Buying a Home

Need a Reason to Buy a Home This Winter? Here’s a Few

Need a Reason to Buy a Home this Winter? Here's a Few/MNPropertyGroup/blog

Real Estate is a Year-Round Business

Real estate is not a seasonable business. People are relocating for jobs every month of the year. People are moving out of state and into the state. Others may be moving to another city, across town, or down the street. In the process, they are buying and selling homes.

Without a doubt, spring is the prime season for real estate. Buyers come out of hibernation when the first signs cold-weather spring appear. “For Sale” signs pop up on front lawns like mushrooms after a rain shower. That doesn’t mean that because spring is most popular, that you shouldn’t consider the other alternative of buying a home in the colder months.

Need a Reason to Buy a Home this Winter? Here's a Few/MNPropertyGroup/blogWinter is the time that many potential buyers would rather hunker down with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate than spend an afternoon sloshing through the wet and cold. You probably prefer to spend a frosty Sunday watching sports or a movie munching your favorite snack. I get that. But I have some solid reasons why you might want to slip into your favorite cold-weather gear and check out some homes for sale.

Winter Sellers Are Serious Sellers

Often people who sell their homes in the winter are responding to job relocation, financial woes,...

My Best Advice For First-Time Home Buyers

My Best Advice For First-time Home Buyers/MNPropertyGroup/Blog

Buying Your First Home

Joy. Joy is the first word I think of when I hear the term first-time home buyer. It’s what my wife and I felt moving into our first house. It’s what I always hope my clients feel at closing because buyer remorse has never been on anyone’s bucket list.

The process of buying a house has a lot of moving parts and involves many people. It can be stressful and intimidating even when it’s going well. When the pieces do not fall into place as you expect, it will be frustrating and even overwhelming on occasion.

Over the years, I have shared all those emotions with my clients on their journey to home-ownership. No two experiences are ever the same. However, it becomes glaringly evident that buyers who have the best outcomes are those that are most prepared. Knowledge is power. Here is some of my primo advice if you are buying your first home or even your last.

Make an Appointment with a Mortgage Broker

Before you get serious at looking for a home, you need to know if you qualify for a mortgage and how much the bank will lend you. You will also discuss what type of mortgage will best suit your financial circumstances and how you can receive the best interest rate. Shopping lenders is wise. Some offer better...

Home Features That Make Buyers Fall in Love

Home Features That Make Buyers Fall in Love/MNPropertyGroup/Blog

What Home Buyers Want 

For most people, their home is not only the roof over their heads; it is the most valuable financial asset they possess. As such, sellers should expect to make the most profit possible from its sale. With this goal in mind, if you are a seller preparing to put your house on the market, it is essential to consider what features buyers view most favorably.

In the process of getting your home in tip-top shape for the market, you may plan to do some upgrades. That’s a good idea, providing you do not go overboard on improvements. To spend your money wisely, it pays to know what features make a buyer’s heart beat faster when they are looking at homes.

Here are some of the features that turn lookers into buyers.

Laundry Room

Color me surprised, but a separate laundry room has become a game-changer with homebuyers in recent years. A dedicated laundry room was the number one feature in a National Association of Home Builders survey, with 91 percent of buyers saying, “I need one!” If you have the washer and dryer in the basement as many people do, consider kicking the space up a notch with some cabinetry, shelving and a folding table.

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How to Move Without Losing Your Mind

 How to Move Without Losing Your Mind/MNPropertyGroup/Blog

It’s a sure bet that we can all agree that moving is a stressful life event. However, there is a process that will make a move emotionally and physically easier. With the correct attitude, you can transform moving day from a potentially stressful experience into a fun event. Yes, it is true. I know these things because I have moved 22 different times in my life and five times over the last eleven years.

Sounds exhausting right? Not really. Most of the time, I like to move and I was excited and optimistic. It was an adventure, and I was up for the challenge. Stressful? Some stress is to be expected but it can be rewarding if you focus on the positive change ahead be it a new job, a new city, a new neighborhood, or a newly purchased home.

In addition to having a positive attitude, there are other steps you can take to make a move go smoothly. Here are my best tips for moving without losing your mind in the process.

Organize

Good organization is critical to the success of the entire move. Make a plan with a timeline for all the essential steps involved in the...

Lifestyle for Sale in Minneapolis’s North Loop

Itasca Loft North Loop Minneapolis

708 N 1st Street #644, Minneapolis, MN 55401

2 Bedrooms and 2 Baths, 2136 Square Feet,  

Virtual 3D Tour

When you enter this remarkable loft at 708 N 1st Street in the Historic and award winning Itasca Building you immediately notice the blend of natural light, dramatic timber and brick. The unique architectural blend of modern design and historic elements create an atmosphere that is both dramatic and intimate.

A True Minneapolis Loft 

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...

Outstanding Plymouth Home Has It All

Outstanding Plymouth Home/MNPropertyGroup blog

17035 32nd Avenue N, Plymouth MN 55447

Interactive Video Tour

We found a treasure of a home in Plymouth, and we are excited to share it with you. This 2700 square foot residence sprawls lavishly along a circular drive, surrounded by enchanting gardens of flowering perennials, shrubs, and trees.

This home is meticulous and lovingly maintained by the current owners since 1973. It’s easy to see why they moved in and never wanted to leave. This property has so much to offer in terms of lifestyle, comfort, and location. Let us tell you some of the features we love about this home.

Outstanding Location

Plymouth, MN has been on America’s Best Places to Live list on three occasions and once including winning the #1 spot in 2008. With an outstanding location 12 miles northwest of downtown Minneapolis, extensive parks and trails, several bodies of water for recreation, convenient shopping and entertainment, excellent public and private school options, it is not surprising that it is one of the sought after western suburbs.

Right around the corner from this home, you will find a wide variety...

How to Write a Winning Offer in a Seller's Market

Writing a Winning Offer/MNPropertyGroup blog

Buyers Be Aware

Forget the spin. Take off the rose-colored glasses too. Let’s be honest. Most buyers hoping to score a home at the lower pricing tiers of the current real estate market, face fierce competition, creating a process fraught with disappointment.

That’s the bad news. But I am by nature a confident guy, a problem solver and a believer in the philosophy that winners never quit. So here is the good news. A buyer with a savvy agent can write an offer that a seller will find hard to refuse.

Be Ready to Act Fast

Desirable properties often have multiple offers a couple of days after hitting the market. There is no margin of error for indecisiveness or being unprepared to make an offer on a hot property as quickly as possible. That means you should not even consider making an offer on a home if you do not have a preapproval letter from an accredited lender.  

Don’t Be Coy

In this market, you can feel reasonably confident that if you have fallen in love with a home so have other buyers. The occasion calls for an assertive approach, not a timid one. ...

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.

...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Are You Financially Ready for Homeownership?

Are You Financially Ready for Homeownership?

It Isn’t a Race – Take Your Time

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.

Certainly, 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 the setbacks of life. 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

Are You Financially Ready for Homeownership?...

Home Buying Advice That Is So Yesterday

Home Buying Advice

One thing I know for sure is the passage of time always brings change in its wake. Fashion, food, hairstyles, home décor, and lifestyles have become extremely sensitive to trends. Some embrace change and others fight it.  Whichever the case, a constant we can depend on is trends are going to come and go regardless.

Sifting Through The Mount Everest of Home Buyers Advice

Along with changes in style, there is an incredible amount of advice available about what we should hold on to and what we should let go. Real estate is no different, and it is essential that we weed through all the bits and pieces of information and discover what is still meaningful and what no longer serves us when we decide to put a roof over our heads.

Purchasing a house is the most expensive buy of a lifetime for most of us. It is predominately a joyful experience, but a certain amount of stress is inherent in the process, especially for first-time homebuyers. We want to make the right choices, so we look for advice from family, friends and the internet. But with so many tips out there, how do we know which are keepers and which we should ignore? Here are several pieces of home buying advice that have not met the test of time.

You Will Always Be Better Off Owning Than Renting

Home Buying Advice...

The Twin Cities 2019 Housing Market Outlook

Twin Cities 2019 Housing Market Forecast 

The Ups and Downs of the 2018 Housing Market

The 2018 housing market has sure been a wild ride. The year began with rapidly rising home prices and low mortgage interest rates. Bidding wars were the norm for highly desirable homes. It was not unusual for sellers to find a buyer in the first few days after putting their house up for sale, generally at full asking price or even above. Sellers were riding high while buyers struggled to close a deal on a home.

But in the last few months of the year, we begin to see a shift in the market. Prices are finally stabilizing or increasing at a slower pace. Interest rates reach 5.2 percent, an 8-year high. Though now rates have fallen back to 4.59 as a benchmark for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. The market still favors sellers but to a lesser degree.

2017 compared to 2018

  • new listings down -0.3%
  • pending sales down -3.6%
  • closed sales down -3.4%
  • overall median sales price up...

Twin Cities Housing Review December 2018

Twin Cities December Housing Market Stats 2018

Minneapolis-St Paul Housing Data

As we say adios to 2018 and move into the new year, expectations include some long-awaited changes. The last half of the year we saw increases in new listings, decreases in sales, and median sales prices on homes rise more slowly.

The increases we are experiencing in no way is enough to balance the market at the lower pricing tiers. However, first-time buyers and downsizing boomers will begin to find more home buying options in the coming year. That fact alone will make buyers smile.

A Look at December Housing Numbers

Looking at a comparison of December 2018 to the same time last year, we see new listings up 3.5 percent, closed sales down 9.9 percent, list price received down 0.2 percent, and the median sale price of $258,000 up 4 percent. Pending sales showed a decline of 3.3 percent, while the month’s supply of inventory rose 13.3 percent. Days on the market decreased by 6.6 percent.

What story do these numbers tell us about the housing market in Minneapolis and Saint Paul? Pretty good news. We are finally starting to see more housing choices at lower pricing levels. Sellers are more flexible when they receive less than full price offers. This situation takes some pressure off of buyers.

Sellers also have reason to smile. Property values continue to rise with median sales prices up 4% over December of 2017. Additionally, sales of homes are still brisk as we see days on the market drop to 57 from last year’s...

Twin Cities Housing Report September 2018

5315 Howards Point Excelsior Mn

The Minneapolis-St Paul Housing Market

Some say there are indications in the September housing stats that the market might be starting a shift towards balance. New listings increased 5.9 percent compared to September of last year. However, when we look at months supply of inventory that was down 3.4 percent.  So what does this mean?

Let’s keep in mind that although we see balance in the market pricing tier for $500,000 and above, inventory levels in all other price segments are not even close to approaching balance which is a five to six month level of homes for sale. If you are one of those hoping to break into the housing market, your choices are limited with desirable properties selling like lightning going through butter.

Probing into the data, we see that median sales prices are still higher than last year by 6.5 percent when we look at month to month and 7.7 percent over last year when we compare the year over year data.  Closed sales are down 5.8 percent and pending down 1.8 percent with properties spending 16 percent less time to sell.

Interest rates are bobbing around the 5 percent rate for mortgages which, combined with higher prices of homes may be sidelining some buyers and forcing others to rethink their home buying strategies. These numbers tell me demand is still strong....

Elegance, Lifestyle and Lake Views in Shorewood

5315 Howards Point Excelsior Mn

5315 Howards Point Road, Shorewood, Minnesota 55661

Lake Minnetonka 2.22 acre estate featuring 250 feet of shoreline

6 Bedrooms and 9 Baths, 9075 Square Feet

Proudly offered at $5,750,000

3D Tour and photo album

5315 Howards Point Excelsior Mn

A Majestic Presence on Lake Minnetonka

Sitting majestically on the shore of Lake Minnetonka in Shorewood is one of the area’s most breath-taking homes. It’s so grand; you might expect to see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk into the grand foyer for an evening of cocktails and dinner. It’s a home that would feel comfortable with heads of state, titans of business and industry, and world-renowned celebrities of every genre.

...

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