You will be amazed at all the kayaking spots. Ridgefield is only one, but a pretty good place, especially if you live there.
I have had a lot of interest in Ridgefield this year from first time home buyers and buyers who sold and have been sitting on the sidelines. Why? USDA loans. Ridgefield is a short easy commute to Vancouver, close to I-5, has great schools http://www.ridge.k12.wa.us the Columbia River is right there and a jumping off point for kayaking http://www.ridgefieldkayak.com fishing http://www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/index, an incredible bird sanctuary http://www.ridgefieldfriends.org/RidgefieldNWRMain.html and the Old Liberty Theater http://oldlibertytheater.com/ brings in great entertainment for the locals.
I'm working with families building new energy efficient homes, buying traditional homes in incredible shape, bank owned, short sales, investor owned. As long as the home and the home buyer meet the criteria, USDA considers most homes equal. PS: Don't think you shouldn't have a Realtor with you when you walk through that beautiful brand new model home. Yes, we do work with the builders and yes we comp their sales and know their staff. A good Realtor will help you build the home of your dreams. Most importantly a good Realtor stays with you all the way through the build, keeping a close eye on everything that goes on, attending the pre-build meeting with the superintendent and visit the progress with you many times along the way until we get move-in approval and the home inspected making sure your home was built as required and includes everything you paid for. Yes, I insist my clients do home inspections on new construction. Building a new home is fun plus incredibly stressful, it is better when you have a neutral third party on your side.
The USDA Loan is 100% financing, and no down payment is required. The "Base" loan amount may not exceed 100% of the appraised value. However, the guarantee fee (the USDA Form of PMI-Private Mortgage Insurance) may be included in the Total Loan Amount. You can also wrap closing costs in, which can give you, the buyer, a better negotiating tool when you find a home and begin negotiations. This area is currently heavy on the seller giving closing costs, which means any buyer that is willing to carry those costs is going to have a better opportunity should your home choice have more than one offer.
The property must be located within the USDA "footprint" for that area, which right now, is subject to change in March, 2013. The buyer must also meet the Maximum Income requirements for that location. These loans are not limited to First Time Home Buyers, but are for owner occupancy only - not Investment or Second Homes. Eligible property types include existing homes, new construction, modular homes, Planned Unit Developments (PUDâ€™s), eligible condominiums and new manufactured homes.
Check out the trends and give me a call. I'm commuting to Ridgefield all the time!