How to Buy a House in Missouri

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Contributor, Benzinga
July 6, 2020

From a rich musical history to breathtaking natural landscapes, there are plenty of things to love about Missouri. Before you set off to buy your new property in the Show Me State, be sure to read our guide on how to buy a house in Missouri.  

Step 1: Consider Current Missouri Mortgage Rates

Buying a home when average market rates are low can save you a significant amount of money by the time you finish paying off your home loan. Average market rates can change on a daily basis. Some of the factors that may affect how rates in your area change include:

  • Bond market interest rates
  • Your local housing supply and mortgage demand
  • The overall state of the economy

Below you can view a sample of what you might expect to pay for your loan in Missouri today. We update this table regularly to ensure that you have access to only the most current information. 

You may want to bookmark this page to track how rates in your state change over time. Once rates are low, you can apply for your mortgage preapproval. 

Loan TypeRateAPR
30-year fixed N/A N/A
15-year fixed N/A N/A
7/1 ARM (adjustable rate) N/A N/A
5/1 ARM (adjustable rate) N/A N/A
Rates based on an average home price of $225,000 and a down payment of 20%.
See more mortgage rates on Zillow

Step 2: Pick a Mortgage Lender in Missouri

The best mortgage lender for you may vary. It can depend on your credit score, the type of loan you need, whether you’re a salaried employee or self-employed and your preferred application process. 

If you don’t already know where you’d like to apply for a loan, consider a few of our favorite Missouri lenders below.  

Quicken Loans
Best For
  • Online Service

Best Overall: Quicken Loans®

Consider working with Quicken Loans — one of the largest lenders in the United States. Quicken Loans offers nearly every type of mortgage loan available. From FHA loans with lower credit requirements to million-dollar jumbo loans, Quicken Loans has a solution for everyone.

It’s also one the best lender for first-time buyers thanks to its simple application process and wealth of easy-to-navigate mortgage information. The application is streamlined, so you can even complete it from your phone or tablet. Most buyers receive a decision instantly. 

Veterans United
securely through Veterans United's website

Best for Veterans: Veterans United

If you’ve served in the United States armed forces, you might qualify for a special type of government-backed loan called a VA loan. Exclusively for veterans and active service members, a VA loan may allow you to buy a home with 0% down.

Veterans United is the country’s No. 1 VA lender with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Veterans United prides itself on employing a full team of former service members from each branch of the military. Its staff can help you understand the loan requirements and assist you in securing your Certificate of Eligibility. If you aren’t sure if you qualify for a VA loan, the team at Veterans United can also help you find the right conventional loan.  

Best for In-Person Service: U.S. Bank

Online mortgages can be a convenient option to quickly apply for a mortgage loan. However, if you aren’t familiar with the home buying process or you have reservations about applying online, you might want to consider a lender with physical branches.

U.S. Bank is the most prominent mortgage lender in Missouri. It offers 219 offices in 111 cities. U.S. Bank has a wealth of loan and term options. Conventional, jumbo and select government-backed mortgages are available. 

U.S. Bank also offers a number of online calculators and research tools to estimate your monthly payment and how much you can afford to borrow. 

Step 3: Find a House

After you’ve received preapproval from your mortgage lender of choice, it’s time to start shopping for a home. Your preapproval letter will give you a rough estimate of how much money you can afford to borrow for your home. However, there are many more factors to consider when you shop for a house.

Some of the things you might want to consider when you narrow your home search include:

  • Neighborhood. The neighborhood where you buy your home will determine which schools your children attend, how much you’ll pay in property taxes and how much home you can afford.
  • Commute. Unless you plan on finding a new job in the near future, your commute time may play a large role in your home search. Commuting distance, access to public transportation and number of available parking spaces may all influence your eventual home purchase.
  • Home condition. Most homes aren’t sold in picture-perfect condition. Consider how much money and time you can afford to spend on repairs and renovations when you search for properties.
  • Size. Do you need a larger space to accommodate a growing family? Or are you ready to downgrade? Think about your future needs when you consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you want your ideal home to offer.

At this point, you might want to hire a real estate agent or realtor to assist you in your property search. Real estate agents are local professionals who understand the neighborhoods in your area and can help guide your home search. Your agent will listen to your wants, needs and goals for buying a home and can help introduce properties within your budget. 

Step 4: Make an Offer

When you’ve found the perfect property, it’s time to submit an offer letter. An offer letter is an official, written document that tells the seller that you want to buy his or her property.

Though most buyers allow real estate agents to submit an offer letter on their behalf, there’s no rule that says you can’t write your own letter. If you do decide to draft your own offer letter, be sure to include all the following information:

  • Your full legal name
  • The full legal name of anyone else who will be on the home’s title (like a spouse)
  • The address of the property you want to purchase
  • The amount of money you’re offering for the home
  • Any contingencies (conditions that need to be met) you want on the sale
  • Any seller concessions you’re requesting (for example, assistance with closing costs)
  • A list of items not attached to the home that you want included in the sale (for example, window treatments and appliances)
  • The amount of your earnest money deposit (a small down payment that tells the seller you’re serious about committing to the property)
  • A copy of your mortgage preapproval letter
  • The date you expect to close on your loan
  • The date you want to move into your new home
  • The date the seller must respond to your offer by

From here, the seller may respond in a few different ways:

  • Accept the offer. If the seller accepts the offer, you can move onto the closing process.
  • Reject the offer. If the seller rejects the offer, you can choose to submit a new offer with different terms or move onto another property.
  • Make a counteroffer. If the seller makes a counteroffer, the ball is back in your court. You might choose to accept it, reject it or create another counteroffer.

It’s normal for home sales to go through multiple rounds of counteroffers before a mutual decision is reached. Your real estate agent can help guide you through this process — and determine when it’s the right time to walk away. 

Step 5: Closing Time

After you and the seller both accept a purchase agreement, it’s finally time to close on your mortgage. Though the specific mortgage process you’ll go through may vary depending on your lender, you can expect at least the following 3 steps:

  • Appraisal. An appraisal is a professional estimate of what your home is worth. During an appraisal, a home value expert called an appraiser visits your property and takes a look at the overall condition of the home. He or she will also do a bit of outside research on your neighborhood and compare local sales data and property value trends. Finally, the appraiser will return with a rough estimate of how much the home you’re buying is worth.

Lenders can’t loan out more money for a property than it is worth, so an independent appraisal is required before each sale. If your appraisal comes back low, you might need to bring more cash to closing or renegotiate the purchase price with the seller.

  • Inspection. During an inspection, a home condition expert visits your property and documents everything that needs a repair or replacement. Though inspections aren’t required by most lenders, you should never skip this step in the closing process. A thorough inspection ensures you aren’t unknowingly buying a home with major damage in need of an expensive repair.

In some instances, an inspection might be a required part of the buying process. For example, if you purchase a home with a VA loan, your lender will require a pest inspection before you close.

  • Underwriting. During underwriting, your lender verifies your financial information, runs a credit check on all buyers and prepares your new loan paperwork. Most underwriting processes take place entirely behind the scenes on the side of the lender.

After all 3 steps in the closing process are completed, your lender will schedule a closing meeting. At closing, you’ll pay your down payment and closing costs, sign off on your new loan and walk away from the table as Missouri’s newest property owner. 

Move In Day in Missouri

When you leave your closing meeting, the hard work of finding a home to buy and getting approved for a mortgage loan is finally over. Now your responsibility is to effectively manage your loan, insurance payments and property tax dues. 

Review your loan documents to ensure you fully understand when you must make your 1st payment and when your payment is due each month. Take a little time to get organized and save yourself time and stress in the long run.

Related content: How Much House Can I Afford?

Get Ready for Take Off

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About Sarah Horvath

Sarah is an expert in the insurance, investing for retirement and cryptocurrency space.