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...
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...
What Home Buyers Want
For most people, their home is not only the roof over their heads; it is the most valuable financial asset they possess. As such, sellers should expect to make the most profit possible from its sale. With this goal in mind, if you are a seller preparing to put your house on the market, it is essential to consider what features buyers view most favorably.
In the process of getting your home in tip-top shape for the market, you may plan to do some upgrades. That’s a good idea, providing you do not go overboard on improvements. To spend your money wisely, it pays to know what features make a buyer’s heart beat faster when they are looking at homes.
Here are some of the features that turn lookers into buyers.
Color me surprised, but a separate laundry room has become a game-changer with homebuyers in recent years. A dedicated laundry room was the number one feature in a National Association of Home Builders survey, with 91 percent of buyers saying, “I need one!” If you have the washer and dryer in the basement as many people do, consider kicking the space up a notch with some cabinetry, shelving and a folding table.
708 N 1st Street #644, Minneapolis, MN 55401
2 Bedrooms and 2 Baths, 2136 Square Feet,
Virtual 3D Tour
When you enter this remarkable loft at 708 N 1st Street in the Historic and award winning Itasca Building you immediately notice the blend of natural light, dramatic timber and brick. The unique architectural blend of modern design and historic elements create an atmosphere that is both dramatic and intimate.
A True Minneapolis Loft
Do you crave the urban lifestyle? Does exposed brick, wood floors, soaring ceilings, lots of light, views of the city, the romance of the Mississippi Riverfront, and the North Loop right outside your door make your heart beat faster? Then you might fall in love with this fabulous loft too.
Location – The North Loop
The North Loop is known as the trendiest neighborhood in Minneapolis. It has excellent restaurants like the Spoon and Stable and Bachelor Farmer. Beautiful...
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....
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...
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. ...
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.
Twin Cities Housing Market Overview
As we look at June and the end of the second quarter, we observe a continuing trend of a more equitable and viable real estate market emerging. We also continue to enjoy strong housing market performance in part due to low unemployment, strong retail sales and the longest US economic expansion in history.
Overall, the dynamics of the market have not changed noticeably this year. Although new listings fell by 3.1 percent when compared to last June, the median sale price increased by 7.2 percent while days on the market flat-lined at 40. We are slowly approaching balance in the price range of $350K to $500K, but certainly not there yet. When we go above that range, we do reach a balance between buyer and seller. The highest price range is a buyer's market. Meanwhile, back in lower price land, inventory is scarce. I know, I know. You have been hearing this story for a long time now.
The High’s and Low’s of the Market
Looking at June of this year compared to 2018, new listings are down 3.1 percent. That decrease also brought pending sales down 2.9 percent and inventory levels down 1.3 percent. Meanwhile, the Median sales price increased by 7.2 percent, which is causing sellers to smile. Closed sales decreased 8.2 percent as did a percentage of list price received slightly by 0.3 percent. Time on the...
Who Cares About Your Credit Score
By the time you experience initiation into the adult world, you've probably heard the term credit score. It’s a number you should be concerned about because other’s will be. They will use it to judge your ability to pay back a loan.
So who cares about your credit score exactly? Credit card companies, banks, mortgage brokers, cell phone companies, insurance companies, and landlords, to name a few. Some companies even want to look at your credit score before offering you a job to see how responsible you are.
How is Your Credit Score Calculated
Your credit score is a number that captures your creditworthiness based on your credit history. Three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, track your...
Curb Appeal Works Magic on Buyers
If your curb appeal is missing that certain something that takes it from so-so to wow, I dedicate this post to you. If you are selling your home, you should already know how critical making that positive first impression is to potential buyers. You want to hit them with your best before they walk in the front door.
Even if you are not selling your home, boosting your curb appeal adds value to your property. You will also win the admiration of your neighbors and become the most popular house on the block. After you finish my list of suggestions, it will amaze you that such a small investment of money, time, and creativity will result in such a noticeable uptick of curb appeal.
Here are my best, inexpensive tips for upping your curb appeal game. So put on your sunscreen and let’s get outside!
1. Up Your Front Door Mojo
True story. Several years ago, I was having difficulty selling my home in Rhode Island. It was a newer home, a colonial replica in an association of like homes. Great location and landscaping but not getting the attention from buyers my agent and I anticipated.
I decided to paint the two yellow front doors, turquoise over the objections of my realtor, who was reminding me that my choice wasn’t a traditional colonial era color. A few days later, we had several showings and an offer. I’m convinced it was the...
Minneapolis-St. Paul Big Picture
The Spring Housing Market is in play. Prices are on the rise as inventory levels continue to decline. Hopeful buyers in the lower price range are jumping on desirable properties hoping their offers rise to the top of the heap.
Months supply of inventory is improving in the mid-price housing range. We see steady sales activity in the higher price ranges while in the lower tiers buyers are still finding that landing a deal on a home to be a challenge especially for desirable homes in sought after locations.
What’s Up and What’s Down
Compare new listings to April of last year; we see an increase across the 16 county Twin Cities region of 4.5%. Closed sales were down 6.9% while the median sale price rose 5.2%. Pending sales were also down 1.1% and inventory levels 1.2% lower.
April weather was wintery at times, which discouraged buyer traffic and slowed sales. This trend was seen across Minneapolis as well as other parts of the nation. Higher prices, less affordability, and low inventory combined forces to dampen sales.
Let’s Dig a Little Deeper into the Housing Stats
While the median sale price rose...
375 Ferndale Road N, Orono MN
5 BEDROOMS, 3 BATHS, OFFERED at $584,900
OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY MAY 5, 12:30 – 2:00 PM
If you are in search of an outstanding family home in the western suburbs, you may fall in love with our newest listing in Orono. This 2,783 square foot walkout rambler is spacious and stylish and offers charm, comfort, and modern functionality.
The current owners meticulously and lovingly maintain this beautiful home. The updates and improvements they made will impress you. Since we feel pictures tell the story of a home best, let’s begin our mini-tour and point out some of the features that we love about this home.
First Impressions Matter - A Lot
Anyone that has sold a home before will tell you that it can be an intense and stressful experience. Strangers coming through and looking in your closets, judging your décor and housekeeping habits is an invasion of privacy. Not to mention that at times you will get those requests that fly in the face of that 24-hour notice you want.
Both as a Realtor and a former home seller myself believe me I feel your pain. With 4 active young boys and a dog, I am aware of the personal challenges families face to keep their homes ready to show when on the market. But when that short notice request from an out-of-towner pops up, it’s hard to take a pass because you know an eager buyer when you see one.
Because you get one shot at making an excellent first impression, I put together this list of quick, easy pre-showing tips for sellers. These tips have proven successful personally and for many of my clients over the years. Make your home shine and put a gleam in the eye of the most critical buyer by following my simple checklist....
14201 Brandbury Walk, Minnetonka, MN 55345
5 Bedrooms, 4 Baths, Offered at $599,900
Do you dream of a home that is a peaceful suburban oasis yet near a vibrant urban center? You can have it all when you purchase this outstanding 4000 square foot two-story Minnetonka home nestled into idyllic landscaped surroundings.
This elegant, graceful residence features spacious living areas soaked in sunlight. The flow of indoor and outdoor spaces is seamless and ideally suited to entertaining friends and family. The resort style backyard with inground pool is fenced-in for privacy.
A Minnetonka Home for All Seasons
During the summer enjoy the backyard sanctuary and luxury of your heated pool. Relax on one of two decks and enjoy dining al fresco.
In the evening or the high heat of the day, relax in the screened...
Home Staging is Now Mainstream
Just a few years ago staging a home for sale was rare. It was also generally for homes on the higher end of the pricing scale, new homes or empty homes. Today the story of home staging is entirely different.
The National Association of Realtors study conducted in 2017 found that 58% of real estate professionals said that when you stage the sale price can increase as much as 20%. This same study found that 39% said staged homes sell much faster. The message of staging a house and selling it quickly and for more money resonates with today’s home sellers at all price points and for all types of housing options.
Even sellers with starter homes or small condos with a limited budget can stage their property to make it more desirable to buyers. I’m going to share some great tips that I guarantee will make your home more marketable and cost very little as long as you are prepared to invest some time into the project.
The Five Basic Building Blocks of Home Staging
9 Reasons Your Home is Not Selling in a Hot Market
When your home is not getting offers in a seller’s market, it is no surprise that you are not in your happy place. It’s not how you expected things to go. You thought it would sell quickly. Now you are asking your realtor why other properties are selling while your listing is growing moss.
Taking more time to sell a home happens all too often. As an agent who has been in the business for 16 years, I have been in this scenario. Here are what I’ve found to be the seven most common reasons a home isn’t selling.
The Price is Too High
The most common reason a home is not moving even in a market favorable to sellers is incorrect pricing. At the listing time, your realtor should do a market analysis of properties comparable to yours that recently sold. The price comparison is the best method to determine the asking price.
There are times sellers don’t agree and insist their home is worth more. There are often factors that the seller didn’t take into consideration that affect the value. To neutralize the adverse effect of imperfections a price adjustment is necessary. The price...
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%
- overall median sales price up +7.7%