Kansas First-Time Home Buyer: 2024 Programs and Grants

By: Peter Warden Updated By: Ryan Tronier Reviewed By: Paul Centopani
March 26, 2024 - 10 min read

What to know about buying a house in Kansas

Kansas’ average home prices are significantly lower than the national average. That’s good news for first-time home buyers in The Sunflower State.

Even so, saving for a down payment and closing costs can be difficult. Fortunately, Kansas has some beneficial homeownership programs for qualified buyers.

So keep reading to find out about loans and grants that can help you achieve your home buying goals.

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Kansas home buyer overview

The median listing price for homes in Kansas was $262,400 in February 2024. That increased 12.3% year-over-year, according to Redfin.

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Even though median Kansas home prices are far lower than the nationwide average, coming up with a down payment is still a hurdle for many. First-time home buyers in Kansas will be relieved to learn that assistance is available in the form of homeownership education courses, grants, and loans to cover both the down payment and closing costs.

Kansas home buyer stats

Average Home Listing Price in KS1$262,400
Minimum Down Payment in KS (3%)$7,872
20% Down Payment in KS$52,480
Average Credit Score in KS2721
Maximum KS Home Buyer Grant3Up to 20% of home price + $2,000, only in Wichita

Down payment amounts are based on the state's most recently available average home sale price. “Minimum” down payment assumes 3% down on a conventional mortgage with a minimum credit score of 620.

If you're eligible for a VA loan (backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs) or a USDA loan (backed by the US Department of Agriculture), you may not need any down payment at all.

First-time home buyer loans in Kansas

If you’re a first-time home buyer in Kansas with a 20% down payment, you can get a conventional loan with a low interest rate and no private mortgage insurance (PMI). Of course, few first-time buyers have saved enough for 20% down. But the good news is that you don’t need that much. Not by a long shot.

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Borrowers can often get into a new home with as little as 3% or even 0% down using one of these low-down-payment mortgage programs:

  • Conventional 97: From Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. 3% down payment and 620 minimum FICO score. You can usually stop paying mortgage insurance after a few years once you reach 20% home equity
  • FHA loan: Backed by the Federal Housing Administration. 3.5% down and a 580 minimum credit score. But you’re on the hook for mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) until you refinance to a different type of mortgage, move, or pay off your loan
  • VA loan: Only for veterans and service members. Zero down payment is required. Minimum credit score varies by lender but often 620. No ongoing mortgage insurance after closing. These are arguably the best mortgages available, so apply if you’re eligible
  • USDA loan: For those on low-to-moderate incomes buying in designated rural areas. Zero down payment required. Credit score requirements vary by lender but often 640. Low mortgage insurance rates
  • Kansas Housing loans: May come with generous down payment assistance. More information below

Note that government loan programs (including the FHA, VA, and USDA home loans) require you to buy a primary residence. That means you can’t use these loans for a vacation home or investment property.

Depending on your mortgage loan, you could get into your new house with minimal cash out of pocket. These programs even let you use gifted money or down payment assistance (DPA) to cover the down payment and closing costs.

If you’re unsure which program to choose for your first mortgage, your lender or real estate agent can help you find the right match based on your finances and home buying goals.

Kansas first-time home buyer programs

Unlike most other states, the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) doesn’t appear to offer special mortgages to first-time buyers. But if you borrow through one of the organization’s participating lenders, you may be in line for down payment assistance. Read on for more about that.

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Work with an approved lender to decide what type of mortgage would suit you best (FHA, VA, USDA, or conventional—see above). But get quotes from several lenders. Mortgage rates and eligibility vary considerably between different lenders, and you need to find the one offering the best deal.

Beyond the requirements outlined by your chosen mortgage program, KHRC doesn’t impose any additional qualifying standards. But there are special requirements for down payment or closing cost assistance.

Kansas first-time home buyer grants

First-time home buyers in Kansas can choose from a handful of statewide programs designed to help those with low to moderate incomes. Each program has its own eligibility requirements, typically including purchase price caps and income limits.

Kansas Housing First-Time Homebuyer Program

For the right buyer, KHRC offers The First-Time Homebuyer Program. This homeownership program can offer significant help with your down payment. Here are the main details:

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  • You can borrow 15% or 20% of the purchase price as a second mortgage. So you may be able to get a conventional loan with no mortgage insurance
  • That second mortgage is a “silent” one. That means a 0% interest rate and no monthly payments
  • As long as you’re still in residence and haven’t sold, transferred, or refinanced your mortgage by the end of Year 10, the loan is forgiven. Yep, the debt just disappears
  • The loan is forgiven in stages over time. If you move, sell, transfer ownership, or refinance during those 10 years, you will still owe the unused portion

There are a few eligibility requirements, though.

  • You must meet income limits. Your annual income can’t exceed 80% of the area median income. Check the household income limits where you wish to buy
  • You must also contribute 2% of the home’s purchase price from your own pocket

Even if you qualify, you need to plan to live in your home for many years—ideally, at least 10. But the longer you stay below that, the more you’ll benefit.

Note that this program doesn’t operate in Topeka, Lawrence, Wichita, Kansas City, or Johnson County. That’s because those places have their own down payment assistance programs, and you should apply for those.

This is a brilliant offering if you qualify, bring a 2% contribution, and plan to stay put for a decade. Otherwise, not so much.

Kansas DPA

KansasDPA provides statewide assistance for down payments. In addition to receiving a portion of the purchase price to help with closing or down payment costs, prospective home buyers may also be eligible for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan. You must satisfy a number of requirements to be eligible, including meeting purchase price limits and having a credit score of at least 640. You’ll also need to use an approved lender.

Remember that the KansasDPA program’s accessibility is contingent on the current state of the market.

FHLBank Topeka Homeownership Set-Aside Program

FHLBank Topeka administers the Homeownership Set-Aside Program, which assists first-time home buyers with their down payment, closing costs, and even repair costs for fixer-uppers. If you qualify, you stand to receive a grant between $2,500 and $7,500 that is forgiven entirely after five years. If the buyer sells their home or refinances before that, they must repay the grant.

To apply, your household income cannot exceed 80% of the area median income (AMI), and you must be an FHLBank member.

Other Kansas first-time home buyer assistance programs

You should also look into down payment assistance programs your county or city offers. Perhaps you’ll find a better deal with one of them.

For example, the City of Leavenworth offers up to $8,000 in grant money to first-time home buyers who purchase within the city limits. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds this initiative, known as the Home Ownership Program, through a Community Development Block Grant.

In addition, if you live in Topeka, the city offers the Opportunity to Own (TOTO) Program to first-time buyers. It is aimed at helping low-income families in purchasing their first home in Topeka by providing home buyer education courses, down payment assistance, and money to help with home repairs.

More information on both of these DPAs, as well as other housing assistance programs, can be found in our resources section below.

Buying a home in Kansas’s major cities

Some of the Sunflower State’s most affordable housing can be found in Wichita and Kansas City. So any Kansas first-time home buyer should check those out, provided they meet your plans, needs, and lifestyle. Unfortunately, if your heart’s set on Overland Park, prices are a little higher.

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Wichita first-time home buyers

The median list price of homes in Wichita was $284,500 in February 2024. That increased 3.5% year-over-year, according to Realtor.com.

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $8,535 for 3% down payment
  • $56,900 for 20% down payment

The City of Wichita’s Housing and Community Services department offers its HOMEownership 80 Program. You’ll need a relatively modest income to qualify. Check out the household income caps on the program’s website in the resources section below.

Like Kansas Housing’s offering, this appears to be a forgivable, silent second mortgage. So, no monthly payments, and a 0% interest rate. And you may be able to borrow up to 20% of the home’s purchase price plus $2,000 toward closing costs, though that’s capped at “the amount required by your first mortgage lender for loan approval.”

As for the “forgivable” part, the website says: “One-half of the loan will be forgiven following a period of 5 years if your loan is less than $15,000, or a period of 10 years if your loan is greater than $15,000. You must continue to own and occupy the home for the specified period to be eligible for loan forgiveness. Your loan documents will specify the exact terms in this regard.”

Overland Park first-time home buyers

The median list price of homes in Overland Park was $662,800 in February 2024. That decreased 9.9% year-over-year, according to Realtor.com.

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $19,884 for 3% down payment
  • $132,560 for 20% down payment

Overland Park does not seem to have its own down payment assistance program. But you can apply to Kansas Housing’s statewide program instead.

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Kansas City first-time home buyers

The median list price of homes in Kansas City was $200,000 in February 2024. That held flat year-over-year, according to Realtor.com.

If you want to buy a home at that median price, your down payment options might fall between:

  • $6,000 for 3% down payment
  • $40,000 for 20% down payment

Kansas Housing says its program doesn’t extend to Kansas City because the city has its own down payment assistance program. But we searched the website of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City and could find no trace of one.

We suggest you call the unified government’s offices at (913) 573-5311 to see if we’ve missed something. If we haven’t, call Kansas Housing at (785) 217-2001 to see if you can apply after all.

Where to find home buying help in Kansas

In addition to our selection, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides lists of statewide, regional, and local resources.

Check your home buying eligibility in Kansas. Start here

Statewide and regional Kansas first-time home buyer programs

Kansas home buyer programs by city or town

  • Lawrence: Homeownership assistance programs through a partnership of the City of Lawrence and Tenants to Homeowners
  • Leavenworth: First Time Home Buyer Assistance Program
  • Topeka: Home Buyer Assistance Program (Topeka Opportunity To Own)
  • Wichita: HOMEownership 80 Program

What are today’s mortgage rates in Kansas?

You can see today’s live mortgage rates in Kansas here. Experiment with a mortgage calculator to see how a down payment, interest rates, homeowners insurance, and property taxes affect your monthly mortgage payment.

When you’re ready to start the home buying process, get personalized rate quotes from at least three mortgage lenders. Don’t just look at advertised rates online; apply for preapproval and compare the interest rates and fees offered. Because that’s the only way to know you get the best deal possible on your new home loan.

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1Source: Redfin Kansas Housing Market report

2Source: Experian.com study of 2022 and 2021 data

3Based on a review of the state's available DPA grants at the time this was written

Peter Warden
Authored By: Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Peter Warden has been writing for a decade about mortgages, personal finance, credit cards, and insurance. His work has appeared across a wide range of media. He lives in a small town with his partner of 25 years.
Ryan Tronier
Updated By: Ryan Tronier
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Ryan Tronier is a personal finance writer and editor. His work has been published on NBC, ABC, USATODAY, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, and more. Ryan is the former managing editor of the finance website Sapling, as well as the former personal finance editor at Slickdeals.
Paul Centopani
Reviewed By: Paul Centopani
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Paul Centopani is a writer and editor who started covering the lending and housing markets in 2018. Previous to joining The Mortgage Reports, he was a reporter for National Mortgage News. Paul grew up in Connecticut, graduated from Binghamton University and now lives in Chicago after a decade in New York and the D.C. area.