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Habitat Homeowners Share Their Top Tips

Twin Cities Habitat recently expanded its homeownership program to include the option of buying with Habitat on the open real estate market. Qualified homebuyers still receive the same education and support to become successful homeowners, and then they can work with a realtor of their choice on the open market. This allows folks to buy a home they love with a mortgage they can afford.

We caught up with a few people who bought homes with Habitat on the open market. They shared how long their home search took and some of their top tips.

 Kera reading to her daughter

Kera reading with her daughter in their home.

Kera's Tips

Timing: Found her home four months after being approved.

Tips:

  • Look past things like paint color, furnishings, and decor. Can you imagine your own furniture, artwork, paint colors, etc. in the space?
  • Find the realtor that works the best for you. My first realtor didn't work out well, so I switched.

  • For some - do check out open houses in the area you are interested in, even before pre-approval. I did this to get a feel of what would be available in my price range once I was approved. This is actually how I found my realtor also.  (This does not work for everyone, for some it might lead to disappointment at seeing a house and not being ready to buy.  I looked at it as research.)

  • It's a long process, so patience is key. I had at least two offers where I was immediately out-bid.

  • When you're first looking, you need to look for something that you can really see yourself in.

  • Check the home listings right away every morning so you can be one of the first to see a new home that just went on the market.

  • I’m a firm believer that there’s something out there for everybody. You’re going to find the one for you—I promise!

Marinette's tips

Timing: Found her home three to four months after being approved.

Tips:

  • We were looking for a kid-friendly neighborhood, good school district, fenced-in yard for our kids, master bathroom, etc. But our priority changed throughout the search because when you start searching that is when reality comes in!

  • Let your agent know what you are looking for, and make sure he or she is working for your own good—not hers or his . He or she has to show you that you matter, that you are not just one more client or number.

  • Inform yourself well because this is one of the biggest purchases of your life!

  • Be patient and take your time.

  • Don't be afraid to speak your mind or don't be intimidated by your agent because they want to rush you through the process.

  • Be open-minded, because when you start looking for a house this is when reality starts to kick in. COMPROMISE!

Komi's tips

Timing: Found his home two months after being approved

Tips:

  • Know where you want to buy your future home based on your dreams, your kids' school, the programs they are having after school, your church, your babysitters. The answers to all these questions will help you find the city where you want to buy your house.

  • Use all the resources of Habitat, and the classes you are taking.

  • Check out niche.com and realtor.com and download their phone apps. They will help you to see what homes people are buying and how much they are.

  • Although you will have your realtor, don't forget that Habitat has people like Adade who you can call for a second opinion.

  • Know the type of house you are looking for (I was looking for a split-level home).

  • Have a picture of your home in your mind, and when you see it you will say "THIS IS IT! This is what I am looking for!"


Kera playing cards with her family

If you or someone you know is thinking about buying a home, Habitat's Homeownership Program might be perfect! You can easily learn more about the program and find out of you might qualify right now online

Buy a home with Habitat - find out if you're eligible

Blake MacKenzie

Blake MacKenzie

Blake MacKenzie's journey with Habitat began in 2013, and in that time he's worked as a Development Assistant Intern, Advocacy Intern, Development Associate, and is now the Communications Specialist. Prior to Habitat, he graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead with majors in English Writing and Biology and a minor in Chemistry, and worked as a Community Organizer. He's an avid reader, makes a good risotto, and enjoys the great outdoors.

Topics: Homebuyer Tips, Homeownership Program, 2019

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