Home Buying

Comparison of New Home Options

Overview and Comparison of New Home Options

For the majority of us, homeownership remains an essential element of the American dream. For some, that dream is for a newly constructed home. It’s not difficult to see why some people aspire to live in a new home instead of a pre-owned property.

Buying a new home means not having to live with and correct other people’s choices in décor and style. It means having “smart” home features built-in and building materials that meet the safety standards of today’s regulations. It means all new and clean appliances and fixtures, HVAC systems, roofs, and siding, which keeps the cost of maintaining the home low.

There are three options for those who dream of owning a new home: tract homes, spec homes, and custom homes. They range in price from the starter home level to the “sky’s the limit” luxury housing. So even if your budget is limited, it doesn’t mean you can’t afford a new house.

Tract Homes

The largest category of new homes for sale is tract homes. They are generally built by large residential home construction companies that have a regional, state, or national footprint. The contractor buys a large tract of land, makes streets, puts in utilities, and separates the area into buildable house lots and begins building homes.

Generally, a buyer of a tract home will have a few models available to choose from, each with a set floor plan. Custom choices will include paint colors, flooring, cabinets, and fixtures, but selections will most often be limited to those in the builder’s design center.

Most often, tract builders will have a staged model home in each subdivision. They also will build homes before they have buyers and generally have houses you can see in various stages of construction.

Tract homes are available at lower...

Here's How to Determine Offer Price When Buying a Home

Here's How to Determine Offer Price When Buying a Home/MNpropertyGroup/blog

How to Determine an Offer Price When Buying a House in MN

The moment you have been waiting for has arrived. The home you want to buy has come on the market. You feel like Goldilocks when she lays in the baby bear’s bed that felt just right.  Unlike Goldy, who proceeded to take a nap, you are ready to rock and roll. It’s time to write an offer, also know as writing a purchase agreement.

The central theme of the offer is the amount you agree to pay to the seller for the property. Your goal is to reach that magical place where deals come together. It’s that sweet price point where the seller receives the amount he wants, and the buyer knows she is not paying too much.

The starting point is the seller’s asking price. Your real estate agent’s job is to help you decide if it is reasonable or too high. Several factors to consider that will affect your offer price include a comparable market analysis of homes that have recently sold, market conditions, property condition and updates, length of time on the market, and seller motivation.

The Comparative Market Analysis or CMA

Your buyers’ agent will pull several months of data on homes that have sold in the same general location to help you determine a range where your offer price should...

A Roadmap to Homeownership

A Roadmap to Homeownership/MNPropertyGroup/BlogHomeownership in Minnesota

With interest rates low and predicted to go lower this year, many of you are thinking seriously about buying a home. Am I right? Don’t be shy. Raise your hand if you want to buy a home this year. Wow, look at all the potential homeowners!

Your enthusiasm is inspiring! Buying a home in Minnesota is an adventure. However, before you dive into the housing market, you need a plan. Buying real estate is a journey, and the road to homeownership is rarely a straight line from point A to point B. Often the route is a winding mountain road with hills and valleys, twists and turns but worth the effort to reach the top.  

Buying a home in today’s market, especially for first-time home buyers, is challenging. But having your path mapped out from start to finish will help you avoid obstacles and delays. Completing each portion of the journey before proceeding to the next will build confidence in the process. Here are my 7 Steps for a successful home buying experience.


1. Organize Your Finances

A Buyer Roadmap to Homeownership/MNPropertyGroup.com

2. Shop For a Mortgage and Obtain a Pre-Approval

Now it’s time to find a lender. Of course, your first instinct is to secure a mortgage at the lowest possible rate. Don’t get me wrong that is extremely important. But customer service also matters. The variety of programs offered will...

Avoid These Homebuyer Mistakes and Live Happily Ever After

Avoid These Homebuyer Mistakes/MNPropertyGroup/Blog

There is a particular excitement that surrounds buying a home that makes other major life purchases pale in comparison. Expect to be excited and joyful about the prospect. If by chance, you are lucky enough to find a home that feels perfect as soon as you step through the door, it can be magical.

Don't Overlook Important Considerations

Keep in mind that magic can also be an illusion, and reality may be around the corner, waiting to tap you on the shoulder. Don’t let the euphoria of the moment keep you from delving deeper when you are purchasing a home.

Your relationship with your home is not a superficial one, and neither should your hunt for it be either. Here are mistakes you can easily avoid when buying a home. It will be a small investment in your time in balance to how long you may live there.  

Failing to Research the Location

It’s not enough to look at the properties surrounding the home you want to buy; you want to dig into the details. Start by doing a practice run on your commute to work and determine if it is doable or so far away that you will be sure to experience regret from making the drive twice a day.

...

Buying a Home in MN

Buying a Home in MN Takes a Team

If you have decided to transition from renter to homeowner, you are probably feeling excited and nervous at the same time. That is perfectly normal because it’s a big decision. Some think it is the litmus test for adulthood. While I’m not sure that is true, I will admit that it means taking on a whole new set of responsibilities. Heck by the time I bought my first house, I was already working in real estate but still had the jitters.

While you may find the home buying journey intimidating, thankfully, it’s not a solo adventure. You are going to have lots of real estate professionals helping you along the way. Some of them you’ll interact with regularly and others you will never meet. Yet they will all be doing their part to get you across the finish line. Let me introduce them to you.

Buying a Home Is a Team Project/MNPropertyGroup/BlogThe Real Estate Agent

Your agent will scout out homes for you, pointing out the positives and negatives of each one. Once you have found the property you want to buy, he will do a comparative market analysis so you can decide on your offer. He will prepare the purchase agreement and help with the negotiations between you and the seller.

In a nutshell, your licensed real estate professional will answer your questions, provide guidance, make recommendations, advocate in your best interests, provide emotional support, and help keep the whole process of buying your first MN home on track. Your Realtor is a valuable resource in assembling...

Buying a Home In The Winter

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

MN Realtor On Buying a House in the Winter

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, divorce, estate settlement, or various other compelling circumstances. Because they have a strong motivation to close a deal they may be more flexible on asking price and terms.

There Is Less Competition for Homes in the Winter

In the spirit of full disclosure, there...

My Best Advice For First-Time Home Buyers

My Best Advice For First-time Home Buyers/MNPropertyGroup/BlogMy Best Advice For First-Time Home Buyers

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 deals and options. A half-point or even a quarter-point less on your rate can generate significant savings over the life of your loan.

Decide How Much You Can Afford

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Twin Cities Housing Review July 2019

July 2019 Twin Cities Housing Market Review/MNPropertyGroup Blog

Twin Cities Housing Market Review From Top Local Realtor

There are currently numerous factors that affect the housing market. However, right now more than anything, it is the consistent lack of homes available for buyers in the lower pricing tiers. This fact holds true both in the Twins and in most markets across the nation.

It’s significant that while home values are still increasing, it is at a slower rate more closely matching income and wage growth. While you may be frowning if you are thinking about selling your home in the future, the alignment is healthy for the market. We all knew that sharply escalating prices for homes could not continue indefinitely.

MN Housing Market Trends Have Been Consistent

While we continue to see constraints on available homes for sale in the first-time buyer level, the market is becoming more balanced as we move up to higher price ranges. So sellers are still enjoying a market that favors them under $500,000.

Meanwhile, lower interest rates are helping to continue to make housing affordable in spite of the rising prices. Even though new listings were up 1.8 percent over July of 2018, inventory levels in the Twin Cities fell 4.4 percent. In spite of the fact, demand remains strong with closed sales up 4.5 percent and pending sales up 3.2 percent.

Although prices are not rising as quickly and steeply, the median selling price was up 5.9 percent over July of last year and up 7 percent as a rolling...

Outstanding Plymouth Home Has It All

Outstanding Plymouth Home/MNPropertyGroup blog

This is how Top Plymouth Realtors Sell Homes

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 of shopping and dining options. The expressway is 2.5 minutes away, which lays open the entire metro access. Medicine Lake is a 10-minute drive to the west, and downtown Wayzata and Lake Minnetonka are 10 minutes to the south. Did we mention...

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

Writing a Winning Offer/MNPropertyGroup blog

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

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. Open with your best offer which should at least equal the asking price or higher. Your real estate professional will provide insights based on competitive properties also for sale in the neighborhood as well as homes that have already sold.

Writing a Winning Offer/MNPropertyGroup blog...

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.

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A FICO Score Explained By MN Realtor

What You Should Know About a FICO Score/MNPropertyGroup

A FICO Score Explained By MN Realtor

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, track your financial information. The Fair Isaac Corporation takes this data and uses a model to assign a number known as a FICO score. Most creditors use this score to evaluate you when you apply for a loan such as a mortgage.  

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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

1....

Get Ready to Buy A House MN

Are You Financially Ready for Homeownership?

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.

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?One of the critical factors...

Realtor Reviews Minneapolis Housing Market

Twin Cities 2019 Housing Market Forecast Realtor Reviews Minneapolis 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 +7.7%

Now what you have all been waiting to hear. What are the takeaways for the 2019 market?

The Economy

The economy right now is still vibrant, but showing signs of moderating. Everything that happens going forward is going to hinge on the trade war.

If the US and China reach a trade agreement by March, that should send the stock market soaring and consumer confidence along with it. However, if the trade war continues and the tariffs become even more punitive, that is going to slow down the world economy and the US along with it.

Now you might ask, why do we care and how does China affect the housing market?  It’s about interest rates, and how often...

How Do You Know A Super Real Estate Agent When You Meet One?

 

real estate agent tips

Can You Recognize a Super Real Estate Agent When You Meet One?  Take This Quiz!

You have finally made the big decision to buy a home, and you’re ready to dive headlong into the real estate market! Congratulations!  Given today’s market and the great opportunities that abound in the Twin Cities Metro for home ownership, I applaud your decision.  But, (and yes there is always a “but,”) before you take the plunge, just like every great athlete needs a coach, or every talented artist needs an agent, you need a Realtor© by your side, advocating for you.

“Why can’t I just advocate for myself?” you say.  Great question and I am so glad you asked. An honest and ethical real estate agent will steer you in the right direction, so you don’t waste time spinning your wheels. He will offer expert advice when called for, even if it might not be what you want to hear, and will put your best interest at the forefront of any transaction.  Not only will he protect your interests, but also limit your liabilities and even save you money. 

“Wow,” you say, “having an agent will give me an edge!  I want one, but, with all those agents out there, how will I know...

Twin Cities Housing Review November 2018

 November 2018 Housing MN Property group

Minneapolis-St Paul Housing Overview

As we approach years’ end, we see some subtle changes in the Twin Cities Metro housing market. The increase in inventory of homes for sale was10.5 percent over last month giving home buyers something to rejoice. This inventory boost by is by no means enough to bring the market into balance but does bring us closer. For consumers who have been trying to buy a home for several months, it was welcome news.

What’s Up and What’s Down

As we compare November of this year to November 2017, we find new listings up 12.6 percent, closed sales down 0.9 percent, the percentage of list price received down 0.1, and the median sale price of $265,150 up 8.2 percent. Meanwhile, pending sales were down 5.2 percent, inventory levels rose 2.3 percent with months supply up 10.5 percent. Days on the market fell 7.1 percent.

So while inventory is increasing and sales are decreasing, we are seeing more price reductions and fewer deals closing for full price offers. Although housing prices are still higher than last year, they appear to be slowing down. Properties for sale are still spending less time on the market than last year, an indication that demand is still robust, and buyers are scooping up homes quickly.

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Twin Cities Housing Report October 2018

The Minneapolis-St Paul Housing Market Overview

As we look at the Twin Cities Housing Market Statistics for the first month of the final quarter of 2018 the one thing that hasn’t changed for months is the shortage of properties for sale in the lower end of the market. With so few homes that fit their budget, coupled with rising home prices and interest rates, would-be buyers continue to struggle with fulfilling their dream of ownership. Homes at this price range are still selling quickly, but we are finally starting to see that shift we have been talking about, in market conditions overall as we look at narrowing gaps in year over year data for sales, inventory, and price.

What’s Up Doc?

As we compare October of this year to October 2017, we find new listings up 9.2 percent, closed sales rose 3.4 percent, the percentage of list price received up 0.2, and the median sale price of $265,000 up 8.6 percent. Meanwhile, pending sales were down 1.7 percent, inventory levels dropped 2.2 percent, days on the market fell 7.7 percent. In summary, in the Twin Cities 16 county metro at least, we are still experiencing fewer homes on the market taking less time to sell with prices even on an upward trajectory.

What About the Economy?

Our local economy remains strong. The unemployment rate for October in the Twin Cities was 2.1 percent and 2.8 for...

Look What We Found in Edina

5901 Chowen Ave S Edina MN

Mid Century Modern Homes in Edina MN

Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?  Tucked away in a lovely neighborhood of Edina we fund a delightful mid-century rambler. This fabulous tastefully updated family home has all the amenities on today’s family wish list.

You cannot beat this location. Edina is one of the most desirable 1st tier suburbs of Minneapolis. The new owners will appreciate the easy access to both Highway 100 and 35 and the Crosstown. Surrounded by parks, lakes, shopping, fun, and food with a 15-minute commute to downtown Minneapolis, what more could you ask for? Great Schools? You have that too. Edina has a nationally recognized school system which has been a magnet for families with kids over the years.

5901 Chowen Ave S Edina MN

Why Buy a Mid Century Modern Home in Edina Mn

Most home buyers today want an open floor plan. This home has it in spades. The family room incorporates the dining area and flows directly into the kitchen. Note the abundance of windows to draw in the natural light and the beautiful hardwood floors. Neutral white walls make everything look so fresh and new. You know you...

First-Time Buyer Mortgage Myths

First Time Home Buyer Mortgage Myths

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 home buyers in MN, the medium down payment is actually 10 percent. In addition, the statistics for first time home buyers in the Twin Cities is closer to 5 percent.

Zero Down Mortgage Options in Minnesota...

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