Table of Contents
- Why Buy a House in McKinney?
- Get to Know McKinney
- School Zone
- Know Your Down Payment
- Talk to a Lender
- Comps & Negotiation
- Get It Inspected
- Final Walkthrough
Why Buy a Home in McKinney?McKinney is an expanding suburban area in Collin County, north of Dallas County, and it’s quality of life is second to none. As a town, it came on the scene in 2008, and debuted at #14 on Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live in America. It climbed to #5 in 2010, number #2 in 2012, and finally #1 in 2014, and there’s much more to come. Nowhere else can you get the combination of small-town charm, urban trends, social and family life, European architecture and affordable Texas housing. It’s quaint and bustling, and tuned-out and plugged-in. Oh, and McKinney is the capital of the the crepe myrtle.
Get To Know McKinneyWhen buying a home in McKinney, there are essentially four main areas centered around the north side of the intersection of the Sam Rayburn Tollway and US Highway 75, extending to U.S Route 380.
East McKinneyThe older side of McKinney is east of 75, and here you’ll usually find one-story homes with a median house price of $232,500 and average year built of 1968. Make sure you the seller provides you with full disclosure about any possible lead paint used in homes built before 1978. It’s the law! Lots of fixer-uppers and renovations here, and you can pick up a really trendy home with a classic retro exterior and completely remodeled interior.
West McKinneyWest of 75 is where the newer side of McKinney’s growth began back in the 90s. Look here if larger and more stately homes are more your thing, and expect to drop around $315,000 for a four-bedroom, 2,500 square foot home built in the early to mid 2000s.
New ConstructionNew construction is expanding northward to the fast developing east-west 380 highway, otherwise known as the Golden Corridor, and southbound towards the Tollway. In these areas you’ll find brand new homes averaging at around $380,000 for four-bedroom homes at around 3,000 square feet, and with all the modern trimmings. If “zero-lot” homes are your thing, i.e. small backyards, but maintained shared common areas, this is your new home in McKinney.
DowntownFinally, there’s a spot for the keen buyer with a lot of TLC to give, and that’s downtown McKinney. It’s experiencing a renaissance of art, music, gourmet dining and start-up companies. Houses here in downtown McKinney start at just under $250K, but keep a good amount of Gs in your pocket for updating them.
Price TrendsNice growth, right? I know, I know, and we all wish we had bought in 2009, but look at 2018. We’re experiencing a slowdown after the “Toyota Bump” when they moved their headquarters nearby to Plano, TX. The market is correcting, and it’s a good time to buy. Look at this graph which shows how long homes sit on the market before getting sold: The longer homes sit on the market, the more sellers are willing to bargain. Case in point: In short, this is the best buyer’s market in McKinney in years!
School ZoneThere’s not much I can say about the school districts in this area that hasn’t already been said. However, what matters to you is knowing what school your children will go to after buying a home in McKinney, and how far away it is. Fortunately, that’s as simple as clicking here. The listing info for a home in McKinney could be outdated, and sometimes agents make mistakes. So it’s always best to verify everything for yourself. Even this app could be wrong, but you can go here to see accurate maps published by McKinney ISD. For other options, check out the Imagine International Academy of North Texas, a publicly funded K-12 charter school where graduates can apply to any university in the world.
CommuteThe average commuter drives 27 minutes to get to work from their home in McKinney. Consider Dallas Fort-Worth is massively spread out, and that’s actually great here for local folks. We consider anything within 30-minutes-drive to be practically next door. On top of that, and everything you need for living is within McKinney itself. You could even work here. Imagine biking to work on one of our many protected Bicycle Boulevards.
TaxesFor those of you moving to McKinney from out-of-state, you’re about to learn how Texas pays for things despite not having a state income tax. Property tax. McKinney clocks in at just under 2.38%, and that goes to fund schools, services, roads and all the expansion we see daily around us. Proposition A just passed on November 6th, and that will issue $600M in bonds to build non-toll highways for McKinney’s growing infrastructure. That is a blessing, and for a metroplex that is notoriously dependent on tollways to get around fast, a discount. Living in McKinney comes with inalienable rights, and one of which is you don’t have to show to the government how much you paid for your house. That’s right, they have to guess. And they often guess wrong in the wrong way, but you can protest their assessment once a year.
Know Your Down PaymentNow we’re getting serious. I consider education on this matter to be so important that I’ve devoted a section of one of my main pages on this site to the issue. 20% down has long been the gold standard for buying a home, but it’s not the only way.
VA LoansFor veterans, you can get 0% down payment. Nothing like paying nothing and getting the key in your hand, and walking in the door as a return for your service.
USDA Loans0% down payment is also on offer from the government to settle in “rural” areas. Buying a home in McKinney, that means places that are not the centers of development, but they will be. Get a killer deal on some land and a homestead, and remember the words of Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams: “If you build it, home equity will come.”
FHA LoansThese are guaranteed by the government, and if you qualify for FHA, you can buy a house with only 3.5% down payment. That’s practically giving it away. You may be thinking you have bad credit, but it’s surprisingly easy to get approved for FHA. (That’s the Federal Housing Administration, and they exist to help people become homeowners.) (In other words, the opposite of Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which existed to help people lose their homes.)
Conventional LoansConventional, or an otherwise fancy word for normal mortgage loans that cost more upfront. They start at 5%, and are usually said to make the most sense at 20%. For all the other loans we’ve discussed, you have to pay more per month in something called PMI, or private mortgage insurance. What that means is, you thought you were saving money on the down payment, but you thought wrong, and you’ll pay for that over the next 30 years! Just kidding. All these loans serve their purpose depending on what works best for you. (That, and it could also be something you’re paying for only 15 years.) Confused yet? Great!
Talk to a LenderThey’re not scary, I promise. If they were, I wouldn’t always be hassling them to hurry up and close loans on time for my clients! Look, lenders want your business. They are in the business of selling money, and they would like nothing more than to sell their money to you. Take advantage of that, and use them as a resource when you’re dipping your toes into the real estate market for buying a home in McKinney, and for when you’ve found the one you love. They’ll teach you for free on how to improve and arrange your finances to get pre-approved for a loan, and that’s when you can start home shopping!
Tip: Don’t rule out your small, local lenders. They’re fast and flexible, and want to earn your business.
The big names like Chase and Bank of America will entice you with potentially lower rates if you are already have an account with them, but if you’ve ever spent an hour on hold with customer service only to press “4,”, I need not say more.