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Building Community Blog

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.

Congratulations, you’re a homeowner!

You paid your down payment, signed on the dotted lines, and are now holding the keys to your very own home. But now what do you do? Can you move in right away? Should you move in right away? You followed a lot of steps to become a homeowner, but there are a few final steps to take before you can sit back, relax, and enjoy homeownership.

Note: You don't have to complete any of these before moving your belongings into your home if you don't want to (although it may be easier for painting and floor installation). In fact, it's safest to occupy your new home as soon as possible to prevent crime.

Buying a house can be one of the most exciting moments in your life, especially if it’s your first home! Learning the basics of real estate before you start searching for a home can save you time and keep you clear of common headaches down the road. Here are a few house hunting tips as you begin your search, because once you’re out looking at houses, things get exciting fast!

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.

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