Category Archives: First Time Home Buyer Grants

Anoka County First Time Home Buyer, MN Down Payment Assistance

Anoka_County_First_Time_Home_BuyerAn Anoka County first time home buyer knows that they’re moving into a place where suburban communities mix with open land, with good access to the Twin Cities, but rural enough for breathing room and relaxation at home. The region used to be known for its many fur traders in olden times. Today, Anoka County has many people with German, Norwegian and Swedish ancestry.

The hustle and bustle of big city life is not what you’ll find in Anoka County. It’s a laid back area known for outdoor recreational opportunities. Located about a half hour drive north of the Twin Cities, An Anoka County first time home buyer finds themselves living in the fourth most populous county in the metro area– it’s a growing, thriving place–yet not too overrun with people and buildings to feel cramped.

Do you own a boat? Do you like to fish? Anoka County is a great place to do both activities. Ice fishing in the winter is popular here.

Some of the places you should consider looking at as an Anoka County first time home buyer include the communities of Andover, Blaine, Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, and Fridley. In Blaine, you can visit the National Sports Center as well as the Northtown Mall. Columbia Heights features the landmark Heights Theater, built in 1926. And Coon Rapids is home to Bunker Beach, Minnesota’s largest outdoor water park, open during the summer months. On Main Street in Anoka, you can see theatrical productions for a reasonable price at the Lyric Arts Main Street Stage where patrons will tell you there’s not a bad seat in the house.

From culture to nature, Anoka County is a gem of a place to live in MN. By the way, The Mississippi River and The Rum River run through Anoka County. If you like living on or near rivers and lakes, become an Anoka County first time home buyer with the help of Lake Area Mortgage. Call 651-209-2900 to ask about down payment assistance and more.

MN Housing in Washington County, MN Down Payment Assistance

mn_housing_in_washington_countyMinnesota is a big state. You could choose to live anywhere in Minnesota, but for the purposes of this article let’s consider MN housing in Washington County.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Washington County, it’s at the easternmost end of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. If you’re in Washington County and head east, you’ll soon be in Wisconsin.

Washington County is spread out over 423 square miles, with a variety of housing options to choose from in a wide range of different settings. You can live in suburban Oakdale (near St. Paul) or if you want a more rural feel, Afton, which reminds many people of Northern MN. MN Housing in Washington County is also popular for people who want resort-like settings, with stylish and serene lakefront and riverfront homes. Minnesota is known for its many lakes, and they’re all over Washington County. You should check out beautiful Lake Elmo in particular. Stillwater, MN is the county seat, and it overlooks the St. Croix River.

You get the best of both worlds– well three worlds actually– when you live in Washington County. One moment you’re in “the city,” and the next you’re in “the suburbs,” and soon after you find yourself in the rustic, rural areas where there are farmlands, wide open spaces and splendid vistas.

Lake Area Mortgage, a division of Lake Area Bank, can help you find and buy MN housing in Washington County. Down payment assistance is available for qualified buyers. Call Lake Area Mortgage at 651-209-2900 before you start searching for a new place to live– Lake Area Mortgage is in the business of helping people with the process of purchasing a new home in Minnesota, and Washington County is one of those beautiful places where people want to live, work and play! It combines natural beauty with modern amenities and facilities.

Purchasing a New Home in Minnesota, MN Down Payment Assistance

Purchasing_a_New_Home_in_MinnesotaIf you’re thinking of purchasing a new home in Minnesota, you’ve heard of Minneapolis and St. Paul, aka “the Twin Cities.” But there are other communities nearby you should know about, and one, in particular, is a place worth noting– St. Anthony.

As a “first-ring” suburb of Minneapolis, St. Anthony is five miles away from the center of Minneapolis and eight miles from St. Paul. Even though it’s relatively close to the “big cities,” St. Anthony has the charm and character of a small village. In fact, it’s referred to as “The Village” by locals. With about 8,000 people, St. Anthony is small enough that you can know your neighbor if you want to, as well as the names of the people who work at the local stores and restaurants. The infrastructure is set up so the community works well for walkers, bikers and drivers.

Interestingly, St. Anthony is a place where little to no new construction of homes occurs. But that may change in the coming years, as people from downtown Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota start looking for places to move.

When you’re thinking of purchasing a new home in Minnesota, St. Anthony is not the place to look– it doesn’t have brand new homes. It does, however, have classy, beautiful traditional homes with character. And it’s a walkable area, with nice parks, a municipal golf course, and good schools. Residents love living in “a village within the city,” and recreational amenities like Silver Lake and bike paths make it a nice place to raise a family.

Lake Area Mortgage, a division of Lake Area Bank, can help you find and buy a nice home in St. Anthony, MN. Down payment assistance is available for qualified buyers. Call Lake Area Mortgage at 651-209-2900 before you start searching for a new place to live– Lake Area Mortgage is in the business of helping people with the process of purchasing a new home in Minnesota.

First Time Home Buyer 2015, MN Down Payment Assistance

first_time_home_buyer_2015Do you plan to be a first time home buyer 2015? Now’s a good time to start looking around at homes for sale in the 13-county Minneapolis-St. Paul region. Did you know that inventory is up almost 9 percent from last year? That means there are more homes for you to choose from at this time– over 18,000, actually.

When there’s a limited supply of homes available on the market, competition can get fierce. However, buyers right now don’t have to compete as much as they used to because there’s “enough to go around,” as they say. Indeed, there are new builds as well as plenty of traditional homes on the market for the end of 2014 and into the beginning of 2015.

Did you know the median sales price is $219,000 for the region? So half of the homes are under that price, while the other half are above. Prices have steadily risen in Minneapolis-St. Paul for the past 30 years.

Today there are less foreclosure and short sale closings than in years prior– and that’s a good thing. It means the housing market and the local economy are in balance.

Furthermore, now’s a good time to plan on being a first time home buyer 2015 as interest rates remain relatively low.

It’s actually a very good time to buy a “traditional home,” as they comprise the majority of new listings in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region.

While the median sales price is $219K, the median list price is $235K. That tells you that area homes are selling below their asking price!

Lake Area Mortgage, a division of Lake Area Bank, can help a first time home buyer 2015– down payment assistance is available for qualified buyers. Call Lake Area Mortgage at 651-209-2900 and ask how they can help you buy your first home in the next few months.

First Time Home Buyer Incentives

Who is a first time home buyer? You might be surprised to learn that there is more than one answer to this question. Of course someone who has never owned a home before is considered a first time home buyer but, unknown to many, other people not fitting that description might also be considered first time home buyers. Here are others who count as first time home buyers:

  1. An individual who has not owned a home for at least three years is also considered a first time home buyer.
  2. First time home buyers can also be displaced homemakers or single parents who have only owned a home with a former spouse.
  3. If you owned a home that was not permanently affixed to a foundation, such as a mobile home, you could be considered a first time home buyer.

The U.S. government wants low- and moderate-income families or individuals be able to own homes. At the same time the government and mortgage lenders recognize that purchasing a home is quite costly and offer first time home buyer incentives to help people become homeowners who might not otherwise be able to.

First time home buyer loans are available through Minnesota Housing, which offers three down payment and closing cost loan options referred to as “Start Up,” “Step Up,” and the “Mortgage Credit Certificate.” All of these affordable loans are meant to help finance the buying and/or repair of homes so people with limited incomes or savings can obtain affordable housing.

If you fit any of the first time home buyer descriptions above call Lake Area Mortgage, a Division of Lake Area Bank at 651-209-2900 and discuss your situation and needs with an experienced team member who can help you navigate the various loan programs available to you. We will work with you plan a course of action and give you the advice you need to help you get financial assistance buying your first home in Minnesota.

First Time Minority Home Buyers In MN

The minority home ownership rate in MN has declined again which represents a prolonged trend of four years.

Minnesota housing officials state high minority unemployment rates are part of the cause. However the potential for home ownership rebounding because of record low home prices and lending rates.

Almost 75 percent of the state’s households owning their homes making Minnesota among the highest in home ownership rates in the country.

Minority households reached peak ownership in 2003 wtih just over 47 percent which is a hopeful sign that minorities were increasing wealth and entering into home ownership as MN first time home buyers.

However new census numbers illustrate MN home ownership rate for minorities is falling, indicated by Minnesota Housing Finance Agency commissioner Mary Tingerthall.

Home ownership rates dropped from 46.5 percent to 43.3 percent and that trend continued downward in 2010 to 41 percent,” she said.

Unemployment is part of the reason for declining minority home ownership rates in Minnesota. Unemployment in the general population is around 7 percent, but reaches 20 percent and higher for minorities, Tingerthall said.

“That, combined with tougher mortgage qualification standards, I think, has really landed a double whammy for communities of color.”

The MN Home Ownership Center reports there have been 100,000 home foreclosures with median home values decreasing by nearly 1/3.

Median Minnesota home values have plummeted on average by nearly a third.

However one homeowner’s pain is a potential home buyer’s gain, and there are many single family housing bargains at a time when interest rates are at record lows.

Tingerthall says, “It’s true that an average monthly mortgage payment costs more than rent.” However, the rental vacancy rate in parts of Minnesota is very low, and that puts upward pressure on rents.”

“Owners of rental properties will begin to see the opportunity for the first time in several years to raise their rents, so we’re concerned that people will really get caught in the squeeze not being able to qualify for a mortgage, at the same time seeing their rents going up.”

The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency has a program that this year will help slightly more than 2,000 MN first time home buyers. The Minnesota First Time Home Buyer Program helps with up to $8,500 down payment and closing costs and requires that they take housing classes to learn how to care for their property.

First Time Home Buyers In MN

Short sale transactions are becoming less popular among first-time home buyers. Buying a home in a short sale transaction may offer a huge bargain sale prices average 27 percent lower than non-distressed properties but more first-time home buyers say the processing delays aren’t worth the trouble.

Among first-time buyers, their short sale purchase share dropped to 39.7 percent of all short sale transactions in August posting a three-month drop and reaching its lowest share ever recorded for first-time home buyers, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey. In November 2009, first-time home buyers share of short sales had reached a peak of 54.1 percent of all short sale transactions.

With bargain deals, why are short sales losing their appeal? Buyers are complaining that short sale transactions take too long to close, with approval times often taking several months after a buyer even submits an offers. Some buyers frustrated at the delays are placing offers on multiple properties, planning to close on whichever one is approved the fastest. The average time on market for short sales is 16.6 weeks, and the majority of that time is spent waiting for short sale approval, the HousingPulse Tracking Survey found.

First Time Home Buyer’s Downpayment Still An Obstacle In MN

Trulia’s Fall 2011 American Dream survey reports more than 1/2 of all renters who would like to buy a home say they are unable to because of down payment requirements.

62% of young adults (18-34 year olds), state that as a first time home buyer, lack of down payment has prohibited them from buying a home. Home buyers aged 35-54 are more concerned with qualifying for a loan because of having poor credit.

From saving enough for a down payment to qualifying for a mortgage and having a poor credit history, today’s aspiring home owners face many financial obstacles in order achieve their American Dream of home ownership,” says Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist. “These obstacles keep some would-be home owners from taking advantage of low mortgage rates. On the other hand, they prevent some people from buying homes they can’t really afford. Government home ownership policies can target some of these obstacles to home ownership, but only stronger economic recovery will help households facing multiple obstacles become better able to buy homes.

MN First Time Home Buyer Loan Programs

#1 Top Producing Team for 2011 and 2012 in the entire State of Minnesota

First Time Home Buyers Entire MN 11 county metro Up to $10,000 down payment assistance.
Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Isanti, Sherburne, Wright, Chisago, Scott, Dakota, Ramsey, and Washington First Time Home Buyer Programs

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My team was awarded the 2011 and 2012 housing partnership award for our lending committment and top production for 1st time home buyers using Minnesota Housing products in support of affordable housing. Minnesota Housing Website.

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