Ready to purchase your first home? How exciting! Although you’ve probably been looking forward to this milestone for a while, the house-hunting process can be overwhelming for many first-time homebuyers. After all, this will likely be your biggest investment to date! In this blog post, we’re sharing everything you need to know as a first-time homebuyer in Kansas City. 

If you’re stumbling across our blog for the first time, welcome to Hearthside Homes of Kansas City! We’re a semi-custom home builder based in Liberty, Missouri. Since 1987, we’ve built nearly 2,000 long-lasting homes. We currently build in the Kansas City, Parkville, Kearney, and Liberty areas. Our homes range in price from $350k-$700k. You can check out our available listings here. Don’t forget to check out our gallery! You can also click here to learn more about the communities we build in. We hope you find these tips helpful throughout your journey as a first-time homebuyer in Kansas City.

Consider All Costs

As obvious as it may seem, before you start house hunting, you need to figure out how much you can afford. This will depend on your income, debt-to-income ratio, credit score, and downpayment. Remember, the purchase price of the home is just one part of the cost of homeownership. You will also need to pay property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, maintenance costs, and other expenses. Don’t forget to factor in furniture! 

Save & Improve Your Credit

Your credit score is vital to your financial health in terms of qualifying for a mortgage. Your credit score will tell lenders how responsibly you use credit, and it can turn away lenders if it is too low. To strengthen your credit, remember to keep up with your bills and pay down your credit card balances. When evaluating your application for a mortgage, lenders look at your credit report to determine what interest rate you’ll receive on a mortgage. If you have errors on your credit report, you could end up paying a higher interest rate than necessary. Be sure you are checking up on your credit report and resolving any mistakes. Also, make sure to shop around for lenders and compare rates!

Get Pre-Approved For A Mortgage

Once you know your budget, get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will give you a better idea of what homes you can afford, and it will also show sellers that you are a serious buyer. A common mistake first-time homebuyers tend to make is not getting prequalified for a mortgage. A pre-approval letter is a letter from a lender that shows you are approved for a mortgage loan. It pinpoints your price range, which can help narrow down the neighborhoods you should be looking at. A pre-approval letter can save time, allowing you to make sure you are looking at a house that you will be able to finance and showing the seller that you can afford the house you are looking at. 

Decide How Much Maintenance You Can Handle

A resale property might seem significantly cheaper than a new build. However, you need to compare the maintenance and repairs that a resale property will require. Can you handle the upkeep that comes with an older home? Or, do you value your free time and convenience? If the thought of spending your weekends doing repairs doesn’t appeal to you, a newer home is probably the way to go.  

Research Neighborhoods 

You’re not just buying the house; you’re buying the location! Think about what you want in a neighborhood, such as safety, schools, access to public transportation, and nearby amenities. Research different neighborhoods to find one that fits your needs and lifestyle. A great location can be just as important as the actual house you are purchasing. Don’t forget to test out the commute to work during rush hour or locate your favorite grocery store! 

Attend Open Houses

Attend open houses and schedule tours of homes you are interested in. Take notes and pictures, and don’t hesitate to ask questions about the property and neighborhood. If you’re thinking about buying a new construction home, do your research and compare builders. Contractors have different processes and levels of craftsmanship, so it’s incorrect to assume that every new home is created equal. 

Understand The Closing Process 

The closing process can be complicated, so make sure you understand all the paperwork and fees involved. Buying your first home can be a daunting process, but with the proper preparation and guidance, it can also be an exciting and rewarding experience. Educate yourself on what to expect, or consider hiring a real estate attorney.

Get An Inspection

Before you close on a home, get a professional home inspection. This will help you identify any issues with the property that you may want to negotiate with the seller. At Hearthside Homes, we understand that buying a home is a big deal! You want to make sure the home your purchase isn’t one you’ll regret in the future. That’s why all of our homes are inspected by third-party experts. In other words, we hire impartial third-party industry leaders to review each of our new construction homes! This comprehensive assessment involves a: 

  • Cosmetic inspection
  • Third-party HVAC duct cleaning
  • Third-party sewer line inspection
  • Third-party home inspection

Many home builders don’t subject themselves to these extensive inspections. At Hearthside Homes, we want our buyers to have confidence in their purchase! That’s why we hire impartial pros to look over our work. 

12-Month Warranty

In addition to completing a thorough inspection process, we proudly offer a 12-month warranty on all of our new homes. We even have a Warranty Manager on our team to make sure you have a go-to contact to reach out to if needed. You’ll have peace of mind when you buy with Hearthside Homes! 

Explore Our Listings

We hope you find these tips helpful throughout your journey as a first-time homebuyer in Kansas City. Want to take a look at our inventory? Click here to view our current listings. At Hearthside Homes, our buyers can either purchase one of our expertly designed spec homes or build with us from the ground up. To learn more about our home-building process, click here. 

About Our Floor Plans

Hearthside Homes is proud to offer a wide range of expertly designed floor plans. Click here to check out our 2-story, 1.5-story, reverse, ranch, and split-style layouts. Whether you’re starting a family or an empty nester, we have a floor plan that’s sure to meet your family’s needs! Click here to learn more about the floor plans that qualify for a quick start! Our quick-start floor plans can jump-start your new build asap. 

Check Out Our Design Center

If you’re interested in building a home from the ground up, choosing material selections is probably one of the things you’re most excited about! At Hearthside Homes, our clients get access to a professional interior designer and showroom. Our Design Center has a large display of options for you to choose from. From paint to tile, cabinetry, hardware, and more, you’ll have so much fun customizing your home to your unique preferences! Our Design Center is located at 1915 Industrial Dr. #300, Liberty, MO 64068.

Online Client Communication Portal

At Hearthside Homes, we understand how important communication is. That’s why we keep our clients in the loop throughout the constriction process via our online client portal, Buildertrend. Our clients love getting scheduling updates and progress photos from the job site! You can click here to learn more about our home-building process. 

Connect With Us

To request more information about building with Hearthside Homes, fill out this form on our website, or feel free to give us a call at (816) 781-0234. We’d love for you to follow all the behind-the-scenes fun on our social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! 

Happy Homeowners

At Hearthside Homes, we prioritize customer experience and satisfaction. Did you know Hearthside Homes of Kansas City has over 100 5-star reviews on Google? Click here to check out our Google reviews and hear from some of our happy customers. Our client, Kim, shares: 

“I highly recommend Hearthside. This was my first time purchasing a home on my own (much less a new home), and they were wonderful. Communication was excellent. I loved seeing the home’s progress on their website. Everyone assigned to my home was fantastic. They did a great job preparing me to move into the home. They get five+ stars from me.”

Want to see more? Click on the video below to watch one of our customer testimonials. Jeff & Becca are so thrilled they trusted Hearthside Homes with their new build! After years of searching for the right floor plan and builder, they decided to go with our team. Now that they’ve had time to settle into their new home, they are so happy they made the right decision to choose Hearthside Homes!