Monday, April 28, 2008

A Lowball Offer in Today’s Real Estate Market—How Low is it Safe for a Home Buyer to Go?

When is a lowball offer insulting? 10% less? 20% less? 50% less? And is it the percentage less than the original list price or the current asking price?

Well, my answer is it depends.

As a Realtor working in the north and east Twin Cities metro for the past several years, I have seen my share of sellers who were insulted by a buyer’s offer. And not just in a market where buyers have the upperhand either. A few years ago, anything but a full priced offer was insulting. Buyers were afraid to request a few thousand toward closing costs lest the sellers would balk and accept the next offer in line.

However times have changed. Sellers throughout Anoka, Washington and Chisago Counties are anxious to sell. They know that they are competing with new construction homes and foreclosed homes. Few home owners with “for sale” signs in the yard are expecting a full priced offer in this changed market.


In fact some situations may lead buyers to believe sellers will take ANY offer. But in reality most sellers won't accept just “ANY” offer. An offensive lowball offer could put the buyers’ dream home purchase in jeopardy.

How to Coming up with an Acceptable Starting Point:

  • Ask your Realtor to do a market analysis for the home. In this market, I always pull the comparables to see what has sold recently in the neighborhood before my buyers decide what to offer on a home. Many sellers are listing homes at or below current market value. If the home is properly priced, anything less than 10% of the current asking price could be considered an insult. By looking at the neighborhood comparables, my buyers better understand what offer will be considered reasonable.

  • Consider the original list price. If someone has come down 25-30% of the value of the home already and now the market analysis shows the home is priced fairly, offering 10% less could be considered insulting. If this truly is THE home for my buyers, it might make sense to make an offer closer to the asking price.

  • The Overpriced Home. If the market analysis shows the home to be significantly overpriced and the offer will be more than 10% less than current the current asking price. I provide the comparables to the seller. Sometimes when the offer is accompanied by documentation to back up the offer, the seller is less offended.

  • Buyer’s Plans to Remodel and Update. Be careful when using documentation for changes that reflect cosmetic and personal taste. Many sellers will be insulted when a buyer’s offer indicates that they are offering tens of thousands less due to paint, carpet and other cosmetic changes that a buyer wants to make. If the updates are necessary due to age or wear, make note of the fact. But slamming a well maintained and updated home to justify a low offer is insulting.

  • Avoid Considering Price Paid for Home. Many buyers think that if someone purchased a home 5-10 years ago they have a ton of equity. This can be true but not always. Many sellers have taken the equity out of their home for improvements or for other reasons. Keep the negotiations focused on the fair market value of the home.
Most sellers are in waiting impatiently for that non-contingent buyer to write an offer on their home. In most cases, they understand the market and have worked hard to prepare their properties to entice an offer. But buyers must think through their offers; the perfect starting point for negotiations must contemplated thoroughly. Discussions can go south very quickly between buyer and seller when the initial offer is deemed rude.
Need help coming up with that perfect starting point for your home offer? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 terieckholm.com

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lino Lakes, MN Real Estate Market Statistics 1st Quarter 2008

Real estate in Lino Lakes, MN in Anoka County is still selling. Active homes in the lower price ranges seem to be up a bit but also continue to sell more quickly than homes in the higher priced categories. Lino Lakes existing homes continue to compete with available new construction in Hugo and Blaine. But as it is in southern Anoka County, it’s sales figures do not tend to be as stagnant as northern Anoka County communities like Ham Lake and Linwood.

High end home sales continue to struggle for sales. No homes were sold in the last 3 months, for sellers in above the $500,000 price and just a handful of sales in the $400,000-$500,000 category. The DOM seems skewed by the quick sale of two listings compared to a 215 DOM last quarter. No doubt these homes were priced to sell from the time they were listed.


Acreage opportunities are abundant in the Lino Lakes area! From one acre parcels to 15 acre hobby farms, Anoka County as quite a selection of homes in the Lino Lakes area. Many have been on the market for a quite a while. With continued low interest rates, it is a great time to negotiate a deal on your piece of Minnesota acreage!


1st Quarter Lino Lakes residential real estate statistics for single family homes:


Under $300,000~ 54 Active Listings, 4 Pending Listings, 15 Sold Listings, 156 DOM


$300,000-$400,000 ~ 31 Active Listings, 2 Pending Listings, 4 Sold Listings, 215 DOM


$400,000-$500,000 ~ 13 Active Listings, 1 Pending Listings, 1Sold Listing, 68 DOM


$500,000 and Up~ 16 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 0 Sold Listings N/A DOM


Lakeshore available in the City of Lino Lakes



1 Active Listings Lino Lakes lakeshore price range: $450,000

1 Home on Otter Lake

Acreage properties available in Lino Lakes


9 properties listed on 1-2 Acres priced between $189,900-$859,900.

2 properties listed on 2-3 Acres priced between $254,000-$269,900

1 property listed on 3-5 Acres priced at $269,900

2 properties listed on 5-10 Acres priced at $319,900-$379,900

1 property listed on 10-15 Acres priced at $408,900
1 property listed on 80 Acres priced at $6,000,000

**All Sold and Pending Statistical information based on information from the REGIONAL MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE of MINNESOTA, INC. for the period of 1 /1/08 through 3/31/08.




If you are buying, selling or relocating to Lino Lakes, Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 terieckholm.com

Friday, April 25, 2008

Uniquely Minnesota Artful Distractions—Homeowner Version: Black Bear in Columbus....GRRR!

Daily trips from Ham Lake to Forest Lake are a part of my routine. If I have to travel to the south part of town my options are limited due to the wetlands in the Carlos Avery Nature Preserve which stretches from Anoka to Chisago County.

My favorite short cut through Columbus, Minnesota is well traveled. County Road 19 or Potomac can shave several minutes off a commute to Forest Lake Senior High by avoiding the stoplights on Broadway. My daily travels take me down this 55 mph road but I often slow down when I pass this wonderful piece of chainsaw art...the black bear and tree.

The first time I saw it, I marveled at the detail in the bear contrasted to the tree he is entwined with. The tree is as smooth as a piece of driftwood. Both figures seem to be carved out of the same tree…but yet they don’t.

At either rate, it is another wonderful example of a uniquely Minnesota roadside distraction!

Other Uniquely Minnesota Artful Distractions:


Don't be distracted when making important real estate decisions! If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Home Shopping with Teens—Get Ready. They WILL Voice their Opinions!

It is a great time to buy a home in Minnesota. As a Realtor working in the north Twin Cities metro, I see awesome homes at great prices coming on the market everyday. There is an abundance of homes in the $300,000 plus category from Ham Lake to Forest Lake and everywhere in between. Whether you want a two story on acreage or a rambler with lakeshore there is something for everyone. And people are able to negotiate some very attractive deals. So as a family we started thinking, this might be time to make a move.

Now the last time we relocated, the kids were toddlers and offered very little opinions on the homes we looked at. As long as we assured them that their Little Tikes, Hot Wheels and Duplos were coming, the house was just a box to keep the playthings in.


Flash forward to today and we have an entirely different situation. Our young adults who are usually in a music-induced stupor and non-talkative when it comes to family outings, take the earbuds out and fully participate in the discussion of possible new houses.

Here’s an example of one such conversation with my teenager…

“There it is up there. It looks very nice. Nice lot. Interesting design.”

“You mean that big ugly GREEN house?”

“That’s just the siding color. It is beautiful inside. I have seen the photos!”

“But it is GREEN!”

“So you live on the inside of the home.”

“Look at all the other homes in the neighborhood. They are tan. We are going to be the house that everyone uses as a landmark, you know, ‘turn right at the ugly green house’!

“It’s not ugly green. It is a very lovely sage green”

“Mom, I don’t know what sage is but I if it is anything similar to the color of puke, I would agree!”

Okay…so my husband didn’t like the wetland so near to the home so the lovely sage green house is out. We will continue to look. But my experience with young adults tagging along and voice opinions is not limited to my own kids. Several of my clients have had young adult children accompany them on house shopping excursions lately. Some of their voiced wants, needs and demands are priceless:

  • “You are not seriously considering moving us to this dump are you?”
  • “I vote for the home with the swimming pool!”
  • “It’s in the middle of NOWHERE!”
  • “This one is great! We can build the wet bar here and put the pool table there.”
  • “So why can’t we have the big bedroom with the walk-in closet and private bathroom? It makes sense if you are going to make us share a room.”

And if you think watching a toddler at a home showing is tough, try an inquisitive teenager.

  • “I wasn’t touching anything. I just opened the door of the clock to see how it works!”

Most families want their teenagers and young adult children to be onboard with the move. If the kids are not working with the parents, passive aggression could rise to the surface. Bedrooms will never be cleaned when there is a showing on your existing home. Dishes will be left in the kitchen sink and dirty towels on the bathroom floor of your perfectly staged home.

I understand that every family has to negotiate and find middle ground. But parents have to remind the kids who will be signing the purchase agreement and making the payments on the new home. The parents have the final decision on the house.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that we parents won’t hear our young adults’ opinions loud and clear—but as we are changing a world that they believe revolves around them, that’s to be expected. Right?

If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota (with or without teenagers) and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Minnesota Fire Restrictions Blew In with the Wind!

Yesterday, spring blew into Anoka County quite literally. As I noticed the flags flying and trees bending, I also noted how dry last year’s grass is. This is normal every occurrence in Minnesota. Dry grass is a huge fire hazard until spring rains green up lawns. Take time to notice the Smokey Bear signs by the Carlos Avery Nature Preserve in Columbus and Linwood. The Minnesota DNR has replaced the winter “Drive Safely” sign to either a green, blue, yellow, orange and red fire danger warning signs too! Yesterday I noted the blue “moderate” fire danger warning as I drove down Broadway from Forest Lake. Grass fire season is here and 2008 has the potential to be very active. We are still in a bit of a drought.

With the brisk spring breezes here, spring burning restrictions are in effect in various counties throughout the state of Minnesota. The restrictions went into effect on April 14th and include Anoka County. After a very long winter with lower than average snow, they are necessary. CLICK HERE for DNR 4/14/08 press release.

Living near Carlos Avery Wildlife Management area, I won’t soon forget how quickly a small fire that was improperly extinguished turned into a major fire that burned for days and destroyed several homes in Linwood. The smoke in the air and blazing orange nighttime skyline is burned into the minds of many Anoka and Chisago County residents.

Fires start most often in this windy weather from sparks from trains, careless smokers and backyard fire pits. Be cautious and as Smokey says, “Only YOU can Prevent Forest Fires.” Acreage homes often butt up against the forests and wetlands. It is very important to be careful and aware of the fire danger in your community and your own back yard to protect your property.

Fire Facts from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

  • April and May are months when local, state and federal agencies respond to the highest number of wildfires.

  • Approximately 80 percent of all wildfires in Minnesota occur during this period.

  • The burning of yard debris is a major cause of wildfires in Minnesota.

Open burning will be restricted in April and May, but even after the restrictions are removed remember to be vigilant when having that backyard bonfire.

If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Ham Lake, MN Real Estate Market Statistics 1st Quarter 2008


Even though existing single family home sales in Ham Lake, Minnesota remained sluggish during the first quarter of 2008, there were some indications of better days ahead. The Days on Market (DOM) statistic was reduced slightly from 220 to 214. Conversely, homes in the higher price categories have been worse than stagnant. There is a complete lack of any sales at all! Only 2 in pending and one sold in the over $400,000 price category all quarter. With over 60 listings currently on the market, Ham Lake is over saturated with high end homes.

Under $400,000 there is some good activity. Currently there is about 10 months of inventory in this price category which is similar to other communities in the north and east suburbs of the Twin Cities. And if you look just at the homes under $300,000 the inventory level is even more promising with approximately 8 months of inventory on the market.

This presents a great opportunity for the move up buyer. If you have a starter home in good condition and well priced, it should sell in a decent time frame. These buyers then have quite a selection of homes to chose from in the higher price categories. After 300+ days on the market, many sellers are waiting to negotiate with a strong, non-contingent buyer!


Additional 1st Quarter Ham Lake residential real estate statistics for single family homes:

Under $300,000~ 35 Active Listings, 2 Pending Listings, 13 Sold Listings, DOM 195 (All existing homes)

$300,000-400,000 ~ 27 Active Listings, 5 Pending Listings, 5 Sold Listings, DOM 301 (New Construction Subgroup ~ 3 Active, 0 Pending, 0 Sold)

$400,000-$500,000 ~ 27 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 1 Sold Listings, DOM 163 (New Construction Subgroup ~ 4 Active, 2 Pending, 0 Sold)

$500,000 and Up~ 36 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 0 Sold Listings, DOM n/a (New Construction Subgroup ~ 7 Active, 0 Pending, 0 Sold)

Lakeshore available in the City of Ham Lake
5 Active Listings

Ham Lake lakeshore price range: $699,900-$1,450,000

2 Homes on Coon Lake
3 Homes on Lake Amelia

**All Statistical information based on information from the REGIONAL MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE of MINNESOTA, INC. for the period of 1/1/08 through 3/31/08.

Featured Listing in Ham Lake Minnesota: 15139 E Vermillion Circle NE

Articles on Ham Lake, Lakeshore and Minnesota that might be of interest:

Where's the Playground? A Key to Parks in Ham Lake Minnesota
What Makes a House a Home-Ham Lake, MN
Does "Minnesota Nice" Affect the Real Estate Market? "Yah, You Betcha!"
Dreaming of Life on MN Acreage?--What YOU Need to Know Before YOUR Move!
Affordable Minnesota Lakeshore

If you are buying, selling or relocating to Ham Lake, Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Forest Lake, MN Real Estate Market Statistics 1st Quarter 2008

Real estate in Forest Lake, MN in north Washington County and east Anoka County is still selling. Activity is up in the Forest Lake market as I can attest from the increased traffic at my open houses and my website. The Days on Market (DOM) Statistic for most homes show that many of the properties that did sell in first quarter were on the market for much of last year. Inventory is up in the under $300,000 price category and down in the over $500,000. Check fourth quarter statistics here. The reduction in inventory in the upper bracket has less to do with sales and more to do with timing as many lake homes were removed from the market. This is common as it is difficult to sell lakeshore properties in the winter when the shoreline is frozen.

The first quarter numbers show area homes are staying on the market an average of 287days, which is up considerably from the 166 DOM in the fourth quarter. The jump is probably due to the fact that few new listings come on during this time period and that the homes available had been on the market since early in 2007. We should see the average DOM go back down in the second and third quarters but only time will tell.


If we look at sold homes in the under $300,000 category for the first quarter alone, the absorption rate has skyrocketed from 10 months in 4th quarter to 20 months. But as January and February are historically slow this is likely not a trend. Using solds and pendings, the Forest Lake absorption rate is still approximately 9-10 months if all homes close.

High end home sales continue to struggle for sales. Only one home sold in the last 3 months, sellers in the $400,000-$500,000 price category skewing the DOM to two days. But compare and average with the 429 DOM for the $500,000 and up category, it is an average of 265 DOM for the higher priced Forest Lake homes.


Spring seems to always bring out new buyers and sellers. Hopefully it will be a year of negotiation as there is still plenty of housing inventory to work with. Great homes at amazing prices are out there on lakeshore and acreage properties. When the ice finally drops off the lakes, it might be the year to consider a lakeshore home!

Lakeshore opportunities are abundant in the Forest Lake area! I expect that more listings will return as soon as the ice is off the lake. There is still an amazing inventory of 44 lakeshore homes. Many have been on the market for a quite a while. With continued low interest rates, it is a great time to negotiate a deal on your piece of Minnesota shoreline!

1st Quarter Forest Lake residential real estate statistics for single family homes:

Under $300,000~ 79 Active Listings, 13 Pending Listings, 13 Sold Listings, 254 DOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 1 Active, 1 Pending, 2 Sold)

$300,000-$400,000 ~ 36 Active Listings, 4 Pending Listings, 4 Sold Listings, 278 DOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 9 Active, 1 Pending, 3 Sold)

$400,000-$500,000 ~ 20 Active Listings, 1 Pending Listings, 1 Sold Listing, 2 DOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 6 Active, 0 Pending, 1 Sold)

$500,000 and Up~ 32 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 1 Sold Listings 497 DOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 28 Active, 0 Pending, 1 Sold)

Lakeshore available in the City of Forest Lake

44 Active Listings, 2 Pending Listings, 7 Sold Listings

Forest Lake lakeshore price range: $279,900-$2,900,000

33 Homes on Forest Lake
7 Homes on Clear Lake
1 Home on Shields Lake
1 Home on Sylvan Lake
1 Home on Little Comfort Lake
1 Home on Neds Lake

**All Statistical information based on information from the REGIONAL MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE of MINNESOTA, INC. for the period of 1 /1/08 through 3/31/08.

Articles on Forest Lake, Lakeshore and Minnesota that might be of interest:

Does "Minnesota Nice" Affect the Real Estate Market? "Yah, You Betcha!"
Dreaming of Life on MN Acreage?--What YOU Need to Know Before YOUR Move!
Affordable Minnesota Lakeshore
Relocating to Forest Lake MN? The Schools are Full of Ranger Pride!
Forest Lake High School Rangers are Pounding Nails Again—New Home Under Construction!
Forest Lake High School Rangers House Construction Project Complete—And Up for Bids!


If you are buying, selling or relocating to Forest Lake, Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Forest Lake High School Rangers House Construction Project Complete—And Up for Bids!


After the successful sale of last year of the home built by Forest Lake construction students in the parking lot of their school, did it again! Forest Lake High School Students built an awesome 3BR/2BA in 2007 which sold for $65,000 and was moved by its new owners to its permanent location this past spring. The proceeds from the sale of the home funded a new construction project during for this school year. Now that the second home is complete, let the bidding begin!

As you can see, from these pictures taken at the beginning of second quarter, the students hit the ground running in September. The one story rambler home was framed and the exterior work complete prior to the cold Minnesota winter.

As a Realtor in the north metro, I have watched the construction of many homes throughout the Forest Lake School District. From what I can see, there is not a crew out there that can match the passion and dedication as the construction students of the Forest Lake Rangers!


Don’t miss out on your opportunity to buy this solid 3BR/2BA home. This year’s home even features a gas fireplace for added warmth during the Minnesota winters. Bids will be accepted on Thursday, April 10 at 6 p.m. Minimum bid is $49,900 plus Minnesota sales tax of 6.5%. All bids require a bid security of $1000 at time of bid submission.







More Articles on Forest Lake, Minnesota that might be of interest:

If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/