Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Should I Get a Home Warranty?

Sometimes warranties are included upfront by a home seller or negotiated in the purchase agreement. Sometimes buyers would like a warranty added after the home inspection when they realize the home is not perfect.

When buying a home, the last thing you want to worry about is costly repairs. By purchasing a home warranty through Home Warranty of America, you’ll get comprehensive coverage on the mechanical systems and many appliances in your home, offering you peace of mind.

Home Warranty of America, www.hwahomewarratny.com
While many service contracts offer only repairs to failed systems, the HWA 13 month Home Warranty plan goes above and beyond other service contracts to include repair and replacement coverage on many of the mechanical systems and appliances that fail due to normal wear and tear. This warranty also covers more systems, like plumbing and electrical, than your energy company.

HWA provides reliable customer service representatives 24/7 so they can work to resolve your issue as soon as possible. You also have the opportunity to renew your contract each year, protecting the systems and appliances in your home for as long as you own it.

Learn more about the buyer benefits of a home warranty from HWA. 
EMAIL: Send order details to (or Reply) sjohnson@hwahomewarranty.com
CALL: Shelley at 763-221-1098 to place your order

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Do Seller's Have Closing Costs?

Do Seller's Have Costs Associated with Selling?

by +Sarah Marrinan - Keller Williams Premier Realty 


OK, so what are they? Here is a list of home sale related expenses that sellers may incur but don't let this list intimidate you.  Not all items apply to all sellers. You really need to consult an agent to decide what expenses are applicable to you.

Potential Seller Expenses at Closing

Pay-off Present Mortgage
Interest Adjustment
Pay-off 2nd Mortgage
Pay-off Home Equity Line
Mortgage Courier Fee 
Seller Paid Buyer Closing Costs 
VA Funding Fee
VA Closing Fee 
FHA Service Fee 
1 Month Association Dues (if HOA)
Association Letter Prep. Fee (if HOA)
Special Assessment Search
Special Assessment Levied or Approved
Future Pending Special Assessments
Brokerage Fee
MLS Buyer Broker Portion
Partners Title Closing Service Fee
Broker Retainer Fee
State Deed Tax 
Other Title Charges
Estimated Recording and Transfer Fees
Balance of Real Estate Taxes Due
Homeowner's Warranty 
Well Disclosure Filling Fee 
MN Conservation Fee 
Septic Compliance 
Water Test 

Some services that may or may not be included in your brokerage fee: Home inspection, Home Repairs/Handyman, Staging, Cleaning, Landscaping, Professional Photos, and Movers.

And we can't forget, some people will have capital gains tax... http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc701.html

Need a list of expenses specific to you?  Call me for a free consultation. (Hint, my contact info is in the side column of this blog.)

See Also:

How To Save Money For Buying a Home | Tips for Selling Your Twin Cities Home | Four Horrible Real Estate Mistakes To Avoid | Housing Market Updates

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How Does My Real Estate Agent Get Paid? True and False

How Does My Real Estate Agent Get Paid? True and False
By +Sarah Marrinan - Keller Williams Premier Realty 

False: Real Estate Agents have a salary or hourly wage from their Brokerage.
True: Agents only get paid when a deal closes.

False: Real Estate Agents make a huge commission on every closing.
True: The commission paid at the closing, mostly by the seller, is split four ways (more if an agent is part of a team).

False: The brokerage covers all the agent's operating costs.
True: While some brokerage agreements may cover an agent's expenses, more commonly, in addition to "the cut" the brokerage takes from each transaction for general brokerage overhead, the Minnesota agent is an independent contractor and still pays all their own business expenses from office space and copies to signage, insurance and association fees.

False: Getting into real estate is quick and easy cash.
True: While it may not sound like a lot of mandated classroom hours before you can start doing transactions, it is common for an individual new agent to take years to start making a livable wage.  You hear stories of agents that hit superstardom in their second year but out of nearly 100,000 Realtors in the US in 2013, there are only a handful that went big quickly.  Real Estate is a relationship business built largely on referrals, connections and KNOWLEDGE so naturally, agents that have had more successful transactions have more referrals (if they ask for them of course).

More You Might Enjoy Reading:
11 Shocking Facts You May Not Know About Real Estate Agents

On that note, I am truly grateful for ALL referrals and if there is any way I can return the favor, please let me know!
 Sarah Marrinan, Realtor, Keller Williams

Connect with me and get more great content!

Friday, January 10, 2014

BUYERS MUST KNOW: Eight Things Your Mortgage Lender Evaluates

During the years preceding the mortgage crisis, too many mortgages were made to consumers without regard to the consumer’s ability to repay the loans.

The “ability to repay” rule, effective January 10th, 2014, requires lenders to take into account the following minimum underwriting factors:
  1. current or reasonably expected income or assets; 
  2. current employment status; 
  3. the monthly payment on the covered transaction; 
  4. the monthly payment on any simultaneous loan; 
  5. the monthly payment for mortgage-related obligations; 
  6. current debt obligations, alimony, and child support; 
  7. the monthly debt-to-income ratio or residual income; and 
  8. credit history.
              Plus, in 2014, lenders will also be aiming to increase the number of loans considered “qualified mortgages.” While not all lenders plan on sticking to qualified mortgages, most will in order to avoid the liability challenges inherent in riskier loans. Here are three things that they will be going for:

              1. A mortgage that keeps the borrower’s debt below 43 percent of monthly income unless it’s government backed (Fannie, Freddie or the FHA).
              2. Clean loans. Loans free of extended terms, interest-only payments and loans that don’t meet the full amount of interest.
              3. Loans above $100,000 with less than 3 percent in upfront points and fees.

              Need help finding a lender that will help you navigate your options under the new underwriting rules?  Please contact me and I will make sure you are in good hands!

              TAGS: The Dodd-Frank Act, Ability to Repay, Mortgage Underwriting Standards

              See Also:  MORTGAGE  |  FINANCES  |  HOME BUYING TIPS  |

              Connect with me and get more great content!

              Tuesday, January 7, 2014

              How to sell your home in under 28 days!

              How to sell your home in under 28 days!

              by +Sarah Marrinan - Keller Williams Premier Realty 

              Dozens of home listings in the twin cities expire every week but you could sell your home in under 28 days if you consider these key factors.

              1. Price - If you're asking $250,000 for your home, then it had better be equal to or better than the other homes in the area being offered for $250,000. If not, it won't sell. The longer the house sits on the market, especially in a hot market, the less money you are likely to get for you home.  The best offers are the offers you receive in the first few weeks on the market.

              When comparing a home to others, you need to be comparing the apples to apples.
              Three primary things determine the value of a home:

              • Location - The area, the street and the lot are all factors in location.
              • Size/Style/Age - Square footage, number of bedrooms and number of bathrooms. You also should only compare town houses to other town houses and two story homes to other two story homes.
              • Amenities/Upgrades - Decks/patios, granite counter tops, etc.

              2. Condition - Rundown homes and homes that aren't updated don't sell unless they are priced substantially lower than the competition. Buyers see work and dollar signs when they look at these homes.  Even if it would only cost $10,000 to fix it up, they are likely to expect more than that off the price.

              3. Marketing - Your home has to be listed on the local MLS with accurate listing information and professional copy. You have to have signage. Virtual tours, paid enhanced listings on the major real estate websites, individual property websites, and personalized domain names can help sell a home. Active reverse prospecting (an agent contacting their database of buyers and other agents) is often critical to stand out in a crowd. Other marketing could include post cards, classified ads, open houses, broker opens and the list goes on. Without proper marketing, your home won't get seen.

              The best way to ensure that your home gets visited by many potential buyers is to price it right!
              For a fee, a professional appraiser can provide you with a an accurate estimate of market value called an appraisal.
              Real Estate Professionals can prepare a CMA, or Comparative Market Analysis which compares your home to recent sales that are similar in neighborhood and in size to determine a price that will cause your home to sell. Realtors use much of the same data to determine value as an appraiser does but they will also include current homes for sale.  After all, you must know what your are competing against!

              If you call me today, we'll provide you with your CMA free of charge and free of obligation. 


              Come find me!

              Wednesday, January 1, 2014

              Will your New Year's Resolution be a #fail?

              New Year's Resolution List
              Everyone makes new year resolutions....
              Who will hold you accountable for yours? I challenge you to hold yourself accountable!
              Take just a minute or two to write down your plan to accomplish your goal. Include what your challenges are and who can help you reach your goal.
              Every day, Tweet/Google+/Facebook something related to your resolution and hashtag it #resolution for 90 consecutive days.
                I challenge you! 

              Haven't chosen your resolution? Here is a list of fifty nine new year's resolution ideas to choose from.

              59 Ideas for your 2014 New Year's Resolution:

              1. Smile at more random people
              2. Eat more fruits and veggies
              3. Watch less TV
              4. Go to bed earlier
              5. Learn CPR and First Aid
              6. Make an active effort to connect with family
              7. Stay fit by simply being active (drive less, walk more)
              8. Don't be taken for granted
              9. Stop fighting with your partner girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband or partner
              10. Make better decisions
              11. Stop complaining about how you've got less than what you deserve
              12. Save for a tropical vacation next winter
              13. Fight for what you think is right
              14. Donate to a charity on a weekly or monthly basis
              15. Quit an addiction
              16. Pay cash to upgrade your technology
              17. Accomplish all incomplete projects before start any new projects
              18. Stretch every day
              19. Pay down your debt
              20. Get organized
              21. Balance your life
              22. Travel to new places
              23. Freshen up your love life
              24. Learn a language
              25. Hug somebody everyday
              26. Spend more time with your parents
              27. Start a journal or diary
              28. Get up to speed on the truth in politics, not just the media
              29. Enrich your vocabulary with a word of the day
              30. Be Optimistic: Vow to always view the glass to be half full
              31. Schedule 15 minutes a day to be by yourself and breathe.
              32. Take everything you haven't used in the last two years to the thrift store or the dump
              33. Take a parenting class
              34. Be sincere about punctuality and commitments
              35. Make a career move
              36. Make a will, get life insurance and update your financial files
              37. Join a networking group
              38. Send birthday cards to all your family and friends in the mail
              39. Learn to cook
              40. Get a home energy audit and go green where it makes sense
              41. Learn to play an instrument
              42. Grow a garden
              43. Adopt a pet
              44. Read a book a month
              45. Hydrate: Drink 6-10 glasses of water per day
              46. Move a grown child out of your house
              47. Be Happy
              48. Start a business
              49. Get a home inspection to make sure you are addressing hidden concerns
              50. Send care packages overseas or to local care facilities
              51. Find church to attend
              52. Spend more time with your parents 
              53. Start a business
              54. Cut up your credit cards 
              55. Volunteer 
              56. Repair your credit
              57. Stop procrastinating
              58. Save up the down payment for a house
              59. Get a makeover - and keep it up!

              Now get to it! :)