If I was referring a Realtor out there, I would look online at CRS.com.
Certified Residential Specialists are the best trained and have proven experience.
I have had great success finding great realtors.
Then there is Face book, linked in. or just plain googling realtors in your area. read realtors blogs to get their personality. Hope this helps
Since you don't mind a commute, there are so many choices for you in the South Metro that would fit your needs. Besides Bloomington, you could easily commute to work from Prior Lake, Savage, Shakopee, Burnsville, Lakeville, Eden Prairie, Chaska...it all depends on exactly what amount of drive time you are comfortable with.
If you would like a relocation package to the area which includes info about area schools and the towns I mentioned above, I would be more than happy to put one in the mail for you this week. I work mostly in the South Metro so I know the areas you are looking in very well, including new construction. You can either contact me through Trulia via email, or visit my website.
Texas to Minnesota! Wow...You are going to love the changing seasons in the area if you decide to make the move north!
I did a quick search for you also...I normally work in the north and east metro so Bloomington is not my area. It looks like Susan has you covered for the south metro but depending on where your Bloomington employer is located, you could consider homes east of the river in St. Paul and still have a quick commute.
My search located 3 new construction homes in St. Paul (2 in the Cherokee and 1 in the Como Area). Regarding school districts, the Twin Cities is home to many tuition-free charter schools. Many are located in the St Paul area.
Here is a link to the Minnesota Department of Education's list of charter school options:
You can also check out the most recent test results and information on schools and school districts at the MN Dept of Education website:
If you have any questions on how to find these new construction homes, feel free to email me for specifics.. As a native Minnesotan, I would be happy to assist and answer your questions on the Twin Cities!