Buying a Home

The Best Time of Year to Buy a Home

When is the best time to buy a home?

Just as in selling a home, the answer to this question all comes down to supply and demand. As far as our buyers are concerned, they typically want the most amount of homes to see and they want to be able to bid the lowest amount possible when it comes to negotiation.

Throughout the course of the year, we usually see inventory levels rise from January to December. It usually starts at the bottom in January, then ratchets up during the summer and fall months. During fall, the number of sales is usually inversely proportional to the number of listings. The later months of the year, then, tend to be the ones with the lowest amount of sales but the highest available inventory.

It all comes down to supply and demand.


How Contingencies Protect Twin Cities Home Buyers

We wanted to take a minute to talk about real estate contingencies today. They are an important part of every real estate contract because they can help buyers protect themselves if problems come up after earnest money has gone into escrow.

There are two primary contingencies: for the inspection and for the financing. These are the two that we see come up in just about every transaction.

We typically start with the inspection contingency. The inspections usually take place in the first week after contract, and the buyer has the opportunity to say whether or not everything checked out and if they want to move forward. Sometimes after an inspection, buyers will ask the seller to make certain repairs or something may get renegotiated.

Then, we typically move into the second tier of contingencies, for the financing. Buyers need to be pre-approved in almost all situations to buy a property, and that’s because the seller will want assurance that the buyer actually has the means to buy the home.

After the inspection, things shift to the lender to do their due diligence with the buyer. This is when the appraisal takes...

How Should You Choose the Best Offer?

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Since our local housing marketplace currently favors sellers, home sales are likely to end up in a multiple offer situation. Today, we want to give advice to buyers on how to compete and thrive if they experience this.

Conventional wisdom tells us the highest offer is best. However, that’s not always the case. There are other factors that go into making a decision. Although price can make up for all these factors, it isn’t always the most powerful.

For instance,
the strength of the...

Should You Buy a New Home or a Resale Property?

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Selling a home? Click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation 

Today we want to speak to you about the difference between buying a new home and a resale property. Both have their pros and cons, and we want you to be informed about them.

A newly-constructed home is advantageous in the fact that you have control over the design and layout. You can build it just like you want, so long as you have the funds. You can reflect your own style, and not someone else's tastes. New homes often come with warranties that cover mechanical devices for two years and structural items for ten years.

New homes are often vastly more efficient when it comes to energy and insulation. Although they cost more upfront, you will see some energy savings over the long run as opposed to an older home.

However, this is not to say that older homes and resale properties aren't worth purchasing. They are often more affordable, but you don't have an input on the design. You can change the interior to a degree, but not like a newly constructed home.

Resale properties are often in more desirable locations, like the inner city. Newly-built homes are often located in suburban areas where more land is available. When it comes to architecture, nothing beats the charm of an...

What Can You Expect from the Twin Cities Marketplace in 2016?

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Selling a home? Click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation 

Where is the Twin Cities market heading in 2016? Last year was another wonderful year in our market, but will this be a year of change? Today, we take a look at the numbers to find out!

Overall, 2015 was the best year in the Twin Cities market since 2005. Housing demand has reached a 10-year high, and home prices have fully recovered in most of the area. In 2015, the amount of closed sales increased by over 1%, median sales prices increased by 7%, and inventory was reduced by close to 18%. This is terrific news considering where the market was just a few years ago.

One of the trends that will continue this year is the low inventory -- there just is not a lot to choose from out there. This will likely result in suburban growth, as the low inventory drives people to the edges of the city. A lot of the new communities we see popping up are more walk-able than what we've seen in the past. There are more grocery stores, coffee shops, and dry cleaners nearby, which is indicative of these more walk-able urban communities.

Another thing we'll probably see continue to change is the condo and town-home market. It's starting to rebound from the hit it took during the downturn. The low inventory of...

Twin Cities Real Estate a Good Bet in 2013

minneapolis real estateMinneapolis real estate and other Twin Cities area communities had a good year in 2012 and it is expected that the trend will continue in 2013 for home sellers.


A few things are working in our favor here in Minnesota, as far as real estate sales are concerned.

First, Minnesota has a low unemployment rate. And we don’t just mean “relatively low,” as it’s hovering just above 5 percent right now.

Second, Minnesota, and in particular the Twin Cities area, has an incredible employment base. The state is home to huge corporations, small businesses, manufacturing, financial, creative, theaters, art. Being on the river, we even have longshoremen. Pretty much whatever you want to choose for a career, you can do here. This is leading to an influx in new residents needing housing.

Third, interest rates have been at historic lows. That means that people who qualify for a home loan are able to take advantage of incredibly low prices that might not always be around.

Fourth, thanks to the dwindling foreclosure rate and the three factors listed above, the inventory of homes for sale has gone down from 20,000 to just 14,000 available homes on the market in 2012.

The combination of forces above have...

Q & A: Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

Nationwide, it seems the housing market is heating up, just as it does nearly every Spring and Summer – including in the Twin Cities area. Even with those seasons passed, the interest rates are still low with plenty of homes available on the Twin Cities real estate market.  That considered, more and more Minnesotans are pondering if they are ready to buy a home yet. There are many things to consider, especially for those who may be first time home buyers.

Here are some questions and some possible answers to think of if you are considering buying a home.

·       Are you planning to stay put? If the answer to this is no, you might want to reconsider buying a home. If you think you are planning on stay in an area for any less than 5 years, it may be worth it to really determine if buying a home is right for you.


·       Have you done your research? There is a lot of research associated with buying a home. That includes what city or neighborhood might be best, where the real estate you can...

Buying a Home Has Become More Affordable

Buying a home is now more affordable than it has been in the last twenty years.

That is, according to this CNN article. Due to declines in home prices and nearly record-low mortgage rates, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index now registers a record level of affordability.

According to the index, 75.9% of all new and existing homes sold during the three months ended Dec. 31 could have been comfortably purchased by families earning the national median income of $64,200.

That was the highest percentage recorded in the 20-year history of the index, and a sharp increase from just three months earlier when 72.9% of all homes sold were considered affordable.

The National Association of Realtors reported that in January, home prices fell to their lowest point in more than a decade, which has helped to lift the pace of home sales. The median home price in January fell 2% from December to $154,700. That's the lowest since November 2001, before the run-up in home prices that eventually crashed the market.

The pace of sales rose to the highest level since May of 2010. The seasonally-adjusted annual sales pace of 4.57 million homes was up a bit from the revised 4.38 million in December. The last time homes sold at that pace, buyers were rushing in order to qualify for the $8,000 homebuyer's tax credit as it was about to expire.

Unfortunately, despite the affordability and apparent signs of recovery, most Americans are having trouble buying a home. The main reason is that potential home buyers are finding it extremely difficult to qualify for mortgages due to tightened lending standards. Borrowing troubles are even extended to successful...

Two Limited Time Home Assistance Programs in Minneapolis

There are two new assistance programs available in Minneapolis for home buyers and home owners, but act fast because they are limited in availability and funds.

First, Neighborhood Housing Services of Minneapolis is offering home buyers in North Minneapolis a $5,000 forgivable loan towards the down payment of a home if a purchase agreement is signed by May 31 and the sale is closed by August 15. If the new owner lives in the home for 5 years, the interest-free loan will be forgiven. There are no income restrictions for qualifying. Loan funds for this program are limited to $100,000, so when it's gone, it's gone!

Second, homeowners and buyers in foreclosure-impacted neighborhoods of Minneapolis can apply to the City’s Rehab Support Program. It has a fund of $750,000 with which to finance to complete improvements, potentially increasing the home’s market value. The pilot program offers loans of up to $20,000 at zero-percent interest. Funding the City received from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency will be matched dollar for dollar by the homeowner from any other source they choose. Approximately 50 loans will be available through this program. The program is available to qualified homeowners and buyers in neighborhoods where 10 percent of the housing stock is in foreclosure. Eligible neighborhoods are: Shingle Creek, Lind-Bohanon, Webber-Camden, Cleveland, Folwell, McKinley, Jordan, Hawthorne, Willard-Hay, Harrison and Near North on the city’s Northside and Central and Bryant neighborhoods on the Southside. Check out the City of Minneapolis website to view further restrictions.

If you're a home owner or home buyer that fits these qualifications in Minneapolis, it could be worth looking into these programs.


Twin Cities Housing Market in 2010: Frozen & Depressed

Last year was the worst for home sales since the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors began tracking home sales in the Twin Cities metro area nearly 10 years ago. The number of Twin Cities homes sold slipped in 2010 to 37,365, down 17% from 2009. It was even lower than 2008, which many industry experts had hoped was the bottom of the market. Median sales prices did rise a modest 2.3%.

Rob Grunewald, associate economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, said that while the construction industry saw more promising numbers during the last weeks of the year, a full thaw for the housing market isn't likely during 2011. "While the overall Minnesota economy is expected to recover moderately in 2011," he said. "The housing industry faces conditions that will likely keep home prices and building at relatively low levels."

Though 2010 started off at a run due to the $8,000 federal first time home buyer tax credit, once it expired expectations for the year were low. At the end of the April deadline, Twin Cities real estate sales practically stopped in its tracks. Prices didn't plummet drop significantly as expected because of an increase in sales of traditional listings and upper-bracket houses, while prices of lender-mediated foreclosure and short sales properties fell.

"It was like two different markets," said Pat Paulson, president of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. He said that during the last week of April there were 1,460 pending sales, the highest weekly level since 2005. Since then sales have fallen to about 600 deals a week with the exception of the last couple weeks of the year.

"The last half of the year is fresh in my mind, and I'd say it was disappointing," he said. "We knew there'd be a drop-off, but we didn't expect it to be such a steep drop. But the good thing is that...