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Buying a House in Iowa: An In-Depth Guide

Ready to buy your Iowa home? This in-depth guide will help you know what to expect as you house hunt. From finding an agent to understanding the market and calculating your taxes and closing costs, you’ll find everything you need below.
Ready to buy your Iowa home? This in-depth guide will help you know what to expect as you house hunt. From finding an agent to understanding the market and calculating your taxes and closing costs, you’ll find everything you need below.

Buying a home in Iowa is a great choice — after all, it’s rated as the best state to live in by U.S. News & World Report. With an excellent quality of living, great infrastructure, and beautiful Midwestern scenery, you can’t go wrong buying a house in Iowa.

Understanding all of the elements that go into buying a home is a challenge, however. Fortunately, this guide will give you all the information you need when it comes to buying a home in Iowa.

How to Find an Iowa Buyer’s Agent

Working with a real estate agent is an important part of finding the right house at the right price. Buyer’s agents help you understand the market, buy at the right time, and negotiate the best deal. It’s not just about the price, it’s also the contingencies and even getting the seller to pay some of your closing costs!

Having an agent that fully understand the specific market you’re buying in is vital. Working with a Clever Partner Agent means you’re getting a highly-rated, experienced agent who knows your area. There’s no reason not to take advantage of this expertise.

Reach out to Clever today. We’ll answer all of your questions and set you up with a no-obligation consultation with an experienced buyer’s agent.

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

Iowa Housing Market Forecast for 2019 — and Beyond

In Iowa overall, the market is hot and slanted toward sellers. This means that there are fewer homes available than there are buyers, which leads to higher home prices.

However, the state is affordable overall, with a median home value of $142,900. Of course, this varies significantly depending on the specific city or town you’re buying in. For instance, the median home value in Ankeny is $212,300, while Council Bluffs’ median home value is $117,600.

Home values in Iowa are climbing, having risen 3.9% in the last year. They are expected to rise another 1.6% in the next year. Of course, this also varies depending on the specific city or metro area you’re considering.

One of the reasons it’s so important to work with an experienced realtor is that they will know what the market in your target neighborhood is. They can help you understand if a home is overpriced or if you’re looking at a great deal.

Best Time of Year to Buy a House in Iowa

There are two strategies to buying an Iowa home. If you want to have the best selection and the best chance of finding a home that fits your criteria, you should house hunt in spring or summer. Of course, this is also when most other buyers are looking, so you may pay more for the perfect home.

On the other hand, if you’re most interested in getting a great deal, considering looking for your home in winter. Although it’s a very tough time to look at homes with Iowa’s harsh winters, home sellers are very motivated. There are few buyers looking, so you could get a great deal.

Your realtor will help you decide which strategy is best for you, depending on your needs. However, you’re likely to want to focus on spring and summer when most homes are available.

Learn More: The Best Time to Buy a House in Iowa

Calculate Your Property Taxes in Iowa

Property taxes in Iowa are based on the assessed value determined by the county you live in. Assessments are done every two years, in odd-numbered years.

To find your likely property taxes on a home, you can use a calculator that applies the county’s percentage to the value of the home. The tax rates vary from county to county — for instance, Polk County (where Des Moines is located) charges 1.789%, while Pocahontas County charges only 1.136%.

Before you commit to buying a home, be sure you talk to your buyer’s agent about what you can expect in terms of property taxes. The taxes are a significant expense above and beyond the mortgage.

Learn More: How to Calculate Property Taxes

How Much Are Closing Costs for Home Buyers in Iowa?

Buyers pay most of the closing costs in a home transaction unless they’ve negotiated for the seller to pay some of them. Part of this is because many of the costs are related to the mortgage itself.

Some of the costs you can expect to pay in Iowa include:

  • Down payment
  • Lender fees
  • Escrow
  • Appraisal & home inspection costs
  • Home insurance premiums
  • Deed recording fees
  • Any attorney fees the buyer incurs

Nationally you can expect to pay closing costs of 3% of the home value, but in Iowa, closing costs can be a lot less. Here is one example showing that closing costs can be as low as 1% of the home value in Iowa.

One thing to keep in mind is that while the transfer taxes are the responsibility of the seller, they are taken as a credit by the buyer. That’s because the physical bill is due when the deed is recorded, which the buyer takes care of.

When you work with an experienced buyer’s agent, you’ll have a professional who can walk you through the entire closing process. You’ll know exactly what to expect and how much you’ll need to have set aside for closing costs.

Learn More: Who Pays Closing Costs on a House?

Are you ready to buy your Iowa home? Let an experienced Clever Partner Agent help. Your buyer’s agent will give you a full-service experience so you can rest assured that you will get everything you need to find your dream home at a great price.

Fill out the form to get started today! A representative will be in touch to answer all of your questions, and you can have a consultation with an agent in your area with no obligation.

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Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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