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Accomplishing big dreams with a little help

Home ownership is part of the American dream. It can also be one of the scariest commitments to make, seeing as it's probably one of the biggest investments a person can take on.

The Dakota County Community Development Agency offers a number of services for first-time homebuyers, including down payment assistance, closing cost assistance and low-interest mortgage financing options. The most important thing they offer, though, is homebuyer education.

"It can be scary. Home Stretch counseling can help," said Karly Shoeman, a representative from the CDA.

The Home Stretch Homebuyer Education Program teaches homebuyers about the entire process and the responsibilities of owning a home. Information provided includes budgeting and credit issues, financing and qualifying for a home, shopping for a home, the purchase process, closing on a home and life afterward.

The CDA also offers one-one-one pre-purchase counseling services for free to residents of Dakota County. Shoeman said the counseling can be accessed anytime during the home buying process.

Cheryl Jacobson of the CDA said the agency provides education as a tool to help homebuyers achieve successful homeownership. People make better decisions when they know what they're getting into, Jacobson said.

Additionally, Jacobson said the CDA provides options to help people realize their home buying dreams. The program offers fixed rate FHA and VA 30-year mortgages to those who qualify.

Program requirements include that buyers be first time home buyers, or someone who has not owned a home in the last three years. The property must be located within Dakota County, homebuyers must occupy the home as their primary place of residence and have a minimum credit score of 640. Income limits for a one- to two person household are $82,300 and for a household of three or more the limit is $90,530. The maximum purchase price is $271,590.

As well as the mortgage options the program offers Give Yourself Credit, a mortgage certificate program that provides a federal income tax credit. Down payment and closing cost assistance is also available.

Shoeman said the down payment and closing cost assistance programs help make homeownership possible for people who can afford to buy a house but have trouble saving enough for a down payment.

For more information, visit or call 651-675-4402.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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