Saturday, July 30, 2016

It’s a Seller’s Market in the Twin Cities, so Why should I pay a BUYER’S Closing Costs?


The market is hot and sellers are in the driver’s seat once again in the housing market. So why in the world would any one of them be expected to kick in for a buyer’s closing costs? 

One of the items on the seller’s estimate of proceeds included in every market analysis I do has a place for a “Seller's contribution to a Buyer’s Closing Costs.” I always include several thousand dollars as an estimate to prepare my clients that this could come up at negotiations. A significant portion of buyers, whether using  FHA , VA or conventional financing, will require assistance with their closing costs. 


Just the other day, a potential seller said that he didn’t think he should have to pay a first time buyer’s closing costs.  I had to explain to him that buyers in ALL price points, whether purchasing a first home or moving up to a second property, might ask for seller concessions. You might be asked in negotiations to contribute to a buyer's closing costs so they can BUY your house! 



After our conversation, I decided to see what how often homebuyers are asking for closing costs in the Minneapolis/St Paul north metro. I looked at the sales of single family residential homes in Anoka County during June 2016. Even I was surprised by the results, well over 50% of homebuyers received closing cost assistance during the month. But when I broke it down by price, I was even more surprised. I found that in the price ranges from $100,000-$400,000 more than 60% of buyers negotiated for the seller to pay some closing costs. And from $400K to $500K, over 50% still requested and received assistance. Even with homes sold at over $500,000, 1 in 4 buyers received seller paid assistance. 


I decided to look at all four north metro counties to see if this was just an Anoka County phenomena. Nope….nearly the same results when I reviewed the aggregate of sales for Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties together. 


Why Do So Many Buyers Need Help? Today most buyers are required to put down a minimum of 3% of the purchase price of the home as a down payment. If a buyer wants to avoid private mortgage insurance using conventional financing, this will require 20% down. The closing costs for a buyer include title insurance, home owner’s insurance, appraisals, loan origination fees, name search fees, filing fees and more. As a REALTOR® working throughout communities in Anoka County and the north metro Minneapolis/St Paul area, I see these closing costs will run anywhere from $4000-$8000 and even more for more expensive homes. Add this amount with a required down payment and few buyers will have sufficient funds to purchase a home.


Understanding Closing Cost Assistance Buyers have the option of waiting and saving additional money to cover the down payment and closing costs or asking for seller assistance. In many cases a financial institution will allow a seller to assist a buyer by paying either points to reduce the interest rates and/or closing costs.


How does this work? Let’s say that a home is on the market for $200,000. The buyer writes their offer for $200,000 and their financial institution allows up to 3% seller’s assistance with fees and closing costs. They decide to ask the seller in their purchase agreement for $5000 in seller paid concessions, thus the net offer to purchase the home is $195,000. If the offer is accepted, the seller’s proceeds at closing would then be reduced by the $5000. Sellers do not have to come up with the funds in cash if there is sufficient equity in the home to cover both the buyer's and the seller's costs.


If a seller does not want to pay the closing costs, the buyer in many cases, will not be able to purchase the home. 

Sellers Can Still Receive a Full Priced Offer! Take that example with the home listed at $200,000, if a buyer wants to offer full price but needs $5000 in closing costs, he would just write the offer price at $205,000 . The seller's net offer is full priced.

When a seller looks at their home sale as a business deal where the bottom line is key, being open to assisting a buyer with closing costs is a very smart decision. As long as a seller is happy with the NET number received, it doesn't matter whether some of the proceeds went to pay closing costs or not. 
  
Need to know more about buying or selling a Twin Cities home? Let me be your professional guide. 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 www.terieckholm.com

The Benefits of an Indoor Sport Court in a Minnesota Home




Playing basketball outdoors in the summer has it's advantages.  Especially on  a perfect 75 degree day with puffy white clouds, a slight breeze and no humidity. However, in the dog days of summer when the humidity is tropical, the sun is scorching and the mosquitos are rampant, an indoor game might be preferred. 

This made me think of how awesome it would be to have a personal indoor sport court at home...climate controlled throughout all four seasons.  It is not just a dream idea either. Builders do design them into homes throughout the Minneapolis/St Paul metro. An indoor court at home would be a great place to for kids to blow off steam during torrential summer downpours or after school when snow is piled up along the driveway. It would also be awesome for any  aspiring athlete to have the ability to train on a daily basis for team tryouts? 

Scientific research shows that it takes 3 hours of practice daily over the course of a decade to raise a talented athlete to the elite status. Most aspiring players end up spending countless hours away from home training for their sport but what if those hours could be spent at home instead? This is one of the big appeals of an indoor sport court.

Families I know in the north metro have installed backyard batting cages for their kids with baseball and softball collegiate dreams . It's great for those on acreage with abundant space and for three of four season. But it doesn't provide any advantage in the winter. Spring baseball tryouts are usually well before all the snow has melted. There are few options for playing catch or practicing pitching in January and February. And similar situations arise for those who play golf and hockey.

There is one family I know with a couple of daughters in gymnastics and dance. This family repurposed a huge polebarn into a mini gymnastics practice facility complete with a beam and trampoline indoors. But due to lack of heat,  it lost it's appeal during the winter months. It's hard to warm up and perform when the temps are below zero in the barn.

This is a common issue for Minnesota moms and dads of young athletes. Where does a parent bring a child to get in that very important daily practice without jeopardizing time spent on schoolwork and other activities. Having a gym at home is would be very valuable to many sports minded families. 

This leads many to consider the luxury of an indoor sport court whether for our teens to enjoy a friendly afternoon of basketball or to practice and train for baseball tryouts. Indoor courts are can be designed to be very versatile spaces with something for every member of the household. They are fast becoming  a very attractive selling point in the luxury market but can be incorporated into mainstream homes too.

Is a indoor sport court worth the investment cost? That depends. Like any other home feature, it will only be worth it if it is used. But if you have an active family and it's winter in Minnesota, the odds are good that an indoor court could be the favorite room in the house.

FEATURED LISTING: North Oaks home with an indoor sport court!
A luxurious 4BR/4BA/4Car executive rambler with walkout basement and indoor sport court. Download flyer and take virtual tour here.



Need to know more about buying or selling a Twin Cities home? Let me be your professional guide. 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 www.terieckholm.com

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What is the Value of My Ham Lake Home?



The Ham Lake summer market is HOT! Home buyers are still searching for acreage homes but few good, affordable options have listed in the north and east Minneapolis/St. Paul metro this summer. 18 homes have sold and another 26 are in pending within the city of Ham Lake's borders since June 1.  AND 8 of the active homes have an accepted purchase agreement tooCurrently there are 56 active homes listed in Ham Lake (49 previously owned and 7 new construction). About 25% of these properties are priced under $300K while most are priced at well over $500,000.

Are you planning to sell your home in Ham Lake, Minnesota soon? Do you need more information on where to start? 

When you need to sell a home in the Ham Lake area, I will help you get the process started quickly. My innovative marketing and top notch negotiating skills will get your property sold FAST and at the best possible price too.  A market analysis by a professional REALTOR® is your first step in the home selling process. It will give you an ACCURATE VALUE of your current home...not a quick computer generated one. 

Interested? Read testimonials from my sellers

Selling acreage is one of my specialties. I have 15+ years experience with septic systems, compliance tests, well disclosures and other rural real estate issues.

For additional information about working with me, contact me to obtain a FREE Home Value Report. Or better yet call me, Teri Eckholm/Boardman Realty 651-336-7073 and arrange a no cost/obligation market analysis on your home today.

FYI-- I do answer my own phone so when you call, you will be talking directly to me!



Copyright 2016 www.terieckholm.com

Gated Communities in the Twin Cities? Not Quite, but Close.

 
 In many parts of the country, there are gated communities with gate out front where entrance is limited. Some of these communities have a full time guard to watch the entry and allow approved guests in as necessary.

In the community of North Oaks, while not technically gated, the private road/no trespassing signs are not a joke. This unique development is not specifically a "gated community" but the roads are privately owned by the homeowners. Every entrance to the city is posted as a private road and there is a private security guard watching the entrance or patrolling the streets as necessary.  

North Oaks, originally a 5000 acre farm, was developed for upscale, mostly acreage properties, built around Pleasant Lake and the concept of persevering the natural beauty of the area. Though there are 600+ conservancy acres and 500 acres of residential open use land, the city owns no property. All parks, trails and recreational facilities are owned and maintained by the homeowners association. Each homeowner owns the road frontage to the middle of the street, effectively making all roads resident owned and private.

So what does this mean? If you have not been invited into North Oaks by a resident, you are quite simply trespassing. There is a sheriff that patrols the community on an exclusive basis. Interestingly, residents who are selling a home can only have “invitation only” open houses or private scheduled showings. Public invitation open houses are not allowed as residents must know specifically who is coming and going from their homes.


The residents of North Oaks take their privacy and private roads very seriously. With or without gates. 



Featured North Oaks Listing: 
 Stunning Rambler with 4BR/4BA/4+Car on 2 Private Acres.   CLICK HERE to take tour and download a flyer 


Need to know more about buying or selling a Twin Cities home? Let me be your professional guide. 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 www.terieckholm.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Is YOUR Real Estate Agent a Dabbler?


A decade ago, during the first big real estate surge, I was an agent. I started in the business a few years prior to when everything exploded. I didn’t become an agent because there was “easy” money to be made. I transitioned out of a corporate marketing job to help people through the complicated process of buying and/or selling a home. And when the going got tough, I didn’t hang up my license or take up a part time job for cash. I was a REALTOR® and in the business for the long haul. 

Once again the housing market is strong. And with the strong market come hundreds of new agents (and those dusting off their licenses that have been on ice for since 2007). These dabblers are jumping back into the real estate game. Often they start by contacting friends and relatives to “help” them as their first clients. Is your agent one of these real estate dabblers

Why it Matters 

One of the many things I have learned is that real estate is a business of continuous education and change. REALTORS® who are in it as a profession learn something from every transaction and apply it to their next deal.  A new agent or one who sells a home or two a year doesn’t have that bank of education to draw from.  This helps with negotiation when reviewing offers and writing an offer that will make the cut in a multiple offer situation. This is essential when assessing properties with a first time home buyer and determining the best list price for a property. 

My experience helping home buyers and sellers whether their move was during a down market or in this most recent upswing is invaluable to my clients. I put this knowledge to work to help them make the best decisions for their situation. In the past few months, my expertise has saved my client’s thousands of dollars regardless of whether buying or selling. Dabblers don’t have this expertise.

Who do you want on your side? A seasoned professional or a dabbler?

READY TO MAKE YOUR MOVE? Let me be your professional guide. 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

Friday, July 8, 2016

It's a Crazy Market for First Time Buyers!




I haven't written a blog post since March. It's not that I have been slacking off or there is nothing to write about in the Minneapolis/St Paul real estate market. On the contrary, I have been just too darn busy writing offers for buyers. (And fielding them for my sellers). It is not a market where you write one offer per buyer when they find their perfect dream home. Oh no, I am talking multiple offers for the same buyers on dream home after dream home until they get an offer that is accepted.

First time home buyers are having the most difficult time with this market. They don't have time to think or process whether or not the house is a good investment. They have to make a decision and write up an offer immediately. And not just any reasonable starting offer, it has to be a good offer because 9 times out of 10, there will be multiple offers.

Advice for Home Buyers

1. Work with an EXPERIENCED Realtor. My 15+ years of experience means something. I know how to negotiate and write a good offer that will increase your chances of getting it accepted. There are tricks to this trade and an experienced agent will coach buyers to write the best offer for the situation.


2. Be Preapproved. Your offer will not be taken seriously if it doesn't have a pre-approval letter (or proof of funds when paying cash).

Advice for Sellers



If you are selling in this market, it might cross your mind that you do not need an agent. Statistics show that homes sell faster and for more money if it is listed on with an agent. There are numerous hiccups in a home sale that can arise in a frantic market like we are seeing in the Twin Cities metro. Not only is it difficult to assess multiple purchase agreements should there be more than one offer. Buyers rush writing offers to get in first. This often leads to buyer' remorse before the sale closes. There is additional negotiation that happens after the inspection. With a good agent by your side, a seller can focus on packing rather than dealing with the details of the closing process.

READY TO MAKE YOUR MOVE? Let me be your professional guide. 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




Sunday, March 13, 2016

Snapshot of Home Sales Statistics in Andover, MN Year End 2015




Overall the Andover real estate market continues to remain strong.  Closed sales are up once significantly but there was a drop in new listings. This lack of inventory is putting home sellers in the driver’s seat of the housing market Closed sales are up nearly 20% .Since there are several new home construction developments in Andover it is no surprise that the percent received of original listing price is up too. New homes always cost a bit more per square foot than existing homes. In 2015, the average sales price rose again from almost $254K to nearly $267K! This is up $50,000 from just 3 years ago! Likewise the average price per square foot in Andover rose from $94/sq ft in 2012 to an average of $113/foot in 2015. Another sign that the market has turned is the drop in days on the market. It took an average of 88 days to sell an Andover home in 2014 but less than 70 days to sell on average in 2015. This is less than half of the time it took to sell an Andover MN, home just a few years ago.

With inventory low and demand high, sellers will find 2016 a good year to list their Andover homes. Existing home inventory levels are low for homes in this growing Anoka County community. It appears to be a seller’s market, where sellers have the negotiating advantage as we begin 2016. With continued low interest rates, home buyers are out in full force searching for their dream homes. Home owners considering selling in 2016 and hoping to get the most leverage from the improved market should consider listing their homes before the spring market really cranks up which will bring in additional competition no doubt. 
 





READY TO MAKE A MOVE? Let me be your professional guide. 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

Monday, March 7, 2016

Snapshot of Home Sales Statistics in Chisago, MN Year End 2015





The real estate market is once again strong in Chisago, MN at the end of 2015. Overall, the housing market remained quite active in the Minneapolis/St Paul metro, and the Chisago housing market is no exception. New listings were relatively flat but the number of closed homes sold jumped over 18%. Likewise, the average sales price was nearly 18% higher 2015 compared to the previous year, coming in at just under $260,000. This is quite an improvement from just a few years ago when the average sales price was just $189K. Sellers are receiving nearly 98% of asking price in 2015. Market time dropped significantly too. It now takes an average of 86 days on the market to sell a Chisago home. While this is higher than other metro suburbs, it is significantly less than a few years ago when it would take over four months to sell a Chisago City home. The price per square foot in Chisago is also heading up. It now stands at $137/sq. ft., compared to an average of $122/sq. ft. in the previous year. Home owners considering selling in Chisago would be well advised to put their homes on the market early in 2016. With low housing inventory, sellers seem to have a bit of the upper hand in this community at this point in time.



READY TO MAKE A MOVE? Let me be your professional guide. 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

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Back to Basics—When the First Time Buyer is Your First Born



Buying a first house is difficult whether you’re in your mid-20’s or mid-30’s or really at any age. Over the years I have assisted people making this first big purchase in every age group from 18 on up. No matter the age, there are things that must be considered to be a successful homeowner. Buying a home should not be on a whim but a thought out plan. I always let a buyer make their own final decision but I do offer helpful advice throughout the home buying process.
My kids have grown up watching my educational sales process. Often I would have to pick them up from their elementary school and head directly to an afternoon showing with them in tow. They sat in the back of the minivan with snacks and Gameboys but I know they could occasionally hear conversations through the windows. 


Now my oldest is in that process of graduating from renter to home buyer. This is somewhat of a challenge for both of us requiring me to rely on my basic approach to educate rather than just say “don’t buy that one”. Over the years I have seen parents have to resort to a “tough love” approach with their children buying a first home. Sometimes it backfires even when the parents are right. The buyers are trying to spread their wings and make their first major adult purchase. It can be embarrassing to them when a parent vetoes their decision on their dream home. 


My job has been a balancing act of educating both parents and the buyer to somehow make everyone happy. After all, the buyer will have to live in the house and pay for updates and repairs whether Mom & Dad like the house or not. It is better for all concerned if they have come to some sort of understanding before the purchase agreement is signed that this particular home is the buyer’s best option.


Now as the parent of the buyer, it is a bit of a different ballgame. I get to educate the buyer while letting him make his own decision. So it is back to basics….


1.    Get pre-approved by a good, reputable loan officer to pre-approve prior to starting the home search.
2.    Make a list of target areas to live in. Understand how different municipalities and properties taxes can fluctuate greatly.
3.    Decide what features are “must haves” in a house. Educate on how to read an MLS listing for things like foundation type and size, heating source, and room sizes. Scan the photos for possible issues like asbestos siding, deteriorating driveway or gigantic trees to narrow down the "must see list".  Eliminate any home with an issue that might be a huge expense down the road. 
4.    Remember not to get too invested in a specific house until after the offer is accepted and the inspection is done. 


Putting my 20+ years of experience as a REALTOR® and homeowner to use to help a home buyer understand the basics is one of the services I provide. Not just to my family, but to all of my first time buyers.  


Helping this particular home buyer will be a bit more of an adventure. But like everything else, one step at a time.


Are you ready to buy YOUR First Home? Let me be your professional guide. 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
 

Snapshot of Home Sales Statistics in Centerville MN Year End 2015





The average sales price in homes in Centerville jumped quite a bit year over year from 2014 to 2015 in this eastern Anoka County community. The rest of the statistics tell a similar and very optimistic story for Centerville real estate. The price per square footage of Centerville homes is up from $116/sq ft in 2014 to $129/sq ft in 2015. Compare this to just a few years ago in 2012 when the price per square foot for a Centerville home was less than $100. Days on the market for homes in this community has continued to drop with homes selling in less than 2 months on average. While this is down significantly from 2014, it is dramatic compared to 2012 when the average time on the market in this community was over 5 months. Another indicator of a strong housing market is that area home sellers received much closer to asking price for the fourth consecutive year as the percent received on asking price rose to 97.4% in 2015. New listings have increased but closed sales were up even more so inventory levels continue to be low creating a bit of a seller’s market.

With inventory low and demand high, sellers will find 2016 a good year to list their Centerville homes. Existing home inventory levels are low for homes in this Anoka County community that has a good mix of single family homes and townhomes with a price point perfect for the first time home buyer. This area definitely has all the indications of turning into a seller’s market, where sellers have the negotiating advantage. With continued low interest rates, home buyers are out their looking for the perfect place to call home. Home owners considering selling in 2016 and wanting to get the most leverage from the improved market should consider listing their homes before the spring market hits as there will be additional competition no doubt.



READY TO MAKE A MOVE? Let me be your professional guide. 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