After the housing market crash of 2008, mortgage rates fluctuated wildly across the country. People lost their homes when the rates inflated, but once they stabilized, Kansas still came out as one of the best places to buy a home.
Currently the average home price across the nation is over $260,000, but that includes homes in large cities and high-profile areas. Kansas, on the other hand, offers the benefit of having cities, towns and rural areas, all within a short drive of each other. It is the quintessiantially American state, with something for everyone.
For example, house prices for a single family home in Kansas versus the rest of the country (excluding large cities):
Mortgage rates in Kansas are favorable as well. Compared to the states above, Kansas ranks as one of the least expensive places in the United State to finance a home.
Average mortgage rates based on 30-year financing.
The largest cities in Kansas are Wichita, Overland Park, Kansas City, Olathe, Topeka, and Lawrence.
Lenexa, Kansas has been listed as one of the best places to live in the United States. The median family income in Lenexa is $104,351, crime is lower than other areas of the country, and the educational scores in math and reading are over 12% higher than in other parts of the country.
The town of Olathe, population 118,000, had a job growth through the first decade of the century of 34.36%, with over 77% of jobs available in the service industries.
Lawrence is a college town, home to the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University. Given the youthful demographics of the town, there is a thriving music and art scene with its own 4-day music festival - the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival - held every June just outside the town limits.
Topeka is the capital of Kansas, with a steady population of just over 123,000. The median home price in Topeka as of 2008 was $96,500, up from $65,700 in 2000.
Depending on your budget, willingness to accept risk and/or fluctuations in the market, and length of time you wish to finance your home over, you may choose a fixed rate mortgage (FRM) or an adjustible rate mortgage (ARM).
Fixed rate mortgages mean that you pay a certain interest rate for the life of the mortgage, whether it's five years or 30 years. FRMs are a conservative investment, meaning there will be no surprises in the coming years that will suddenly hit you in the pocketbook.
Adjustable rate mortgages mean that your interest will fluctuate with the market. If your bank originally charges you 3.5%, but the market changes in six months to 5.5%, you will feel the strain of higher payments. That said, there is also the possibility that interest rates could go down, say to 3%, thereby cutting your monthly mortgage payments. If you are not averse to a little risk, an ARM might be for you. If you are risk-shy, take an FRM instead. At least you'll know what you're paying every month.
The most popular mortgages in Kansas are 30 year fixed rate mortgages.
Do you want to pay capital plus interest, or interest only? Paying down the capital means your monthly payments will be slightly higher than with interest only, but you will also have the loan paid off quicker.
The Internet has revolutionized the way people choose their mortgages. There are mortgage calculators to be found online that can help you find the best rates and options for financing your home purchase.
By comparing mortgage offers online, you can:
Once you find the rate and payment options that best suit your needs, you can arrange - usually right there through the comparison site - to contact the lender directly to discuss the quote you've been given.
The traditional method is to contact your regular banking institution to arrange a home loan. This gives you the benefit of dealing with people who know your history and with whom you've done business in the past. However, you may be missing out on a better deal that you could strike with a competitor.
Whichever method you choose - online or with a local bank - you will at some point need to meet with a representative who will take a credit history from you. You will be required to provide financial statements, income declarations, tax information and you'll have to declare any properties you already own or finance, as well as which institutions you are already holding credit with.
All of these factors influence the amount you will be loaned as well as the correct rate at which you will be charged. If you have excellent credit with all institutions you've dealt with, you will receive a larger amount and a better interest rate than someone with poor credit.
When shopping for a mortgage in Kansas, the more information you gather, the better the outcome will be.
Should a homeowner be unable to make their mortgage payments, the lender has the right to foreclose the home and take possession of it for the purpose of reselling it to another buyer.
In Kansas, the lender may foreclose on a mortgage after 120 days by using the Judicial Foreclosure Process. The lender files a lawsuit and obtains a court order. Once the court order to foreclose has been obtained, the lender must list the sale of the once a week for three weeks. The auction must then take place no less than 7 days after the final listing.
Even though the new buyer will receive a deed on the property, the original owner who defaulted on the mortgage still has 12 months from the date of foreclosure in which to reclaim and redeem the property.
If you are a buyer, you can often pick up a foreclosed property at 20% less than the market listing rate. Foreclosed properties are generally sold "as-is", with no repairs being done by the lender before auction.