Home buying is one of the most exciting family endeavors. Searching for your ideal property is an opportunity to reimagine your lifestyle and carefully plan your future. It is vital to take your time. The process itself takes a lot of effort, but ultimately, every step of the way counts towards your new, rewarding way of life.
For those who happen to be buying their family home in Minnesota, here is a list of questions to consider. Addressing them upfront provides peace of mind and leaves you with a better bargaining position on the market. So let’s start from the top.
Who is the developer of the property?
Whether buying a new home in Minnesota or considering an older residential unit, you must inquire about the builder. Larger companies, for example, have a long list of standards to uphold and hundreds of family homes in their portfolio. Therefore, you don’t need to inspect the structural integrity, the plumbing, or the electric installation.
On the other hand, smaller construction companies are generally less reliable, so it is your job to conduct a proper inquiry.
What is the community like?
You may want to judge your new home by the overall characteristics of the area. However, it is vital to remember that the description of your local community is far more valuable than that of your city.
Therefore, try not to judge the sales deal on the fact that you are buying a home in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Bloomington, or Rochester, but instead on the specific community.
Two communities in the same city may differ significantly in terms of amenities, access to education, and overall infrastructure. Compromise accordingly, but keep in mind the importance of local convenience.
Is your home weatherproof?
Minnesota enjoys a humid continental climate, with relatively hot summers and cold winters. Due to its location, the state can experience various weather conditions across all four seasons.
While hot weather is not a problem, since average temperatures are pretty forgiving during the summer, windy, rainy, and snowy winters are.
Therefore, ensure the roof is adequately maintained, and ask specifically about the type of insulation on the outside walls. The ideal home will have comprehensive and functional gutters, quality grade windows, and proper protection from a flood in case of a basement.
What is the average sale price?
Prices vary throughout the seasons, but buyers can always expect an upward trend, given the historical context. Nevertheless, buying in summer is more likely to cost more, whereas winter is when the market is at its lowest.
Whatever the case, the median sale price in Minnesota, at the moment and according to Redfin, is $345,700. Before looking at listings, you want to have this figure in mind. However, find a granular report with average home prices for specific cities and prominent communities. It is not rare for prices to fluctuate wildly between places.
Are there any grants and government programs with financial assistance?
Every state runs its regional programs, so homebuyers should inquire whether or not they are eligible for a reduction in down payment or any other type of assistance.
Often, applicants are chosen based on household income and credit score, but much depends on the program. In some rural areas, government agencies provide water installation and waste management support on top of financial resources for buying a property.
What’s the condition of the heating/cooling system?
The weather in Minnesota may seem forgiving during the summer, but much depends on property placement and exposure to sunlight. Even mild temperatures can cause your home to heat up, so it is essential to have an air conditioning solution just in case.
More importantly, however, is to check your heating solution since you’ll need plenty of it come autumn. Sound heating systems and the proper insulation can shave off hundreds of dollars from your utility bill during the year, so the investment is worth it.
What is the neighborhood like?
Depending on your family preferences, you might want close access to quality schools, grocery shopping, walking paths, recreational facilities, or everything combined.
Affluent buyers prefer gated streets for more safety, and people generally prefer close-knit neighborhoods with strong ties and a sense of community. Decide what you want your relationship with the area to look like, and choose accordingly.
What does the community development plan look like?
Many suburban areas designated for residential living are still in development. Therefore, make sure to familiarize yourself with the development plan for the site.
It wouldn’t make much difference if there were no picnic areas and walking paths, but developers plan to add them within a year. Depending on your budget and your temporary willingness to adapt, making a compromise may save a lot of money.
What about the size of the lot?
Irrespective of your current plans at the moment, keep in mind that family needs tend to evolve. Therefore, it is always wiser to buy a bigger house, and indeed more land.
On the flip side, make sure to know what you are putting yourself into. Swimming pools, large backyards, and rich landscaping all require proper maintenance. Ask around, and see how much money local landscaping companies are charging per month before you sign the contract.
How about the history of the property?
Knowing the complete history of your property is difficult. Still, there is nothing that a few hours of digging through public records cannot accomplish.
Firstly, you would want to know the construction history because it opens up several other questions. Similarly, you would like to know details of previous sales, environmental information, reported fires or gas leaks, drug activity, or criminal activities associated with previous owners and the property itself.
To access these, you’ll need to contact several agencies or hire a real estate consultant willing to go the extra mile.
Equipped with these questions, you’ll be able to find a decent home, negotiate a better price, and simplify your home-buying journey. After all, it doesn’t have to be complicated.