Twin Cities, MN —In recent weeks, through home searches, online and afoot, as a Millennial, I have become obsessed and mentally defeated by the prospect of buying a house to call my home.
My seemingly novel never-to-end socioeconomical crusade has taken place in a seething market that has been nothing short of aggressively “seller’s”, as those in the know dub it, and one that might be the figurative death of me financially. And the wheels keep turning, the lights don’t go off at keep looking.
From my semi-consummate home search I have learned a number of very important things for those searching. Mostly that it is a difficult task buying a house in this market, in this year, 2017. Yet I have no other reference. And two, perhaps, that everyone is making money off of Millennials in this housing market, a lot of money.
And here in my own wordy words–which I hope are unbiased and as objective as possible–from a post-modern interpretation, which may not be possible–I offer you something of my experience. I hope this helps inspire you and build your confidence in your endeavors, if not simply to allot an entity of an easy target for you to blame your failed searches on.
Let’s jump right in, when searching for a house in the Twin Cities one will notice that houses leave the market shortly after they are put on the market. (So, be prepared. Get pre-approved, because if you are only pre-qualified your offer means dick and you have no edge.) These home listings are a magic trick in reality; in the best locations performed, a home that you love in your price range is gone! Abracadabra! Search the same home listing you descried yesterday and the once “for sale” designation will be in “active contingent”. Strike one, bummer dude…
This means your prospect home is off the market fast, post-haste, nowish, and it is no longer for sale to you. Feels good, don’t it? Most times, in 24 hours your new home will morph into someone with money’s home. Better up the price on your range, boss, or search a new area entirely.
If your ideal search area is anywhere near a nice neighborhood in the Twin Cities, or in proximity to efficient transit (say, the Green Line, a decent/good bus route) there is no hope. Your home search might commence like JFK’s secret service in Dallas, the opposite of well. Rental agency want your ideal and your cash, and they have amassed money. It’s called dollar bills and they are on fire in their trousers for something you like. Because there are thousands out there like you ready to pay high rents and not buy especially in the metro area. Good deal!
That seems like round one for my home search. And obvious after the fact. All that, and I still put my feet on the ground and went. I started to notice that realtors were driving the prices by saying in effect that you must get on the train ere it is leaving the station, once it get’s moving you won’t get on. Juicing seems right, sort of emotional about it. Still it went, nothing short of impossible, in a bubble, as MPR has suggested. And now realizing that the ones that get OK’d by FHA cost more, they must be decent! Never in a good area.
I will say this, from seeing it firsthand, one of the main reasons the prices of homes are driven up is because of those in control of the market, the ones with the documents nd the keys to show the listings. These are the people behind the curtains twisting the levers. FHA restrictions, thorough inspections, the flood of those looking to buy, these are great sales pitches for price increases. I want in. Of course location, quality, and size are also important, but that is a side note from the real estate industry marketing.
Throw in pre-closing costs, underwriting costs, appraisals costs, closing costs,and you have an industry that depends on these houses moving and to the highest bidder. I write for free, mostly, this underwriting mortgages sounds nice! To give you a feel, I have spent $2500 so far and I don’t have a house, and I borrowed money for a down payment, and nothing is certain until it is.
To me, the whole housing market scheme is to make money, naturally. That is no surprise. But how aggressive. And the higher the price, the higher all will make in the end. Let’s not forget, we must pay the realtor for finding the house and pay his buddies to tell you whatnot about the property. They don’t just want to hang out with us in a strangers home. Everyone get’s a cut; the higher the price of the house, the better for those involved save the ambitious buyers.
The other reason that houses in the Twin Cities are so expensive and going so fast is surely because the market is flooded with property management companies looking to buy houses cheap, with their vested agencies and commanding authority, and turn them into ad hoc rentals. Also, to note, flippers are prevalent too. Renting makes money. Flipping might make money. And the renters pay the the owner’s equity unawares. it could be yours. And perhaps flippers do cheap obvious work, shoddy.
Not only does buying property for rentals drown out first time homebuyers looking for an inexpensive starter home, it can lead to devaluation of the community, surrounding properties, and areas in which they are in, that’s redundant of me. But you get the point, it’s an opinion. Try living next to a rental home; you never know who your neighbors will be next year, every year. I might be a good neighbor who likes to trim his grass weekly, or I might not. Maybe I like to party and you like to go to sleep at 7 PM on the weekends because you are tired. We live next door. I don’t care… etc.
All that said, we live in a capitalistic society where sleeping and partying and property management and home ownership are real… I think of French in The Departed, “… This is America, make more money, if you don’t make money you’re a douche bag…” I am not complaining, I am just letting you know what I have seen. That’s it, everyone is out there to make money. Millennials are getting killed in the market by Generation X and Baby boomers and foreigners with money, and by everyone else too.
There is still hope though. Apparently winning and getting a house in this market really depends on picking an area that will be good in the future, not picking in a good area now. Grow a vision. Get your brain to work better. Become a psychic. Things change, areas get better. I was told about Grand Ave. in St Paul. Imagine it ten years ago. It wasn’t like it is today. Beautiful. So maybe North Minneapolis, far North, will be good in ten years.
This motivation to switch my demanding search area preference might work out actually, though we haven’t closed on the deal yet. I have seen some promise, less bidding and more realistic prices. I saw inspiration for this location change in a comments section of one of the numerous “house bubble” articles I read about some crybabies being sad about the housing market because wah!
Let me preface by saying I am not sad, I am jaded. The commentor remarked that the market wasn’t as bad as people made it out to be, and that those looking (as he dubbed, and I quote, the “white hipster dorks” of the Twin Cities) just wanted to live in unrealistic areas that were trendy and expensive right now. They wouldn’t even think about buying in North Minneapolis or in East St Paul because they were basically scared, or craven.
I rather became obsessed with that title “white hipster dork”, it’s hilarious and exact, and this fear about living in certain areas we pervade only having merely heard stories about, legends, tales, beliefs, lies, etc., it means a lot to me having read Moby-Dick unironically twice. I kind of put that label and its baggage on myself and thought of how I didn’t want to be motivated by fear, I am no WHD, as this great muse said.
Why not? Things change. Areas become safer. Neighbors make neighborhoods. Homes and properties gain value elsewhere. The sun also rises in the north and in the east. People say bad things about me and it might not be true. Everything became so topical and relevant. Find a house I want in size, in quality, in feel that I like and not worry about the area at first. Not be a wimp or motivated by portent fancies.
Becoming so fed up from what I had heard about safety, about bus routes, about price and what we should have and shouldn’t–what others want for us, what we don’t want, I thought on and kept thinking. I don’t tell you what to do, don’t tell me what to do. Maybe I recommend boxers and you recommend briefs; I don’t want to wear the underwear you pick for me, and vice versa.
I came to the most logical conclusion that the safest place to buy a home in Minneapolis is La Crescent, MN. The safest place to buy a home in East St Paul is Hudson, WI. (Though, I am no good at geometry, so forgive me about the locational inadequacies.) I wanted to know what everyone thought about the commute and how safe it was to live there, so I could pretend I cared. I usually make decisions for myself, usually.
But I won’t move there yet. No, but I have lived there and it is nice, La Crescent. May retire there later on. Most likely will move to the most northern part of North Minneapolis and become better at DIY home security.
Though, I will live in a house more our speed. I don’t want to live in a house that is cheaply redone by flippers–the kitchens all look the same–in an area that will turn to shit later. Same soon-to-be dated backsplash in the same small kitchen with the same cheap craftsmanship looking tacky.
I’ll take the original 1949, untouched, nothing done to, rambler style, ready to have the carpet torn out of. It’s that old. So I can make it my own. Do something better than what everyone else is doing. I don’t care about trendy. Like buying a house in a great neighborhood today. Accordingly, while I do the repairs, I will think of how it has come to this and blame only myself. The other area will fail. No one else did it for me. These briefs do wonders for my thighs. Go fish.
In my exact experience, FHA will require an appraisal, that costs money. I have done two home inspections at average cost of $400 each, and one radon test, at $125, these cost money. A lease must be resigned by June 1st, by birthday, rather resigned, this might cost money.
Moreover, if we don’t get lender approved because of a bad appraisal or because of our financial situation, we lose both our rental and the prospect home and become homeless, this probably costs money. If it get’s approved we have to repair the paint on the house before closing date, which gives us a week, and pay an extra $100, only to have more costs incurred.
So all in all, things are looking up. Never been happier about being where I am. Maybe won’t rent again. Maybe have my own place. Those are the prospects from someone who has been diligently going after their dreams, the American dream: own a home. I know more about how bad my math is than ever before. I read about 28/36 and I am not sure if we qualify. It might happen and the edge might get taken off. Or not. Got to go forward, right?
Thank you for reading my piece. Leave a comment. I would appreciate it. Also, thanks in advance for sharing my story. I love writing! TS_