OK, I'm back in the good old USA after a 15 year absence and its great to be an American in America. Now I am in a serious mode to buy a house for the first time; I do have two Fat Boys to provide a home for! From limited research and words from a few friends, the consensus here in MN is - the housing market is making a slight turn toward appreciation and that it's a great time to buy. I've started looking over the web ads to find many sales on Foreclosure, Short Sales and Bank Owned. I've heard that if a bank sells a home they have been sitting on, for far less than the listing price, the government will re-imburse at least a part of the difference. (However, and if so, I question the integrity or ethics of your tax dollars doing that, but it is the system). I'm not looking for a fixer-upper, but do want to stay busy with practical improvements to flip it in 12 to 18 months. Then perhaps upgrade and do it again. Of course it is all dependent on the economy. I will not require any funding for the purchase, and therefore, feel a strong advantage in negotiations and long term sustanence, regardless of the economy (to a point greater than if monthly payments were involved). I will appreciate any comments or experiences with the market as it is. Thanks.