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Building Community Blog

You may have already practiced this skill in your everyday life. Can you think of a time when you were hungry and wanted to go out to eat, but decided to stay in and cook rather than going out to your favorite restaurant?

Separating wants from needs is a skill that will serve you well as you begin looking for your first home. With our suggestions and a little brainstorming, you will be ready to create your first home checklist in no time.

To understand property taxes, it may help to start with something more familiar: Sales taxes. Imagine you're at a restaurant and you order $23 worth of food. But, when you received the bill, the total came out to $24.58. That's because there was $1.58 added in sales tax, which typically goes to your state government’s general fund.

It's much the same way with property taxes. You want to buy a house, which requires a monthly mortgage, but you also need to pay property taxes, which go towards specific government-funded activities. For first-time homebuyers, this can raise a lot of questions. So, we've created a list of frequently asked questions when it comes to your property taxes.


Choosing the right down payment amount has a big role to play in buying a house. Especially for first-time homebuyers, understanding the value of a down payment — and how it saves you money in the long run — may make it easier for you to save up.

Making a larger down payment means that you will have smaller mortgage payments each month. These monthly savings add up over the life the loan but require having more money available at the time of purchase.

There are a number of things you need to do before you close on a home. Things like applying for a loan, scheduling a home inspection, and purchasing homeowner’s insurance, just to name a few. To make the process easier to understand, here is a list of nine things you’ll need to do before closing on your new home.

Before you buy a new home, the first thing you should do is determine what you can afford. Experts recommend that you spend no more than 30% of your gross income (income before any taxes are taken away) on your mortgage.

Everyone is different, and everyone has different things they need to consider when buying a home. From establishing your current monthly costs to researching home prices, here are a few questions to ask yourself so you can pick the perfect mortgage:

Congrats, you found your first house! We know you're excited to move in and make it your own, but before you start hauling boxes, there are a couple steps you have to take to make the deal official. 

With any big purchase, there’s going to be some paperwork. It's easy to skim through the pile of documents and sign away, but it's important to understand what you're agreeing to. Here’s a simplified breakdown of what you're signing when completing the closing disclosure form, the note, and the mortgage itself.

As with any big decision in life, it’s a good idea to do your homework. Same is true if you’re looking to upgrade your status from home renter, to homeowner. We’re not just talking about the house itself or its location (though a little research there is strongly encouraged!). What we’re talking about is exploring your payment options.

Though a home loan is something you’ll be paying off over time, don’t let the word “loan” scare you away from taking the next step. First-time homeownership is an exciting and rewarding experience, and yes, just about every homeowner has had to take out a loan at some point. And just like rentals, there are also ways to make homeownership more affordable.

Whether you want a lower down payment or a lower interest rate, there are many affordable housing loan options available to Twin Cities residents and first-time homebuyers, and we’ve done some of the homework for you. Here are just a few options to get you started:

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