Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's a great time to start researching your lake home purchase!

What?  It's JANUARY! The lakes are FROZEN!

Exactly.  Holiday hype is probably winding down.  If you are into ice fishing, you might be spending some time on the lake but otherwise, why not be prepared to jump on the perfect lake home in April so you have the whole summer to use it!  That means it's the perfect time to do your pre-shopping research!

Start by considering the type of lake you desire:
Natural Environment lakes usually have less than 150 total acres, less than 60 acres per mile of shoreline, and less than three dwellings per mile of shoreline. They may have some winter kill of fish; may have shallow, swampy shoreline; and are less than 15 feet deep.
Recreational Development lakes usually have between 60 and 225 acres of water per mile of shoreline, between 3 and 25 dwellings per mile of shoreline, and are more than 15 feet deep.
General Development lakes usually have more than 225 acres of water per mile of shoreline and 25 dwellings per mile of shoreline, and are more than 15 feet deep.
Unfortunately, not all Minnesota lakes are in the Shoreline program and those lakes will be classified in the MLS as, “Not Applicable" so be sure to always have your agent include these in your search just in case.

Something to keep in mind is where these types of lakes will be located.  If you are shopping the in the Twin Cities, it is generally substantially more expensive to find a home on a lake than if you are in more rural areas of Minnesota.  Small, older seasonal cabins/homes may have starting prices over $200,000.

Need help?


Friday, January 18, 2013

MN School district maps, ratings and rankings.

Researching Schools in Minnesota

Everybody has different criteria when determining where to live. For some it's schools but not all for the same reasons. Some choose based on class size, immersion programs, district reputation, parent reviews, a school the grew up in, test results.... The list goes on.

Here are a list of resources I've found (but don't necessarily endorse) to help you do your research and compare to find the best school in MN for you. The MN Department of Education is an overall great resource but here are some other useful direct links.

School District Map and Phone Numbers

Maps of school district areas: http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/maps/SchoolDistricts2002/
Phone numbers for MN school districts: http://education.state.mn.us/Directories/report_c3.jsp

Minnesota School Ranking Information:

Rankings based on Test Scores and other data: http://www.schooldigger.com/go/MN/search.aspx
Ratings based on opinion: http://www.greatschools.org/
More Rankings/other data: http://www.localschooldirectory.com/state-schools/MN

Other school resources:

Immersion Schools: http://www.multilingualminnesota.org/immedu.php
Afterschool Programs (this page also has links to other related info): http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/StuSuc/AftSch/index.html

Again, some data is factual and some opinion so decide what matters most to you when evaluating Minnesota schools.

Do you have a resource you love to use when evaluating schools?  Please comment and share!

Compare MN schools, find the best schools in MN, MN school ranking information

Monday, January 14, 2013

2012 MN Seller Profile

In the MNAR eResource newsletter today, Christopher Galler, CEO of Minnesota Association of REALTORS, reviewed highlights from the 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.  Here are some items he mentioned.

Home Sellers and Their Selling Experience
  • The typical national seller lived in their home for 9 years. The median tenure has increased in recent years. In 2007, the typical tenure in home was only 6 years.   In Minnesota, the median tenure is 10 years.
  • 88% of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home nationally, and 90% were assisted in Minnesota.
  • Nationally, recent sellers typically sold their homes for 95% of the listing price, and 60% reported they reduced the asking price at least once.   In Minnesota, recent sellers sold their homes for 94% of the listing price and 57% reduced the asking price at least once.
  • 40% of sellers offered incentives to attract buyers nationally, most often assistance with home warranty policies and closing costs.  In Minnesota, 40% of sellers offered incentives as well.

For-Sale-by-Owner (FSBO) Sellers
  • The share of home sellers who sold their home without the assistance of a real estate agent was 9% nationally. 33% of those sellers knew the buyer prior to home purchase.  In Minnesota, the share was 8% and 63% knew the buyer.
  • One-third of FSBO sellers nationally took no action to market their home, and 60% did not offer any incentives to attract buyers.  These numbers are similar to Minnesota, where 55 % of FSBO sellers took no action to market the home and 60% did not offer any incentives.
Financing the Home Purchase
  • On a national level, 87% of home buyers financed their recent home purchase. Among those who financed their home purchase, the buyers typically financed 91%.   In Minnesota, 90% of buyers financed their recent purchase and 91% of the purchase was financed.
  • The share of first-time buyers who financed their home purchase was 95% compared to 81% of repeat buyers, nationally.  In Minnesota, that share was 95% of first-time buyers and 86 % of repeat buyers.
  • More than a third of home buyers nationally reported they have made some sacrifices such as reducing spending on luxury items, entertainment or clothing.  This also holds true in Minnesota.
  • Nationally, 23% of buyers reported the mortgage application and approval process was somewhat more difficult than expected and 17% reported it was much more difficult than expected.  These numbers are roughly equivalent to the Minnesota numbers, where 27% of buyers reported the process was somewhat more difficult than expected and 10% reported it was much more difficult than expected.
"Home buying and selling remains an important segment of the national and local economies, especially due to the housing sector’s unique power to revitalize the economy during challenging times.  With historically low mortgage rates, buyers and sellers continue to have opportunities to trade up, trade down, relocate or purchase a second home.  In Minnesota, First-time buyers are now 41% of the market, are discovering and capturing the benefits of homeownership, which contributes to significant wealth accumulation, among other financial, social, and personal rewards.
Consumers rely on the experience and expertise of real estate professionals to assist when buying and selling a home. Working in an extremely competitive environment, agents and brokers provide high levels of service to meet the varied needs of home buyers and sellers. The value that consumers place on the services offered by real estate professionals is reflected in the large majority of both buyers and sellers who would use their agents again or recommend them to others." - Christopher Galler

Did you know that my team, The Goerss Home Team, was the #3 KW real estae team in the entire Midwest in 2011?  Call me today! We can help you take advantage of the great opportunities in today's real estate market!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pre-Approved or Pre-Qualified?

When a potential client calls for a loan, many banks just take some basic info about where you live and work and they may run a credit report.  They will then take a brief look to make sure that the income info provided offsets the monthly debt including the new house payment at an acceptable level (debt-to-income ratio).  This would constitute a basic pre-qualification.  This will help you to know what homes are comfortably in your price range.

Get Pre-Approved for Your Loan!
In order to know what price home you will get loan approval for you need to be pre-approved.  The pre-approval process is much more lengthy. (See here for details.)

Most people want to know the monthly payment when deciding what price range they will be looking in for a home and online loan calculators don’t tell the whole story. Your payment is impacted dramatically by your choice of a loan program, how much you have for a down payment, if you will need to pay mortgage insurance (for loans with less than 20% equity or down-payment) and the interest rate.

The financing you choose will often largely impact the homes you look at.  FHA and VA loans require properties to be in generally good condition.  Maybe you want to purchase a home you can renovate and so you choose a loan such as a 203k.

As part of the pre-approval process, the lender should give you a sheet showing all your lender fees in clear terms.   If the lender works closely with your real estate agent, any additional real estate fees can also be estimated upfront. This sheet should help you understand what your pre-paid expenses and closing costs will be so you can plan accordingly.   If you want to have the seller pay some of your closing costs (this is fairly typical) then your agent has to know what those costs are to properly formulate an offer.

Need a referral to a good lender?  Call me!

Need answers to your mortgage questions?  Click here: http://www.curt-smith.com/

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Seller's Real Estate Catch 22

How To Avoid Getting Stuck with TWO Homes...or none at all.

The Problem
We’ve all heard the old saying about being caught between a rock and a hard place.  Well, unfortunately, that’s where most homeowners find themselves when they decide to move from one home to another.

The Real Estate Catch 22
You see, if you buy before selling, you could run the risk of owning two homes.  Or, just as bad, if you sell first, you could end up homeless. That’s what is known as the Real Estate Catch 22, and for thousands of homeowners, it’s an extremely stressful position they find themselves in.

How to Avoid the Real Estate Catch 22
This financial and emotional tightrope is one many homeowners feel they have to walk alone.  However, you should seek out agents offering specialized programs that can eliminate the stress and worry associated with selling and buying another home.

The biggest dilemma when considering purchasing another home is deciding whether to buy first or sell first.  Either way is risky because you could end up owning two homes or no home at all. Let’s face it, the real estate market has become a tough environment for buyers and sellers alike. The fact is that it’s more difficult to get homes sold today and therefore it’s essential that real estate agents look for new and innovative ways to meet the demands of the market.

A new and innovative program that some agents offer actually guarantees the sale of your home and takes away all of the worry and stress associated with selling and buying another home...

Want the details? Call me now for a Free, No Obligation Home Evaluation!

Sellers: Read about 8 Steps to Success or Search for Your New Home

Before starting the house hunt, sell my house, should I buy a house now?, should I wait to sell my house?, tips for selling your house

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Minneapolis Condos and Lofts; The Last 10 Years

Over the last 10 years, Minneapolis has been up and down in the boom of new highrises.  For the last few years it's been down but with the improving economy and housing market, I'd guess we may start getting a few more options again!  Starting with the recent announcement of the pre-sale of Stonebridge Lofts (Formerly planned as Park Vista)!

Let's take a stroll down memory lane and look back over the last 10 years of new urban living spaces that have developed in Downtown Minneapolis.

 700 S 2nd Street (Washburn - 1 exclusive)
 750 S 2nd Street (Humboldt)
 607 Washington Avenue S (New York Style Lofts with exposed, sandblasted timbers and Chicago brick)
 601 Marquette Avenue

 750 S 2nd Street (Humboldt)
 607 Washington Avenue S (New York Style Lofts with exposed, sandblasted timbers and Chicago brick)
 601 Marquette Avenue

 710 N 4th Street
 214 Portland Avenue S
 525 S 9th Street
 541 S 2nd Street
 216 Portland Avenue S
 543 S 2nd Street
 545 S 2nd Street (Metropolitan)
 100 3rd Avenue S (Carlyle)
 210 Portland Avenue
 200 Park Avenue S (Park Avenue Lofts - West)
 250 Park Avenue
 750 S 2nd Street

 250 Park Avenue (American Trio Lofts)
 200 Park Avenue S (Park Avenue Lofts - West)
 401 N 2nd Street
 607 Washington Avenue S
 345 6th Avenue N

 215 10th Avenue S (Bridgewater)
 100 3rd Avenue S (Carlyle)
 150 Portland Avenue S (Whitney)

Building the Carlyle, August 2006

 201 S 11th Street (The Ivy)
 215 10th Avenue S (Bridgewater)
 100 3rd Avenue S (Carlyle)
 150 Portland Avenue S (Whitney)
 901 S 2nd Street S (Zenith)

 201 S 11th Street (The Ivy)
 901 S 2nd Street S (Zenith)

 201 S 11th Street
 215 10th Avenue S (Bridgewater)

 215 10th Avenue S

 215 10th Avenue S

 215 10th Avenue S

Coming in 2013
 1120 2nd Street S (Stonebridge)

Want to buy or sell a Minneapolis condo or loft?  Call me!