If you’ve decided that you’re ready to buy a home, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. There is a lot to think about, not just what you can afford to pay but also what time of year you want to move. It can be hard to know where to start, or the steps you should take.
Our guide to home buying in Missouri covers all the major items that a home buyer should know before starting their house hunt. Once you’re ready to get serious, consult with an experienced agent to set you on the right path.
How to Find a Missouri Buyer’s Agent
A house is often the single largest purchase a person makes in their lifetime, so why leave the process up to chance? Enlist the help of an experienced buyer’s agent to guide the process from start to finish and make sure everything goes smoothly.
Local agents will know which neighborhoods you can afford, what sellers want in an offer, and have contacts in their network to find out about houses before they’re even listed. They’ll answer questions about puzzling forms and jargon that may not mean much to you. If you’re not entirely sure what you want, they’ll ask you questions to drill down on your must-haves in a new home.
An experienced real estate agent also knows how to negotiate, and buying a home is one of the few transactions in the United States where negotiation still occurs and is expected. A good agent suggests areas for potential negotiation points to help you get a good and fair deal.
Clever agents are members of nationally recognized brokerages such as Keller Williams or Century 21. Contact Clever and we’ll connect you with a Clever Partner Agent for a no-obligation consultation. To learn more about why you should get an agent, read our post: What Does a Real Estate Agent Do for a Buyer?
Missouri Housing Market Forecast for 2019 — and Beyond
Home values in Missouri grew 8.0% in 2018, and the growth will continue in 2019. Last year, median home values in Missouri grew to $161,800. Homes spend an average of 88 days on the market or a little less than three months.
Missouri has a hot housing market, driven by low unemployment and a growing population. Tech jobs have been growing rapidly, and job growth is above the Midwest’s average, all of which leads to strong demand.
Millennials have also started families and are planning on trading up from their first homes in 2019. They’ll be responsible for over 45% of mortgages taken out this year. If this is you, expect to encounter some fierce competition. It’s a strong housing market but prices are still reasonable, making now the time to buy.
Best Time of Year to Buy a Home in Missouri
You probably don’t want to pay up to 10% more for the same house just because you bought it in July. But seasonal fluctuations can have that much impact on prices. In general, as a buyer, you want to avoid buying at the best time of the year for sellers.
Sellers who list in February take the longest to sell their homes, so it would be a good time for you to start shopping. July homes sell faster and for a premium, so try to sit that month out. If you can move during a less favorable time of the year you’ll get a better price.
Most home buyers don’t want to move after school has started or when the weather worsens. During late fall and winter, you’ll get the best deal, but you will have less inventory to choose from. While you’re waiting to buy, work on your list of “musts” and pre-qualify for a mortgage so that you’re ready to make an offer.
For a more detailed explanation on the best time to buy a house, read our post The Best Time to Buy a House in Missouri.
Calculate Your Property Taxes in Missouri
The state or city charges annual property taxes are charged annually to property owners to pay for services such as roads, plowing, sanitation or schools. Some areas charge additional taxes related to specific levies which can increase the property tax rate you pay over that of a neighboring city.
The average effective property tax in Missouri is 1.00%, which is below the national average of 1.19%. Rates vary by county, for example, St. Louis County’s median rate is 1.38% but Shannon County’s rate is 0.50%
In Missouri, homes are reassessed every two years, in the odd-numbered years. Assessors commonly take data on nearby home sales to determine your property’s value, taking into consideration differentiating factors such as whether or not you have a garage.
The underlying value of properties in your county, plus the taxes, can lead to wide differences in median property taxes across the state. In Boone County, the median annual property tax payment is $1,634, but in Oregon County, it’s only $396.
Property taxes are an overall cost of homeownership which you should discuss with your agent. Keep in mind that high property taxes aren’t necessarily bad, as they could be an indicator of better schools. But being aware of these differences can be particularly helpful if you have a strict budget and are deciding between two homes. For an estimate of your potential property taxes, read How to Calculate Property Taxes.
How Much Are Closing Costs for Home Buyers in Missouri?
The term closing costs refer to fees related to the sale and purchase of your new home. Much of the paperwork involved in a home sale generates a fee, from title transfer fees or title searches to recording fees.
You could also have to pay prepaid interest on your mortgage, set up an escrow for your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance, more. Include these costs in your overall home buying budget to avoid any unpleasant surprises when you get to closing.
Missouri’s closing costs average 0.93% to 1.86% of the home’s sale price, which is quite low. For a home sold at Missouri’s median value, that would be anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000.
Missouri doesn’t charge transfer taxes or fees for transferring ownership of the property, but closing costs vary throughout the state. The decision of which city to buy in can either save or cost you money. An experienced real estate agent will be aware of these differences and able to educate you about the best places to look for a home.
The good new sit that the buyer is rarely responsible for 100% of the closing costs. To learn more read Who Pays Closing Costs on a House?
Clever’s Value to You!
Clever agents offer a lot of value to buyers. For one, to join our network they must agree to accept a flat-fee or low commission structure. Our agents still offer you full-service, though, and will work to find you the best deal.
Another plus of working with a Clever agent is that they offer on-demand home viewings. Your agent will send you homes that meet your criteria before they even hit the market, giving you the opportunity to swoop in and scoop up a fabulous home before other buyers.
To learn more, fill out our online form. A Clever representative will contact you and answer any questions. They can also set up a meeting with an agent in your area for a free, no-obligation consultation when you’re ready to move forward.