You have spent years of careful planning and/or some very smart financial decisions for the chance to build your dream home. You can already see it’s beautiful windows, a front porch for family, a backyard oasis, and every architectural detail you’ve loved in other homes along the way. Now the only question is… where to build it? There are open lots in growing neighborhoods from one end of Minnesota to the other and you have your pick of them. But there are also a few very serious considerations along the way to choosing the perfect Minnesota city, region, neighborhood, and lot for your custom home.
Today, we’re here to highlight some of the most important factors to help you make this life-defining decision. Which Minnesota city should you build your dream home in or near? Let’s find out.
Property Tax Rates and Cost of Living
By far the most practical place to start is with the numbers. Property taxes in the city where you build will define the year-on-year costs of your dream home when it is complete. Each city has its own small addition to the property taxes in relation to Minnesota’s average property tax of 1.17% per year. Property tax will then lead you to the general calculation of Cost of Living in each city, which is fairly consistent over Minnesota but does vary some in grocery and gas costs from city to city.
A Climate You Enjoy
Next, you’ll want to think about climate. Minnesota is renowned for summers and winters that vary widely from each other, but each city has it’s own weather characteristics. Some cities get much colder in the winter, some get more sun in the summer. Some Minnesota cities are notoriously dry while others get plenty of rain and snow. Only you know where you have enjoyed living most. Do a little climate research before deciding where to put your Forever Home because that your general comfort will be determined by whichever city you choose.
Close to Work, Friends, and Family
Once you’ve thought about taxes and climate, of course, you want to stop and think about how close you will be to everything you know and love in Minnesota. If you have a job you need to stay close to for a comfortable commute, then your city to build in may already be determined. Or you might be more than willing to move your job to be closer to the perfect city for your home if it has all other qualities outside of being close to your work.
If your family and best friends are all clustered in one region of Minnesota, you may want to be nearby, or less than two hours away, so that you can visit regularly. But if your friends and family are scattered over the state, you might rather choose a central location so you’re a reasonable drive from everyone.
You also want to consider which neighborhoods are available to build in near each city. Many new neighborhoods are in already-forming HOAs, which means extra regulations for the style, appearance, and all sorts of other things about your home. In addition to a lot fee for the privilege of building your home near the HOA amenities and being subject to their by-laws.
On the other hand, if you are one of the founding resident-members of your HOA, you may gain a significant amount of influence should you care to get involved.
The View You Don’t Have to Buy
There are some locations in Minnesota with some truly incredible views. Now common trusted real estate wisdom says “If you want the view, you must buy the view”. What this means is that you can’t stop other people from building tall houses or less attractive businesses in your lovely back-window view. But some views can’t be bought. If you can get yourself lakeside or with a view of the mountains that can be seen over the other nearby houses, then you’re in a great spot to enjoy your views for a good long time.
Available Lot Sizes
As you narrow down your search or consider a wide variety of options across Minnesota, don’t forget to consider the size of the lots available. Every unbuilt neighborhood plan looks the same in a drawn chart, but the numbers matter. Are you signing up for a tiny slice of a large neighborhood or will you get some nice spacious room for yards and family gatherings? Take a close look at the sizes of the lots and the shapes, then compare that with the home you plan to build and how much outdoor space that will leave you on each side. The bigger the lot, the better in many cases. But, of course, other factors will play their part.
Your On-Street Location
You also want to consider your options for on-street and in-neighborhood location. Do you want to be at the end of a quiet culdesac, in the middle of a row of homes, backyard-to-backyard with neighbors, or near the edge of the neighborhood for quick jaunts to the store? Each person will have their own preference for where they want their custom home to be built in the grand scheme of a new neighborhood or even filling a highly desirable spot in an older neighborhood. In the right Minnesota city, you just might be able to settle into a cozy lot in an existing neighborhood with established neighbors and big beautiful shade trees. Which brings us to the next question, nearby amenities.
Available Nearby Businesses and Amenities
When looking for a city and neighborhood to build your custom home, it can be easy to get caught up in the numbers. Property tax, lot size, miles to your parent’s house; but don’t forget your own convenience. Sometimes when a neighborhood advertises being “In Duluth” (for example) what they really mean is that they are ten miles out from the nearest Duluth business where there is not even a gas station for miles. If you want to live conveniently close to other homes and businesses beyond your neighborhood development, more careful decision-making is necessary. Many Minnesota cities have available lots closer to the center, but they are more challenging to find and may be higher priced due to the desirable location.
Quality of the Schools
Last but certainly not least is the quality of the city’s schools. If you have children and are planning to move your family into your custom dream home, school quality matters. Take your time comparing not just the primary school districts of each city, but also if your home will fall into an outer school district due to the developing neighborhood’s location. Naturally, you want to build within bussing distance of a high-quality school so your children gain as much benefit from your chosen home location as you do.
Still can’t decide? We would love to help you break down the facts and find the best locations available for your custom Minnesota home. Contact us today to get help studying your home location choice in-depth with real estate pros who understand what an important decision this is.