Real estate tip: Buyers, stay on target

lauren-and-scottsponsored post by Lauren Hruby and Scott DeVouton

One great thing about Kansas City is its housing diversity.  Whatever you’re looking for, you can probably find it.  That’s a loaded statement, however.  If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can easily miss out on your would-be perfect home.  Or worse, you can find yourself owning a home that just isn’t the right fit.  Knowing what you want before you start looking can help you find the right home.  It can also help you jump on opportunities that may disappear quickly.  It’s still a seller’s market with low inventory.  Stay focused.  If you’re buying a home with someone else, make sure to run through the criteria that makes everyone happy.

Affordability.  Your housing conversation has to begin with how much you can afford.  Make sure to do the math on initial cash requirements and ongoing mortgage payments.  Don’t forget to run the numbers on your current housing, particularly if you need to sell your current place to buy the new one.  Don’t waste your time looking at homes you can’t afford.  Talking to a lender right away is probably the best thing you can do as a buyer.  With a pre-approval letter, your search will be realistic and you will be able to act quickly once you find the right home.

Age.  Home age is a great second question.  Newer homes are more likely to have fewer maintenance issues and less fix-up projects right away, but they’re also typically more expensive.  Older homes might need a little more love, but you’re more likely to pay less.  Know what you can afford, and what you’ll be up for when you finally call the home your own.

Style.  Do a little homework on home styles, and have an idea of what types you like.  Different styles are prevalent in different parts of town.  If you have a style direction, your or your realtor can zero in on the parts of town that are more likely to have your preferred type of home.

Size.  Size sometimes makes itself a top criteria, particularly if you have a growing family or need space for a home business.  It also makes for an interesting size-vs-cost issue.  There are a lot of huge homes in the urban core that are priced right but may need some work.  As you spread out to the suburbs, you can find or build a home as big as you want, but the pricetag will be proportionate.  Know how many bedrooms, bathrooms and other living spaces your household will need.

Lifestyle.  Thinking about lifestyle may seem touchy-feely at first, but it can be a crucial long-term question.  How long of a work commute do you want?  Are you looking for peace and quiet, or do you prefer city energy?  Does lawn work help you relax, or did you feel a mosquito bite just thinking about outside chores?  Are you up for putting some TLC into your home, or do work and kids take all your time?  Make sure the home you choose is a good match, because it’s long-term.

Amenities.  Amenities may be best assessed by rank.  Having a priority list for what you want and need can help you make decisions more quickly when it comes to buying a home.  Is an updated kitchen important to you?  Garage space?  Home office?  Playroom?  Have your list ready before hitting your home search.

Buying a home can be a fun, exciting and exhausting process.  You’ll have a lot of decisions to make, even after you narrow your list.  Anticipate as much as you can, stay focused, and stay on target.

Lauren and Scott are with Lauren Hruby Real Estate, Keller Williams Realty Key Partners, LLC.  They work with people looking to sell or buy a home in the Kansas City area.  For more information, visit or call 816-529-6174.

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