All About The Home Warranty
A home warranty is contract for service that protects the homeowner from bearing the entire cost of expensive repairs. Generally, the agreement covers the repair or replacement of major kitchen appliances and home system components, including water heaters, washers and dryers, heating and air-conditioning parts, plumbing, and electrical. All home warranties are different. Even when I sell my own home in Minnesota, I research home warranty companies and their associated coverage.
Home Warranties Provide Peace of Mind
Imagine you just purchased a home. After your down payment, closing costs, and moving expenses, you are short of cash. A couple of weeks later, the washing machine stops working. Since you have a Home Warranty, the repair or replacement is usually covered. So, in addition to being a service contract, a home warranty is peace of mind. It can be especially beneficial to a first-time homebuyer in MN.
Home Warranties are Different than Homeowners Insurance
What a Home Warranty is not, is insurance. Homeowners insurance will cover your home in the case of damage by fire or weather conditions. Still, it's not going to pay for a new dishwasher if yours gives out. You might say that a home warranty takes over where your insurance leaves off. It covers normal wear and tear and breakdowns.
How a Home Warranty Works
Home Warranty companies have service technicians and subcontractors they work with who are licensed, vetted, and screened. When your air conditioner breaks down, you give them a call, and they send someone out to take a look at the problem provided that appliance is covered in the warranty. You pay a service charge that is spelled out in the contract, and the home warranty company pays the remainder...
Top Ten Real Estate Agent Blog Posts
It’s the end of another year, and like mushrooms after a rainfall, 10 best lists pop up everywhere. Best movies. Best music. Best books. Best phones. Best laptops. Best recipes. Best kitchen gadgets and on it goes. I love most of them and thought, why not make a list of the 10 best from our blog?
With an abundance of outstanding content on the blog this year (I know, shameful self-promotion), it was not easy to choose only ten. So what criteria did I use? The choices address topics that continue to be relevant, add value for the target audience, and address questions and concerns about buying and selling real estate we hear from clients.
In the spirit of full disclosure, it was so difficult limiting my selection to ten, I added honorable mentions at the end. Joe wrote some great stuff for Forbes this year, so I included a couple which technically is not from our blog. Ready? Top of 2019 best blog posts coming at you!
Ways to Transition Your Real Estate Business Into the New Year
It’s impossible to think of ending one year without looking ahead to what’s around the corner. I love the mystery that awaits, knowing that I can prepare for events down the road. With that in mind, I anticipate the new year with excitement and optimism, and a dusting of prudent vigilance.
The last couple of weeks of December is the perfect time to review the past twelve months. When the pace of the real estate market slows down, an opportunity to streamline my goals and business plan enables me to be ready for the start of the new year. My words of the day are: review, reorganize, refresh, and recycle. Here are twelve ways to do it.
1. Freshen Up Your Real Estate Bio
Now is the time to bring your bio up to date on your real estate and social media accounts. Elements you want to include when you refresh your bio are awards, achievements, real estate courses completed, professional certifications earned, and milestones reached. It would help if you could also talk about any community service projects or volunteering in which you participate. Connect on a personal level also with marriage and birth announcements, interests or hobbies. Also consider new professional photos, especially if you didn’t take one last year.
2. Evaluate Your Real Estate Tools
Today’s homebuyer is very tech-savvy and expects the same from...
Best End of Year Advice for Real Estate Agents
In just a couple of weeks, the New Year will be upon us. It was a fast twelve months, wasn’t it? It feels like I was talking to you about fall home maintenance only a couple of weeks ago when it was actually in early October. Many trees were still stubbornly holding on to a few leaves, there was no snow on the ground, and we had not even had a hard frost. Now here we are decking the halls and talking about closing out the year and getting ready for 2019.
Admittedly I approach the new year with excitement and optimism tinged with a dash of trepidation and uncertainty. The new year is, after all, filled with mystery! What new clients will I meet? Which buyers and sellers will I reconnect with in the coming year? What changes in the market will surprise me? Which of my predictions will be proven correct? Am I ready for what lies ahead and if not what do I need to do so I don’t fall short of my expectations?
As the days and weeks of the next year unfold, I plan to be ready. One of the ways I prepare is by starting the year without the clutter of the last twelve months. It starts now. Here are some tasks we can take care of before January is on the doorstep because ready or not, soon 2019 will be knocking on the front door!
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!
The Minnesota Property Group A Twin Cities Success Story
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.
Passive Savings - Like Giving Yourself a Raise
Saving more money is a popular new year’s resolution for many people. Well, it just so happens we know a little about that here at the Minnesota Property Group. When I started researching the topic of how to save, it got me thinking of other ways that you could do it without feeling the pain or strain of giving up stuff you...
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 Help...
TopTwin Cities Real Estate Agents
Real estate in MN is the story about homes and about the people and the families that live and love in them. It is also about the real estate professional helping a family sell or buy a home and whether it is their first home or their last, the agent has a golden opportunity to become a hero in their narrative. Here at the Minnesota Property Group, we have a few heroes! Talking about them, even bragging a little bit, is the favorite part of my job as the content creator.
Five uniquely talented professionals came together as a team with one common goal; providing the best service by treating each client like a member of your family. (This paid off in July 2016 with being recognized as "America's Best Real Estate Agents" by Real Trends, a designation given to less than 1% of agents and teams nationally.) We already heard from Joe Houghton, the RE/MAX Results agent that leads this team. He is the one prominent reason this group is the best. It is his vision and plan that moves the team forward and inspires them to grow and reach their full potential not only as individual agents but as part of the team. The four other reasons this team is extraordinary are members, Derek Irving, Mike Milne, Andrew Klinkner and Paul Mcquire who make up the strength of this great team. Here are their stories.
The Minnesota Property Group Team
Real estate is about stories. Each seller, each buyer, every home, and every agent has a tale to tell. Real estate is certainly a challenging and competitive business. It’s also exciting and rewarding. The one thing most agents agree on is that it takes, dedication, grit and hard work to break into the business and to become successful. Being part of a strong, supportive team can often make the difference between a story with a happy ending and the other kind.
One of the key elements to any successful group, is a strong, supportive and talented leader, like veteran RE/MAX Results agent, Joe Houghton. As leader of the Minnesota Property Group, he brought together five like-minded and talented agents and one content and marketing professional to form his team. For me personally, as Marketing Director for the group, Joe has been an inspiration which led me to challenge myself and go where I had never gone before professionally. We connected 3 years ago when I had been booted from corporate America and he wanted someone to create content for his blog and website.
That tentative story that began on a cold January afternoon in 2014 has become a successful narrative that is still unfolding. I have never regretted that decision even once. Joe has a talent for connecting with people to help them live up to their potential. If there is a harder worker than Joe I haven’t met him yet. If there is a leader more willing than Joe to try something new or to...
2017 Twin Cities Real Estate Market Outlook
The 2016 Housing Market reached an all-time high nationally with a housing stock value $29.6 trillion, regaining all it lost in the last recession. When we look at the numbers for the Twin Cities, they tell the story of a market that strongly favored sellers with fewer and fewer homes for sale spending less time on the market and selling for higher prices. In spite of inventory levels being down 26.3%, we saw the year close out with pending sales up 4.7%, closed sales up 6.7%, with an overall medium sales price up 5.5% to $232,000. The single family market segment earned the highest gains in price topping out at $251,000 up 5.7%.
For buyers lucky and quick enough to close a deal for a home, their journey had a happy ending. For others it was a tale of frustration and disappointment, especially as the year closed with interest rates spiking up from 3.375% to 4.5% Still, buyers remain undeterred and with interest rates that have leveled off at about 4.125% many begin the new year with the hope they will be moving into their own home by spring. For sellers the past year can be likened to one continuous ode to joy with days on market in decline and, median sale price rising and percentage of asking price received topping 97.5%.
With sellers in the Twin Cities still playing hard-to-get, the big question is will the threat of rising interest rates inspire them to finally make their move? If we do...
In case you haven’t heard, 2015 was a great year for real estate, and with home sales reaching a 10 year high, many industry leaders say the housing market has fully recovered. Now that we are several weeks into the New Year with the spring housing market hovering around the corner waiting to pounce on the Twin Cities, let’s take a look at January’s statistics and make some projections for what is ahead.
January Was Cold But the Twin Cities Housing Market Wasn't
The January real estate market in Minneapolis-St. Paul was strong with enthusiastic buyer activity, brisk sales, and rising home values setting the trend. Pending sales rose 3.5 percent, the median sale price rose 10.3 percent to $215,000, and the median list price climbed 6.1 percent to $259,900, a record high. However on the seller side we saw a less inspiring performance with the number of new listings declining 7.2 percent from last year which brought inventory levels down 22 percent and the lowest they have been since 2003.