Friday, October 20, 2017

What is Your Story?




A relative of mine recently spent some time in a transitional care facility. This is not a fun situation of course but often a necessary step in recovery.  She said her favorite pastime was to ask the other transient residents at mealtime to “Tell me your story.” It was a distraction from their situations and often they found common ground that they walked upon at one time or another in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area.

As a REALTOR® I don’t always have an opportunity to hear my clients’ whole life stories, though while working with them, bits and pieces come out.  Some of them are funny, many are melancholy and most cannot be repeated without breaking my fiduciary duties to privacy. However, there is one common thread. House buying and selling is very personal. While at the core, it is a business transaction, the personal element cannot be ignored.  I try hard to remember this. Based on testimonials from my past home seller’s, I think I do a pretty good job of respecting their memories.  I, likewise, feel honored to be a part of my new home buyers as they write a new chapter in their life story.  And I always work for the happily ever after ending. 


READY to Make YOUR Move? It IS essential to have a knowledgeable agent at your side. 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 at 651-336-7073 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, October 19, 2017

Blaine MN | Millennials Flock to Low Down Payment Programs

Millennials Flock to Low Down Payment Programs | MyKCM

We are fortunate in Minnesota and the Twin Cities to have a number of down payment resources available to first time homebuyers. In particular, buyers considering the Blaine 55449 zip code can find programs in not only the State of Minnesota but throughout Anoka County too. In other areas of Minneapolis/St Paul there are similar opportunities. 

Wondering if there are funds available for you? Find out now using this tool to check for down payment funds available for your situation. Not a millennial? No problem. This tool is for all generations.

Today I would like to discuss a bit more about how Millenials Flock to Low Down Payment Programs


A recent report released by Down Payment Resource shows that 65% of first-time homebuyers purchased their homes with a down payment of 6% or less in the month of January.
The trend continued through all buyers with a mortgage, as 62% made a down payment of less than 20%, which is consistent with findings from December.
An article by DS News points to the new wave of millennial homebuyers:
“It seems that the long-awaited influx of millennial home buyers is beginning. Ellie Mae reported that mortgages to millennial borrowers for new home purchases continued their ascent in January, accounting for 84 percent of closed loans.”
Among millennials who purchased homes in January, FHA loans remained popular, making up 35% of all loans closed. Ellie Mae’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy Joe Tyrrell gave some insight into why:
“It is not surprising to see Millennial borrowers leverage FHA loans because they typically offer lower down payments and lower average FICO score requirements than conventional loans. Across the board, we're continuing to see strong interest in homeownership from this younger generation.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many millennials who is debating a home purchase this year, let's get together to help you understand your options and set you on the path to preapproval.

 Source: KCM Teri Eckholm Blog


READY to Make YOUR Move? It IS essential to have a knowledgeable agent at your side. 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 at 651-336-7073 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, October 12, 2017

Blaine MN | A Tale of Two Markets...or Three


A Tale of Two Markets: A 6-Month Update | Simplifying The Market

Blaine, MN | A Tale of Two Markets...or Three


While it is said that all real estate is local, the market in Blaine, Minnesota is following a pattern seen across the country, there is a discrepancy across markets. There is a continued lack of inventory in the starter homes while in high end homes there is an abundance. 

One difference I am seeing in and around the greater Blaine 55449 zip code is that there is a bit of a leveling off of the mid-range or move-up homes sales as the market seems to be come a bit more balanced for this price point. A quick look at the MLS today showed that there were only 7 homes available under $200K but more than triple the amount in the $200K to 300K price point with 21 active homes. Over $300K there were quadruple active listings with 109 homes currently available.

Real estate is often the biggest investment a person will make in their lifetime. Understanding the nuances of the local neighborhoods is essential. 

Today I would like to explore this further with A Tale of Two Markets 

Six months ago, I reported that the mismatch between the type of inventory of homes for sale and the demand of buyers in the US was causing the formation of two markets.
In the starter and trade-up home categories, there were significantly more buyers than there were homes for sale, causing a seller’s market. In the premium, or luxury, home categories, the opposite was true as there was a surplus of these homes compared to the buyers that were out searching for their dream homes, which created a buyer’s market.
According to the National Association of Realtors latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of existing homes for sale in today’s market is at a 4.2-month supply. Inventory is now 6.5% lower than this time last year, marking the 27th consecutive month of year-over-year decreases.

Looking at the latest report from Trulia, we can see that not much has changed, and in fact, recent natural disasters across the country have made inventory conditions even more dire.
Trulia’s market mismatch score measures the search interest of buyers against the category of homes that are available on the market. For example: “if 60% of buyers are searching for starter homes but only 40% of listings are starter homes, [the] market mismatch score for starter homes would be 20.”

The results of their latest analysis are detailed in the chart below.

A Tale of Two Markets: A 6-Month Update | Simplifying The Market

Nationally, buyers are searching for starter and trade-up homes and are coming up short with the listings available, which is leading to a highly competitive seller’s market in these categories.

Premium home buyers, on the other hand, have the best chance of less competition and more inventory of listings in their price range with a 14.7-point surplus, which is creating more of a buyer’s market.

Bottom Line

Real estate is local. If you are thinking about buying OR selling this fall, let’s get together to discuss the exact market conditions in your area.

Source: KCM Teri Eckholm Blog


READY to Make YOUR Move? It IS essential to have a knowledgeable agent at your side. 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 at 651-336-7073 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, September 18, 2017

Hunting for a NEW HOME? Why Fall is a Great Time to Buy a House!



Autumn is just a few days away and many people are thinking of  bright orange pumpkins, warm apple cider and the crackle of fallen leaves under your feet. Fall is a time of change. But few people are thinking of moving in the Minneapolis/St Paul area...or are they?

This is a common misconception of Minnesota home buyers. Often they think they “missed out” on the busy season in real estate and few good homes will be listed at the end of the year. But surprisingly, searching for a home in October, can be a very wise decision indeed.


The spring and summer are traditional times when the real estate market is hot. Many homes do list early in the year, but there is a flood of buyers at that time too.  Summer weather is ideal for moving but these are busy months for vacations and activities. Many homes that list in June and July, linger on the market, partially due to there being an influx of listings at this “good” time.  But sellers are motivated to move before the sidewalks get icy and lawns are snow covered so they often reduce their home prices in the fall. Homes that list in October and November are often priced to sell quickly since there can be less active buyers. 

I have seen buyers slack off on their home search at this time when they really should be more aggressively looking. One such first time buyer missed out on several good deals during hunting season when he just wasn’t available to look or move. If you are serious about finding a good deal, hunting for a new home should take priority in the fall. 

I have watched this trend for several years now. The housing prices seem to to be a bit more favorable for the buyers when the leaves start to turn through mid-November. Less buyers, means the market is more balanced. This makes it a great time to negotiate for the seller to pay some closing costs or to get a better price your dream home.  Buyers are scarce as temperatures drop and the holidays approach. Fall house hunting can bag the biggest bargains and best home deals. It is a strategy I recommend. 


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

Friday, July 7, 2017

Ask the Minnesota Lakeshore Realtor: What is Deeded Access?


What is Deeded Access to a Minnesota Lake? 

 For each deed, there is a different answer to this question. With over 12,000 lakes in Minnesota there are often lakeshore listings which will include access to a lake via the deed. So what does this mean?

Deeded access is access to the lakeshore as specified in the deed to the home or property. As a Minnesota REALTOR® I have represented both buyers and sellers where there was some lake access even though the home was not directly on a lake shore. When a property is located on the shoreline, the riparian rights (right to use the lakeshore) will appear obvious; that the right to the shore belongs to the property owners. While this is usually the case, there are instances where even homes on the lake do not include the shoreline. Sometimes a property within close proximity to a lake will have a deed that gives access to the homeowners to use the lake. These rights can include the ability to use a private beach or put in a dock. Sometimes it allows the owner to dock a boat in a specific slip or it may just allow fishing from a private dock. Not all deeded access is created equal. To understand the riparian rights associated with the property, a potential buyers must ask questions to fully understand the specifics rights outlined in the deed.



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

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Forest Lake, Minnesota Real Estate Statistics Jan-May 2017


 
Many people throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul area have fond memories of Forest Lake, Minnesota as a family summer vacation spot, an annual ice fishing tournament tradition or as a destination when going for a Sunday a drive in the country. Today, the lakeside cabins have been replaced with year round residences and the fishing tourney is but a memory. While there still is an agricultural presence, the farms, barns and silos are few and far between these days. The northern Washington County and east Anoka County community of Forest Lake is now considered an integral part of the Twin Cities. 

Real estate in Forest Lake, MN sold quickly in the five months of  2017 especially in the lower price points. A total of 133 properties sold in the Forest Lake Area since January 1. Roughly 75% of these sales were single family homes, 103 properties, while the other 30 were townhomes, condos or twin homes. 

The Cumulative Days on Market (CDOM) Statistic was approximately 81 days for all homes sold during the first five months this year. The average time on the market was 40 days for homes priced under $200K. This is indicative of the need for entry level, starter priced inventory. The average price of a home sold in Forest Lake was $285,071 so far in 2017. Prices paid ranged from a modest $65,500 to $770,000. 

The bulk of homes are selling in the price category range from $200,000 to $400,000 83 of the 133 sold.  Inventory remains low in this area with 117 homes currently active but 25 of those are currently under contract with an offer leaving a modest 92 homes for sale.

Surprisingly, high end homes and lakeshore homes are not lingering on the market. 14 Homes over $500,000 are in pending or have SOLD in the Forest Lake area since January 1. Most of the homes in this price point are on lakeshore. This is good news that lake front properties have made a significant come back in the Forest Lake area. Demand for homes on the shore is up. 

 
What does this mean for the Forest Lake home buyer? Homes are affordable and selling well in Forest Lake in 2017. Homebuyers looking to purchase in this area will need to make quick decisions when well priced and maintained homes come on the market. Lakeshore and acreage properties priced between $200,000 and $400,000 seem to sell the most quickly so it is important to be prepared to buy when the right property comes onto the market (i.e. get that pre-approval letter BEFORE looking at homes!)

A buyer looking to purchase high-end lakeshore in the Forest Lake area, needs to be ready to negotiate! Homes that are well maintained and priced well, even if  high-end lakeshore, are selling quickly and at close to asking. However, as we approach the July 4th weekend, existing homes sales tend to slow a bit as people are busy with vacations, graduations and weddings. SUMMER could be the perfect time to negotiate a GREAT deal on a lakeshore home! The inventory is awesome…22 lakeshore homes are currently active; some are at attractive and affordable price points. This could be a great time to negotiate a deal on your piece of Minnesota shoreline.

2017 Jan-May Average Sales Price of all homes sold in Forest Lake:

  • All Homes $280,918
  • Single Family Homes $303,575
  • Townhomes/Condos $203,129

2017 Jan-May Average Cumulative Days on Market in Forest Lake:
  • All Homes 82
  • Single Family Homes 94
  • Townhomes/Condos 41

31 Active Lakeshore available in the Forest Lake area:

Price range: $199,900-$2,800,000

  • 26 Homes on Forest Lake
  • 3 Homes on Clear Lake
  • 2 Home on Sylvan





For additional information on any current Forest Lake real estate listing or for additional information on buying a home in Forest Lake contact Teri Eckholm directly at 651-336-7073.

**All Statistical information based on information from the REGIONAL MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE of MINNESOTA, INC. for the period of 1 /1/17 through 5/31/17.

Have more questions about your selling your Anoka County home? Ask Me! I Can Help!

Need More Ideas Home Selling Tips? 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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dreaming of Life on Minnesota Acreage? What You NEED to Know!



While many millennial embrace the convenience of urban life, I am seeing a number of move up GenX'ers choosing to escape to the extreme Twin Cities suburbs. This summer I have been contacted by a number of home buyers wanted to sell their city starter homes and move to small acreage properties and lakeshore. This is a great time to make this move. Many homes on acreage in the north metro are priced well, even in this "hot" market. Combined with the current extremely low inventory of starter homes in the city, there is a good chance to make a transition this summer without breaking the proverbial bank.

Making a move from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro to a more rural area is a dream of many city home owners. But the logistics of this type of move can seem overwhelming. It doesn't have to be! As a REALTOR® in the north and east metro, I know this. But because I have made the move myself, I can help you through the process. Sure, there are a few less amenities and public utilities in more rural communities but the trade off of extra space can be well worth it. 

When my family made our move out to Anoka County acreage, we learned these differences first hand and quickly. Of course that was nearly 20 years ago so many amenities have been added since then. But over the years, I have guided many home buyers through the urban to rural transition. There are a few common questions that homebuyers should ask about each home and community.

Here are 14 important considerations homebuyers should consider prior to moving to acreage in Anoka, Chisago and Washington County.

What is a Septic or Private Sewer system?
Most rural homes have a private septic system. Not all systems are created equal. They are designed for the specific property and size of the home. Even a new septic system can fail if not properly maintained. How do you know if the septic system is working? Since not all communities require point-of-sale inspection, as your REALTOR®, I write into the offer that the seller must have the septic system checked for compliance by a licensed septic inspector in the purchase agreement. If it was completed prior to the sale, the certification should be no more than three years old. Also, homebuyers that have never lived on a property with a private sewage system, need to educate themselves on how to maintain and protect this essential and expensive part of your new home.

Is there a city water utility or a private well?  Will I need a water softener or other water treatment system?
Families new to the concept of well water have many questions regarding its safety. Most buyers will request the water be tested for bacteria and nitrates in the purchase agreement. This is usually paid for by the seller. If you want the well test for your property to include tests for other contaminants, like lead, it must be specified in the purchase agreement. Annual water testing is recommended for all home owners with wells. Locate your MN Unique Well Number.

One question often asked by home buyers considering a property with a private well is about water treatment options available. Many homes with private wells have water softeners to treat the water in the home. Some will go one step further and have a reverse osmosis water treatment system in the kitchens as a drinking water supply. Personally, we have both in our home. Additional information on Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis Drinking Systems.

Is there a natural gas supply to the home or will a propane tank be located on the property?    
Often people looking at acreage will have questions about the huge propane fuel tank located near the home. The larger the acreage and further from the city, the better chance propane is the fuel source for the home. People from the city usually only see these tanks outside of the gas stations where they pick up the small refills for their gas grills. Almost all homes in urban areas are fueled by natural gas or electricity. In the country, the large propane tanks are in many backyards as the source of fuel to heat the home and run appliances. As a fuel source the differences are not noticeable. Propane is the least expensive cleanest fuel if a home does not have access to natural gas. Additional information on the differences between natural gas and propane.

Does the home have access to cable or high speed internet or will a satellite connection be required?  Which cable services are available to the home? What are the alternatives if DSL is not available through the phone or cable lines? Do I have to have cable or a dish to get television reception? Will I have cell phone reception?
A decade ago, these were not questions that people worried about in the rural communities. Today our interconnected world brings these questions to the forefront but no worries; there are tons of alternatives today to keep you connected. From hot spots to internet cards there are options to keep your family connected even out in the woods. Even today there are  homes in Lino Lakes, Ham Lake, Forest Lake and East Bethel that have limited cable lines and restricted options for high speed internet available. There are many homes in the Columbus area in particular that must use a hot spot for high speed internet. And there are cell phone dead zones no matter how numerous or close those towers seem to be. We have a tower less than a mile from our house and still have to have a Sprint Airave to get continuous cell phone reception. This system runs our cell phone service through our cable when we are in the house. So if your family is very dependent on their screens and cannot survive without a high-speed connection, it is essential ask questions to figure out how to get the best access and reception.

If the road is gravel or unpaved, how often is it maintained by the city/county?
Our road was not paved when we first moved to Ham Lake. We were nearly a mile down a soft, gravel/sand road. When we moved it was late fall and were very surprised when the spring rains and snow melt left the road extremely poor condition. It was down right treacherous at times. The re-grading was done by the city on a periodic schedule so often we had to negotiate the pot-holed road for days. Our road is now paved but the memories still remain.


If you are considering acreage, remember many rural roads are not paved. If the acreage property you are considering is on a gravel or dirt road, try to visit the property on several occasions and under differing conditions. It might be a good idea to talk to the city and county to understand how the road is maintained. Also be sure to ask if there are any plans to pave the road in the future and what would be assessed per property owner for the project.

Is there wildlife?
Well maybe not lions and tigers, but we have had bears and cougars seen near our home in Anoka County. Recently we had a mama bear and her cubs visit our bird feeders and garbage cans. We also have pheasant, hawks, bald eagles, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, several varieties of squirrels and deer. A flock of wild turkeys have made their home in our neighborhood and continue to nest year after year. And an owl and a hawk have nested in trees in on our property. I rarely saw blue jays, cardinals or hummingbirds in the city, but in our Anoka County acreage home, we see them on a daily basis. While exciting, the downside is sometimes the wildlife comes in. I don't know anyone on Ham Lake acreage that hasn’t had an occasional field mouse enter their home.

Can we have a horse? (Or cow, chickens, goats etc.)
If your move to acreage is for having horses or other farm animals in your backyard, keep in mind that most communities have restrictions on how many, if any, animals are allowed. Whether you can have horses, pigs, cows, chickens, ducks, sheep or goats will be determined by the local city regulations. Even the amount of domesticated dogs and cats can be restricted on acreage property, just as it was in most urban communities. So if you plan to run a dog kennel, breed cats or train horses, for business or pleasure, do your due diligence and make sure it is allowed in your new rural community prior to writing an offer.

Is hunting allowed?
In some rural areas hunting is still allowed depending on the amount of acreage, the development restrictions and city and county rules. It was a rude awakening for us to discover our neighbors were allowed to hunt….and it seemed right outside our door too! Imagine our shock that first deer opener when the hunters came out in blaze orange to hunt in the woods next to our home. The property owner, at our request, posted the land and the hunters left. The land has since been developed but it is something everyone moving should understand before buying any acreage home. Check with the city and county for all ordinances regarding firearms.

Can I ride ATV’s, Snowmobiles and Dirt Bikes?
In many cases, this is allowed on acreage but even rural communities can have noise ordinances. Much will depend on the size of the property, proximity to neighbors and how often the riding takes place. Take time to learn what the rules are before starting up the engines and racing around the yard. On the plus side, there are several snowmobile trails throughout Anoka, Chisago and Washington Counties which can be just down the road from many homes.

Can we have a bonfire and burn all this debris?
There are strict states and local restrictions regarding burning of construction debris and yard waste. There are restrictions on the size of the fire and what can be burned. Many construction materials cannot be burned because they release chemicals into the air that pose an environmental hazard. There are times of the year where burning is only allowed by permit and sometimes not at all. Before burning it is best to check the local restrictions as well as the DNR. More information on MN Fire Restrictions.

Where do we shop? How far to the nearest corner store, gas station, shopping center and mall?
Depending on how often you like to shop, this may or may not be a big concern. Coburns does deliver but other food delivery services are much more limited. But it is always nice to know how far you will have to go for a gallon of milk for breakfast, a propane refill for the BBQ or gas for the lawn tractor.

How long does it take to cut the grass?
If your yard is over an acre with few trees, you might consider a lawn tractor. Many people on acreage only cut certain areas leaving the rest to grow to a natural prairie. Another consideration would be whether or not to install an irrigation system for the sod near the home.

Wow! There are a lot of trees! Do I have to worry about oak wilt and emerald Ash Borers?
Oak wilt is a big concern in throughout Minnesota. Many of the communities have information and programs to help protect and save the oak trees from this disease. Additional information regarding oak wilt. Recently people have been extremely concerned with the emerald ash borer that has been found in Ramsey County and now Anoka County too. These insects bored into ash trees and tunnel under the bark eventually killing the tree. There are programs to control the spread of the insects. Additional information on the Emerald Ash Borer

What about emergencies? How far to the nearest hospital? Where is the nearest fire station? Who provides police protection?
No one wants to think about these things when moving but accidents and illnesses do happen. It was a long hour drive to Children's Hospital in St. Paul when my young son fell and needed stitches. If the nearest fire station is staffed with volunteers and over five miles away, it will seem like a lifetime during those 5-10 minutes while you wait for the fire truck to show up to YOUR home. And big fires in dry areas will need the water trucked in due to limited water hydrants, if any.. Many rural communities do not have police officers but are patrolled by the county sheriff's department. Understand your options before an emergency occurs because it will likely take a bit longer if you are in a rural area.

With a little planning, and a good REALTOR®, your move to Minnesota acreage can be a great one!

Have more questions about buying an Acreage 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