Home Buying

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PhilmerPhil
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Home Buying

Postby PhilmerPhil » May 7th, 2014, 7:59 pm

General home buying discussion can go into this thread.

My wife and I are looking to buy a house in Minneapolis in the next year and the whole process seems kinda daunting to me. I thought I'd come here to see if anyone had any recommendations on good realtors or mortgage lenders that work well with guiding first time home buyers looking to buy in the city.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Home Buying

Postby David Greene » May 7th, 2014, 9:31 pm

PhilmerPhil wrote:My wife and I are looking to buy a house in Minneapolis in the next year and the whole process seems kinda daunting to me. I thought I'd come here to see if anyone had any recommendations on good realtors or mortgage lenders that work well with guiding first time home buyers looking to buy in the city.
Welcome to the homebuyers club! There are some really great houses in Minneapolis but it takes some effort to find the real gems. Patience will pay off big time. If you tell me where you're looking I can maybe look up some contacts and see if they know people.

Unfortunately, the realtor I used is not someone I would use again, nor the original lender. The realtor literally tried to illegally steer me though I don't think it was intentional. But that's the sinister nature of structural racism. It's never intentional, yet it happens and bad things result.

The lender was definitely one of those who didn't care at all whether I could actually afford the mortgage. Looking back, I probably bought too much house but was fortunate that I could manage to cover the payments until I could refinance. I was naive and I feel the lender took advantage of that. I was a lot luckier than some. After refinancing a couple of times I'm very happy with the loan from our credit union. I would definitely go the credit union route if you can.

The biggest underappreciated part of the process is the inspection. Get lots of recommendations for those. Again, I didn't have a lot of resources to lean on so I just took the first inspector I found. Big mistake. The guy missed several large problems that I had to pay to fix a year later. I'm talking life & death type problems that needed immediate fixing and I didn't really have the financial reserves to do it. But I had to do it anyway.

Since you're looking to buy in Minneapolis, find people familiar with old houses. Old houses operate a lot differently than newer stuff. I can't believe how many different opinions I've received regarding what to do to seal up our attic. It's amazing how ignorant supposed professionals are. Ask people how much experience they have in the areas you're looking. Don't settle.

There are some things I wish I had known before looking at old houses. I wanted something close to original - woodwork, rope & pulley windows, etc. I ended up with something I'm very happy with but I might have looked a little closer had I known some of this stuff.

- Ask if there is any insulation in the walls. It turns out our house has some but we've only had one part tested. Who knows if the whole house is insulated or not?

- If you want original windows, they're hard to find. They leak a lot. Ask if the "rough openings" around the windows and doors have been insulated. But be prepared to spend more for heating. I'm crazy about rope & pulley so I'm willing to spend a bit more.

- I would kill for the original stained glass windows in our house. If you value cohesive, beautiful architecture, look for a house that still has them. But be warned that they're pretty rare.

- Not every house has had the trim ripped out. I looked at a lot of houses that were horribly mutilated, so when I found our house had the original trim downstairs, I was overjoyed. But we'll have to replaced the ugly ranch-style trim upstairs at some point. I'm willing to do it but again you can avoid that cost by being a little more picky. A common thing to look for is door and window headers that are simple flat pieces of wood with no beveling or framing whatsoever. These have had their decorative crowns removed, probably because the crowns collect dust so people got tired of cleaning them. But the crowns are an integral part of the architecture.

- The library has some great books covering domestic interior architecture for the period many Minneapolis homes were built. I tried to find the book I read a couple of years ago but I searched for a while without luck. Search under Architecture: Domestic - United States for some references. There are books there with illustrations showing how the interior trim of period houses should look.

- Everything original in our house is in fantastic shape. Everything that's been redone is falling apart. Ask about renovations and be very suspect about their quality. Ask who did the renovation. If the owners don't know you can look up the permit records at the city and find out. If there are no permits it's a huge red flag. Check previous Minneapolis/St. Paul Home Tour guides to find reputable remodelers. If they've worked on a Home Tour house it's likely they did a good job.

- We want to reopen our enclosed porches. Enclosed porches sound very practical but it turns out they're not that useful. I do relax there sometimes but I would do it a lot more if they were connected to the outside (i.e. open). They're really just impractically oddly shaped small three-season rooms that just end up feeling stuffy and claustrophobic.

- And old house should have a small vestibule with a door to the outside and a second door to the inside. This is because the porches were open and the vestibule served an insulating function. If the house doesn't have a vestibule, it's been altered. That's not necessarily bad but it 's something to be aware of.

- Check the hardwood floors for areas that have been patched to get an idea of possible alterations. The floors can tell you a lot of things like where walls used to be or where radiators were originally. Radiators were often moved to thermally inappropriate places in a miguided attempt to create more usable space in a room. Trust the original designers. They knew what they were doing.

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Nathan
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Re: Home Buying

Postby Nathan » May 7th, 2014, 9:40 pm

I had an amazing experience with Daniel Deroschers cbb team. my realtor was Isaac Johnson. they have their stuff together, and are good with first timers.

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Nathan
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Re: Home Buying

Postby Nathan » May 7th, 2014, 9:41 pm

my mortgage officer was awesome too. Sally Settle with alerus.

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Re: Home Buying

Postby twincitizen » May 8th, 2014, 7:01 am

You should go with urbanmsp's own spdcheetah: http://www.cbburnet.com/real_estate_age ... nberg.aspx

Thanks for starting this thread. I've been meaning to create one similar, for urbanmsp'ers to share house listings, experiences with searching, buying, etc.

Though I'm not ready to buy right now, I've been looking at real estate listings and going to open houses for close to a decade (dating back to before I even went back and finished college). In 2006, I came damn close to making the fool mistake of buying a townhouse in Oakdale or Maplewood, before I was hip to cities and stuff. Thank god I didn't go through with it. Chances are I would have been so underwater, I would have walked away from the mortgage and probably never finished school either.

I gotta agree with others, don't rush it. Take your time and look at a lot of houses. Look at some bad ones so you know what you want to avoid. Look at some that are just out of your price range and some that are below your price range, to get a better idea of what you're paying for.

Since I am not married, it really limits the amount of house I'd be able to afford on my income alone. Mostly what I can afford would be total crap (under $160,000) so I think I'm just better off waiting until I make more money or get married.

mattaudio
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Re: Home Buying

Postby mattaudio » May 8th, 2014, 8:31 am

Nothing wrong with buying a "total crap" house in your price range, then using cash and hard work to double its value.

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John21
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Re: Home Buying

Postby John21 » May 8th, 2014, 5:48 pm

This is helpful- http://www.livemsp.org/

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Home Buying

Postby FISHMANPET » May 8th, 2014, 5:51 pm

I like to keep an eye on houses for the hell of it, maybe in a few years I'll buy. I reall want to buy a dump and then renovate it. Screw historic character, I'll make my own.

mattaudio
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Re: Home Buying

Postby mattaudio » May 9th, 2014, 8:57 am

As far as realtors go, I recommend Chris Dennis. http://www.lakesarearealty.com/agents.php?aid=120
He's also helped probably a dozen friends and family purchase homes since mine.
He has a good eye and vision for older homes, spotting places that have good bones but plenty of value-add opportunity.

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Re: Renting vs. Owning | Apartments vs. Condos

Postby QuietBlue » April 18th, 2016, 9:25 pm

I feel like every article I've seen about the supposed house shortage for first-time buyers is about the same four or five neighborhoods in south Minneapolis. Apparently affordable houses do not exist anywhere else in the city, let alone St. Paul or the rest of the metro area.

grant1simons2
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Re: Renting vs. Owning | Apartments vs. Condos

Postby grant1simons2 » April 18th, 2016, 9:52 pm

I guess it's all a race to put in an offer now. But look at this lovely house in Longfellow that just went on the market 3 days ago for $200k!

http://www.edinarealty.com/homes-for-sa ... -176029100

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Re: Renting vs. Owning | Apartments vs. Condos

Postby twincitizen » April 19th, 2016, 9:45 am

Is anyone else here house shopping right now, particularly in the $200,000 - $225,000 range? (previously known as the $175,000-$200,000 range like two years ago :x) Interest rates are VERY enticing right now, but man it is slim pickens out here. I'm looking all over south Minneapolis (south of Lake) and Richfield. Pretty much every new listing I come across has a contingent offer within two weeks. I've even seen scheduled open houses cancelled due to pending offers.

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Re: Renting vs. Owning | Apartments vs. Condos

Postby xandrex » April 19th, 2016, 10:14 am

A lot of my coworkers are in their mid to late 20s and are just getting married and going house shopping with roughly the same budget. I think maybe one of them found something in South Minneapolis. The rest all ended up in Richfield, St. Louis Park, or further out. It's definitely not easy! Makes renting very attractive (not that I have the down payment anyway).

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Re: Renting vs. Owning | Apartments vs. Condos

Postby EOst » April 23rd, 2016, 8:30 am

QuietBlue wrote:I feel like every article I've seen about the supposed house shortage for first-time buyers is about the same four or five neighborhoods in south Minneapolis. Apparently affordable houses do not exist anywhere else in the city, let alone St. Paul or the rest of the metro area.
http://www.twincities.com/2016/04/22/a- ... 1461342014
"Housing market is booming in St. Paul's hard-hit East Side"
For one demographic in particular, the East Side is proving particularly attractive.

“The majority of my clients in the last year have been Millennials. It’s becoming the hipster hood,” Thomas said. “They’re moving here because they’re getting priced out elsewhere in St. Paul.”
Maybe hipsters just like old, reasonably priced houses. Here's what's left of the East Side from 1920 (bluest = oldest):

Image

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Re: Renting vs. Owning | Apartments vs. Condos

Postby VAStationDude » April 23rd, 2016, 9:48 am

I know someone who sold a 900 ft2 move in ready home in North (4200 block a little west of lyndale) above the asking price within five days of listing it.

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Anondson
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Re: Renting vs. Owning | Apartments vs. Condos

Postby Anondson » April 23rd, 2016, 10:29 am

Map Monday candidate!

twincitizen
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Re: Renting vs. Owning | Apartments vs. Condos

Postby twincitizen » April 27th, 2016, 2:26 pm

Lots of millennials want to buy homes, but can't (yet): http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/n ... ities.html

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Re: Renting vs. Owning | Apartments vs. Condos

Postby mattaudio » April 27th, 2016, 2:32 pm

Twin Cities renters who are waiting to buy estimated they would need to save an average of $28,008 for a down payment, but reported having only $5,622 saved so far, which means they won't have enough for nearly 10 years.
In what world are people who, by their own admission, are on track to buy a house... only able to save $2239 a year for it?!? $186 a month? Ridiculous. Get mustachian, people. I think there are plenty of reasons why Millenials aren't buying homes (maybe because they want homes in expensive urban neighborhoods and not starter homes in Rogers) but I don't buy the fact that they aren't able to save for a down payment over the course of a few years. Even with student loans.

twincitizen
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Re: Renting vs. Owning | Apartments vs. Condos

Postby twincitizen » April 27th, 2016, 2:33 pm

Also, completely separate from the above, has anyone here gotten a mortgage recently? Where'd you go through? Did you shop around much?

Most importantly, anyone here use MHFA downpayment assistance or any other type of programs to buy?

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mister.shoes
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Re: Renting vs. Owning | Apartments vs. Condos

Postby mister.shoes » April 27th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Bought my place with a first-time homebuyer's loan through Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. There were tighter restrictions on what I could buy, but I was able to avoid PMI with less than 20% down. We refinanced through Wings Financial two years ago: moved to a 15-year, did some other stuff, etc. In neither case did I shop around much. I had a buddy at WFHM who helped me the first time and we really wanted to go with the neighborhood credit union the second time.

P.S. I have no idea if that WFHM program still exists. That was 2008/2009.
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