First Time Home-Buyers
It’s getting harder to afford your first home without venturing into deep suburbia. In this category we looked at areas that give buyers the most bang for their buck, are located within good school districts and are close to major employers. We focused on homes in the mid-$150,000 to $350,00 range.
Both Joseph and Lauren Eikel work in the Liberty School District. The couple bought this 50-year-old, 1,700-square-foot fixer-upper in 2018. They budgeted an additional $40,000 for home improvements.
Close to Downtown
Median house price: $205,500
Change in 2018: +5.7 percent
Roeland Park is a perfect location for couples who want to graduate from their urban core apartment living but aren’t ready to ride off into the suburban sunset. Located 12 minutes from downtown and only eight minutes from the Plaza, Roeland Park offers downtown-adjacent living. Add in Shawnee Mission schools, and you have an attractive area for young couples starting families. Realtor Sharon Sigman says Roeland Park is ideal for the first-time home buyer who has been priced out of living in Prairie Village. A typical three-bedroom bungalow (a majority of the homes in Roeland Park were built in the 1940s and 50s) that needs some updating can be had for less than $200,000.
Median house price: $162,000
Change in 2018: +9.1 percent
If you work close to downtown or Liberty, Gladstone provides a quick commute and affordable housing in established, quiet neighborhoods. The best bet is to buy a home that is in the Chapel Hill Elementary School area. It has one of the highest public school ratings in Clay County. Currently, you can buy a 2,345 square foot, four-bedroom, three-bath house for $184,900.
North Kansas City
Median house price: $143,500
Change in 2018: +15.4 percent
North Kansas City is booming, and if you want new construction, you can get a home for under $300,000 in Bristol Park. The subdivision is located near Zona Rosa and is zoned for Staley High School. A new-build, 2,350-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bath home is selling for $324,900. Realtor Jenny Delich calls Bristol Park affordable and convenient. “You can get a really nice, new home for $300,00 and you’re close to the highway so downtown is less than 15 minutes away.”
Median house price: $258,000
Change in 2018: +6.4 percent
New communities in Olathe are fanning out all over the city. Subdivisions such as Oak Run, Persimmon Hill and Prairie Farms are attracting a large number of young families. The draws are affordability, a planned community, Olathe public schools and amenities such as neighborhood swimming pools, club houses and walking trails. For under $300,000, you can get a 1,200-square-foot new construction home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Median house price: $292,300
Change in 2018: +8.4 percent
Realtor Deb Staley says Lenexa’s draw to first-time home buyers is that it offers affordable homes in established neighborhoods. “I call it the price range of opportunities,” Staley says. “You can get into the area for as low as $140,000.” Lenexa also has homes in three different highly rated school districts: Shawnee Mission, Olathe and De Soto. The city’s forward-thinking vibe is attractive to younger buyers, too. The City Center, which includes the Lenexa Public Market, a new, state-of-the-art recreation center and a public library (that is slated to open this spring) is wooing millennials. In an older neighborhood, a 2,300-square-foot home with four bedrooms and three bathrooms can be had for less than $300,000.
Realtor Pro Tip:
You can still get into the enviable 66209 zip code and Blue Valley schools for under $350,000 if you’re willing to wait for an older home to come on the market. The Leawood South subdivision, nestled between State Line and Mission Roads, has homes nearing 50 years old. When a dated one is for sale, its list price is usually under $350,000. The only problem is some of these homes are being purchased as tear downs and replaced with custom homes being sold in the $600,000 to $700,000 range.