Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What Anoka County Homesellers NEED to Know about Septic Systems


Are you planning to sell your Anoka County acreage home this spring? If you live on acreage and are not in a community with city sewer, you have a private sewer system to get rid of sewage. Homeowners with septic systems are required to complete an additional disclosure about the condition and use of the system. Some Anoka County communities require a compliance test for private sewer systems. If you do not understand these requirements, be certain the REALTOR® you choose, does.

Surprisingly, not all Minnesota real estate agents are familiar with septic systems and consequently not able to educate their sellers on how to properly complete the disclosures that are required to sell a home with a private sewer.  A lack of this knowledge can be costly to a seller and create time consuming delays in the sales process. I have lived in a community where private wells and sewers are the norm. This allowed me the opportunity to work with acreage homes on a daily basis.  I put my private well and septic knowledge to good use when assisting Anoka County sellers and buyers which can reduce headaches and surprises down the road in the sales process.

Not all communities in Anoka County have point of sale inspection requirements. For example, Columbus requires a compliance test on all septic systems prior to sale while Ham Lake does not. East Bethel only requires lake shore homes to have point of sale compliance tests. Some communities allow any licensed inspector to do the test while other cities require their own inspectors to perform the inspection. This means homeowners (or their agent) must contact city hall to find out what the specific rules are regarding compliance testing on the septic.

Even if a property is located in a community without a point of sale requirement, it can be advantageous for a seller to consider having the test done prior to listing. Why? Because most buyers will make offers contingent on the inspection of the septic system.  If a seller has pre-inspected the system to ascertain it is in compliance, this information can be provided to potential buyers thus avoiding an additional contingency being attached to the offer.

In the event the system is found to be non-compliant, it might be best to update the system prior to the closing. If non-compliance is determined prior to listing, the seller might be able to list a bit higher due to the brand new septic system. If the homeowner waits until the buyer requests the test, the buyer will have agreed to the price. Most buyers do not want to pay more than they agreed to pay, even if the seller must pay thousands for a new septic. The buyers expected that the system was in good working order when they placed their offer and see no additional benefit this late in the negotiations. But if a seller pre-inspects and it is determined an upgrade is required, the home can often be marketed at a higher price point due to the new private sewage system.  

Have more questions about your selling your Anoka County home? 

Ask Me! I Can Help!

READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Monday, March 20, 2017

Snapshot of Home Sales Statistics in Stillwater, MN January/February 2017





All real estate is locale and that is very evident in the 2017 Stillwater housing market. In the eastern Washington County community of Stillwater, MN there is an abundance of housing options available. This is quite a contrast to many parts of the metro where there are few homes available for sale. New listings are up a whopping 70% compared to January/February 2016. And the supply of inventory is also up considerably. The over 3 month supply of home is up nearly 39%.  The average sales price of a home sold is also up a bit, coming in at $312,963 compared to $295,331 in early 2016. Homes are currently bringing in an average price per square foot of $137 which is down quite a bit from the $147/sq ft that homes in Stillwater commanding last year at this time. Like most other north and east metro suburbs, sellers are getting roughly 95% of their asking price; this statistic is also down a bit from 2016 but not significantly. However, the average time on the market to sell a home did drop dramatically from 136 to 118 days on the market in a year to year comparison.


 
 


Many of these statistics in the Stillwater market are skewed by the new construction boom. This does drive up the average price as new homes tend to cost more per square foot than existing construction. New homes time on the market can also skew the time on the market. Many new homes are not listed by the builder until under contract so will show up as sold with zero or one day market time. In a community where 30-50% of the homes sold are new construction, this has a dramatic effect on the time on the market.

For Stillwater home sellers, it is important to use these numbers as a guideline but realize it might take a bit longer to sell your home than these averages. Pricing must be on point when selling in an area where you compete with new construction.

Stillwater home buyers might have more negotiating advantages than in other parts of the Twin Cities metro due to the higher amount of housing inventory in this area. However, many of the new homes being constructed are at the higher end of the market. Homes under $200K are still very few and far between so will often sell quickly, even if the statistics show there is considerable homes for sale.


Featured Listing in Millbrook of Stillwater:
  3072 Lowell Court 
5BR/4BA/3 Car on South Twin Lake

Need more info on buying or selling a Stillwater home?

 If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Friday, February 3, 2017

Ask the Minnesota Lakeshore Realtor: What is a Channel Shoreline?


What is a Channel Shoreline? Shorelines of lakes follow the geography of the land defined by the flow of water and water table. On many lakes there are inlets and channels that will lead to other bodies of water. In Minnesota, this can mean another lake, pond, wetland or marsh.

Owning property with shoreline along a channel can be an affordable option for home buyers who want an affordable option with access to a full recreational lake. Many large lakes will have channels or narrow extensions that lead to other lakes or ponds. Quite often channel shoreline is not the ideal, sand bottom, swimming beach but does allow a short dock or slip for a boat and access to the main lake. Many of these properties offer a view of homes on the opposite shore of the channel rather than a lakeshore sunset. But if the goal is affordable use of a full recreational lake, this is can be a great alternative.

NEED MORE LAKESHORE INFO? 
Check out my Minnesota Lakeshore Webpage

Have a Minnesota Real Estate Question? Ask Me! I Can Help!

READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tips for First Time Home Buyers--What is Agency?


 
Planning on buying a home in 2017? My guess is you are searching online and not with a REALTOR®. Potential first time home buyers have a plethora of websites available to search for their dream home and when they find it, they want to see it immediately.  But WAIT! Before you grab your phone or tap that link to set up a showing, you need to understand AGENCY. 

Agency is the type of relationship a home buyer creates when they work with a real estate agent. In Minnesota, there are different types of relationships available to home buyers and sellers. It is important to understand these before signing a contract or purchase agreement for a home. These relationships are called “agency” relationships and carry with them legal, fiduciary duties and responsibilities for the broker as well as for the buyer and seller. 

3 Types of Agency: 
  • Buyer's Agent
  • Seller's Agent 
  • Dual Agent

Buyer’s Agent 

A Buyer’s Agent acts solely on behalf of the buyer and owes duties to the buyer including the utmost good faith, loyalty, and fidelity. The agent will negotiate on behalf of, and act as an advocate for, the buyer. The buyer is legally responsible for the actions of the agent when that agent is acting within the scope of the agency. The agent must disclose to sellers all adverse material facts concerning the buyer’s financial ability to perform the terms of the transaction and whether the buyer intends to occupy the property. A separate written buyers’ agreement or contract is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the parties. 

 Seller’s Agent 

A Seller’s Agent acts solely on behalf of the seller and owes duties to the seller which includes the utmost good faith, loyalty, and fidelity. The agent will negotiate on behalf of, and act as an advocate for; the seller. The seller is legally responsible for the actions of the agent when that agent is acting within the scope of the agency. The agent must disclose to buyers all adverse material facts about the property that are known by the broker. A separate written listing agreement or contract is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the parties. 

In both buyer and seller agency, the following fiduciary duties are owed to the client: 

FIDUCIARY DUTIES 
  • Loyalty 
  • Obedience 
  • Disclosure 
  • Confidentiality 
  • Reasonable Care 
  • Accounting 

DUAL Agent

A dual agency is created when both the buyer and seller have signed representation agreements with the same broker. The parties may have two different salespersons or they may be the same person. All duties and obligations to the buyers and sellers remain the same in a dual agency. Because it is impossible to disclose all information AND be confidential at the same time, dual agency must be disclosed and agreed to in writing. All material facts regarding the property must be disclosed regardless of agency. 

 Why is this Important when Buying a Home? 

Every house a home buyer sees on Zillow, Realtor.com or the MLS has a written agreement or contract in place between the seller and the listing broker. If a buyer does not sign a contract and contacts the listing agent directly, the agent is under contract to share everything said with their seller. But if a home buyer signs a contract with a REALTOR® before talking with real estate agents and viewing homes, their private information stays private. 

AND the best part for MY buyers is that signing a contract does not cost anything. My commission has been negotiated to be paid at the closing by the seller. This means there is NO OUT of POCKET cost to have a REALTOR® in my experience in your corner. 

Still have a Home Buying Question?
Ask Me! I Can Help!

READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

List my Twin Cities Home in February? Are You Kidding?



For the past decade or so, my clients who have listed their homes in the dead of winter have had the greatest success. I am not kidding about this. Sure, some days are bitter cold and people have to be bundled up, but they DO move. 

FACT: There are many more buyers in the Twin Cities searching for the perfect home, than homes on the market listed for sale.

Even diehard Minnesotans believe no one moves in February. It’s so darn cold everyone is hunkered down inside. But Minnesotans don’t hibernate. We go to work, the gym, restaurants and generally live our lives embracing the cold. Believe it or not, there is currently an over abundance of Minnesotans who want to move THIS winter. And with interest rates edging up, there are many home buyers who don't plan to wait until spring to purchase a first home or move up to a bigger home, better school district or closer to their new job.

Winter after winter, I try to convince sellers to believe how low the housing inventory is in February compared to the amount of active home buyers. It is really difficult to overcome that ingrained belief to wait until that “hot spring market” when the weather is warm and grass is green. Sellers assume they will get a better price in May or June. However, it is just the opposite. If a homeowner can get their house listed BEFORE spring, they are more likely to get top dollar and generate multiple offers.

I recommend to my clients to try to get listed before the Parade of Homes starts in early March. My reasoning? It comes down to basic supply and demand. There is a demand for affordable starter homes right now and very little housing supply in February and March. Not every buyer can afford new construction but the Parade advertising really motivates people to move. Home sellers that get your home listed soon, might be hanging the sold sign sooner than expected (and for a good price too!)  

Need tips to get your Minneapolis/St Paul home SOLD? Email me for Teri's Top 10 Tips to a Quick Sale

Thinking of selling in 2017? Let me be your professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota. 

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Grab Bars in Bath that Even a Millennial will Love!


No one wants to think they are old, even when we started to fit the description. Age is just a number after all. Last year I was showing homes to a baby boomer that had just turned 60. We arrived at a one very well appointed and updated townhome with a walk-in bathtub and she literally cringed. “I am not THAT old.” Like it or not, our bodies sometimes need a bit more help here and there regardless of age. 

However, installing safety rails or grab bars in the bathroom can kill a potential sale.  A recently remodeled bathroom to accommodate an aging homeowner does nothing for the millennial generation or Gen-X  or Gen Y. Honestly, if a boomer doesn’t currently need a hand rail, they don’t really want to see it in the bathroom either.  

So what does a homeowner do that requires a little bit of leverage to get out of the tub if they don't want to scare off a future home buyer? Consider a luxury grab bar. I was surprised at how sleek and stylish these really are. I have assembled a few of my favorite bath ideas on Pinterest for you to check out. These definitely are an upgrade to the ugly handles in grandma’s house and most are ADA compliant too. 

READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Are you Stalking a Real Estate Sleeper?

Do you have your eye on the perfect home but have yet to make a move? You know the house I mean...It's been there saved as a favorite for a couple of months and it is priced right. In fact, it is a steal of a deal. But you are still on the fence about buying a home and so you just continue to "stalk" the listing but never act on it. Maybe you are trying to time the market and see if seller of that "sleeper" is going to drop the price again. Well wake up bargain hunter! It is very possible you are not the only one with an eye on that sleeper. If you wait too long it will be gone.

A real estate "sleeper" is a well priced home that hasn't sold yet. Usually the home is a great property, location, structurally sound and priced well but has not sold. In a winter market, especially just after the holiday season, sleepers are abundant.

Maybe the home was originally over priced and though it is now priced very well it is being overlooked. Possibly several very similar homes went on the market at the same time. Maybe the seller did receive an offer and the buyer's financing fell through so now it is "back on the market" through no fault of the house itself.

But if you are a buyer sitting on the sidelines and just watching your perfect home for another price reduction, beware. I have sold a couple of sleepers over the years throughout the north and east metro. In each case, there was minimal activity on the property then BAM....we had 3 or 4 qualified parties interested in the home at the same time. In these particular cases, they weren't the cookie-cutter variety either. One particular home in Washington County/Forest Lake area had a one-of-a-kind wooded lot and was in a perfect location. After months on the market, without an additional price reduction, over half a dozen serious buyers suddenly appeared. People were nonchalant when I told stressed that the home had recently seen a sudden surge of interest. Many even "pooh-poohed" the idea and mildly accused me of trying to coerce an offer. When the first offer came in, the seller wasted no time in accepting. Subsequently, I had several parties, buyers and agents alike, in disbelief, that it was suddenly sold!

If the sleeper phenomena had happened only one time over the years, I would consider it a fluke but I have experienced this situation on homes in Washington, Ramsey, Chisago and Anoka Counties as well. In some cases I was the listing agent and others I was representing buyers.

So home buyers heed my warning, if you are on the fence watching a sleeper, now might be the perfect time to make your move...Or someone else might beat you to it!


Current "SLEEPERS" in Anoka County:
5035 182nd Lane Columbus MN


 4915 168th Lane, Ham Lake MN

5035 182nd Lane, Columbus MN

2611 Northdale Blvd, Coon Rapids MN 

READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Why Staging is Essential Even when Housing Inventory is Low

 
This adorable little St. Paul home sold in less than three weeks at over list price this fall. In order for this kind of success, my clients started working on their property several weeks prior. They cleaned, decluttered and repaired prior to listing their home. See, it’s a whole new ballgame for home sellers right now. 

True, there is less housing inventory in the greater Minneapolis/St Paul area, which is very good news. But in many communities, sellers can find themselves competing with new construction for buyers. But even cute starter homes like this need to "sparkle" in order to sell fast. A home seller must not only have their home priced properly, which is key to getting a home sold, they also must have their home showing ready.
 

Step one is getting back to basics: unclutter, fix and clean! But what is the second step and third?

Paint Properly
If adjoining rooms are painted in the same color palette, your home will appear more spacious. Don’t take short cuts. If you don’t have time or patience to properly tape trim and ceilings, have a professional painter do the job. Painted woodwork and ceilings are noticed by buyers and in most cases this is worse than had the room not been painted at all.

Go Luxurious
Invest in accessories to accent your home. Big, fluffy coordinating towels and mats warm up the bathroom. Fresh flowers on a beautifully set dining room table look inviting. A color-coordinated rug in the foyer will make a wonderful first impression.

Cush-up the Carpet
Don’t replace the carpet on the cheap. Invest in the BEST padding you can find. Buyers will in most cases have to remove their shoes when walking through your home. In their stocking-feet, they will feel the difference!

Make it Match
Slipcovers are a quick and inexpensive way to update and coordinate mismatched furniture. Put away the old blankets and cozy up the room with a beautiful accent throw and a few pillows.


Empty the Closets

Make certain the closets are neat and organized. Replace and paint any shelves and organizers that appear dingy.


Pay Attention to Details

Handles, knobs and switch plates are inexpensive but often overlooked. Handles that are outdated or missing and switch plates that are dirty give a negative impression.

Pack Personal Items
Collections and knick knacks need to be packed! Likewise, take down the plethora of family photos. Use the “3 in any direction” rule. No more than three accent pieces should be able to be seen in any direction. Any more than three is a distraction.

The Sun Shines in when Windows Sparkle
 Feng shui teaches that windows are considered the “eyes of the home” Make sure your windows are sparkling clean inside and out. Avoid the use of vinegar as a cleaner, as the smell may linger.


Hire a Professional
An expert consultation costs less than many people expect. Having a stager visit your home and guide you in what to pack and what to display takes the guess work out of getting your home picture perfect.

Before scoffing at the idea of spending money on a home being put on the market, remember this...It is still your home until it sells. For many people, this is the biggest financial asset they have. Home staging is an investment for a better pay off on closing day.


READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.
 
Copyright 2016 terieckholm.com