Congratulations on buying a new home in Lee’s Summit. The process is exciting and stressful all at once. It’s an important milestone in your life that requires you focus on 4 important things to bring clarity and expedite the process for you.
Smaller space in Downtown Lee’s Summit, or a newer home in the Suburbs?
For the majority of homebuyers, size and location will play a major role in their home search. Large or growing families may need more space, while others may opt for a smaller home in favor of a lower price. Are you opting for a smaller home in an older neighborhood in favor of a lower price? Are you willing to add to the house on a larger sized property to meet your needs? Or do you want an existing and move-in ready property?
Prioritize the amenities and spaces that are important you. Do you need a home office, or workout room, a guest room, dining room, space for kids or to entertain, etc. How close is the home or neighborhood to Lee’s Summit schools, parks, hospitals, and shopping? Are the streets sheltered enough from major roads that the kids can ride their bikes and play outside in a cul-de-sac?
Or if you’re an empty nester, a retiree, single or a couple of urban-dwellers, how close are the nearest Downtown Lee’s Summit restaurants, bars and public transport stations? These are all important things to consider when determining the space and location requirements your new Lee’s Summit home should meet.
Make a list of 5 non-negotiables to weed out the homes that don’t serve you. There are many beautiful homes here in Lee’s Summit, and they will grab your heart, but that doesn’t mean these beauties serve your needs, lifestyle and time.
Know your Lee’s Summit Real Estate Market
Cosmetic trends aside, have an earnest conversation about your offer strategy with your Lee’s Summit realtor. Bidding for a home can be stressful and frustrating especially in a Seller’s Market with low inventory. Be mentally prepared for the market and manage your expectations. It will be less of an emotional roller coaster. Research the Lee’s Summit sales trends of similar homes in the neighborhood to determine your opening bid. Pay attention to styles, finishes, recent sales, and square footage.
For example, if your potential home’s current asking price is higher than the average sale price, you may be able to bid slightly lower. While most experts advise against dipping more than 10 percent below the asking price, you may be able to sweeten the deal by offering a quick closing or paying a larger deposit.
However, be careful! Have homes been selling above asking price? Do the sellers need more time to move out? This is important to know. Will asking for improvements or a seller’s closing credit get your offer rejected? Know your buyer’s market. Are buyer’s making clean, full-ask offers to win the bid? Also, a true ranch is not the same as a split ranch.
How much Lee’s Summit home can you really afford?
You must get pre-approved. Who you choose as a lender is up to you, but I recommend working with a Lee’s Summit lender that your realtor has a good relationship with. It will make transactions go much smoother, and there will be more control over the loan and closing process. Do not discount those relationships between local agencies, as they can serve you much better in attaining your new Lee’s Summit home.
More importantly than the highest loan amount is the monthly mortgage payment. Consider what monthly payment will fit in with your Lee’s Summit lifestyle. For example, if your giving up your social life, date night with the spouse, or other coveted and important activities,…is the house worth forgoing events that are important to you? Consider if the mortgage payment will improve or take from your quality of life and well-being. Consider life emergencies and life events as well, such as unemployment, unexpected expenses, etc. Leave yourself room to breathe.
You don’t have to spend every penny you’re approved for. In fact, you probably shouldn’t. Too many buyers get hung up on the down payment and forget to consider ongoing costs. Sometimes, I recommend a minimum down payment, and leaving some savings for repairs and upgrades that will need to be made after you move in.
Keep in mind that, ideally, your monthly mortgage payment should be no more than 30 percent of your monthly income. Maybe you purchase a home on one income and save the secondary income for everyday living and expenses if you can afford to do this, and in a coupled partnership. Stay away from keeping up with the Joneses (yes, I said it!), unless you can comfortably do so and want to.
Don’t Skip the Inspections, Lee’s Summit!
Never, ever skip the inspections even if you are buying a newly constructed home. As a matter of fact, make sure you test for radon. Paying for a home inspection is a drag, especially if you don’t end up buying that particular home, but it is a critical step and you should absolutely not skip it. Even with a new Lee’s Summit home, spring for the inspection to help uncover any possible building issues with the foundation, plumbing, or other major systems.
The inspection results provide bargaining chips you can use to negotiate improvements to be paid for by the seller. Anything that you discover after the sale of the home is pretty much your responsibility if it was disclosed or went unnoticed by all parties.