MN Realtor on the February 2019 Real Estate Market
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 at 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.
Twin Cities Housing Market Overview
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 sold the fastest at 34 days. The townhome segment was the top gainer inventory-wise with a 0.8 increase.
The Economic Factors
Our economy continues to make us smile. Although the Minnesota unemployment rate for January ticked up slightly to 3.0 percent, still...
Get Ready to Buy A House MN
The decision to buy your first home is a major, life-changing event and should never be taken lightly or made quickly. Not only is it the most significant financial purchase you will likely ever make, but it’s also a commitment to your lifestyle and personal sense of well-being.
Indeed, a home is a valuable asset, but it is much more than a number we see on a financial spreadsheet. It’s our haven. It’s where we plan to raise our children. It’s where we will dream about our future. It’s where we will celebrate our victories and cope with life's setbacks. There is the whole story of homeownership.
Yes, buying real estate is a big deal, and I won’t lie to you; it can be a stressful and intimidating process, especially for a first-time buyer. However, it isn’t written in stone that it will be this way for everyone. It can and should be an exciting and joy-filled process. Being financially ready is critical in making it work in your favor.
Let’s look at five positive signs that say you may be in the financial position to become a homeowner.
1. Your Finances Are Solid
One of the critical factors to ensure a positive homeownership experience is stable finances. A reliable source of income that can cover your mortgage, property taxes, and homeowners insurance should not be more than 30% of your gross monthly income.
Also, consider that debt will feel when you apply for a mortgage. If you carry a high amount of credit card debt and other consumer loans, you might want to pay that down before buying a home.
If you are currently living paycheck to paycheck and not putting anything towards savings, you are probably not ready to buy as yet. Work out a plan to cut back on expenses or increase your income. Setting up a budget might help you achieve your financial goals.
2. You Have a Down Payment
MN Realtor on the Importance of Home Staging
Just a few years ago, staging a home for sale was rare. It was also generally for homes on the higher end of the pricing scale, new homes or empty homes. Today the story of home staging is entirely different.
The National Association of Realtors study conducted in 2017 found that 58% of real estate professionals said that when you stage, the sale price can increase as much as 20%. This same study found that 39% said staged homes sell much faster. The message of staging and selling a house quickly and for more money resonates with today’s home sellers at all price points and for all types of housing options.
Even sellers with starter homes or small condos with a limited budget can stage their property to make it more desirable. I will share some great tips that I guarantee will make your home more marketable and cost very little as long as you are prepared to invest some time into the project.
The Five Basic Building Blocks of Home Staging
What I am about to share can be considered the foundation of staging a home. Whether the seller has a small or large budget, these are five rules that everyone will incorporate into the staging plan. Those with a generous budget will spend money instead of time, and those with fewer funds will sacrifice their time.
Home Staging Tip #1 – Remove Your Clutter
Those of you who have read some of my other posts will probably sigh and say, “Joe, I have heard you suggest this many times before.” That is true because no matter how many times I say start with decluttering when you want to sell your home, many people don’t do it. The fact is you are going to do it when you move, so why not get a head start on packing and get it done before you put your home on the market? It makes sense, right?
Clean out your closets, cabinets, drawers, basement, and attic, or anywhere you store your “stuff.”...