The logistics of buying a home can be complicated for most of us. There is a lot of paperwork and steps we take before we arrive at the closing table and are given the keys to our new kingdom. What many buyers are not aware of is the battle between logic and emotion that is part of the process.
For most of us, the purchase of real estate is the most substantial monetary investment we will make in our life. Given that, we should consider the pros and cons logically and make sure the numbers work before making an offer on any property. However, buying a home is more than values on a spreadsheet, and the reason emotion must play a part in the process.
Home is More Than Wood, Brick, and Stone
A home is a place we celebrate our lives. It’s where we display family heirlooms and treasured mementos. It’s the place we rock our babies, dry their tears, share their laughter, and help them realize their dreams. It’s where memories are born of family gatherings, where we break bread with friends, toast success, and mourn a loss. When we are considering a home’s potential, if our heart is not singing a little song, it may be wise to take a pass.
Every buyer wants to avoid remorse over the long term, and there are ways to achieve that tricky balance between logic and emotion. Working with a professional whose advice...
The Fourth Quarter Begins
It seems like last week I was still sporting shorts and flip-flops, yet here we are fully ensconced in fall with winter just around the corner. As we focus on Thanksgiving and gratitude, I am thankful for the strength of the Twin Cities housing market.
The cold months may be the slowest time of the year, but partly in thanks to historically low mortgage rates, housing demand remains strong while home values continue to rise. Buyers should take notice and not let the cold weather stop them from following their dream of homeownership.
The Story of Low Inventory and Strong Demand Continues
If you are looking for a home at the lower price points, you do face competition. There are still not enough homes to satisfy the hunger for homeownership. Although we saw a 3.8 percent increase in new listings compared to October of last year, inventory fell short by 5.8 percent. At the higher-priced end of the market, it is either balanced or leaning in favor of the buyer.
The trend for rising home values began in 2011 and continues. For the month of October, sellers enjoyed a 5.7 percent increase in the median sale price...
The End of the Third Quarter
Can you believe summer is over, and we are firmly ensconced in fall? Halloween may be right around the corner, but I’m happy to say there is nothing scary about the Twin Cities housing market. Just the opposite.
Although we now head into the slowest time of the year for real estate, currently we are seeing lots of buying and selling activity. This activity is partly due to a dip in mortgage interest rates and a carryover of strong demand for housing.
Currently, you will see fewer homes for sale. However, there are fewer buyers, as well. There seems to be less urgency, generally speaking, allowing buyers to take a deep breath before deciding to make a purchase offer on a home. So if you have been on the fence about to buy or not to buy, this may be a great time to jump into the market.
The Continuing Saga of Low Inventory
I’m tired of saying it, and likewise, you are tired of hearing it, but lack of affordable inventory of homes is holding back an otherwise vibrant and robust housing market. At the lower price tiers, demand still outstrips supply with inventory falling 5.6 percent from September of 2018 with the most significant declines in prices below $250,000. ...
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 deals and options....
July Kicks Off the 3rd Quarter
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.
Housing Market Trends 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 12-month comparison. With...
17035 32nd Avenue N, Plymouth MN 55447
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.
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...
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. ...
If you are planning to sell your home in the spring, now is an excellent time to begin the process. I know what you are thinking. Now? Really? Spring is seven months in the future? I wasn’t planning to even think about the logistics of putting my home on the market until after the winter holidays. Has Joe lost his mind!
Believe me when I say my sanity is not at risk. There is logic at the heart of what appears to be madness. For those organized, pulled together people who prefer to plan for major events, this is going to resonate with you. For others who feel they perform best under pressure, I’m hoping to convert you. Here are several reasons that make the argument for getting a head start on the spring competition.
Give Yourself the Gift of Time
Selling a home, even facing the best of circumstances, is a life-altering, stressful experience. The luxury of time goes a long way to reducing the pressure of working against the clock when there may be many more demands on your time. Starting the process sooner provides you the grace to prioritize work and family responsibilities over home-selling tasks when necessary. This alone is a huge stress reducer and worth its weight in bitcoin!
Get a Headstart on the Spring Competition
In the Twin Cities, the...
The Goal - Ready to Show at All Times
When your home is for sale, the most significant challenge is keeping it ready for people who want to drop in on short notice. I’m not talking about a neighbor that might pop over unexpectedly to borrow a cup of flour. She won’t think twice about the dirty dishes in the sink and your unfolded laundry occupying prime real estate in the living room.
But those other people will care. They will look in all your corners, open all your cabinets, peer into your closets and they will judge. They are picky and often quick to find fault and not shy about voicing their opinions about the condition of your home or your housekeeping habits. They are called buyers.
Before you listed your home, you developed a plan for preparing for this event with your Realtor. You got rid of clutter, you organized, and you cleaned. You repaired, refurbished and recycled. You gave up a month of precious weekends, your book club night, and Netflix to get it done and never hardly ever did a complaint escape your lips.
Now you have to do one thing. Keep it tidy, ...
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 +7.7%...
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...
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....
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....
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
July 2018 Snapshot – Twin Cities Housing
As we look at the data for July, we see the reason for buyers to be a bit more optimistic. Although this is still a market that favors sellers at price ranges under $500,000, we did see an increase of 4.1 percent in new listings when compared to July of last year. However, buyers should hold off popping the cork on that bottle of champagne because it is sellers that have a reason to celebrate with the median sale price up 6.6 percent over the same time last year. Pending sales were up 0.4 percent and closed transactions were flat with days on the market falling 17.4 percent and inventory levels down 13.4 percent.
Although we hear the terms “housing market bubble” and “real estate market shift” being bandied about by analysts, economic indicators may be pointing to a slowdown but not a bursting bubble. Past the middle of the year and heading into the end of summer we continue to see record low unemployment and the longest running bull market in history, in spite of trade wars and rumblings about impeachment. While we may be wise to pay attention to the former, history proves the latter will have little or no effect on stocks, housing or the economy in general. ...
Our Favorite Blog Posts of 2017
It’s that time again. As we say goodbye to the old year and look ahead to 2018 with great expectations it is always worthwhile to reflect on the last 12 months and review the work accomplished with some satisfaction. On Our Twin Cities Home Blog, we try to bring you the best information we can find on everything real estate from buying and selling a home to living well in our vibrant and beautiful Twin Cities Metro.
As we look forward to more good work this year we’d like to share some of our favorite posts with you again. So without further ado, here is what we think deserves a second look before we close the books and begin the first chapter of the brand new year!
Has a year really passed since I wrote this one? It was one of my favorites because I am proud to work with Joe all 365 days of the year. He has a great real estate story and a great philosophy on how he approaches real estate so I felt it appropriate to tell it one more time.
Saving more money is a ...
Twin Cities Buyers Know What They Don't Want
The one thing most sellers have in common is that they are unable to look at their property with a dispassionate and critical eye. The longer they have lived in their home, the more emotionally attached they become. Many simply cannot understand that the cracked tile in the foyer they have lived with for 10 years, should be of concern to a buyer. Or the magenta bedroom walls they adore would be another person’s decor nightmare.
After being a realtor in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro for 16 years and closing on close to 1000 properties, I have shown my share of homes that made buyers run for the exit shouting, “next please”! I have been the listing agent challenged with marketing the lime green home with hot pink trim. So over the years, I have probably not heard it all, but enough to tell you what makes a buyer look like he just sucked a lemon. Sellers can and should take matters into their own hands before they put their home up for sale to avoid having their home sit on the market for a long time and sell for less money.
Big Ticket Replacement Items
A house with a roof that is at the end of its lifespan or siding that needs to be updated is a major red flag for buyers. The same holds true for old electrical...
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 a down...
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...
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 sales prices in the Twin Cities last August....