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
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
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%
The Fall Home Buying Puzzle
With summer in the rearview mirror, the fall home buying season is in full swing. As we move into the last quarter of the year, many disappointed summer home shoppers wonder if they should suspend their search to renew efforts in the spring.
As you ponder the question, you should take into consideration that the fall home buying season has some distinct advantages. Instead of taking a break, you may want to stay with the program and intensify your search for a home. Here are some of the perks and rewards you can expect if you decide to stay engaged in the hunt for a home.
Fall Home Buying Means Less Competition
Like most markets, real estate has seasonal adjustments. Fall home buying season is generally less busy than the spring and summer markets. The “must buy a home before school starts” mentality is one reason. Another is that some people do not want to move in the winter months.
Those who have no school-age kiddos or are more flexible about their moving timetable can take advantage of that market slowdown. They will find less competition for homes...
The Minneapolis-St Paul Housing Market Overview
As we look at the end of the summer real estate season, things have not changed very much. We see new listings up 7.6 percent over August of last year, which is a bright spot. However, for first-time home buyers, the story is still one of the limited housing choices facing continued strong demand. The situation when we look at listings under $300,000 is still critical regarding supply. The higher we go up the price tiers, the more balance we see. Properties priced from $500,000 up to $1,000,000, offer a more balanced market in which buyers have more options compared to the over $1,000,000, strata, which is a buyers market.
Looking deeper into the data gives us some reason to be optimistic but cautiously so. Even though we saw an increase in new listings, inventory levels fell 8 percent from last year. Pending sales were down 2.9 percent and closed sales ticked slightly upward at 0.2 percent over the same time last year. Home values continue to move upward to the tune of 6.3 percent while spending less time on the market. Buyers at the lower price range are making full price offers or engage in bidding wars to close a deal.
New Construction in the Metro...
First Time Home Buyer Options in the Twin Cities
It’s an indisputable fact that buying a home today is a complicated process. It can be especially intimidating for a first-time buyer. Also, there is a severe shortage of inventory in the category of entry-level homes making the transition into homeowner a challenge. The home buying process in the Twin Cities Metro is not as simple as searching for a house, finding one that suits you, making an offer and going to closing. Although these are indeed the basics, it is not the complete picture. There are a lot of pesky details that are not understood and become fertile ground for the seeds of mistaken beliefs. The topic that seems to represent the most confusion is obtaining a mortgage. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common myths about mortgage eligibility.
First Time Home Buyer Mortgages and Myths
Many people still believe you need a 20% down payment to buy a home in MN. No, you don't. Although a buyer needs to put 20 percent down on a home to avoid paying Private Mortgage Insurance, most can buy a house with much less money. When you look at real estate market statistics for...
So You Want To Buy a Home
Taking the step from renting to homeownership is a life-altering event. Many people consider it the litmus test for adulthood. It is both thrilling and scary at the same time. It should be because not only is owning a home in itself a significant responsibility but it is the most significant purchase the majority of people will make in their lifetime. Owning a home is also a source of pride, of achievement, and for millions, still an essential component of the American Dream.
If owning a home is on your bucket list, perhaps you are waiting for the right time. The question is, how will you know when that is? There is no stock answer. There are many factors to consider, both pro and con on the subject of buying a home. For many first time home buyers, money is an obstacle. But that isn’t always the case. Nor should the considerations of when to purchase a house be strictly limited to the financial ability to do so.
There are outstanding advantages that come along with owning a home and there are detriments as well. Let’s take a look at how the pros and the cons balance each other. When we evaluate both and can get to the intersection where rewards offset risks, we will have a clearer picture of how we can proceed.
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 ...
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...
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...
The Twin Cities Are Filled With Real Estate Stories
Real estate is the story of buying and selling a home. Since I’ve been a Realtor for 14 years I have stories. Most end happily even though there may have been challenges along the way. But, every once in a while something goes wrong. Mistakes that could and should have been avoided happen. The only upside to mistakes is learning from them. Even better is learning from someone else’s mistake. Free advice that another paid for is like earning bonus miles.
I’m going to share three stories from three buyers who were on the home stretch to close on their dream home and then did something they shouldn’t. They had a signed contract, they had a loan, they had their closing date and all systems were go. And then they did something unthinkable that blew that deal.
Don’t Buy a Car
Alex was ready to stop renting. He was tired of the cost of his tiny apartment going up every year and knew the tight rental market was not going to loosen up anytime soon. Because he had student loans, it took him 2 years to scrimp and save and pay down his debt to a point where he would qualify for a mortgage on a modest condo....
New Construction vs Existing Home
When you bought your charming starter home, it was perfect. As a newly married couple living in the Twin Cities, the 950 square feet with two bedrooms and one bath felt spacious after living in a one bedroom apartment. Now, two children later and you feel like your once spacious home more closely resembles a hobbit hutch and you know it’s time to move up to something larger. Like many young potential buyers in your position, you are facing the conundrum of should you buy another used home or opt for a shiny new one? Should I buy a new construction home or buy an existing home? According to a Zillow survey, 41% of buyers responded to having a preference for a newly constructed home, but as in every incidence when you are at a crossroad, there are pros and cons on both sides of the equation. When you purchase a home, there is never a one size fits all option and depending on lifestyle and priorities one choice, new vs. existing, may be clearly preferable to the other.
Pros of New Home Construction
Attention Home Buyers and Sellers | Twin Cities Real Estate Market is Hot
If you have been looking for a home to buy or thinking about selling your current home you already know what I am about to tell you. The one extraordinary factor that describes the Minneapolis-St. Paul real estate market is that due to historically low levels of inventory, it favors the seller in a really big way.
How big? The latest data from the Minneapolis Association of Realtors shows us the end of 2016 inventory levels down 26.3 percent while months’ supply of homes was 1.8 in the single-family category, 1.4 for condos, and townhomes a mere 1.1 months of inventory. Looking at this from a perspective of the price range, anything below $350,001 is at 1.3 months’ supply or less. When you take into account that 5-6 months of supply is considered balanced, and the current supply is at an all-time low when we compare it to data going back to 2006, this is clearly an extraordinary situation.
How to Buy New Home in the Twin Cities
The Twin Cities Real Estate Market is Filled With Stories
Real estate 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...
This Maple Grove Home Will be Sold Quickly
Take a 3D Tour
This chic contemporary home is light, bright and airy and brings to mind casual elegance. Coupled with the open floor plan is an abundance of warmth and charm, which promises years of comfort and enjoyment for the family who will live here. With 2013 square feet, three bedrooms and three baths on two levels of living space, this stylish home has most of the amenities you would expect to find in this price range, plus a couple of lovely surprises!
The home is well situated on a corner lot in the desirable Shadow Creek neighborhood of Maple Grove. Close to shopping, convenient to highways, and surrounded by lakes and recreation you will love the lifestyle available in this outstanding location. Did I mention great schools and a 30-minute commute to downtown Minneapolis?
Let’s take a closer look as I show you the 7 characteristics I love about this house and I think you will too....
The difference between a Condo, Single Family, and Townhome in Mpls, MN
You, the first time home buyer have now been through the preapproval process and know how much the lender is willing to give you for a mortgage and at what rate. You also know how much of a down payment you need and your approximate closing costs. You know how you will pay for your home. Check!
You, the first time home buyer know the current Twin Cities real estate market favors the seller and competition for homes is keen at your price range. Knowledge is power and you feel confident that you will move quickly when you find “the one” because you have done the work and are fully prepared. You know how to maneuver through the Twin Cities real estate market. Check!
You the first time home buyer feel confident and prepared because you have a real estate professional at your side for each important step of the home buying journey and will use his experience and...
The First Time Home Buyers Journey In the Twin Cities Real Estate Market
Spring in The Twin Cities metro is about temperatures rising, flowers blooming, green lawns, residents hitting the biking and walking trails in large numbers and the real estate market in full swing. There are plenty of buyers out there and if you are one that has decided to take the plunge and buy a home I applaud you for beginning the journey towards home ownership. For those of you who have yet to take that first step but are seriously thinking about doing so, I’d like to help.
First let me say I fully understand the decision to transition from renter to owner is not an easy one. The purchase of a home is for most adults the largest financial investment of resources in their lifetime. It’s not a small deal, it’s a big deal and should never be minimized. Not to mention that buying your first home can be a very scary thing, and believe me you don’t have to be a virgin home buyer to get those jitters. There are the practical considerations that need to be explored such as your personal financial situation, market conditions, and future plans. You will also need to ask yourself some hard questions about how much change to your lifestyle in terms of responsibility you are ready to embrace. ...