10 Important Questions for Gardner Home Buyers

The 10 important questions Gardner, KS. home buyers should be asking themselves

Not only is buying a home in Gardner a large investment, but the home buying process can be a complex and intimidating experience. For this reason I recommend finding the right REALTOR that will help you through the whole process. Before you start working with any Realtor I recommend asking the right questions when seeking a REALTOR that can  assist you in navigating the best path to owning a home in Gardner. The right REALTOR will save you money and will help alleviate some of the emotional stress.
Here are 10 key questions I recommend asking yourself before you hiring a REALTOR to help you buy a home in Gardner, Kansas:
1. Where do I want to live in Gardner, Kansas?
First, you need to ask yourself, do you want to live in Gardner. If you do, I understand. I myself live in Gardner and have sent my two older boys from Kindergarten all through high school.
Gardner offers many of the important elements that home buyers are looking for such as great schools, easy highway access, proximity to area restaurants, numerous parks and wonderful neighborhoods.
Take a drive through Gardner and you’ll see what I mean. While your driving around Gardner, pick out the neighborhood that you want to live in.
2. How much savings do I need in order to buy a home in Gardner, KS.?

One of the top comments I hear from home buyers looking to buy a home in Gardner is I need to wait a year to save up for the down payment. Although it is true that it is best to pay cash for a home or put down a large down payment, seldom does that happen. Matter a fact, fewer than 5% of the home buyers put more than 20% down to buy a home.
If you don't have 20% down in order to buy a home, don't worry. There are down payment assistance programs. A home buyer can get a FHA mortgage, a 3% down conventional mortgage, a VA mortgage loan (for veterans) or a Fannie Mae Home Path Loan (Loans setup on certain REO properties by Fannie Mae).
In the past Gardner has been eligible for a zero down USDA mortgage loan. The zero down USDA mortgage loan allows a home buyer to buy a home with no down payment. Although Gardner does not currently qualify for the USDA mortgage loan, due to a continuing resolution and the U.S. Congress not having passed a budget, home buyers looking to buy a home in Gardner can obtain a USDA mortgage loan. How long will home buyers be able to take advantage of this zero down mortgage loan? That is a guessing game. According to Kevin Culley from USDA Rural Development, Gardner will become ineligible on October 1st unless legislation is passed to extend the benefits in Gardner. If you're interested in buying a home with zero down, you might want to contact a qualifying bank very soon. I recommend Ronnie Yarbrough from the Bank of Kansas City.
3. What do you want to spend monthly on your Gardner home?

Often Gardner home buyers find themselves in financial distress because they seem to not take in account the additional monthly expenses of owning a home.  Gardner home buyers need to keep in mind that qualifying for a mortgage doesn’t necessarily mean that they can afford the home. Qualifying for mortgage notes that a mortgage originator will be able to provide the buyer a mortgage and a mortgage only. There are other expenses in buying a home like:
Utilities like electricity, gas, water and trash - Have a question about electricity and water? Contact Gardner Utility Services at 913-856-7535.
Property taxesHomeowners Association feeHome maintenanceLandscaping
If you're currently renting in Gardner, you're probably already paying most of these expenses and probably will only see a slight bump in expenses.  In fact with the ability of deducting your interest on your income taxes, you might even find that you will not need extra funds to pay any additional expenses.
Another important fact to look at is many of the single family homes are built much more energy efficient than the rental properties in Gardner. Many home buyers are shocked that their electric and gas bills don't increase.
4. How do I choose a Gardner real estate agent?
How do I choose a real estate agent is a great question. Before going out and looking at properties at open houses or online, choosing a real estate agent should probably be a Gardner home buyer's first decision.  Many times Gardner home buyers choose a real estate agent who does not specialize in working in Gardner and suffer. A real estate agent who specializes in Gardner will probably live in Gardner and have extensive knowledge of the area including the subdivisions, pricing, schools, and builders. A specialist will know the pluses and minuses of the area and the many different floor plans within the several subdivisions.
You should spend more time researching your real estate agent than buying a car. Checkout their reviews and Google them to checkout their character. A quick Google search will reveal results that some agents have been less than honest and have not shown integrity.
It is important that you choose a real estate agent you feel comfortable with and can address your concerns, needs, and wants.
A reputable real estate agent can provide much needed guidance through the home buying experience, provided there is an open line of communication between them and the buyer. Buyers who have a good relationship with their real estate agent and trust their agent’s expertise and knowledge usually have a much smoother property buying process.

If you choose an agent who lives in Gardner, you may gain not just a real estate agent but also extra knowledge of the area. 

An agent outside of the area may not want to run all the way down to Gardner to just show one home, like an agent who lives in the area.
The 11 important questions to ask a real estate when trying to choose a real estate agent to help you buy a home in Gardner are:
  1. How many of the _____ floor plans have you viewed in Gardner?
  2. Home many of the _____ subdivisions have you visited in Gardner?
  3. Do you live in Gardner?
  4. How many homes have you sold in Gardner?
  5. What is the most you have negotiated off of the list price on a Gardner home?
  6. What incentives are being offered in Gardner for home buyers?
  7. How quickly can I expect a response from you?
  8. What forms of communication do you use?
  9. How long have you been selling homes in Gardner?
  10. Have you or your office been involved in a real estate lawsuit on a Gardner home? If yes, for what?
  11. Do you have a network of professionals who can help me like movers, inspectors, bankers, insurance agents and so forth?

5. Is it important to get pre-approved before I start looking for a home in Gardner?

Now this is not one of the fun steps when buying a home, but next to finding the right real estate agent, the pre-approval process is very important. Hopefully if you have chosen the right real estate agent, they can help recommend a good loan originator who can assist in helping you get pre-approved.

Knowing what you can qualify for before you start looking at homes will help remove the stress down the road and will help you get started with searching for homes that you can afford. 

I recommend Ronnie Yarbrough from the Bank of Kansas City to help you get pre-approved. Ronnie can be reached at: (913) 307-1608   www.BankOfKansasCity.com/RonYarbrough. Mention this blog and Ronnie will not charge you to get pre-approved.
Did you know that good credit scores doesn't necessarily mean that you can qualify for a mortgage. According to Ronnie Yarbrough, good credit scores is important for obtaining a mortgage but not the only important factor. It is important to understand all of the factors that go into a home buyer obtaining a mortgage and Ronnie would be happy to assist in helping a home buyer understand all of the factors.

That doesn't mean if a home buyer has bad credit they can't obtain a mortgage. Often times when applying for a mortgage, a few negative items might be discovered on the credit report. Don't worry. If this happens to you, ask the loan originator for help in cleaning up the credit.

If you need help in removing dings on your credit report, I recommend Ken Easley. Ken will help you rebuild your credit for about $75 (a lot less than the scam artist who charge $500 or more).
6. Should I buy a Gardner home now or wait?
An important question that many Gardner home buyers ask is “Should I Buy Now or Wait?” Great question. If your decision to wait involves saving up for a down payment, I think it has been addressed that a zero down USDA mortgage loan can currently be obtained when buying a home in Gardner. If you wait, you may miss your opportunity to take advantage of this mortgage loan. If your decision to wait involves cleaning up credit or being stuck in a current lease, I would work with professionals to help you go over the pluses and minuses of buying now versus waiting. With interest rates climbing, home values increasing and the zero down mortgage loan headed for extinction here in Gardner, it might be more advantageous to break a lease to take advantage of the current real estate market.

I worked up an analysis for a home buyer 2 months ago that compared buying a home then versus potentially buying the same home in 2014. Although I have no more ability to see in the future than anyone else, I used current data to help in the analysis. The home buyer was astonished that it would cost them nearly $9,000 more upfront and $214/month to buy the same home one year later.

7. Do foreclosure homes offer the best values for Gardner home buyers?

Foreclosures are put in a class of home of distressed sales. There are short sales, redemption sales, and sheriff sales also in that class of homes offered for sale. Although, the perception is that distressed sales offer the best value, often times after reviewing the repair cost, they might not offer the best value.

If you're looking for the best value, don't limit yourself to only distressed sales. Look at all homes, because you might find a home in pristine condition that is offered at below market. A good real estate agent with knowledge of the area will be able to assist in analyzing and comparing homes with you so that you can find the best value.

8. How do I start my Gardner Home Search?

After getting pre-aproved for a mortgage, discuss what your needs and wants are in your home. Whether it is a main floor bathroom, fenced backyard, finished basement or location knowing what your needs and wants in your next home will help dwindle the huge list of potential homes to a list of homes that fit your needs and wants.

9. I found my Gardner home. How do I find out the history of the home?

If you buy a car you can get a partial history of the car with a car fax, right? Unfortunately there is no universal home fax report on every home. What a home buyer can request is a seller's disclosure and a NARRPR report. The Seller's Disclosure is a form that the seller is required to complete on the home about known defects on the home. That means if the seller knows that the finished basement is leaky, the roof is older, the furnace is put together with bandaids or there are unwanted critters running around the home, the seller is required to disclose those problems. The NARRPR report will give you data on the seller, how many mortgages they have on the home, what they potentially owe on the home, and a detailed public history report on the home.

Although few buyers arm themselves with the history of the home, don't you see how having this data would potentially put you at an advantage?

View a Sample Seller's Report
View a Sample Property Report

10. Ok, I'm ready to make an offer on a home in Gardner. How do I start?

Good question. Putting an offer on a home is a little more than completing a contract and signing. After reviewing the seller's disclosure and NARRPR report, you need to estimate any potential repairs that you will have with the home to get the home to meet your needs. Next, visit your loan officer and have them complete a cost to purchase estimate. Once you understand the cost to purchase discuss possible closing dates and possible contingencies you want added to the offer. Once you know the structure and terms of the offer, you can either have your REALTOR or an attorney complete the offer for you.

During the negotiation processes it is usually best to have a REALTOR or attorney negotiating for you.

If you would like assistance in buying a home in Gardner, lets talk . . .
I have a wealth of information that will help you make educated decisions when buying.

Dowell Family Team
Chris Dowell
(913) 712-9313