One Family’s Journey to Country Living
Katie and Matt Knutson were ready to find more space for their family.
The couple lived in St. Cloud, but they took every chance they could to bring their three kids out into the country, whether – to hunt, walk their dogs or just spend time in nature.
And one of the family’s favorite spots to visit was Katie’s grandmother’s farm in Kimball, Minnesota. When she passed away last year, Katie and Matt knew it was the right opportunity to keep the land in their family and give their kids an opportunity to grow up in the country.
It was then that Matt and Katie decided to build their dream home on the property.
“When the property became available to buy, we didn't hesitate,” Matt said.
“One thing led to another with the housing market and interest rates and we decided that it was a good fit and a good time to be able to do it.”
Unique property, unique needs
Right away, the Knutsons understood that buying the property and building on it would require special considerations. And Katie knew just where to turn.
With a background in the banking world, Katie knew Compeer Financial could help the family get a loan on the unique property.
Because the property belonged to Katie’s grandmother, it would need a parcel transfer. The 90-acre property also included tillable land, which the couple would make an income off of by renting to a local farmer. Both of these things could create problems for traditional lenders.
But those factors made the property the perfect fit for Compeer. With the help of their loan officer, Jodi Keehr, the family closed on the property in July of 2021.
“In general, there are a lot of lenders out there that won't even finance vacant land, much less a 90-acre parcel,” Keehr said.
“What we specialize in, day in and day out, is financing large acreage properties.”
Building a place to call home
The Knutsons had closed on the property loan, but their work with Compeer wasn’t done yet. They needed a construction loan to get started building their home.
The family opted for a shed-style house, or “shouse,” a structure that takes its name from combining a workshop and house. And because the Knutsons were staying in temporary accommodations while they built it, it was important for them to stay on a tight timeline.
Thankfully, Keehr and Compeer helped the family secure the loan quickly and kept them in frequent communication with subcontractors during the build.
“I don't know if that process could have gone any smoother,” Katie said. “There was never a hiccup with how Compeer distributed our funds to our subcontractors.”
Life in the country
Sticking to their timeline, the Knutsons moved into their home last October. They held their first gatherings in the new home over the holidays.
“It's an easy place for people to come and congregate and have plenty of room and amenities to do what we wanted to do,” Matt said.
The Knutsons’ three children are already getting the most out of life in the country. From hunting and snowmobiling to biking and hockey, the area has proven perfect for all their favorite activities.
And while Katie said moving further away from town can be “daunting,” it’s been an easy adjustment.
“I don't think for one minute we've regretted it,” Katie said. “It’s been a completely doable thing for us considering the reward we get in the end, which is being out in the country and enjoying Mother Nature.”
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