Before shopping for that first house in Kansas, use the information here to make informed decisions to ensure you get the best mortgage you can. You'll find information on what influences mortgage rates in Kansas, learn how to pull free credit reports and discover financial help to ease the sting of down payments and closing costs. There's also information on the refinancing process if you're ready to cut those monthly payments with a lower interest rate.
Understanding Kansas Mortgage Rates
In Kansas, 30-year fixed mortgage rates continue to hover around historic lows, creating prime opportunity for first-time homebuyers. Kansas continues to enjoy economic stability, partly due to its strength as an agricultural state. The rate of mortgage delinquency in Kansas is roughly half the national average of 6 percent, and this lower risk encourages lenders to make home loans in the Sunflower State. Other factors contributing to favorable mortgage rates include low unemployment, about a third less than the national average.
The actual interest rate you may qualify for will depend on several factors, but none more important than your credit score. You can check your credit scores free once a year through the three major credit reporting companies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax
Learn more about factors that drive mortgage rates.
First-Timer? Get Homebuying Help in Kansas
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers government-secured loans to first-time buyers in Kansas, and there are many localities throughout the state offering financial assistance in the form of low-interest loans and grants to cover down payments and closing costs. Among the benefits of an FHA loan in Kansas:
- Borrowers can finance 96.5 percent of the purchase price with a 3.5 percent down payment. When combined with other loans and grants, the down payment can be zero.
- Refinance up to 115 percent of the home's value.
- Roll closing costs into the loan package.
Available statewide, the Kansas Housing Assistance program also offers down payment and closing costs aid of up to 4 percent of the home's purchase price.
Financial Assistance in Kansas for First-Time Buyers
One sticking point to first-time homeownership in Kansas is coming up with the down payment. The median price of a house in Kansas is $120,800, and a down payment on that might be between 5 percent and 10 percent, or between about $6,000 and $12,000 a buyer would need upfront. The Kansas Housing Resources Corp. offers First-Time Homebuyer Assistance, which includes forgivable down payment loans ranging from 15 to 20 percent of the purchase price of the home, depending on the buyer's monthly income.
Here are resources for the first-time homebuyer in Kansas:
Find a Housing Counselor in Kansas
Understanding Home Affordability in Kansas
The National Housing Conference reports124,153 Kansas households, or 11 percent of all households in the state, spent at least half their income on housing in 2012, compared to 16 percent nationwide. If you fall within this group of Kansas residents, you might not qualify for an FHA loan because the FHA calculates a borrower's ability to repay based on the percentage of gross monthly income that goes toward housing costs. That percentage typically is no more than 30 percent.
The median household income of $50,510 in Kansas is about 1 percent lower than the median U.S. household income of $51,015.
How Kansas Mortgage Rates and Home Prices Affect Monthly Payments
|Metro Area||Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment*||Q1 2016 (Change from Previous Year)||2015 Median Home Price||2014||2013|
|Kansas City||$767||$163,300 (+6.70%)||$170,400||$158,800||$154,800|
Source: National Association of Realtors Q1 2016 Metropolitan Median Area Prices and Affordability report.
*Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment is based on median home prices for the metro area in Q1 2016 and a 30-year fixed mortgage with today's rates.
Figure Out How Much You Can Borrow in Kansas
Personal income largely determines how much you can borrow in Kansas. For a government-secured loan, your housing cost generally can be no more than 30 percent of your monthly earnings. Lending limits on FHA mortgage products available to Kansas residents will also be different in each county, but the ceiling is usually $271,050 for a single-family home. Here's a rundown on lending limits throughout Kansas:
Buying a Home in Kansas: What the Experts Know
Christine Reimler is HOME division director at the Kansas Housing Resources Corp.
Keith Tully is an executive vice president at George K. Baum & Co., providing financial services for the Kansas counties of Sedgwick and Shawnee, co-sponsors of the first-time homebuyer program.
What do first-time homebuyers need to do to start the mortgage lending process?
People will go to one of our participating lenders to apply for a first mortgage. With that approved, they can apply to us through the first-time homebuyer program. You need to know what your credit is. We want to make sure they can get a reasonable interest rate. Our down payment subsidy is based on 20-30 percent of the mortgage amount.
Determine, first, if you're a first-time homebuyer who has not owned a home within three years. Next, meet the income and purchase price limits, and the third thing is a minimum credit score of 660. That's for FHA, and those are most of the loans in our program.
Best advice for people with credit scores on the fence? What can they do to improve their credit-worthiness to qualify for financing?
Check your credit scores a good six months at least before you start getting serious about buying a house. Paying down debt and paying on time will help. It takes time to rebuild a credit score.
Credit counselors can help. Locate a lender in your area, go to them and get prequalified.
Is there adequate inventory in Kansas for first-time homebuyers? Are there enough houses within the price range of your average first-time homebuyer?
Kansas is going to be very different across small towns and major cities, but overall, the housing is there for first-time buyers.
There is enough, but in certain pockets like Johnson County outside Kansas City on the Kansas side, there's a lot of demand for houses under $250,000. The market is not that strong around Wichita and Topeka and surrounding counties, but there's a pretty adequate supply of homes across Kansas overall.
Don't Forget Kansas Closing Costs
In Kansas, closing costs are all those extra fees and charges that can tack on almost $2,000 in expenses before you receive the key to your new home. The mortgage company charges an origination fee for creating the loan. If you need title research and an appraisal on the property, professionals handling those services will also present a bill. Because you can often roll closing costs into an FHA mortgage and other loans, it's worth investigating options to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses on closing day.
More information on how lenders set closing costs and what you can expect can be found here. Here's a breakdown of average closing costs in Kansas:
Average Closing Costs in the Sunflower State
Source: Bankrate's 2015 survey of closing costs.
Refinancing a Mortgage in Kansas
Qualified borrowers who own a home in Kansas can take advantage of lower interest rates by refinancing their mortgage. Although the paperwork is generally not as extensive as writing a 30-year mortgage, expect the lender to review your credit reports, verify your income and see the last two years of tax returns. Kansas home values have remained strong for several years, but even in this climate, it's important to do another appraisal to make sure refinancing makes sense. Refinancing rates are based on the equity you own in the house, so if your equity drops, your quoted re-fi rate will likely be higher.
Other Kansas Mortgage Resources
Find out here if you qualify for the First-Time Homebuyer Program offered by the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation. Down payment loans are forgiven over time and range from 15 percent to 20 percent of the purchase price of the home, depending on household income.
Learn current eligibility requirements and apply for a federally backed home loan in Kansas.
Statewide initiative to help first-time homebuyers with down payment assistance of up to 4 percent of the home's cost. In most parts of the state, $76,705 is the maximum three-person household income for eligibility
Financial help for first-time homebuyers living in this Kansas county. Down payment funds available to residents who've been employed in the county for at least two consecutive years, meet income requirements and take a homebuying course, among other things.
Information on Kansas mortgage programs and homebuying help from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Special lending programs for low-income residents of this Kansas city looking to buy their first home.
Homebuying assistance for residents of this Kansas city, through the HOME 80 program for first-time house buyers.
Statewide schedule of consumer classes on real estate and homebuying in Kansas, sponsored by Consumer Credit Counseling Services.
Consumer advice from the Kansas attorney general's office on preventing foreclosure and keeping your home.
Legal help and advice on foreclosure prevention. lender.