Are you or someone you know thinking about buying a home? Have you always wanted to own your own home but didn’t know how to make it happen? Have you considered living on the Northside? Why or why not? These are the questions a special event on Saturday, May 17th, is being designed to help answer.
The Northside Opportunity Home Tour is being put together to encourage people to take a look at what the Northside has to offer, and to consider making an ownership investment in our community. A big part of the tour is open houses of properties available throughout the Northside. Real estate agents and individual home sellers are being encouraged to take the opportunity to showcase their available properties all on the same day, so that potential buyers can explore the full diversity of housing options available throughout the community. In addition, the event will also offer an opportunity for visitors to stop by two central meet up locations – the meeting rooms at Sumner Library and North Regional Library – to learn more about special loan programs and incentives for buying on the Northside, to talk to people who already live in the community to get their questions answered and find out the good and the bad of what it’s really like to live here, and get more information about what our neighborhoods have to offer.
I’m not formally with an organization, but I am a homeowner in the Northside’s Hawthorne neighborhood and am working to put this together as a community member and drawing in other community members and resources to promote our neighborhoods and the opportunities available. I used to be a real estate agent, and that led me to try to work with agents to jointly promote their listings and our area.
The target audience for this event is obviously potential homeowners. One of the biggest fears amongst current homeowners has been another mass investor take over of our neighborhoods at rock bottom prices, leading to minimal investments in our community and more poorly managed rentals. Our community is looking for homebuyers who are willing to owner occupy the homes they are purchasing, and who want to work with their neighbors to build an even stronger Northside. I would really encourage people who are community minded to take a look at the Northside. We have solid neighborhoods, filled with many more positive elements than negative ones, but those negative elements get most of the attention. Those who are willing to undertake the challenge of building on the good will find wonderful opportunities here.
We are also a community of opportunity for all. We have growing immigrant populations throughout the Northside, which greatly benefit the community, and resources to serve those populations. We have a growing community of artists and a number of organizations such as the Northside Arts Collective, which are doing wonderful things in our neighborhoods. As a community, we also need to be committed to decreasing the homeownership gap between whites and minorities.
One of the greatest strengths we can offer to prospective buyers is our solid housing stock at very reasonable prices. Especially in the era of $4/gallon gas, our close to everything location provides an exceptional value that complements the affordable home prices. I was just told that the very first approved Minneapolis Advantage program application is for a Northside home that will have a total (PITI) monthly payment of under $500. Imagine what dramatically lowering both your housing and transportation costs could mean for your household, and the possibilities it could create.
Although it must be stressed there are several quality, move in ready homes at very reasonable prices throughout our neighborhoods, we do also have a segment of our housing stock that has been effectively decimated, creating opportunities for rehabilitation and rebuilding. There are several brand new houses for sale, where rebuilding has already occurred, at prices that cannot be found anywhere else in the metro. Many of these homes have been built by GMHC or other non-profits, and have been constructed with sensitivity to the surrounding areas to make the homes fit in with existing houses both in scale and design as much as possible.
For those who are willing to undertake a rehab project, there are tremendous opportunities. There are homes for sale for less than $10,000 right now, and although those are likely little more than shells, these homes offer the opportunity to combine some of the style and charm of an older home with modern building techniques and features. There is rehabilitation financing in the market, specifically programs like the FHA 203(k) program, that allow a buyer to take out a single, permanent, fixed rate loan for the purchase and rehabilitation of a property. Taking a look at some of these homes that may seem the most decimated, that can be recreated to work for their new owners, and can incorporate such things as green building techniques and materials.
Mark Saturday, May 17th, from 11 am until 5 pm on your calendar, and plan to attend the Northside Opportunity Home Tour. It will be a day both current and future residents can enjoy, and all are invited to take advantage of both the tour and the meet ups.
Lists of open homes will be posted on line at northsideopportunities.blogspot.com, listed by Northside neighborhoods as well as by condition, to make it easy for potential buyers to target the properties most likely to be of interest to them. The lists of homes will also be available on the day of the tour at the two meet up locations at our community libraries, along with several other valuable resources for potential homebuyers.
Anissa Hollingshead is a Northside resident and helped organize the home tour.