months, at least when it comes to price. That’s because the real estate market in Arkansas tends to slow as fall draws to a close. There are fewer buyers in the market, so there is less competition. You are more likely to find home sellers eager to make a deal, even below asking.

But fewer home buyers also means fewer sellers. That means you will have less selection in the winter. That doesn’t mean you can’t find your ideal home. A Clever Partner Agent can help you find your dream home at any time of year. But it does mean that summer is your best bet if you want the greatest selection.

Learn More:When Is the Best Time to Buy a House?

Calculate Your Property Taxes in Arkansas

In addition to your mortgage, one of largest home owning expenses are property taxes. They’re based on an assessment of your property value and are used to fund such services as schools, fire departments, and libraries. A local assessor usually determines the value of a property every five years.

There are three ways to calculate your property’s values. An assessor may do a sales comparison. That’s when they compare your property to recently sold properties in your neighborhood.

An assessor can use the cost method by calculating how much the replacement cost would be for your home. They then factor in depreciation of the property if it isn’t new. The third method is called the income method and it is mainly used for commercial and business properties.

Your property assessment will then be multiplied by the local tax rate. Sometimes this is called the mill rate. One mill is equivalent to $1 for every $1,000 that your property is assessed at. The mill rate is based on the services the jurisdiction provides and the revenue it needs to collect.

In Arkansas, the average tax rate is 0.62%, which is among the lowest in the country. That means on a home with an assessed value of $250,000, your annual property tax bill would be $1,548, about half that of the national average.

Learn More: How to Calculate Property Taxes

How Much Are Closing Costs for Home Buyers in Arkansas?

In addition to a down payment and your monthly mortgage payments, a buyer also has a number of additional costs to contend with to close the deal.

One of the biggest is a home inspection. This is not legally required, but it is in your best interest to have one done. You want a professional to go through the home to determine if there are any significant defects. This can cost about $1,000 or more depending on the property size.

There are also legal documentation fees, courier fees, and transfer taxes. All of these add up and can be amount to thousands of dollars. Closing costs can cost a buyer about 3% of the sales price of the home. If you bought a home at Arkansas’ median value, you can expect to pay more than $3,000 in closing costs.

Clever Will Help Pay Your Closing Costs!

Closing is the final step of completing your home purchase. This is the time that the title of the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. It is also when you give the down payment to the lender.

Clearly, it’s a time when the buyer is in a financial crunch. There’s good news for home buyers in Arkansas. Clever Partner Agents in Arkansas offer a home buyer rebate, which can put $1,000 back into your pocket when the home is purchased.

Clever partners with top real estate agents from major companies like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX. They are all full-service and can help you find additional cost-saving opportunities. They can also help you figure out your financing options and help you navigate state and federal grants and programs for home buyers.

Learn More: Who Pays Closing Costs on a House?

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Reuven Shechter

Reuven Shechter is the Outreach Coordinator at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents to help save on commission. He spreads the word about Clever, disseminating studies to journalists and developing relationships with media outlets. Reuven is passionate about investing in real estate and creating lasting success for families. His writing has been featured in Max Real Estate Exposure, Leverage Marketing, and more.

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