My son and his friends are about 25 years old and many of his classmates are returning from college or the military and they are looking for a place to rent but they can’t find anything. I searched the MLS for rentals in the Chisago Lakes Area and found none. I searched other internet sites and found 6 single family homes for rent ranging from $1325 per month for a 3-bedroom home to $3195 per month for a 4-bedroom home. The median rent was $2000 per month for a 3-bedroom home, which was more than they could afford.

  My son and one of his friends bought a 4-bedroom house together 2 ½ years ago, for $170,000 and their mortgage payment is about $1,100 per month. Some of their friends have rented rooms from them, which keeps their housing expenses down while they are single. Their housing expense are less than $400 each per month with 2 roommates. There’s always a market for first time home buyer housing and they were committed to keeping the house for at least two years to avoid capital gains tax.

  Now we are working with several of their friends as they combine their resources with a friend to buy a home instead of rent. Some of them have parents that will co-sign for a loan, and some of them qualify for zero down first-time home buyer programs. If the sellers pay their closing costs, they will need little or no money to purchase a home. Some parents buy a home and sell it to their children on a contract for deed until they are qualified to refinance it on their own.

  It is important to work with a local real estate expert as well as a local loan officer who understands the best loan programs and housing stock for young people. There could be a minimum length of time you may need to own a home with some programs and you want to buy a house that will be easy to sell in the future. The down payment assistance programs are available for owner occupants and may require the buyers to take a class on home ownership, which is beneficial.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.