What You Can Get For $500,000 Right Now


Each part of Kansas, Missouri and the Kansas City metro area has its own feel, and its own market values.

If you’re looking for a house in the $500,000-$550,000 range, your budget can get you very different sizes, amenities and lifestyles depending on where you’re looking. Here’s what you can get at that price point in eight different areas, from North KC to Wichita to Joplin:

Note: These listings are available at the time of publication. If the listing you want becomes unavailable, reach out to an agent to help you find something similar!

This brand new house in North Kansas City, MO with an open house today:

               4 Bedrooms

               3 Bathrooms

               2,870 Square Feet

               3 Car Garage

This highrise in Downtown Kansas City, MO:

               2 Bedrooms

               2 Bathrooms

               1,287 Square Feet

               2 Garage Spaces

This stress-free condo in Leawood, KS:

               2 Bedrooms

               2 Bathrooms

               1,918 Square Feet

               2 Garage Spaces

This new house in South Overland Park, KS with country views and a community pool:

               4 Bedrooms

               3.5 Bathrooms

               3,177 Square Feet

               3 Car Garage

This new construction house in Lee’s Summit, MO that still has time for you to pick your own paint and countertops:

               5 Bedrooms

               4 Bathrooms

               2,824 Square Feet

               3 Car Garage

This rambling corner home in Joplin, MO:

               5 Bedrooms

               4.5 Bathrooms

               5,500 Square Feet

               3 Garage Spaces

This custom-designed house with passive and active solar in Lawrence, KS:

               4 Bedrooms

               3 Bathrooms

               2,717 Square Feet

               2 Car Garage

This estate in Wichita, KS on a 0.66 acre lot:

               7 Bedrooms

               4.5 Bathrooms

               5,024 Square Feet

               4 Garage Spaces

5 FINANCIAL QUESTIONS ALL FIRST TIME HOMEBUYERS SHOULD BE ASKING


There’s nothing more exciting than buying a home for the very first time. It symbolizes many things, like independence and a fresh start. But before you get caught up in all of the excitement, it’s also important to be critical of the financial aspect of the process as a first-time homebuyer. This is to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible, and you’ll be relaxing in your cozy new living room in no time. To know if you’re ready to take the leap, these are five questions you need to be asking:

 

1. Am I financially ready to buy a home?

Being emotionally ready is one way to know if it’s time to buy a home, but you also have to gauge your financial preparedness. The first check should be the amount of savings you have, which should be enough to cover at least the down payment of the property. Also, keep in mind that the money you’ve saved for homebuying should be separate from your emergency fund. Having a steady income is also a good sign that you’re ready, given that you will be making mortgage payments for the next several years. It might be a good idea to wait longer if a third of your combined household income will go toward paying a mortgage.

 

2. How do I choose the right mortgage for me?

Your mortgage is the monthly payment you’ll be making for the next several years — so shopping around for the right one is essential. A NerdWallet feature on how to pick the best mortgage notes how you need to consider both the length and type of mortgage. The length of the loan will determine the amount you pay per month and the length of time you’ll be paying. If paying a higher mortgage is no problem, then consider a shorter term length for a lower interest paid over time. If you can make bigger payments on short-length loans, you can benefit from lower interest rates.

Understanding the types of loans there are is also necessary, as there are special types of loans for certain borrowers, such as VA loans for those with military connections, USDA loans for those who want to live in a rural area, and FHA loans for those with a low credit score.

 

3. Do I need homeowners’ insurance?

The short answer is yes, you need homeowners’ insurance. It’s the same with having health insurance — everybody should have one! The truth is that you might never make a claim on your policy, but that’s okay. Insurance will give you more security in case your home is affected by common risks, such as extreme weather or theft. Having coverage is a good way to protect your finances and it will help you get back on your feet quickly.

 

4. What other costs to home owning should I expect?

A mortgage is just one of the costs of owning a home, but there are other expenses associated with home owning that you should prepare for. These include utilities, repairs, and maintenance. A good test of your financial preparedness is whether you can afford to cover all of those costs later on.

Making improvements is also another expense a first-time homebuyer should consider. While it may sound counterproductive to incur more debt, there are financial options that will ensure you are not financially overburdened — something you should consider if the long-term benefits will be profitable. Prosperity Home Mortgage details how you can get a unique loan that is specific to making upgrades to your home, which will help you plan and pay for those expenses over a set amount of time with very low interest rates. When looking at their finances for renovating, new homeowners shouldn’t ask themselves if they can afford the whole amount in one go, but if they can do so if the loan is broken down over an extended period of time. Many loan providers have rewards for on time payments, such as less interest. This option is especially helpful when you’re a new homeowner and haven’t built much equity, or if you need to make certain renovations before moving into your home.

Any change you make to the house has the potential to increase the value of your home and get you a bigger return on your investment. For example, our ‘5 Tasks to Boost Home Value’ article outlines different ways you can keep your property in great shape as well as increase its value. Renovations like replacing a roof or adding a deck will cost money, and you must be prepared to shoulder those costs, but these will ultimately increase the value of your new home, too!

 

5. Is it a good investment opportunity?

Anything you own can be a good investment. CNBC consulted with real estate experts who agreed that real estate is still one of the best tangible investments today. Properties appreciate over time and can be sold for a profit. And compared to renting, buying a house means your monthly payments will go toward something with your name on it.

 


Specially written for ReeceNichols.com

By: Reese Jones

BEGIN THE JOURNEY: YOUR GUIDE TO BUYING


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Whenever you’re ready, we’re ready to serve you. Here’s a look at the buying process.

Connect with your perfect agent

Our agents are the experts on our local communities. They’re experienced, knowledgeable and will guide you through every step of the buying process. They’ll also remain your trusted advisor the entire time you own your home. Therefore, whatever your family needs—before, during and after the close—we’re here to help.

Get PreApproved

A Prosperity Home Mortgage lender can get you preapproved, so you can determine how much house you can afford. From the application process to closing, they can help you remotely and conveniently. To connect with a lender and start the preapproval process, click here.

Start your search

Search for your home with ease using our mobile app. The augmented reality feature allows you to spot homes for sale as you walk down the street! Click here to download our app.

View homes

Look at virtual home showings to give yourself a good feel for a house before you set foot inside. If you’d like to see a house in person, your agent can arrange that for you.

Close the deal

When you find your dream home, your agent will prepare a competitive offer to get you the best deal and will guide you through negotiations and a seamless closing experience.

We’ll continue to be there for you

As your homeownership journey continues, your agent will be a continued resource for all your home related questions. Plus, our entire family of services is here to help with mortgage, insurance, title and warranty.

Are you ready to start your homebuying journey? Connect with a ReeceNichols agent today!

HAVE A VIRTUAL MEETING


We’re fortunate to live in a day and age where staying connected without having to be in the same room is incredibly easy! For your peace of mind, here are several systems available that will allow you to hold a meeting with your agent and anybody else necessary, while keeping a safe distance.

Microsoft Teams is a good option for people who have a Microsoft account. Zoom is a popular, user-friendly and free system anyone can use.

These systems will help ensure important messages are being relayed in a safe and timely manner! Contact your agent today to schedule a virtual meeting!

VIEW A HOME VIRTUALLY


See a home you’re interested in? Your agent can show it to you virtually! If you’re selling your home, your agent can do a virtual open house for you! Your well-being means everything to us, and with technology to assist, you’ll be able to continue your home buying or selling journey safely and conveniently.

Facebook, Instagram and Zoom are three options your agent may use to conduct a virtual home showing or open house. Although Facebook and Instagram are social media based, Zoom is not — you’ll just have to download an app to your phone!

Contact your agent today to schedule a virtual showing!

BEST SAFETY PRACTICES FOR BUYERS AND SELLERS


Whether you’re looking to purchase your first home or downsizing to move into your dream location, it remains a very good time to buy or sell. But your safety is paramount. As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important we take steps to maintain everyone’s health. We’ve come up with some best practices for buyers and sellers so we can all be proactive and responsible and keep our loved ones safe and healthy during this unfamiliar time.

Sellers:

    • Sanitize surfaces following each showing or inspection.
    • Leave cabinet and room doors open, so buyers may browse without touching anything.
    • Have hand soap and/or hand sanitizer out and available during showings.
    • Provide booties to potential buyers and let them know they can keep them.
    • Postpone showings or inspections if occupants are ill.
    • Allow video tours or virtual open houses of property.

Buyers:

    • Bring hand sanitizer and rubber gloves with you during showings.
    • Wash or sanitize your hands after each showing or inspection.
    • Drive your own vehicle to showings and inspections.
    • Wear booties or shoe covers when viewing homes.
    • Refrain from touching surfaces unless necessary.
    • If you are ill, postpone showings or inspections.
    • Ask your agent and inspector to do a virtual tour of your home and to review inspection related items.

For the time being practices may have to change, but as always, your agent is your trusted guide. Whether it’s over the phone or via video conference, they will continue to be there for you every step of the way during your home buying or selling journey. We’re in this together.

SPRING IN JANUARY


Interested in buying or selling a home? Numbers show a shift in the buying season.

Nationally, the competition in the housing market is so high that the Spring season appears to start now. We’ve seen a 30% increase in homes sold in December here at ReeceNichols, and we don’t expect things to slow down any time soon.

With a strong economy and low interest rates, you may consider kick-starting your journey sooner rather than later. Just don’t hurry past ahome warranty on your way!

UNIVISION KANSAS CITY AND REECENICHOLS PARTNER TO HELP HISPANIC FAMILIES UNDERSTAND THE HOME BUYING PROCESS AND BECOME HOMEOWNERS


Today, Univision Kansas City and ReeceNichols Real Estate announced they will be hosting six free workshops in Spanish. The workshops will be open to anyone who is interested in buying a home. The goal is to help the Hispanic community make an informed decision regarding what is usually the biggest financial investment for a family: the purchase of a home.

ReeceNichols Director of Community Affairs, Fabián Gayosso said, “We’re thrilled to join forces with such an important and trusted company like Univision Kansas City to not only assist Latinos with the home buying and selling process, but also through education on how to become a homeowner, and how to grow and protect their home and its value. At ReeceNichols, we recognize the complexity of the real estate industry and understand the importance for Hispanics to connect and be accurately informed in their language of preference.”

General Manager of Univision Kansas City, Velia Chavez added, “We are passionate about educating our underserved Hispanic community. All too often, we see our communities become victimized with bogus contracts. We want to empower Kansas City families to make an informed decision and help them make their dream of home ownership a dream come true! We also plan to continue our efforts as we host our 2nd Annual D’Casa Expo in the Fall of 2020.”

The topics for the free “Camino a Casa” workshops include:

    • Tax Preparation
    • Mortgage Loans with SSN or ITIN
    • Establishing Credit
    • Opening a Bank Account
    • Title / Insurance
    • Home Buying Process with an Agent

 

“With a team of bilingual agents that speak our language (Spanish) and breathe our culture, ReeceNichols is ready to guide Latinos to a rewarding experience, help them reach their goals and get them to the place we all want to be: Home,” Gayosso said.

The series of workshops will take place once a month starting in February through August of 2020. The exact dates, locations and times will be announced monthly on Univision Kansas City local Channel 20 and all Social Media platforms for Univision Kansas City and ReeceNichols Latino.

For more information you may contact Velia Chavez – General Manager Univision Kansas City at 816-556-3900 x 407 email vchavez@mediavista.tv.

If you need information in Spanish about the home buying process, please call ReeceNichols Latino at 913-945-3775 or send an email to preguntas@reecenichols.com.

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO BUILDING A NEW HOME


Building your dream house brand new can be incredibly exciting, yet overwhelming. But if you prepare in advance, you can better understand how the process works. Development Sales Manager Meredith Tolliver gives us a step-by-step guide to building a new home.

IS AN ADJUSTABLE RATE MORTGAGE RIGHT FOR YOU?


When you take out a mortgage on a property, there are many different types of loans available. One you may not have thought of, is an adjustable rate mortgage, or ARM loan. Adjustable rate mortgages got a bit of a bad rap during the housing market crash, but as the general public has become more informed about ARM loans, more borrowers are choosing this type of mortgage when it makes sense. To fill in the blanks, here’s our conversation with Prosperity Home Mortgage Regional Mortgage Manager, Amy McDonald.

What is an adjustable rate mortgage?

It is a type of loan that has a short-term fixed period, followed by a time during which the rate can adjust up or down. The most common fixed terms for adjustable are 5, 7 and 10 years.

What are the advantages?

The rates for adjustable loans are lower than fixed. If the borrower plans to move or pay off the loan in the next 7 years, an adjustable rate mortgage would save them in interest costs during the lower rate fixed period. The rate could go down after the fixed time frame, should the current interest rate market be lower!

What are the disadvantages?

There’s a chance the rate could increase at the end of the fixed period. The adjustment periods are usually every 6 months and typically can’t increase more than 2% over whatever the start rate was. There is also a lifetime cap (usually 5% over the start rate) at which the rate would stop increasing, should it reach that limit.

What type of person would you recommend opt for an adjustable rate mortgage?

First time home buyers who plan to move in less than 7 years, buyers who move a lot for their job or customers who have a specific strategy to accelerate the payoff of their mortgage in less than 10 years are the ideal borrowers for an adjustable rate mortgage.

Ready to get preapprovedContact one of our loan officers, today!