Tuesday, February 26, 2013

There's Good, Bad & Ugly When Buying Minnesota Lakeshore in the Winter

Spring is just around the corner but the recent weather reports and our aching, shoveling-afflicted backs continue to let us know that our Minnesota’s winter weather will continue to be here for awhile. Unfortunately all that picturesque lake shore that defines our beautiful state and the Land of 10,000 Lakes is going to stay frozen and covered with a thick white blanket of snow....This is not a great scenario as the real estate market has started to heat up early. 

Most people considering buying a lake shore home in 2013, think they have to wait until ice-out in the spring to make a move on a piece of shoreline. But, not so fast. Buying a lakeshore home in the winter can make sense…And save money too. If you know the specific lake well or are not concerned about the quality of shoreline, winter can be a great time to write up an offer.

GOOD reasons buy NOW:

  1. Motivated Sellers—Any seller has their Minnesota lakeshore home on the market in February/March most probably needs to sell.
  2. Less Competition—With few buyers on the market there is less change of multiple offers on a lakeshore property which make for easier negotiations with the sellers. This might not be the case come spring.
  3. Low Interest Rates—They keep telling us that these rates won’t stay around forever and they are starting to inch up again. A lower interest rate means more buying power.
BAD  and UGLY situations that could arise:

  1. Shoreline Problems—That picturesque beauty that was covered with snow could reveal low lake levels or weedy shoreline problems rather than the sandy beachfront you imagined.
  2. Septic issues—If the home is on a lake with a private sewage system, it might not be able to be fully assessed for compliance issues which could be costly if a new system is required.
Bottom line, winter can be an tremendous opportunity to get a deal on a Minnesota lake home but be advised if you don’t know the lake well; there are some risks when putting in an offer if the lake is covered with a thick slab of ice. Weigh your options carefully before deciding whether you should put in an offer on that seemingly perfect snow covered home on the lake or wait until May when the waves are once again lapping on the shore.

Copyright 2013 www.terieckholm.com

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rebounds Not Exclusive to Basketball—Housing Prices have Bounced Back!

I have no ability when it comes to basketball but as a REALTOR® with well over a decade of experience in the Twin Cities north and east metro, I do know a housing rebound when I see it. Since last fall there has significant activity in the Minneapolis/St. Paul housing market. In the north and east metro, I have witnessed the market turn. The extreme low interest rates have brought out the first time buyers who have literally bought up almost all the listed houses. This is good news…unless you are a first time buyer.

Once again, there are multiple offers on home. In one situation I was in this past fall, there were 12 offers by the time the highest & best deadline arrived. Not familiar with the term highest & best? When there are multiple offers on a home, the seller’s agent notify all interested buyers to submit their highest and best offer so the seller can choose which one to work with. In this situation the seller’s agent said she had another dozen buyer’s agents contact her AFTER the deadline. More than 2 DOZEN interested parties on one home! This is driving prices up again.

 The real estate market has seen a rebound this market and it is good news for any seller that has been waiting for the right moment to sell.

Before the holidays, I was asked by a number of clients what they should do to do to get their home ready for selling in the spring. My advice was, “If you are ready now, go for it! Don’t wait until spring!” There is no reason to wait out the winter. Buyers are looking now and writing offers now as there are very few good homes on the market. The clients who took my advice saw their homes sell quickly…in many cases in just days.

Tips for Sellers in this Rebound Market:

  • Get your home picture-perfect ready and on the market as soon as possible. Don’t wait as there will be more sellers competing in the spring.
  • Stage your home. It will stand out compared to foreclosures.
  • Price it right from the start. Just because pricing is up, doesn’t mean the sky is the limit on pricing. Buyers are too savvy…and so are appraisers! Trust your REALTOR® to help you find a realistic listing price.

  Tips for Buyers in this Rebound Market:

  • Work with a REALTOR® from the start. I am able to find homes for my buyer clients and get them out to see them within hours of hitting the market.
  • Get Pre-approved for a home loan. Sellers will not consider an offer without a pre-approval letter or proof of funds if it is a cash offer.
  • Educate yourself on the market and work with an agent that knows the area so you won’t have to hesitate to write an offer. Waiting a few days to think about it may not work in this fast paced market.

Copyright 2013 www.terieckholm.com 

Friday, February 1, 2013

I Have a BS in Marketing (and I will use it to Sell YOUR Home!)

I have always found it amusing to have a B.S. in Marketing. On my resume, I work hard to avoid the humor by extending to a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Marketing from but for short is a BS in Marketing.

However, marketing is not BS…especially when selling a home. Marketing IS the key to a fast sale at the best price.

What can good marketing do?

  • Bring in Buyers
  • Create Interest
  • Generate Offers

A strong marketing plan is more than listing a home in the MLS and putting a for sale sign in the yard. When I market a home, I analyze the property to discover its unique selling features. What is IT that sets this home apart from the rest? Sometimes these features are obvious but not always. But one thing is for certain, every home has an angle that will make it desirable to buyers. Once that angle is discovered and positively exploited to a home sellers advantage, the buyers (and offers) come in.

The unique selling feature will be different for every home so it would be impossible to list every example here. A lakeshore home will focus on the lake, fishing and wildlife while an acreage home may be marketed for its privacy, wildlife and gardens. Of course each home will have some features, whether it is a new remodel or well-priced fixer upper. It is an art to find that special feature to sell a home.  And, that is my very favorite part of marketing single family homes. Working with a seller to define what makes their home special and together we design a plan to market their home.

Keep in mind there are some things that even good marketing cannot do. 

  • Marketing cannot sell an overpriced home. Getting the price right is still imperative.
  • Marketing cannot save a hot-mess. Whether your home needs paint, repairs or just a good old fashioned cleaning, you don’t spiff up the house a bit, homebuyers won’t see the potential.

Home sellers are responsible for preparing the home to obtain the best possible outcome. If you want to sell as-is without additional work, that’s okay. But then agree to price the home appropriately making PRICE is the unique selling feature. Yes, even a fixer-upper deserves to be marketed.

Copyright 2013 www.terieckholm.com