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Ready to buy your first home in Kansas City? Here are 12 frequently asked questions first-time homebuyers should know to learn more about the process and set the stage for buying success!

1. Is Kansas City a buyer’s market or a seller’s market?

Data currently indicates that Kansas City is a seller’s market. However, it’s important to keep in mind that market conditions can shift at any time, so check with your real estate agent for current specifics.

2. When is the best time to buy a home in Kansas City?

Spring is usually the best time to buy a home because there is usually more inventory on the market. You’ll have more to choose from and sellers will have more competition. Sometimes, however, when you buy a home is not something you can control and certain variables will impact the timing.

3. Should I make an offer over the asking price on a home?

Not all scenarios are created equal. In a seller’s market, it’s sometimes necessary to offer over the asking price to ensure your offer is accepted. Consult with your real estate agent to see if this is the right strategy for you.

4. How can I buy in a seller’s market?

Negotiating in a seller’s market can be a tricky line to balance. Low-ball offers generally aren’t accepted, and too many contingencies can make your offer appear less favorable to the seller. Make a fair first offer and limit your requests to increase your chances of being accepted.

5. How much do I need for a down payment?

Down payments depend on the type of mortgage you qualify for. Some mortgage loans — such as conventional mortgage loans — require 20 percent down, while others may require 0 percent (VA and USDA loans) and everything in between. FHA loans, for instance, may only require 3.5 percent down. Talk with your lender during the pre-qualification period to ensure you understand all the down payment requirements before being locked into a loan.

6. How much house can I afford?

Experts suggest your housing costs should take up no more than 30% of your total household income. In addition to the mortgage, this should include homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and maintenance costs.

7. How much are buyer closing costs?

Closing costs on a home typically average 10 percent of the final selling price. Buyers usually pay 5 to 6 percent of the total closing costs.

8. Do I need to purchase mortgage insurance?

Mortgage insurance is only required if you do not put down 20 percent or more. Once you have 20 percent equity in your home, you can drop the mortgage insurance for most mortgage loans.

9. What should I look for in a home?

Everyone’s needs are different. To start, think about the ideal location. From there, figure out your hard requirements (e.g., number of bedrooms, etc.), then make a list of things that would be nice to have. Also, consider things like neighbors, the total cost of ownership, the house’s condition, and the anticipated upkeep.

10. How much does it cost to move?

Moving companies can cost hundreds of dollars for a local move. Longer moves may run into the thousands of dollars. However, hiring professionals can make the process faster, safer, and hassle-free and are oftentimes worth the cost.

11. When do I schedule a home inspection?

Once the seller has accepted your offer, the sale is officially pending. You should schedule the home inspection within a week or less.

12. How much does a home inspection cost?

Home inspections typically cost around $300, but the price can vary based on the home’s size and other factors. This is usually paid for by the buyer.

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