Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas LOLCat

The morning of Christmas eve, Muffin decided it would be a great time to sit on the new dining room table. It had been up for a couple of weeks and he never put a paw on it but there he was. So I removed him with a thump...Moments later he returned with a very smug look. He was mocking me...So I bought him a gift...Merry Christmas!

Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 2009 Twin Cities Real Estate Market Video Update—Continuing Signs of Recovery!

In the December Monthly Skinny from the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® provides a snapshot of the Twin Cities real estate market as we wrap up 2009.
Though there still are challenges in the upper brackets of the housing market, there has been a continued trend of recovery. Though we did still see a 3% month-to-month drop in median home prices, from $175,000 to $170,000, this is lowest drop in two years. Strong home sales added to shrinking supply equates to a stabilizing home market. This month's Skinny notes that our Twin Cities was affected by the $8000 tax credit as part of this recovery. There is hope that the extended and expanded tax credit will continue to stabilize the Twin Cites home marketing into 2010 but only time will tell. Also predictions for the 2010 national market by Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS® were shared in this month’s report.
Enjoy the last video update for the Twin Cities real estate market for 2009.

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 , Homebuyers Success Packet or sign up for Listingbook Twin Cities Home Search. 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 2009 Teri Eckholm

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter Acreage Home Bargains in the Twin Cities North Metro… Deals are TOO Good to last until Spring!

Looking for a bargain on an acreage home in the Twin Cities north Metro?

Think all the good deals are gone or won’t hit the market until next spring?

Think again! Here are 10 BEAUTIES that JUST LISTED in Anoka County, Northern Washington County or Northern Ramsey County.

Some of these deals are on foreclosures or bank-owned homes. Some are short sales which will take a bit longer to negotiate with the seller and the bank. But many are being offered for sale by traditional sellers and are still awesome deals!

Winter can be a great time to buy a MINNESOTA home and with the Homebuyers Tax Credit of 2009/2010, it makes more sense than ever to get your home search started as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that foreclosures are no longer trashed, fixer-uppers. Today's foreclosures can be simply AWESOME! This economy has forced builders and responsible homeowners alike to let amazing properties go back to the bank. Many are still in pristine condition. Some still may require a bit of cleanup or a few cosmetic changes but there are many in move in condition too.
Here are TEN OPPORTUNITIES that listed since December 1st that I noted while perusing the Twin Cities MLS today:
  • 4BR/2BA Lino Lakes Short Sale. 1967 rambler with a one car garage on just over an acre for less than $130K

  • 5BR/3BA/2Car on 1.5 Acres in North Oaks!! Almost 3000 sq ft finished, with custom woodwork throughout. Asking over $150K less that assessed value at $330K.

  • 2.7 Acres and 4 Car Garage in Ham Lake! 4BR/2BA built in 1981 backs up to Carlos Avery game preserve. Listed under assessed value at $250K.

  • 4BR/3BA/6Car One Story in Ham Lake. New construction in 2007, bank-owned home on just over an acre. Some handicap accessible features. Builder listed at $429K …Bank asking $280K.

  • 2 Story with 3 Pole Barns on 40 Ham Lake Acres! 3BR/3BA completely remodeled in&out. Traditional seller asking $500K.

  • 3BR/4BA/3Car New Construction in Forest Lake. BANK-OWNED built in 2005 home on 1.6 acres with city water and sewer. Full Master suite. Builder price $489,900…Bank asking price $175K LESS at $315K.

  • 5BR/4BA Brick 2 Story on Forest Lake. 1+ Acre lot. 100 ft shoreline on First Lake. 5200 square ft executive home built in 2000. Originally listed at 1.5 Million….now bargain priced at $850K.

  • 8.7 Acres Split Level in East Bethel! 2BR/2BA built in 1993. Third bedroom and family room just need carpet. Bank-owned fixer-upper price $138K.

  • 1 Acre Rambler with view of Coon Lake. 3BR/2BA/3Car Quiet East Bethel community. Traditional seller listed at $199,900.

  • 2.5 Acres in Andover Spectacular Short Sale! 4BR/4BA/3Car 2 story built in 2006. All the bells and whistles included. Sold for $505K three short years ago…now listed at $385K.
If you are in the market for a great deal on a foreclosed, short sale or traditionally sold home, it is time to get organized because the rules to buy are a bit different than when working with a traditional seller.
Seven Tips for homebuyers considering a foreclosed home:

  1. Banks LOVE clean offers. Buyers MUST be preapproved with credit checked and employment and funds verified. Documentation must accompany the offer or it won't be considered. (Note: Traditional sellers rarely look at offers without proof of funding either.)
  2. Banks reject lowball offers...often with no negotiation. They are a business and know the value of the asset they are selling.
  3. Well priced foreclosed homes get multiple offers. Serious buyers put in their best bid first.
  4. Banks sell homes AS-IS. What you see is what you get. Buyers must be prepared to make all necessary repairs out of their own pocket after closing.
  5. Banks will not pay for inspections in most cases. This includes the septic system and/or well. Be prepared as all inspections could end up being the buyer's responsibility. If you chose to inspect the septic or the county requires a septic compliance test, expect to pay $400-$500 for this inspection. A well test will run around $150. A whole house inspection is $350-$500.

  6. Personal property is not included as part of the sale. So if the appliances are at the home when you close, they are a bonus. The bank will not remove. But they don't guarantee will remain at the home or that they are in working order. This means if someone breaks in the home prior to the closing and takes them, the bank will not replace.

  7. Having your own REALTOR® to represent your interests is essential. The listing agent is under contract to represent the bank. In many cases, the bank will not allow a dual agency so if a buyer contacts the listing agent to write the offer, the buyer does not have representation. This means all of your information goes to the bank...the listing agent is required to tell the bank everything that you say about your financing and the amount you are able or willing to pay. But the agent is not required to tell you anything in return. The agent works only for the bank.

FEATURED Acreage Listing in Oak Grove. Minnesota

Oak Grove 9+Acre estate being offered by a traditional seller for $259,900! Bring the horses and ATV’s! Contemporary 1-1/2 story 4 Bedroom home with 5+ Mechanics Dream Garage.

Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm

Friday, December 18, 2009

Are YOU a Veteran? 7 Steps to Buying a Home with a VA Loan

If you can answer yes, the VA loan program is designed exclusively to help you buy a home. It is a GREAT option for financing your piece of the American Dream! And, it is one of the only ZERO down programs still available.

As a REALTOR® who works throughout Anoka, Chisago and Washington Counties, I have sold many homes using the DVA program. I have worked with sellers in Forest Lake, Wyoming and Coon Rapids who accepted offers from Veterans using the DVA financing program to purchase the home. I assisted Veteran home buyers to locate and purchase homes in Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Blaine and Hugo using their DVA eligibility option. All of the sales went off without a hitch. It is a wonderful program.

Additionally, I know and work closely with loan officers and mortgage brokers who have extensive experience working with VA loans. We work together as a team to get veterans into the homes of their dreams!

Earlier this year I attended a seminar given by the Department of Veterans Affairs on the home assistance program that is available for those who have served or are actively serving in the military. What a great benefit to our brave men and women who have sacrificed for our country. Low and no money down home loan programs are almost unheard of for today’s homebuyers. But the DVA has offered this option to eligible veterans since 1944 and continues the program today.
So, are you a veteran homebuyer?
There are many ways to take advantage of the DVA program. Whether you are buying a single family home, condo, townhome or even a duplex or four-plex, as long as you plan to live in the home, this is a benefit you have earned and should consider when buying or refinancing a home.

Seven Simple Steps to Buying a Home with a VA Loan:

  1. Apply for your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Or ask your loan officer to request online using the webLGY application.

  2. Work with a REALTOR® to find your perfect home with a home seller that will accept DVA financing.

  3. Present the COE to your loan officer at the time of loan application.

  4. Loan officer will work with VA to order appraisal of home. A Notice of Value is issued.

  5. The lender bank will review all documentation and approve your loan if the established property value and your credit and income are acceptable.

  6. Attend the closing on your new home where the closer will go over all the loan terms and requirements as you sign the documents for your mortgage.

  7. The lender applies to the VA for evidence of guaranty.
On the surface, many of these steps are similar to applying for a regular loan but the benefits of coming in with a very low or maybe even no down payment are not. Veterans should note that you are not alone in the process; you will have professional assistance in every step of the way. Why wouldn’t you want to check out this unique opportunity that is only available to those who have served our great country?

Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm

Monday, December 14, 2009

7 Tips for Holiday Homesellers—House On or Off the Market at Christmas?

It is that time of year again. The holidays are upon us but the house hasn’t sold. What should a seller do?

At first inclination most sellers opt to withdraw their home from the market believing that the preoccupation with the holiday season puts few buyers in the market. While there is truth to this belief, sellers can be ignoring another more important truth: Those buyers looking at houses during the holidays are very serious buyers. That
extended tax credit has expanded to include those who have owned homes previously so this year there are more winter buyers than ever before. There are not many tire-kickers running around with a REALTOR® when there are presents to buy and gifts to wrap. December and January showings are a seller’s opportunity as most homes that buyers visit at this time of the year are vacant. A buyer’s choices are down to model homes, empty relocation properties and foreclosures. A welcome home filled with the colorful sights, delightful sounds and wonderful aromas of the season give a unique opportunity for those wanting to sell.

Tips for Showing and Selling During the Holidays
  1. Decorate! Tastefully of course. This might not be the year that you do the Griswold display of lights as in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but a decorated tree, candles and wreaths can add a special touch.
  2. Bake and leave out Christmas Cookies. Why should Santa have all of the extra calories?
  3. Make sure the fireplace is burning bright, warm and welcoming!
  4. Play holiday music. Leave out the barking version of Jingle Bells and go for instrumentals or uniquely Minnesota regional artists like The Blenders.
  5. Shovel and salt the driveway if necessary. No one wants to spend the holidays in the emergency room with a twisted ankle.
  6. Turn the heat up for showings…Let them know the furnace really works. It is such a treat after visiting vacant foreclosed homes!
  7. Leave the front light on! Don’t forget it is dark out during those early evening showings. Make certain buyers and their agents are able to see their way to your front door and lockbox.

Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm

Saturday, December 12, 2009

November 2009 Twin Cities Real Estate Market Video Update—Affects of the $8000 Tax Credit!

As we cruise into the cold of winter, we can take a few minutes to review how the fall market energized the Twin Cities real estate market as we view the November Monthly Skinny from the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®.

This month's Skinny examines how the Twin Cities was affected by the $8000 tax credit in the month of October. The announcement of the extension and expansion came late enough into the month that many buyers did not want to risk missing the original November 30th deadline. Almost 4700 purchase agreements were signed in the month of October. The affects of the first time buyer credits were most noteable on homes under $200,000. Also the inventory of foreclosure homes is down considerably now while homes in a short sale position are not selling so quickly. The obvious reason for this is that the approval of the purchase for a lender-owned home is within days while a home in a short sale position will take weeks or even months to obtain all of the approvals required for a closing. As noted in the video it will be interesting to see how the extended and expanded tax credit will affect the real estate market during the next few months. Most first time buyers that wanted to buy may have already purchased a home to meet the original deadline but the expansion for previous homeowners does create a new wild card.

Enjoy the video and lets hope these positive signs for Twin Cities real estate continue into 2010.

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 , Homebuyers Success Packet or sign up for Listingbook Twin Cities Home Search. 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 2009 Teri Eckholm