5 First Time Home Buyer Programs in the Twin Cities

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A decision to buy a home in the Twin Cities is impressive and one you won’t regret.

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The most prominent purchase you’ll ever make is your first home. It’s an investment for your future, and you’ll spend years in your new house. Finding the right home accompanied by a loan that has mortgage and interest rates that are right for you is critical to your decision.

If this is your first time buying a home, you could qualify for first time home buyer programs. These programs exist specifically for buyers who are new to the market and are there to give you a good head start on your purchase. Most of these programs are here in conjunction with others to provide you with the most funding to make your first purchase. Several offer assistance with closing costs and down payments. There are currently five programs for new buyers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

Twin City Lending would love to assist your search for the loan that’s right for you. Mortgage reviews are free. We want to get to know you and your needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us for any questions you have about first time home buyer programs in the Twin City area.

1. Start-Up Program

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This program exists for first time home buyers and offers affordable interest rates to assist with down payments and closing costs. To qualify for this program, first-time buyers must maintain a credit score of 640, meet specific income requirements, and be able to obtain a mortgage from a lender. Qualified buyers may be able to receive down payment assistance and a mortgage certificate. Borrowers are also required to attend a home buyer education course. Contact Twin City Lending to discuss your mortgage options and take steps towards your future today.

2. Step Up Program


Not to be confused with the Start-Up Program, this one gears toward homeowners who want to refinance their home. This loan promotes affordable interest rates along with reducing or eliminating mortgage insurance costs. In some cases, borrowers must attend a home buyer education course. They must also hold a credit score of at least 640 and meet income guidelines. Twin City Lending is a lender local to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area that is waiting to provide you with information and assistance for refinancing your home.

3. Mortgage Credit Certificate Program (MCC)

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This program can be a handy gem for first time home buyers. The program allows homeowners to claim 35% of their mortgage loan interest on their federal taxes each year. This deduction can provide savings up to $2,000.

Buyers use the certificate with a Minnesota Housing mortgage, Monthly Payment Loan, and the Start-Up Program. The Mortgage Credit Certificate Program is for first time home buyers or someone who has not owned a house in the last three years and is not currently displaced by a divorce.

There are numerous qualifications for this program. Buyers must be able to receive a mortgage on a house and meet the income limits specified. They must also plan to use the property as their primary residence and have a federal income tax liability.

4. Monthly Payment Loan


This program exists to help the first time home buyers afford the costs of purchasing a home such as down payments and closing fees. A monthly payment loan is available through Minnesota Housing to assist with 5% or $5,000; whichever is greater. This money is meant to go towards closing costs or a down payment.

Borrowers must also get a Minnesota Housing first mortgage as well. This mortgage can be either the Start-Up, Step Up, or Mortgage Credit Certificate programs. The loan term is for ten years and comes with a loan interest and mortgage payments equivalent to that of the first mortgage. Contact Twin City Lending to talk about your options for a mortgage in addition to the monthly payment loan.

This program requires attendance to a home buyer education course, and the borrower must pay one percent or $1,000 of the purchase price of the property. Borrowers must also have and maintain a credit score of at least 640, meet the specified income requirements, and commit to a ten-year term limit with monthly payments.

5. Deferred Payment Loan

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This loan eases the cost of homeownership for first-time buyers. Borrowers have two options for loans which are the deferred payment loan and the plus loan. The deferred payment loan funding begins at $5,000 to $7,500. The plus loan allows a higher limit at $10,000.

To be eligible for the Deferred Payment Loan, buyers must attend an education course and have a minimum credit score of  640. The loan term is equal to the mortgage, and it has zero percent interest. When the property sells, is no longer where the homeowners live, or the owners refinance the home, they will then repay the loan.

Twin City Lending can provide you with more information about this loan and the mortgage you need to get started.

Twin City Lending and First Time Home Buyers

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Twin City Lending specializes in low-interest home purchase and refinance loans. We are located in Northfield, Minnesota and are waiting to speak with you about your wants, needs, and options today. If you are a first-time home buyer, we can provide you with information about the programs listed above and options for your mortgage loan on the house of your dreams located in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. We offer mortgage reviews at no cost to you. Contact us today and begin the journey towards home ownership.

As a first-time home buyer, loans and programs can be confusing because you’re not sure what to expect. You want to receive the most funding for the purchase of the home you’ve dreamed of all your life but, finding and qualifying for different programs can be a hassle. That’s okay; Twin City Lending is here to answer your questions and assist you in obtaining a mortgage and funding for the purchase of your new home.

5 Advantages of Owning a Home in the Twin Cities

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Benefits of Home Ownership in the Twin Cities


Owning your own home instead of renting has numerous benefits. Owning a home in the Twin Cities has even more. Not only do the Twin Cities have a variety of activities to offer the whole family, and boast impressive schools and job outlooks – it’s also got some of the best neighborhoods in Minnesota. Deciding to purchase a home is a significant one. Make the right choice by settling down in the Twin Cities and enjoy an excellent quality of life for you and your family. Discover ten Advantages of Owning a Home:

1. Taxes

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No, we’re not talking about the property tax you pay, but the deductions you can claim for paying it. At tax time, you can deduct both the mortgage interest and the property tax that you’ve spent from your annual income. As a new homeowner, this should be especially exciting to you, because during the first year your mortgage pays off mostly interest.

2. Credit and Equity

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Owning your home and paying a mortgage can help you build and maintain your credit and equity. Both of these things have the power to determine what you can lease and finance in the future. For example, if your washer and dryer quit working, you can go to Lowes and finance another set. This funding wouldn’t be possible if your credit and equity reports aren’t showing the top scores.

Your equity is the portion of the house that you have already paid off. So, if your loan started at $100,000 and you have paid off $25,000, then the equity of that home is worth $25,000. Every time you pay on your mortgage, your equity goes up.However, while a mortgage has the power to increase your credit and equity, it can also damage it if you don’t make your payments on time. When you understand and maintain a good FICO score, you give yourself an advantage with future purchases. As you make your payments and pay off the mortgage loan, your score will go up in increments.

Both scores show lenders that you are willing, capable, and responsible enough to make your payments on time. Therefore, it lets them know that they can trust you to pay them back if they decide to lend to you. If you miss a payment, your credit and equity can drop quickly. So make sure that you’re making your payments on time.

3. Appreciation


When you purchase a home, you invest in the future. Over the course of time, your home’s value will increase. On average, it will rise three to four percent annually. What this means is that what you pay for your home now, has the potential to double in the next 20 years. In turn, you make a profit.

Appreciation rates in the Twin Cities have increased since 2000. The average home value in January 2000 was around $100,000. Near the end of 2017, the average price was $143,000. In 17 years, the value of homes increased by over 60%. The Twin Cities’ appreciation advantage makes home ownership incredibly desirable.

Taking care of your investment can help your home gain appreciation and value for later on when you’re ready to sell. Regularly keep up with the maintenance of the home, repairing and fixing issues promptly, and add features that enhance the home’s appearance over time. You’ll be glad you did when it’s time to sell your home.

4. Moving on Up

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Because of the equity and appreciation your home will gain over time, owning your first home can help you to move to a house that is bigger and better in the future. On average, first-time home buyers put three percent down, while second time home buyers put down 22%. These statistics are partially due to the payout on the sale of your first home. Plus, the credit and equity ratings you gained from making all your mortgage payments on time help to secure financing for your next home purchase.

5. High-Ranking Variety of Neighborhoods

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The Twin Cities offers a variety of neighborhood styles. We can help you find the one that’s right for you.

  • Ranking as the number one neighborhood to live at in Minnesota is Linden Hills. This community contains 7,000 people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. With an A-plus rating for families, this neighborhood provides a safe and engaging environment for your family for years to come.
  • Coming in second is Macalester-Groveland in St. Paul, MN. This neighborhood is much more prominent with 20,000 occupants, but it still maintains an A-plus rating, quality schools, and low crime rates.
  • The third best neighborhood in the Twin Cities area is Lowry Hill in Minneapolis, MN. With a smaller community of just 3,000 people, its low crime rates and diverse population is sure to make you feel safe and welcome. Plus, there are some impressive houses in this neighborhood from which to choose.
  • The fourth best neighborhood to live in within the Twin Cities is Lynnhurst in Minneapolis. Over six thousand people diversely populate this community, and the area offers several shopping opportunities and A-rated schools. Lynnhurst has low crime rates and beautiful homes for sale.

The decision to buy a home involves many vital factors. You want to ensure a quality life for you and your family by providing the activities, top schools, and best neighborhoods that fit your family.

You are making an impressive choice by settling down in the Twin Cities area. Home ownership comes with its perks, and purchasing a home is an excellent investment to prepare for your future. Select from several exquisite homes in the Twin Cities. Enjoy high-quality schools and low crime rates in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

The various neighborhoods offer engaging communities that will provide plenty of amenities to fully enjoy the life you’ve always wanted. The decision to purchase a home in the Twin Cities is one that will reward you for many years to come. Contact Twin City Lending to secure your Twin Cities advantage today.

How to Buy a House in Minneapolis/St. Paul

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So, you want to commit to a life in the Twin Cities?

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You’re not alone, as the vibrant neighborhoods and amenities in Minneapolis/St. Paul tend to convince people to make their home here. Continue reading for advice about how to buy a house in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Figure Out Your Financials

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Buying a house is a massive financial commitment. For many people, purchasing a home is their most important lifetime investment. Fortunately, you can take steps towards home ownership before you even start touring properties to help make sure that you can afford that perfect house when you find it.

Save Money for a Down Payment

Traditionally, a buyer puts down 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. However, there are many low and no down payment home loan programs available to qualified borrowers. For example, VA loans are available with no down payment to eligible borrowers.

Choose a Lender

Did you know that your bank may not be the best place to get a home loan? A mortgage brokerage, such as Twin City Lending, has access to a much more comprehensive variety of financing opportunities than a bank. The higher number of loan options means that the broker can find a loan that fits your needs and offer a low-interest rate.

Get PreApproved

Once you settle on a lender, it is very beneficial to obtain loan preapproval. A preapproval letter differs from prequalifying because the preapproval is a guarantee from the lender that you will get the house loan unless your circumstances change. The preapproval lets you know how much money you have to spend on your new house. The letter makes a seller take your purchase proposal seriously when you make an offer to buy a house.

Once Approved – Close Your Wallet

Resist the temptation to celebrate your preapproval letter by going on a shopping spree at the Mall of America. The preapproval for your loan rests on your financial status, and it is vitally important that there are no significant changes with your credit before the house sale. It is possible, for instance, that a large purchase (such as new car) could alter your credit rating and cause the lender to decline your loan. Protect yourself by holding off on any significant expenditures until after you get the keys to your new house.

Partner With a Real Estate Agent

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Be kind to yourself and hire an experienced real estate agent to help you purchase your new home. An experienced professional handles all of the details and negotiation involved with buying a house so that you can focus on your future home. Don’t hesitate to share what you want in a house with your real estate agent because, with so many options available in the Twin Cities, your ideal home is within reach.

Find Your Community

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Picking a neighborhood is one of the most exciting parts of house-hunting. The location of a house is almost more important than the house itself when it comes to making a homeowner happy. After all, you can remodel, but you can’t do much to change its location. Take your time and think about the features that are important to you in your future community.

Some important considerations include:

  • -Schools
  • -Parks
  • -Shopping
  • -Availability of housing
  • -Public transportation
  • -Commute

Linden Hills? Robbinsdale? Lynnhurst? Wherever you look, the Minneapolis/St. Paul area contains a fantastic variety of neighborhoods. Each one has its distinct personality, and your goal is to find a space that meets your basic needs, such as good schools, and your character.

It might take some detective skills to uncover the best neighborhood for your family. The internet is an excellent resource for information about the Twin Cities neighborhoods. Don’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent for advice. It’s also a great idea to check around with local family, friends, and neighbors for area recommendations.

Once you find a few exciting areas, visit them. Make sure that you explore each community multiple times at different times of the day. The last thing that you want is to buy a house in a neighborhood based on its peaceful tree-lined streets only to see those same streets jammed with parked cars at night and on the weekend.

Tour Properties

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Are you addicted to the television shows that present the illusion that a buyer only needs to look at three houses? Forget about those shows. Many buyers tour dozens of houses before they purchase one. The decision to buy a home is one of the most crucial choices in your life so take your time to look at all of the options.

It’s helpful to keep an open mind when you begin touring potential homes. Sometimes the three bedroom condo next door to a phenomenal neighborhood park appeals to a buyer who had never considered a condo. Never forget that your goal is to find an affordable house that meets your needs in an area where you want to live.


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Eventually, you walk in the front door at a house and feel at home. The next step is to write an offer to purchase the property. The proposal includes the details such as purchase price, down payment, and closing date. Purchase offers also contain contingencies that must occur to close the deal. Typical additions include inspections, financing, and a possible rent-back agreement.

The buyer’s power to negotiate with the seller depends on factors like the strength of the real estate market and the relative strength of the buyer’s offer. For example, if houses sell very quickly in a neighborhood, the seller is unlikely to accept a low price offer. On the other hand, a seller might sell a home for a lower price if the real estate market is slow in their area.

In closing, congratulations on your decision to buy a home in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The Twin Cities thrive with a multitude of enriching amenities that make life in this part of Minnesota a pleasure. Be sure to contact us when you find your dream home to secure your home loan.

If You’re Looking at Minneapolis Neighborhoods to Buy a Home – Try These

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Are you looking for an area to buy a home in Minneapolis? Like any great city, Minneapolis is a mosaic of neighborhoods

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The many Minneapolis neighborhoods have unique and distinct energies and appeal.  Luckily, the vast variety of communities in the city guarantees that there is a perfect spot for you in Minneapolis.

The most crucial factor in choosing where to buy your house is finding an area that fits your lifestyle. Real estate professionals say that “location is everything.” Picking an excellent location that matches your lifestyle is key to contented homeownership. Some major factors include:

  • Schools
  • Healthcare
  • Recreation opportunities
  • Shops and restaurants
  • Public transportation options
  • Commute time

Beyond the primary considerations, think about the kind of community vibe that makes you happy. Do you want to enjoy a relaxing cup of coffee at a local diner every morning? Does your idea of a morning coffee consist of grabbing a cup at the drive-thru on your way to work? Are you a live theater or a movie theater fan? The best neighborhood for you is the one that meets your basic needs and provides a lifestyle that enriches your life.

Family Favorites

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HALE: Haven for Active and Artsy Families

Located in southern Minneapolis, Hale is a favorite neighborhood for families due to its spacious parks and the wide selection of pre-World War II housing stock.  Hale is named after the Hale Elementary School (K-4) and education is a priority for its residents. Over the years Hale Elementary has earned a stellar reputation for its commitment to music and art. Families stay fit at the nearby Pearl Recreation Center. This delightful recreation center features indoor fitness classes and a gymnasium along with outdoor fun at a basketball court, baseball field, hockey rink, tennis court, walking paths, and a wading pool.

Kingfield: Caring and Committed Neighbors

The community-focused neighborhood of Kingfield sits in Southwest Minneapolis. Kingfield inspires residents to stroll down the tree-lined streets and admire the well maintained, primarily pre-1920 houses. The residents peruse a fantastic farmer’s market during the summer months, while also enjoying an art show. The Center for Performing Arts, housed in a former convent, offers exercise, dance, and music classes along with providing abundant practice and performance spaces. The annual PorchFest, held in June, consists of music performances staged on house porches throughout the area. Residents also appreciate the exceptional public transportation options, dedicated bike lanes, and access to I-35 W for downtown commutes.

Linden Hills: Idyllic Living Between Two Lakes

It’s no surprise that Linden Hills is at the top of many readers’ polls for the best neighborhood to raise a family. With a prime location between Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun, the residential areas boast hills, trees, and an impressive selection of bungalows, craftsman’s, and newer homes. As befits a family-centered community, Linden Hills has excellent schools and parks. A thriving business district means that you won’t need to travel to shop and dine at eateries like Tilia and The Zumbro Cafe.  The Linden Hills neighborhood dazzles with events such as the Annual Linden Hills Festival, which includes the Linden Hills Farmers Market, art show, neighborhood garage sale, and a silent auction to support great neighborhood institutions like the Linden Hills Chamber Orchestra, Linden Hills Park, and the Christopher Watson Dance Company.

St. Anthony Parkway: Civic Spirit Close to University of Minnesota

This eclectic neighborhood enjoys proximity to the University of Minnesota in northeast Minneapolis. St. Anthony Parkway beckons young families into an affordable civic-minded environment graced with an artistic spirit. The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Department recently updated a 3.3-mile bike trail in the neighborhood that connects with the more than 50 miles of bike paths in the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. Dogs and their families spend lots of time at the St. Anthony Parkway Off-Leash Dog Park.

Super Picks for Singles and Empty Nesters

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CARAG: Compelling Location

Calhoun Area Residents Action Group (CARAG) has a fantastic location within the Uptown Business area and is a leisurely stroll to Lake Calhoun. The location is superb for commuting downtown to work and then returning home to the vibrant restaurants, shops, theater and recreation possibilities. CARAG housing mostly pre-dates 1920 and includes a mix of single-family and multiple family options. Young professionals and empty nesters hustle to purchase property in CARAG.

Nicollet Island-East Bank: Nature Near Downtown

Are you yearning for a little bit of nature in the middle of a major city? If the idea of bald eagles soaring above your house makes you smile, the trendy neighborhood of Nicollet Island – East Bank will make you grab a pair of binoculars as you move into either a condo or a vintage Victorian home. Convenient to downtown, Nicollet Island sits in the Mississippi River and accesses the city’s hub by way of the Hennepin Avenue Bridge. Nicollet Island Park has acres of parkland, as well as jogging and walking trails that inspire both hardy and casual outdoor adventures. When you are ready to relax indoors, this neighborhood contains an excellent assortment of night spots. Indeed, the Nicollet Island Inn is a favorite destination for romantic dinners and festive time spent with friends and family.

Keeywadin: Cozy Life on the Shore of Lake Nokomis

Put on your comfortable walking shoes and head to Keewaydin. This friendly neighborhood sits in the southeast area of Minneapolis in the Nokomis East Community. The leafy streets are home to quaint houses built between 1920 and 1960. Keewaydin is popular with seniors and young families who appreciate a quieter pace of life enhanced by locally owned shops and ready access to Lake Nokomis. Residents swarm to the main beach at Lake Nokomis for swimming and sand play on those sweltering Minneapolis summer days. Veterans appreciate a short two-mile commute to the VA center in Bloomington.

Finally, congratulations on choosing to buy a house in Minneapolis. No matter what lifestyle and quality of life you enjoy, Minneapolis has a neighborhood to suit you, and with some investigation, your dream home awaits. Don’t forget to give us a call if you need help getting that home loan, we love helping all types of families and people fund that dream home!