In 2009, Jake started his search to buy his first home. He had already taken the traditional steps into manhood: graduate college, get a job, buy a truck and a boat. After his second year teaching, he knew he loved the school district he was employed by and he felt the security of his position to make the commitment to the area and buy. He had been renting about a 25 minute drive away from the school and wanted to be in the district he was working in.
Jake didn’t know much when he started the home buying process. He saw a house he was interested in, called the number listed on the red Edina sign that was hung in the yard, and talked to Dinah – an agent out of the Brainerd/Baxter office who was listing the property. Dinah navigated Jake through the important first step in purchasing: getting a preapproval letter from a lender. Jake met with the mortgage specialist at Edina and walked away with a letter stating he was preapproved to buy. Dinah helped Jake look at other homes that fit his wants of extra wooded acreage and affordability. His list of wants grew as he imagined some day having a family and wanting a little extra elbow room to hopefully transition into a husband and father. Most houses they looked at together were small and outdated that fit his teacher’s salary budget. Then a short sale came up and before it even hit the MLS, Dinah got Jake in to see it and he put an offer on it immediately. He lost out of wooded acreage, but he truly scored a diamond in the rough: newer construction, turnkey, possibility to finish basement for more usable square footage, and in the school district he wanted to be in. He knew he could landscape, update, and work on the basement when he wanted to in the future.
After closing in the end of September, his first renter moved in to the extra room in January. Getting some extra income every month helped Jake’s budget- especially when he got the first gut-punch expense of home ownership: having to pay for an entire propane fill in the middle of winter. Quickly, he lined up a scheduled budget plan with the propane company after shelling out a steep $700 bill to get the tank filled. Jake also mentioned that the other expense he didn’t fully grasp until he became a home owner was the escrowed expenses tagged onto his mortgage payment. Home insurance and taxes added to his mortgage payment and he relied on renting out his extra room to help with the monthly payment.
Within Jake’s first year of owning, he put gutters on the house after a rain storm had left water around the basement windows and started landscaping the yard. He partially finished another bedroom in the basement for his brother to live in for a few months as well. Roommates came and went until he found the two loves of his life: his first yellow lab puppy, Lucy, and a new girlfriend who would become his wife – me. I moved in after our wedding in 2011 and then the house really improved, more details and stories coming in the future – boy, do I have them.
What lessons does Jake have for someone buying their first home, particularly working with a short sale situation? Be patient. Be patient. Be patient. And be open to the home right for you may not check the boxes you first set up as what you think you want – but when you are ready to make an offer, don’t hesitate. That was true in 2009 and even more important in 2017 when housing supply is so low and multiple offers are coming in. Working with his agent, Dinah, through Edina set Jake up to own his own property and home where his family continues to live. From calling a number on a red Edina sign to now being married to an Edina agent, it has come full circle – it was meant to be.