Our Favorite Blog Posts of 2017
It’s that time again. As we say goodbye to the old year and look ahead to 2018 with great expectations it is always worthwhile to reflect on the last 12 months and review the work accomplished with some satisfaction. On Our Twin Cities Home Blog, we try to bring you the best information we can find on everything real estate from buying and selling a home to living well in our vibrant and beautiful Twin Cities Metro.
As we look forward to more good work this year we’d like to share some of our favorite posts with you again. So without further ado, here is what we think deserves a second look before we close the books and begin the first chapter of the brand new year!
Has a year really passed since I wrote this one? It was one of my favorites because I am proud to work with Joe all 365 days of the year. He has a great real estate story and a great philosophy on how he approaches real estate so I felt it appropriate to tell it one more time.
Saving more money is a ...
November Twin Cities Hot Housing Market
The end of the year fast approaches and we are almost there. The theme of the story for 2017 has been one of a strong sellers’ market and relentless buyer demand especially in the first time home-buyers price range. It has remained constant through 11 months despite rising interest rates, political turbulence, and a tax overhaul whose effects on the housing market are still uncertain.
Even though the 30-year mortgage interest rate just surged to a five-month high for the last week of December at 3.99%, it is still lower than last year at the same time and a historic bargain. The Minneapolis-St. Paul business community continues to thrive economically and with the third lowest unemployment rate in the nation, an abundance of jobs consumer confidence remains high and continues to support a strong housing market.
Delving deeper into the numbers for November of this year vs. November 2016, find new listings 6.7% lower, inventories 24.1% lower with a months supply of inventory at 1.8. Still, buyers persisted and closed on...
Twin Cities Buyers Know What They Don't Want
The one thing most sellers have in common is that they are unable to look at their property with a dispassionate and critical eye. The longer they have lived in their home, the more emotionally attached they become. Many simply cannot understand that the cracked tile in the foyer they have lived with for 10 years, should be of concern to a buyer. Or the magenta bedroom walls they adore would be another person’s decor nightmare.
After being a realtor in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro for 16 years and closing on close to 1000 properties, I have shown my share of homes that made buyers run for the exit shouting, “next please”! I have been the listing agent challenged with marketing the lime green home with hot pink trim. So over the years, I have probably not heard it all, but enough to tell you what makes a buyer look like he just sucked a lemon. Sellers can and should take matters into their own hands before they put their home up for sale to avoid having their home sit on the market for a long time and sell for less money.
Big Ticket Replacement Items
A house with a roof that is at the end of its lifespan or siding that needs to be updated is a major red flag for...
Is 2018 the Year of the Home?
When you make the transition from renter to owner, you become the recipient of many benefits, both practical ones, and emotional ones as well. For many people, homeownership is an important rite of passage on the highway into adulthood, probably second only to becoming a parent. Why? Because owning a home enables you to assume more control of two very important aspects of your life; your net worth and your personal environment. Most people would find that pretty exciting stuff! Many of us, when we become adults especially, want to have as much control over our lives as possible, or at least feel that we do!
So if 2018 is your year to purchase that downtown Minneapolis loft, starter home in the burbs, or downsize to the townhome you have always dreamed of, we have some great tips we are dying to share with you.
Prepare Your Finances
If you haven’t already done so, contact a mortgage broker or banker and get pre-approved. This is the only way to know for certain how much house you can afford to buy and what amount of cash you will require for ...
October Twin Cities Housing Market
As we approach the end of the year, it appears that the Twin Cities housing market story for 2017 is pretty much repeating the theme of strong and persistent demand for housing with an ever-shrinking supply of homes to buy below $500,000. We shouldn’t be surprised at the continuation of this trend when we look at interest rates and our local economy.
The 30-year mortgage interest rate dipped from 4.3% to 3.9%, an amazing bargain when you consider the long-term average rate is 8%. While nationally the unemployment rate is 4.1, in our own Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro it is 2.9, the third lowest metro unemployment rate in the country. Our thriving economy is diverse and vibrant, our workforce talented, our schools first-rate and with a robust arts community and 4-season recreation options makes our quality of life second to none. It’s no wonder we have one of the highest homeownership scores in the nation.
As we take a closer look at the statistics for October this year versus last year, we find new listings increased 3.1% although inventory of homes available fell a whopping 18%. This puts the month's supply of inventory at 2.2 which is 18.5% lower than last year. An undeterred 4994 buyers closed on a home last month, up 0.3% and pending sales...
Should I Buy a Home This Winter or Wait for Spring?
If you are a Twin Cities’ buyer that missed out on snaring a deal this past spring or summer, you might be asking yourself, your family, your friends and your realtor whether or not you should keep your search ongoing or simply hunker down for the winter months and venture forth again when the forsythia bloom. Maybe you just started the process and are thinking of putting it on hold until the new year arrives or wondering if there is an advantage to staying the course. As a realtor, I can tell you that I am being asked that question from many of my clients, especially the first time buyers.
Because everyone has a story and no personal situation is exactly the same, there is no right or wrong answer. But generally speaking, I tell my buyers that nobody is too cool for thermal underwear in Minnesota. Let’s get some and keep looking for that home. Patience is a virtue and tenacity pays off in the end.
To those just getting started in the process, if you have your pre-approval letter in hand start your search and if not get that preliminary work completed and...
How to Have a Spooktacular Halloween!
Here at House Houghton, Halloween is a favorite holiday. The excitement is building with my four boys and even the family dog wants in on the act. One of the best things about it in the Twin Cities is the celebration is ongoing for the entire month of October. There are events in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding suburbs to suit every age and scare quotient. For some of us diehard fans of this delightfully spooky event, we never grow too old to embrace it and as we reach mid-October, the plans for a fast approaching Halloween get serious.
Halloween conjures up images of haunted houses, black cats, jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, goblins, and witches flying around on broomsticks. Costume choices range from satisfying our alter ego and dressing as a favorite character from history, choosing something traditional like a witch or ghost, or going more trendy and masquerading as someone currently in the public spotlight. Decisions! Decisions! Then when the costume is chosen where to go and what to do. In the Minneapolis-St. Paul Twin Cities metro, there are so many options ranging from fun and spooky to those that are looking to be blood-curdling terrified! Wherever your spooky-meter registers, we have suggestions for you. Here are some great activities aimed at delivering the best Twin Cities...
Let this Magical Wayzata Home Enchant You
This Beautiful Home is No Longer on the Market.
243 Bushaway Rd, Wayzata, MN
Tucked away on an idyllic wooded lot in a cozy corner of Wayzata is our newest listing. If you are looking for a great family home that is close to all the city has to offer yet located in a community with a small town feel and a nationally recognized school system we have the perfect choice for you. Consider this gracious and elegant...
Real Estate Agent in Wayzata, MN
In 2012 I bought and renovated a home in the Far Hill Neighborhood of Wayzata, Minnesota and it was the best decision I ever made. My family and I moved from Southwest Minneapolis and after 5 years of enjoying the small town feel of Wayzata we are looking forward to 50 more. Wayzata has everything we want in a City and more. Although it is challenging to find a home for sale in Wayzata MN it is worth the effort. It is no coincidence that many local realtors choose to live in Wayzata. Not only is living here so great, top real estate agents believe home values in Wayzata will continue to outpace the rest of the Twin Cities Metro
Why Local Realtors Love the City of Wayzata
Wayzata is a jewel, a charming lakeside village located on the northeast tip of Lake Minnetonka, overlooking the sparkling blue waters of Wayzata Bay. The land mass is 3.08 square miles and water covers a .08 square mile area, population according to the 2000 census is 4113, median home price as of August 2017 is $526,300 according to Zillow. ...
August Twin Cities Housing Market Episode – Another Rerun!
Most of us want to see a new episode of The Twin Cities Housing Saga but I am afraid August is another rerun. Over the course of the last 3 years the dominant theme of the housing story in Minneapolis-St. Paul is an ever-shrinking inventory and rising prices. Sellers have been in their glory days while buyers, facing a highly competitive marketplace, have struggled to close a deal month after month with a couple of variations. We’ll talk about these later in this post. Like most of the country, here in the Twin Cities metro inventories continue to shrink while prices continue to move upward. As long as the economy continues to grow and add jobs and interest rates remain low there is no reason to believe this market situation is going to change course anytime soon.
A deeper dive into the numbers for August of this year versus last year reveals new listings increased 7% while the inventory of homes available for sale fell 16.7% from 15,137 in 2016 to 12,206 this year. The month's supply of inventory remained at 2.5. but compared to last year, it dropped 16.7%. Lucky buyers in the metro successfully purchased 6513 homes but they were not quite as fortunate as buyers in August of last year when 6,606 home sales closed. Additionally, this year buyers paid 6.8% more when you compare median sales prices...
Real Estate Agents Love Long Lake, MN
The tiny but charming community of Long Lake is a just west of Wayzata nestled along the south shore of Long Lake. Real Estate has never been so sought after if the Lake Minnetonka Area.
What the Best Realtors in Long Lake MN know
1. Easy Access to Downtown Minneapolis
Want to attend a concert at Orchestra Hall or attend an event at Target Center? Just hop on Interstate 12/394 and head west 17 miles to downtown Minneapolis. Perhaps you want to attend the Uptown Art Fair or a concert at the Lake Harriet Band Shell. No problem because it only takes 20 minutes or a 17-mile ride to get to Uptown from the City of Long Lake. When you buy Real Estate in Long Lake you get the small town feel and community with the big city conveniences.
2. Parks and Recreation in Long Lake are Great
Long Lake Minnesota has 4 public parks offering a variety of options for recreation. Nelson Lakeside Park on Long Lake features a beach for swimming, a playground and picnic facilities including a shelter with tables and grills that may be reserved by Long Lake residents. There is also a fishing pier and a boat launch. Holbrook Park boasts a ball field with bleacher seating in summer and a hockey/ice skating rink with a warming house to enjoy when winter arrives. A picnic shelter is available and can be reserved for those summer family gatherings.
Exactly what is a Short Sale?
What is a Short Sale? A short sale occurs when the sale of a property does not bring the seller enough money to pay what is owed to the lien holder. When the sale falls short of the amount owed on the mortgage, the bank must agree to release the homeowner of any debt that otherwise may have been incurred. Sounds simple but it can be complicated to execute. Making a short sale purchase can be a long and drawn out process. Sometimes the outcomes are well worth the roller-coaster ride of emotions. Other times they can be a huge disappointment.
Buying a short sale in MN
Whether you are a buyer or a seller involved in a short sale the best way to handle the process is to work with a professional, ethical and honest Realtor who has experience dealing with short sales and is a certified short sale and foreclosure resource. A Realtor that has not taken the time to be trained, educated and certified to sell distressed properties will not have the energy, knowledge and skill necessary to pull off a successful short sale.
Short Sale in MN vs Foreclosure in MN
A short sale can be one of the best ways for a homeowner to get out of a home that is in an upside-down mortgage situation because it will not completely destroy their credit. The average credit score decline for a homeowner that goes through a successful short sale is 50 points. The average credit score for a homeowner that goes through a foreclosure is 250 points.
Help with a Short Sale and...
Selling Your Twin Cities Home
Although the spring and summer months are traditionally considered the optimum time to buy and sell a home, did you know that the second-best season to Sell your Twin Cities home is the fall? Historically, if we assume normal market conditions, like the air on a crisp fall day, both prices and buyer activity tend to cool off. But as we know by now, this is not a balanced housing market but rather a red-hot housing situation that favors sellers in a big way. Inventory of homes for sale and days on the market continue their downward descent while on the other side of the coin median sale prices continue their climb to new heights.
Let’s explore the current market conditions which support a strong fall housing market for the Twin Cities which make a good argument for selling now.
Twin Cities Real Estate Data
According to the Minneapolis Association of Realtors, the week ending September 9th found inventory decreased 16.5% to 12,587 units for sale with new listings down 3.1% as well. However, pending sales were higher than the same ...
Twin Cities Housing Market
The Twin Cities housing market story for July in Minneapolis-St. Paul is much the same as it has been month over month for a couple of years. For sellers, it’s celebration and uncorking the champagne bottle and for buyers, it is a test of fortitude and commitment to home ownership. The Twin Cities is following a national trend of the past two years where inventory continues to shrink and median sale price continues to increase. How long this market is sustainable, is anyone’s guess but with unemployment holding at 4.3 percent the demand to purchase a home remains high.
A look at the numbers for July has available homes for sale at 12,407 which is a drop of 18.3% from July of 2016. The month's supply of inventory sits at 2.5 compared to 3.1 last year same time, a 19.4% decline. Buyers in the Twin Cities closed on 6,020 homes, 2.6% less than July 2016 at 6,128. Declining inventory, pending sales, closed sales and days on market was half the story, the other half being an increase in median sale price, of $254,000 up 5.9% over last year, the percentage of list price received at 99.2 representing a gain of 0.8% over July of last year.
Maybe you remember the old children’s game of musical chairs that was once popular at birthday...
Top Realtors Discuss Uptown Minneapolis
The Uptown Minneapolis Lifestyle is Ideal for First Time Homebuyers
Uptown isn't an official neighborhood of Minneapolis and its borders are subject to individual interpretation. Generall, it is bounded by Lake Calhoun to the west, Bryant Avenue to the east, 24th Street to the north and 32nd Street is said to be the southern boundary. However for many, "Uptown" can also refer to a much larger area expanded by several blocks in all directions. So I suppose we can agree that at least geographically speaking, it is an area not clearly defined on the map, but as a lifestyle, most decidedly so.
Talk about Uptown with residents of the Metro and most will describe it as fashionable, trendy, chic and artistic. Sitting alongside Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles, uptown offers its residents an exciting urban experience that is unique in the Twin Cities Metro. Here you will find a high concentration of fashionable homes, charming brownstones, restaurants, and bars.
Uptown Residents enjoy shopping at unique small shops featuring the chic and trendy in fashion, antiques. and art. Food and entertain options abound! Dining choices include cozy coffee shops to gourmet restaurants and everything in between. After dinner, take in a movie at the Lagoon. Enjoy the nightlife, meet some friends and listen to music as you sample the...
Twin Cities Activities
It seemed like just a couple of weeks ago that the whole splendor of summer lay spread out before us. Now, here we are past the half way mark of August. Hot days and balmy nights seem to be already behind us for this year. The cooler temps probably make it easier for the kids to return to the halls of learning but still, that bittersweet feeling that we have lost something is all too familiar for many of us. In my opinion, the worse characteristic of our summer is that it’s simply not long enough.
Given the fact that the glorious days of my favorite season are so limited, I try to squeeze every drop of joy and pleasure from every blessed day right to the end. At this time, every year, I remind myself that summer is not over, it is just, like me, in its golden days and has much to offer and should be appreciated.
So then, what do you plan to do with your last few precious weeks before the leaves begin to turn? There are so many activities, events, and destinations in the Twin Cities Metro that are tailor made for days in the seventies with low humidity. Need some inspiration?
Art + Mini-Golf = Sculpture Garden at the Walker
If you haven't checked out the mini golf course this year or toured the Sculpture...
This Golden Valley Home Has It All
2150 Brunswick Avenue N, Golden Valley, MN 55422 – offered at $364,900
If you are looking for a home with a prime metro location, close to downtown, highways, and recreation we can help. Our latest listing, a 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 2496 square foot split level home may be just perfect for your family. This property has been well maintained and tastefully updated with modern surfaces and amenities sure to please.
A great floor plan, bright and airy spaces, beautiful hardwood flooring creates a home filled with warmth and charm, which promises years of comfort and enjoyment for the lucky family who will live here. With 4 bedrooms and 2 baths on three levels, this stylish home offers lots of space for your family to spread out and coupled with some very stylish updates, this property offers a great value at this price range.
The home is well situated on a corner lot in a desirable Golden Valley location. Close to shopping, convenient...
June Housing - Different Month, Same Story
The Minneapolis-St. Paul Housing Market story for June continues with a theme that we know well. Even though available homes for sale fell 16.5% compared to June 2016, closed sales rose 2.2%, reaching a record high of 7,430 units sold. Home prices also continue their upward trend with the median sales price also reaching a new high of $259,000, 7% over same time last year.
The only factor keeping this market from breaking out is the low inventory levels. Short supply has kept some wanna-be buyers sitting on the sidelines and those actively engaged in the hunt and search for a home are being seriously challenged by the amount of competition for properties. Multiple offers for desirable properties are the norm with days on market at 47 down 16.1%. Percentage of list price received is 99.5 over 98.7 last June, an increase of 0.8%.
Twin Cities Metro Housing Quick Stats
- Exceptional demand and restrained inventory levels continue to dominate...
17266 69th Avenue N, Maple Grove, MN 55311
Offered at $629,900
If you are looking for an elegant newer home in a family friendly neighborhood we have one in Maple Grove that will impress you. This elegant 5 bedroom, 5 bath residence, built by NIH in 2014 has many upgrades and features that make it a fabulous value in this neighborhood. Prepare to be wowed by classic style with undertones of warmth and contemporary elegance. From the outside to the inside this home has dramatic visual presence thanks to thoughtful architectural details on the exterior to tasteful interior designs, colors, and materials. This house made us sit up and take notice and here are 7 reasons we think you will too!
1. The Cedarcrest Neighborhood of Maple Grove
Imagine living in a modern, planned neighborhood that offers its residents a private park...
How Do I Sell My Home
The best real estate agents know how to market real estate. Here is an example of a blog post that helped us sell a listing we had in the Sanctuary of Minnetonka. We removed the photos, the address, the 3D virtual showing and the video of this home at the request of the new owners.
The Blog Post that helped us sell this Minnetonka Town House
Once upon a time in a cozy little nook in Minnetonka, there was a truly enchanting community of townhomes called The Sanctuary. This is not a fairy tale but you will definitely be enchanted by the magic of this 2 bedroom, 3 bath, 2811 square foot residence. Keynotes of spacious elegance, gracious warmth, and peaceful serenity create the signature ambiance of this unique home, a theme that is evident both inside and out of doors. As I approached the main entrance, I felt vibes of Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie design in the light fixtures and the door and this was a theme that continued inside the home, but quietly noted in characteristic trademarks like sconces, black wrought iron, rich natural woods, architectural niches and an open flowing floorplan. It is striking how comfortably it fits into its surroundings and that it was designed and situated to take advantage of the available light and space thanks to carefully planned...