7 Steps To Buy A Home
Seven steps to buying a home in the Twin Cities. Buying a home in Minnesota is an adventure; however, you need a plan before you dive into the housing market. 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. 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.
Shop For a Mortgage
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 make finding a loan that meets your particular financial situation easier.
Obtain a Pre-Approval
A mortgage banker will review your financial documents and run your credit. Then she can tell you how much you can borrow, the rate, terms, and estimate of closing costs. You are going to gather two years of tax returns, 1-2 months of pay stubs, 1-3 months of bank statements, other asset documentation, debt statements, a copy of your driver’s license, proof of residence of the last two years for your appointment. Hopefully, you will walk out with a preapproval so you can start shopping for a home.
Choose the Best Real Estate, Professional
There is no good reason for a buyer not to work with a professional when buying a home. Find one with experience, ...
A particular excitement 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
Remember 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 balancing your time with 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.
Numbers to Know Before Buying a Home MN
Recently a friend told me she was never good with finances and never really cared until the day she wanted to buy a home and discovered she didn’t qualify for a mortgage. For her, it was a great wake-up call, and she got up to speed pretty quickly. About a year later, she moved into her condo. Today, she not only knows all her financial statistics, but she tracks them regularly.
So just what are these numbers we should know, and why are they important? As you plan for your future, these vital financial statistics will show you where your finances are healthy and the areas where your finances need improvement. If your life plan includes buying a home, putting your kids through college, or retiring early, these numbers will be the guideposts along your path.
Before you Buy a Home, Know Your Credit Score
What exactly is a credit score? It is a snapshot of an individual’s entire credit history translated into a numeric value. Lenders use this number to help them determine if you are creditworthy. The score is calculated by FICO (Fair Isacc Corporation) using data provided by the three credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. In addition to your FICO Score, another commonly used is a Vantage Score.
Why is this score important? Like your shadow, it follows you everywhere. It is not only a major determining factor in getting...
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 are hoping to score a home at the current real estate market's lower pricing tiers and 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 offer a hot property as quickly as possible. That means you should not even consider offering 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 equal the asking price or higher. Your real estate professional will provide insights based on competitive properties also for sale in the neighborhood and homes that have already sold.
Look Past the Pretty Package
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 house should be a significant consideration. Hopefully, unless expensive, unforeseen repairs are part of your plan, you will 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 home's condition yourself.
Don't set the stage today for financial regrets later.
There is no way to say that refinishing floors, painting, or other minor repairs should be dealbreakers. But if too many items fall on the fix list, added altogether, 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, costly repairs can quickly lead to regret.
Look before you leap.
Here is a suggested list of items you can check before you take that first step by offering to purchase. A second visit to the property is preferred. Still, given the competitiveness of the housing market at the lower price brackets, this is also something you can do on the initial tour of the property.
Warning signs to look for inside the home.
- Floors – squeaks or sponginess, or worn-out carpet or wood that needs refinishing.
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
Home Buying Advice MSP
One thing I know for sure is the passage of time always brings a 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 that trends will come and go regardless.
Sifting Through Home Buyers Advice
Along with style changes, there is an incredible amount of advice about what we should hold on to and what goes off. Real estate is no different, and we must 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 seek advice from family, friends, and the internet. But with so many tips out there, how do we know which keepers 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
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 homeownership, 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 to not 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 he will 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...
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.
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...
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.
Advice on Buying a Home in MN
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 then press go! Now before you get out your list of 7 reasons why you shouldn’t go out in the cold, here are my 7 reasons why house hunting...
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.
Passive Saving Puts More Money in Your Bank Account
Sadly, Americans are not good savers. A survey done last year by GOBankingRates found that 69% of us have less than $1000 in savings while 34% live paycheck to paycheck and have no savings whatsoever. This holds true for Millennials as well and considering the fact that approximately 66% of them have a student loan to pay with an average balance of $40K, we need to do better.
By the time we reach adulthood, saving should be a regular habit in our lives. We will need money to purchase our first home, then to save for our children’s education, and for our retirement. But given the statistics stated above, it is evident that for way too many of us saving money is not easy. When we think of saving, it conjures up words like austerity, frugality, deprivation and we make a face like we just bit into a lemon. What if I can show you there is a way to start saving that is painless. It’s called “passive saving” as opposed to “active saving”.
“What exactly is passive saving?” you ask skeptically, feeling sure I am about to scam you into leading a life of sacrifice. Passive saving is not changing your consuming habits or lifestyle. It means not giving up pleasures or activities you currently engage in or those nice things you like, but it does mean making changes in how you purchase them and from whom. Once you initiate...
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
- Buy or build a new home and you get to make all the choices, every single one! You choose the lot,...
Spring has arrived in the Twin Cities Metro and the housing market is in full swing! The onset of warmer temperatures has caused buyers to shed their boots and mittens and start house hunting in earnest. Traffic at Minnesota Property Group Open Houses has been brisk. We are seeing many more first time buyers, move up buyers, and buyers who are coming back after going through foreclosure or short sale experiences, (dubbed boomerang buyers) as well.
According to data published by The Minneapolis Association of REALTORS©, March showed an increase in pending sales of 30% over last year and was the highest level for that month since 2005. Additionally new listings were up 21% over March 2014, but due to avid buyer activity the market advantage is still tipping towards sellers. So, it’s a strong market, an active market, and what I would describe as a “snooze and you lose market” with desirable properties often selling within days or even hours of being listed.
Incredibly low mortgage interest rates are holding steady at least for now, so this is really an awesome time to make your move. However be aware that competition among buyers for desirable properties can be stiff, so as a buyer, to get the edge you need to be prepared to make your move when you find that dream property. Here are my 3 best do’s and don’ts...