Focusing search: Which neighborhoods?

7 Replies

Hello from rural MN,

My wife and I are relocating to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area as a way to scale our eCommerce business (in order to leverage the population size to increase our sales volume). I'm looking for suggestions from you on which neighborhoods I should investigate. Ideally, I'd like to house hack a duplex using an FHA loan, but I'm not sure if that's possible (maybe if less than 25% is used for the business)? Here are some factors that will be important:

  • Zoned properly for the legal operation of my home business. 
  • Climate-controlled office with a bit of storage space.
  • Centrally located (for sourcing at grocery stores, retail stores, garage sales, estate sales and auctions). 
  • In a safe neighborhood suited for quiet family life.
  • Great value.

We plan to move to the area in approximately 1-2 months.  We will rent until we find the ideal property, so any advice on finding affordable rental units with the same characteristics mentioned above would be appreciated. 

Thanks again for your help in narrowing our search!


Congrats on your new adventure! Are you currently renting now or do you own?  The reason I ask is that I ask is that there are some very good first time home buyer programs in the Twin Cities that you may qualify for if you've been renting for at least 3 years. 

Yes, FHA can be used to buy a duplex and they may actually give you a fairly generous credit of the estimated rent towards your income for qualification purposes, which might be very important for a self-employed person.

As far as the area to settle in there are plenty of great communities in the Twin Cities that might fit the bill. Your Target price point and mortgage payment is going to decide where you should be looking. And then, if you have kids, schools will probably be a big concern so that is where you're going to spend a fair amount of time researching and deciding where you want to relocate.

 Also, you're going to want to stay out of some cities that will actually tax the heck out of your business if you're not careful or have ridiculous license fees.

There are some cities in Scott County like, Savage and Shakopee that are in a great centralized location with a varied housing stock and reasonable business environment.  Also, Chaska in Carver county or Plymouth and Maple Grove in Hennepin county.

I run a real estate brokerage company in the Twin Cities with my husband and we would love to give you some more advice and assistance if you're not working with another realtor.  We can help you with pinpointing areas where you will want to buy a home, so if you rent for a bit, you won't have to relocate your family too far for the move.

It would be nice if the kids didn't have to switch schools and if you didn't have to relocate your business a large distance which could add complications.

The right City or neighborhood for you is going to depend on your Target price range and what's most important to you and your family as far as schools, proximity to parks, recreation, etc., While still being in an ideal location for your business. 

Luckily, there are quite a number of areas that should fit the bill and this is a incredibly rich Market as far as reaching a large number of hopefully you will see some solid growth in your business. Let me know if we help further and best of luck!

south west metro is trending. Also areas like Lake Elmo and Woodbury. Others are Richfield and Roseville. In the city you have NE Minneapolis, South Minneapolis (near nakomis), St. Paul south of hwy 94 and west of downtown, lower town, west 7th area, and north of 94 west of Snelling 

Account Closed if you're planning on doing more than one house hack then you should look into using the 5% down conventional loan before the 3.5% down HFA loan. This is because the conventional loan does not allow you to have another home when you close on it. If you do the conventional loan first, then you can do 5% first property and then 3.5% second property (both multi-family) then on to the higher down payment loans. If you start with the FHA loan you second multi-family would require at least 15% down.

Account Closed has a great list there to choose from.

Let me know if you need help with anything!

@Kristen Schade Thank you for your prompt response. I've sent you a message and look forward to hearing from you soon.

@Tim Swierczek Thanks Tim. I admire the way you're  always thinking ahead give me great advice. I'll be in touch down the road if need be. First step is to find that great deal! 

@Todd Dexheimer Thanks so much for your input! I really enjoyed your podcast episode by the way. My wife would love to own/operate a wedding/event venue someday. I thought your idea with the ski resort was a great one.

Also, I think you swayed me on out-of-state investing when the time comes for me to scale up the real estate investing side of my business.

Thanks again!

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