Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Unlock the Door to Home Ownership with MURL

Guest post and photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman

The Hawthorne EcoVillage isn't just a focal point for new types of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly construction and rehab. It (and several surrounding blocks) received "MURL" designation for innovative financial products to help people get into home ownership. Click here for a link to the JNS pdf site where you can see fliers about the two MURL houses in the EcoVillage.

MURL stands for Minnesota Urban and Rural Homesteading Loan Program, and here's how it works...

The program is designed for people who most likely would not qualify for a traditional mortgage, either due to credit or income issues or religious beliefs against paying interest. It is set up as an interest-free contract for deed, and once the contract amount is paid to zero, then you own the house outright.

This already sounds great, but it gets even better. The payment amount is set up to be 25% of your monthly income. So let's say that you get your hours reduced at work due to the economic downturn. You could present proof of this and your payment would go down accordingly. And if you get a higher-paying job, your payment will go up. However, since the dollar amount for the contract was already set (without interest) all this means is that what you owe gets paid off that much faster.

I know this is going to sound like a bad infomercial, but wait! There's MORE! Hawthorne and PPL are intentional about partnering with local contractors whenever possible. We've been in discussions with two of them for these two homes, and the hope is that when a buyer does come along, that we'll be able to set up bids and scopes of work that allow NoMi businesses to get the job.

3023 4th St N is a 5-bedroom, 2-bathroom house that's great for large families. And 3011 6th St N is a smaller house perfect for a single person or couple looking to get into home ownership. It still has a lot of original features like a built-in hutch, hardwood floors, and some leaded glass windows. They may not look like much from the photo above or driving by, but that's because rehab work can't start until a buyer is identified.

If you are interested, contact Abbie Loosen at PPL, 612-455-5100, or email her at

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