New residents say new homes here were best valueFor John Blaha and his wife, Katie, it was time to move. Currently living in an apartment in Farmington, the couple was ready to upgrade and buy their own home. On April 18, they’ll get to start moving to their new home in Hastings – one of four new houses under construction here.
By: Katrina Styx, The Hastings Star-Gazette
For John Blaha and his wife, Katie, it was time to move. Currently living in an apartment in Farmington, the couple was ready to upgrade and buy their own home. On April 18, they’ll get to start moving to their new home in Hastings – one of four new houses under construction here.
It’s the Blahas’ first home. When they started looking at houses, they never expected they would end up with a brand new house, Blaha said.
“At first we were looking at pre-existing homes, but there is just not much to offer that doesn’t need a lot of work or wouldn’t take too long (due to short sale),” Blaha said. “…We didn’t even know we could qualify for building,” he said.
In Woodbury, Michelle Rama had been looking for a home of her own for almost a year. Divorced and single, she knew she wouldn’t be able to fix a home that needed a lot of work into up front, and while there are tons of pre-existing homes available, she couldn’t find one that would meet her needs within her price range, she said.
Last October, Rama attended the Parade of Homes and saw a model home in Hastings built by Fieldstone Family Homes. It was affordable. It would need no maintenance for a few years at least. She loved the view.
“It seemed like a vacation home,” she said.
A favorable market
The sluggish housing market in recent years has been a point of concern for many people, but the low prices and interest rates that have come out of it are what allowed Rama and the Blahas to have their homes built new, they said.
Maintenance – or the lack thereof – is another issue home buyers are considering.
“The American consumer has become more and more practical,” said David May, a realtor and new construction specialist with Fieldstone Family Homes.
“It’s about cost of ownership,” said Bryan Wolfe, owner of Fieldstone Family Homes.
Maintenance was definitely a concern for Rama.
“When I saw this brand new house, compared to existing ones, I thought, this is not bad. I won’t have to fix it for 10 years.”
The Blahas had the same thought. Unexpected expenses in things like the furnace, roof, electrical and plumbing aren’t on the radar. All the equipment is new, and if anything does go wrong early, everything has a warranty.
“We just don’t have those unknowns,” Blaha said.
An attractive city
There are reasons why Rama and the Blahas chose to build in Hastings. Rama said he and his wife were looking at homes in Northfield, Farmington and Hastings, and the prices were simply better here compared to the other locations. If they ever want to resell the home, Blaha said he expects Hastings’ proximity to the Twin Cities will help them fetch a better price, too.
Rama said she had recommendations for Hastings from a couple of her coworkers who live here. In getting to know the city herself, she’s come to love it, she said.
“It’s close to the river, there’s a lot of entertainment in the summer and it’s a neat town. It’s historical,” she said.
Blaha said he doesn’t know much about Hastings, but what he does know – and likes – is how much Hastings has to offer in terms of commerce. With plenty of restaurants and major retailers right in town, it’ll be a nice change from Farmington, where the closest Target is 15 to 20 minutes away.