Tips for Buying a House in Des Moines Iowa

Prospects for home buyers in Des Moines, IA look better than ever! The housing market stayed fairly steady compared to the rest of the country during the national sub-prime mortgage fiasco. Those shopping for a place to call home have the luxury of a buyer’s market with the stability of maintaining the value of the purchase price for a Des Moines home.

Some tips for buying a home in Des Moines are similar to buying a home in any area of the country, but the market dictates a few unique items. The inventory is good with a wide selection in all price ranges. That translates into bargains for your bucks. You just need to decide what features you need, what you can afford to spend and what area of the city you prefer. Start with the following tips applicable to any one preparing to buy a home.

*Check your credit report.
*Avoid making any large purchases.
*Get prequalified.
*Find a professional you trust.

In the Des Moines metro the average price of single home settled in the $155,000 range in September 2009. That price fluctuates depending on location within the city. Late summer indicators show sales starting to pick up with more homes sold in July 2009 than in July 2008. In addition to single family homes, there are options of town houses and condominiums with averages about 40K lower. According to several local real estate agents, the townhouse market is flooded in Des Moines and some surrounding areas making even better deals possible.

The next step in your real estate journey is to go over your list for specific details in what you are looking for in a home. Once you set the final list of all the details and amenities you want, start looking at neighborhoods. Consider location and distance to employment, shopping and schools. For newcomers, a good tip for browsing housing prospects is to start with areas considered by local realtors to be the most popular neighborhoods and go from there.

Des Moines’ hot spots (based on most sales) show a sharp contrast in home prices. In the popular Beaverdale area, the median price listing sits at $152,700, slightly under the city average. The other hot spot is the Waterbury District where average prices leap to over $315,000. The spots rounding out the list include the Merle Hay area with houses in the range of $125K, North of Grand Avenue area at $117K and the Waveland Park neighborhood at around $171K.

Check out areas considered the “up and coming” neighborhoods listed as well. Three of the five reflect the lowest price tags ranging from 62K to 83K starting with Chesterfield, then Martin Luther King Jr. Park and ending with River Bend. Waveland Woods made the list with average home prices in the $170s. Westwood tops the neighborhoods on the move with home prices creeping over the 200s with an average of 208K.

In addition to recommended neighborhoods, look on line and view newspaper listings. Take a drive around the city to get a feel for the best fit with your family. Go to open houses in the neighborhoods you’ve selected. Talk to people who live nearby. Take your time and compare the features, costs and other factors. Now it’s time to focus on these tips:

*Take a reality check. Can you afford it?
*Write your best offer.
*Let your agent negotiate.
*Home inspection can change terms.
*Closing. Check paperwork carefully.

Now that you are a homeowner in Des Moines, you can start settling into your new place. You will soon discover all the great recreational, dining and cultural venues the city has to offer. From Chicago Cubs AAA baseball to the downtown Farmers Market, the capital city’s diversity will offer many fun outings for your family. Browse the city website at for details on the network of walking trails, parks, libraries and other great places in your new city.