Our Twin Cities Home

Prepare Now to Sell Your Home in the Spring

Prepare Now to Sell Your Home this Spring/MNPropertyGroup Blog

If you are planning to sell your home in the spring, now is an excellent time to begin the process. I know what you are thinking. Now? Really? Spring is seven months in the future? I wasn’t planning to even think about the logistics of putting my home on the market until after the winter holidays. Has Joe lost his mind!

Believe me when I say my sanity is not at risk. There is logic at the heart of what appears to be madness. For those organized, pulled together people who prefer to plan for major events, this is going to resonate with you. For others who feel they perform best under pressure, I’m hoping to convert you. Here are several reasons that make the argument for getting a head start on the spring competition.

Give Yourself the Gift of Time

Selling a home, even facing the best of circumstances, is a life-altering, stressful experience. The luxury of time goes a long way to reducing the pressure of working against the clock when there may be many more demands on your time. Starting the process sooner provides you the grace to prioritize work and family responsibilities over home-selling tasks when necessary. This alone is a huge stress reducer and worth its weight in bitcoin!  

Get a Headstart on the Spring Competition

In the Twin Cities, ...

The Monthly Budget and Yes You Need One

The Monthly Budget Yes You Need One/MNPropertyGroup Blog

Use a Budget to Control Your Money

When we gain control over our finances, lots of positive outcomes will follow. The door to new opportunities will open to us, and we will have more lifestyle choices to consider. How exactly do we control our money? We set financial goals, and then we monitor our spending, keep a limit on debt, save regularly, and invest wisely to achieve those goals. The very first step on the journey is following a budget.

A Budget is Powerful

A budget is a map we follow on the road to establishing a positive relationship with our money. With a budget, we can better plan how to spend if we know how much we have left after we pay all the bills. When we have a snapshot of our spending habits, we will be more likely to use discrimination in our purchases.

We need a budget because it is critical to keep our financial house in order as we build our future. Budgeting can help you rent and furnish your first apartment, or buy your first home, take a vacation, and begin planning for retirement. (Honestly, it’s never too soon) That is powerful stuff!

Budgeting Tools

We all need a tool to keep track of income and expenses because it’s critical to know where our money goes every month. There is a richness of apps available to help you monitor your finances, such as ...

Homebuyers Take a Closer Look Before Making an Offer

Homebuyers Take A Closer Look Before Making an Offer/MNPROPERTYGROUP Blog

Look Past the Pretty Package

At times when a buyer looks at a beautifully staged home that fits their criteria, emotions rule. Fall in love with a particular house, and almost immediately, the heart works against our own best interest by suppressing our better judgment. You know what I mean, that little voice inside your head saying, “but what about those battered floors?”

Consider the facts first.

The more you know about a home before making an offer the better. The condition of the home should be a major consideration. Hopefully, unless expensive, unforeseen repairs are part of your plan, you are going to have a professional home inspection as a contingency in the offer. But, before you even make that offer, you can do your preliminary evaluation of the condition of the home yourself. 

Don’t set the stage today for financial regrets later.

Now there is no way I am saying that refinishing floors, painting or other minor repairs should be dealbreakers. But if there are too many items that fall on the fix list, added all together they may prove to be a tipping point on the no-sale side or affect the dollar amount of your offer. Even when a home checks off all the needs boxes and many of the nice-to-haves as well, costly repairs can quickly lead to regret.

Look before you leap....

5 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Money

5 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Money/MNPROPERTYGROUP Blog

Awareness of Money Starts Early

Our relationship with money generally begins at a very young age. That connection is very simplistic. We want stuff. We use money to get stuff. We get the money that gets us the stuff from our parents, grandparents, or any family member that happens to be handy at the moment with a few bucks in hand. We are not particular.

Fast forward, and we grow up. Hopefully, along the way, our parents teach us some fundamental money management skills because if as adults, we don’t have some control over our finances, they will control us. The result is mounting debt and sleepless nights worrying how we are going to pay it down.

Money Management is an Acquired Skill

If I’ve just described your situation, don’t take it as a personal judgment. You are not alone. Americans have a problem with handling their finances. Need proof?  Look at the 2008-2009 real estate market crash where 3.9 million Americans faced foreclosure. We collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loans and another $1.4 trillion in credit card debt. To make matters worse, 60 percent of Americans cannot cover a $1000 emergency expense, and nearly 45 percent of baby boomers (aged 55-73) have no retirement savings.

...

Twin Cities Housing Review June 2019

Twin Cities Housing Market Review June 2019/MNPropertyGroup

Twin Cities Housing Market Overview

As we look at June and the end of the second quarter, we observe a continuing trend of a more equitable and viable real estate market emerging. We also continue to enjoy strong housing market performance in part due to low unemployment, strong retail sales and the longest US economic expansion in history. 

Overall, the dynamics of the market have not changed noticeably this year. Although new listings fell by 3.1 percent when compared to last June, the median sale price increased by 7.2 percent while days on the market flat-lined at 40. We are slowly approaching balance in the price range of $350K to $500K, but certainly not there yet. When we go above that range, we do reach a balance between buyer and seller. The highest price range is a buyer's market. Meanwhile, back in lower price land, inventory is scarce. I know, I know. You have been hearing this story for a long time now. 

The High’s and Low’s of the Market

Looking at June of this year compared to 2018, new listings are down 3.1 percent. That decrease also brought pending sales down 2.9 percent and inventory levels down 1.3 percent. Meanwhile, the Median sales price increased by 7.2 percent, which is causing sellers to smile. Closed sales decreased 8.2 percent as did a percentage of list price received slightly by 0.3 percent....

Everything You Should Know About A FICO Score

What You Should Know About a FICO Score/MNPropertyGroup

Who Cares About Your Credit Score

By the time you experience initiation into the adult world, you've probably heard the term credit score. It’s a number you should be concerned about because other’s will be. They will use it to judge your ability to pay back a loan.

So who cares about your credit score exactly? Credit card companies, banks, mortgage brokers, cell phone companies, insurance companies, and landlords, to name a few. Some companies even want to look at your credit score before offering you a job to see how responsible you are.

How is Your Credit Score Calculated

Your credit score is a number that captures your creditworthiness based on your credit history. Three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion,...

5 Ways You Should Never Compromise When Buying a Home

5 Ways You Should Never Compromise When Buying a Home|MN Property Group

Buying a Home in Today's Market is a Challenge

You are rooted in the trenches in your quest for home ownership. The last property you toured had the kitchen of your dreams, but it is too close to the highway. The retirement condo you saw on the internet has everything on your wish list, but the building doesn’t have an elevator.

A warning to buyers, especially first-timers, in this market, finding everything you want is rare when there are not many homes to choose from, and properties rarely last a week without an accepted offer. Although you agree that compromise is a given, it’s wise to remember that some factors cannot be changed if you discover the deal you made is not working. You don’t get an opportunity to test drive a home.

In a recent survey by Trulia, 51 percent of homeowners have regrets about some aspect of their home. It is a given with the lack of inventory and the stiff competition for homes, circumstances may call for more compromise than you may want from your sacred wish list. There is nothing wrong with being adaptable. However, there are certain things you should never concede if you're going to be among the 49% without buyer’s remorse. 5 Ways You Should Never Compromise When Buying a Home|MN Property Group...

Fun-filled Summer Activities List

MNPropertyGroupBlog|Fun Filled Summer Activies List

Summer Glorious Summer

Summer has returned to the Northern Hemisphere. Here in Minneapolis, also known as the frozen tundra, we feel our exquisite summer is the reward we deserve for getting past a long, frosty, biting, snowy, punishing winter. Ok, you get it – it’s cold here for a substantial portion of the year.

I’ll make the concession that all seasons of the year have its particular charms and recommendations. But, making the most of summer, filling every day with pleasures of the season, comes with the territory here in Minnesota. My summer list consists mainly of simple pleasures, with a touch of the exotic to shake it up a bit.  

Go jump in a lake. 

Now coming from a resident of the land of 10,000 lakes (actually it’s more like 11,842) it’s no surprise that water plays a dominant role in summer. Swimming, boating, fishing, sailing are all popular activities enjoyed on Minnesota lakes in the summer months. MN Property Group Blog|Fun Filled Summer Activities List

Go on a picnic. Attend a concert in the park. ...

Twin Cities Housing Review May 2019

Twin Cities Housing Review May 2019

Minneapolis-St. Paul Housing Market Overview

As we look at the middle month of the spring housing market, we observe a trend towards a more balanced and sustainable real estate landscape. With the fed holding steady on interest rates and even suggesting it may lower them, the concerns over rising costs of mortgages are behind us.

The economy, although not growing as rapidly as in previous years, is holding steading and stocks are performing well. All these factors create an atmosphere of consumer confidence in the economy. The real estate market responds well to these conditions.

Although the inventory of homes is rising in the higher pricing tiers, in the lower first-time buyer levels supply remains constrained. The current situation is great for sellers, but for buyers, it is still no bed of roses trying to break into the market and buy a home. It’s not surprising that we see fewer sales at this end of the market.

The Market Ups and Downs

Comparing May of last year to the current year, new listings are up 2.4 percent. We’ll take it! The Median sales price gained 5.2 percent. While closed sales ticked up 3 percent, pending sales sunk 1.8 percent.  Homes spent less time on the market, down 4.3 percent. We also see a decline of 0.2 in the percentage of sale price received, although it is still sitting at 100 percent, which gives sellers little reason to complain.

A Closer Look...

7 Ways to Up Your Curb Appeal Mojo

7 Ways to Up Your Curb Appeal MojoCurb Appeal Works Magic on Buyers

If your curb appeal is missing that certain something that takes it from so-so to wow, I dedicate this post to you. If you are selling your home, you should already know how critical making that positive first impression is to potential buyers. You want to hit them with your best before they walk in the front door.

Even if you are not selling your home, boosting your curb appeal adds value to your property. You will also win the admiration of your neighbors and become the most popular house on the block. After you finish my list of suggestions, it will amaze you that such a small investment of money, time, and creativity will result in such a noticeable uptick of curb appeal.

Here are my best, inexpensive tips for upping your curb appeal game. So put on your sunscreen and let’s get outside!

1. Up Your Front Door Mojo

True story. Several years ago, I was having difficulty selling my home in Rhode Island. It was a newer home, a colonial replica in an association of like homes. Great location and landscaping but not getting the attention from buyers my agent and I anticipated.

I decided to paint the two yellow front doors, turquoise over the objections of my realtor, who was reminding me that my choice wasn’t a traditional colonial era color. A few days later, we had several showings and an offer. I’m convinced it was...

Listen To Your Agent for a Smooth Home Selling Experience

Listen to your Agent for a Smooth Home Sale

The Best Advice - Listen to the Expert

Listen to your agent is probably the #1 best piece of home selling advice you will ever hear. Consider the reasons you hired him in the first place. You were impressed with his years of experience. Over his career, he has sold thousands of homes, and he knows what works and what does not. When a house doesn’t sell, he can tell you why and what to do to fix it. He can also tell you what not to do from the beginning.

Here are some great pieces of advice that you should hear from your agent when you list your home. Please take it seriously. The sale of a home is a stressful process, but a few easy steps can lead to a smooth and seamless experience. Listen to your agent. He wants what’s best for you.

To put you on the inside track, here are three examples of home selling advice that are universally true.

Price Your Home to the Market

During your listing presentation, the agent should include a market analysis on your home. The evaluation should have a recommendation...

Twin Cities Housing Review April 2019

Twin Cities April Housing Market Review by Joe Houghton - Minnesota Property Group

Minneapolis-St. Paul Big Picture

The Spring Housing Market is in play. Prices are on the rise as inventory levels continue to decline. Hopeful buyers in the lower price range are jumping on desirable properties hoping their offers rise to the top of the heap.

Months supply of inventory is improving in the mid-price housing range. We see steady sales activity in the higher price ranges while in the lower tiers buyers are still finding that landing a deal on a home to be a challenge especially for desirable homes in sought after locations.

What’s Up and What’s Down

Compare new listings to April of last year; we see an increase across the 16 county Twin Cities region of 4.5%. Closed sales were down 6.9% while the median sale price rose 5.2%. Pending sales were also down 1.1% and inventory levels 1.2% lower.

April weather was wintery at times, which discouraged buyer traffic and slowed sales. This trend was seen across Minneapolis as well as other parts of the nation. Higher prices, less affordability, and low inventory combined forces to dampen sales.

Let’s Dig a Little Deeper into the Housing Stats

While the median sale price rose...

Lifestyle for Sale in Minneapolis’s North Loop

Itasca Loft North Loop Minneapolis

708 North 1st Street #644, Minneapolis, MN

2 Bedrooms and 2 Baths, 2136 Square Feet,  

Virtual 3D Tour

Our brand new listing has me gushing and giggling like a young girl because frankly, I am in love with this Minneapolis loft condo. 

Do you crave the urban lifestyle? Does exposed brick, wood floors, soaring ceilings, lots of light, views of the city, the romance of the Mississippi Riverfront, and the North Loop right outside your door make your heart beat faster? Then you might fall in love with this fabulous loft too. 

Itasca Loft North Loop Minneapolis

Location – The North Loop

The North Loop is known as the trendiest neighborhood in Minneapolis. It has excellent restaurants like the Spoon and Stable and Bachelor Farmer. Beautiful boutiques, hip bars, and Whole Foods. The Mississippi River outside your door with walking and biking trails. It’s also a neighborhood steeped in historical significance.

Known as the warehouse district, the area just north of...

Welcome to the North Loop

Welcome to the North Loop of Minneapolis

There is park along the Mississippi teeming with hawks and bald eagles. If you spend any time here, you notice the character of the river changes daily. A vibrant neighborhood is right out the front door, and it’s a short walk to Target Field, the Guthrie Theater, and downtown Minneapolis.

Whole Foods, the dry cleaner, the local liquor store, and the Minneapolis Farmers Market are part of your neighborhood shopping experience. Boutiques and brewpubs are liberally sprinkled around the city streets beg you to explore and savor. In the evening, catch a movie at St. Anthony Main, followed by dinner and fresh gelato at the Wilde Café. This is the North Loop.Welcome to the North Loop of Minneapolis

The North Loop is Minneapolis’s Hippest Neighborhood

The North Loop is about converted warehouse lofts, (it’s also called the Warehouse District) 5-star restaurants, hip bars, and gay nightspots. You’ll find great design shops where you can buy indie fashions. The Minneapolis Farmer’s Market is the place for local produce and products. You can catch a Twins game at Target Field.

Trendy, innovative, cool, vibrant, and hip are all words you can use to describe ...

A Gem of a Rambler in Orono

375 Ferndale Road Orono Mn listed by Joe Houghton RE/Max/Minnesota Property Group

375 Ferndale Road N, Orono MN

5 BEDROOMS, 3 BATHS, OFFERED at $584,900

OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY MAY 5, 12:30 – 2:00 PM

If you are in search of an outstanding family home in the western suburbs, you may fall in love with our newest listing in Orono. This 2,783 square foot walkout rambler is spacious and stylish and offers charm, comfort, and modern functionality.

375 Ferndale Road Orono Mn listed by Joe Houghton RE/Max/Minnesota Property Group

The current owners meticulously and lovingly maintain this beautiful home. The updates and improvements they made will impress you. Since we feel pictures tell the story of a home best, let’s begin our mini-tour and point out some of the features that we love about this home.  

375 Ferndale Road Orono Mn listed by Joe Houghton RE/Max/Minnesota Property Group...

!0 Ways to Better Organize Your Day

10 tips to better organize your day

One major factor that contributes to success is organizational skills. This post is dedicated to those who feel like time slips through their fingers like quicksilver and days often spin out of control. I was that person too until I made the discovery that usually, there are simple solutions to what might only seem like a complex problem.

It can be surprising to discover that establishing a daily routine can work miracles. Preparing for the day ahead imparts feelings of empowerment and control. Being organized will do that for you.

So if the idea of

  • not wasting time looking for your keys every morning,
  • arriving places on time
  • adding more productive time to your day
  • reducing stress

appeals to you check out my 10 tips to better organize your day.

1. Set Up a Command Center

A command center is a place where you can put your keys, phone, tablet, glasses, purse, out-going mail or anything you take with you at the start of the day. It...

How to Rock A Short Notice Showing

How to Rock a Short Notice Showing

First Impressions Matter - A Lot

Anyone that has sold a home before will tell you that it can be an intense and stressful experience. Strangers coming through and looking in your closets, judging your décor and housekeeping habits is an invasion of privacy. Not to mention that at times you will get those requests that fly in the face of that 24-hour notice you want.

Both as a Realtor and a former home seller myself believe me I feel your pain. With 4 active young boys and a dog, I am aware of the personal challenges families face to keep their homes ready to show when on the market. But when that short notice request from an out-of-towner pops up, it’s hard to take a pass because you know an eager buyer when you see one.

Because you get one shot at making an excellent first impression, I put together this list of quick, easy pre-showing tips for sellers. These tips have proven successful personally and for many of my clients over the years.  Make your home shine and put a gleam in the eye of the most critical buyer by following my simple checklist.

...

Having it All in a Minnetonka Home

Minnetonka home for sale

14201 Brandbury Walk, Minnetonka, MN 55345

5 Bedrooms, 4 Baths, Offered at $599,900 

Do you dream of a home that is a peaceful suburban oasis yet near a vibrant urban center? You can have it all when you purchase this outstanding 4000 square foot two-story Minnetonka home nestled into idyllic landscaped surroundings.

This elegant, graceful residence features spacious living areas soaked in sunlight. The flow of indoor and outdoor spaces is seamless and ideally suited to entertaining friends and family. The resort style backyard with inground pool is fenced-in for privacy. 

Having it all in a Minnetonka HomeA Minnetonka Home for All Seasons

During the summer enjoy the backyard sanctuary and luxury of your heated pool. Relax on one of two decks and enjoy dining al fresco.

having it all in Minnetonka

In the evening or the high heat of the day, relax in the screened...

Tips to Keep Your Home Ready to Show

Keep Your Home Show Ready

The Goal - Ready to Show at All Times

When your home is for sale, the most significant challenge is keeping it ready for people who want to drop in on short notice. I’m not talking about a neighbor that might pop over unexpectedly to borrow a cup of flour. She won’t think twice about the dirty dishes in the sink and your unfolded laundry occupying prime real estate in the living room.

But those other people will care. They will look in all your corners, open all your cabinets, peer into your closets and they will judge. They are picky and often quick to find fault and not shy about voicing their opinions about the condition of your home or your housekeeping habits. They are called buyers.

Before you listed your home, you developed a plan for preparing for this event with your Realtor. You got rid of clutter, you organized, and you cleaned. You repaired, refurbished and recycled. You gave up a month of precious weekends, your book club night, and Netflix to get it done and never hardly ever did a complaint escape your lips.

Now you have to do one thing. Keep it tidy, ...

Twin Cities Housing Review February 2019

Twin Cities February 2019 Housing Market Review

Minneapolis-St Paul Housing Overview

As we move ever closer to spring, it looks like the prime season for housing is going to be hot. Buyers in the lower pricing tiers are currently getting a sneak peek in the challenges they will face in their quest to become homeowners.

When we compare new listings for February 2018 to this past month, we see a decrease of 14% which is not good news for buyers. However, I would be remiss not to point out that weatherwise, February was a month characterized by lots of snowfall and bitter cold, which tends to put a damper on real estate activity.

What’s Rising and What’s Falling

As we compare February of this year to 2018, we see that closed sales were up 4.0 percent, the percentage of list price received down 0.3, and the median sale price of $265,500 up 6.2 percent. Meanwhile, pending sales, the predictor of upcoming closed sales was down 7.4 percent.

The February Supply Story

We find new listings in February were down 14.3 percent from last year, and inventory levels were lower by 5.9 percent putting the month's supply at 1.6. Days spent on the market were flat.

The condo segment was the property type that saw the most price gains with a 10 percent increase — homes priced between $190,001 and $250,000...

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