Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tips for Staging, Showing and SELLING a Home at Christmas!



With Thanksgiving's turkey leftovers all but a memory, the holiday season is in full swing. It is the time of year when my clients with their homes on the market, start calling for advice. On or off the market for the holidays? What a great question! My answer is always, if possible, keep it on!

Most home sellers are more inclined to withdraw their home from the market for a few months. This is especially true in Minnesota where a white Christmas is almost a guarantee. Old Jack Frost has been nipping at the nose early this year so sine sellers believe home buyers are too preoccupied with finding a perfect gift instead of being out shopping for their dream home. While there is some truth to this, sellers can be ignoring another more important truth: Buyers looking at houses during the holidays are V-E-R-Y serious buyers.


There are not too many proverbial "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 to stand out from the competition. Most homes buyers will visit at this time of the year are vacant. Often a buyer’s choices are down to model homes, empty relocation properties and foreclosures. Just imagine how a buyer perceives a warm home filled with the colorful sights, delightful sounds and wonderful aromas of the season. Staging a home for a sale during the holidays is a unique opportunity giving the traditional home seller the edge!

Tips for Showing & Selling During the Holidays

  •     Decorate! Tastefully of course. This might not be the year to pull out all stops with a million light display but a decorated tree, candles and wreaths can add a special touch.
  •     Bake and Share Gingerbread Men. Leave out a plate to share with potential buyers. Why should Santa have all of the extra calories?
  •    Cozy and Comfortable! Make sure the furnace is set for showing at a comfortable temperature to take off the chill. If you have a fireplace, keep it burning to add to a festive welcoming feel.
  •     Play holiday music. Avoid the annoying versions of Gramma Got Run Over by a Reindeer and go for instrumentals or uniquely Minnesota regional artists like The Blenders.
  •     Shovel and salt the sidewalk and driveway. No one wants to spend the holidays in the emergency room with a broken wrist or worse.
  •     Leave the front light on! Don’t forget it is dark during those early evening showings. Make certain REALTORS® are able to see their way to your front door and open the lockbox.
Need more tips on how to get your home SOLD? 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com


Friday, November 14, 2014

Tips for Buying a Minnesota Hobby Farm Foreclosure


Many people want that very good deal on a big piece of land in the country. Although there aren't as many foreclosures on Minnesota acreage as there were a few years ago, from time to time, there is a deal that might be too good to pass up on a hobby farm in the Minneapolis/St Paul suburbs.  However, buying a foreclosure is different than buying from a more traditional seller. The biggest difference when buying a property from the bank is that buyers are often required to waive their rights to a seller’s disclosure. (This actually does make sense; no one at the bank can properly complete the disclosure because they have not lived in the home.) In most cases, no one from the bank has ever set foot on the property. So when buying a foreclosure on acreage, what are some of the things home buyers should do to be avoid a housing nightmare ? 

First off, find a REALTOR® that works with acreage properties. Your neighborhood agent in the Twin Cities might be the best agent on the block when it comes to selling townhomes, condos and dealing with HOA issues but if they could be over their heads when it comes to dealing with the issues that come up purchasing larger properties. The agent for the bank will not have time to walk a city agent through the necessary paperwork. It is best to find a agent that knows her way around a septic drain field and pole barn. Here are a few more tips that I recommend:  

**Ask for a Compliance Test for the Septic System.

A private sewage or septic system is one of the most costly aspects of a rural home. As a alternative to a public sewer connection used in the city, homes are constructed with a private septic system to handle sewage and waste water. Not all septic systems are the same. Each is 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 properly in foreclosed home? Ask the bank to have a third party inspect the septic system and  supply a report of compliance. This MUST be written into the purchase agreement as a contingency of purchase. (i.e. Sale is contingent on the buyer receiving a current compliance certification for the septic system.)
If you have never lived on a home with a private sewage system, it is important to educate yourself on how to best maintain it. Read More information on Septic Systems.

**Well Disclosure is Mandated by State Law
 
In Minnesota, well disclosure at the time of sale is mandated by state law as a part of the Ground Water Protection Act. A seller must provide information on the location and status of all wells on a property at the time of sale. Just because a bank is selling the home, does not change the law. Any known well and its condition must be documented on a disclosure. If this information is known and not provided, the buyer has 6 years in which to file a claim against the seller. Often when purchasing a foreclosure the bank will ask a buyer to waive  the right to a disclosure and purchase the home AS-IS. In this situation, it is a good idea to visit the MN Dept of Health webpage on Finding Abandoned Wells prior to purchase. Abandoned wells can be very expensive to seal properly. Improper sealing is not only illegal, it can be detrimental to the ground water. Read More information on Private Wells.

**Are there any underground fuel tanks?

Often people looking at acreage for the first time will have questions about the huge propane fuel tank located near the home. These tanks are usually only seen in the city at gas stations where homeowners fill their small propane tanks for the weekend BBQ. In the country, the large tanks are in many backyards as the source of fuel to heat the home and run appliances. But what if there is no visible tank? Don’t immediately assume the home is heated with natural gas. Homes on large acreage are rarely heated with natural gas as the cost of bringing the gas line to the home can be cost prohibitive. Check for underground fuel tanks. Even if there is a propane tank visible, there could be an old fuel tank on the property either above or underground. The removal of underground fuel storage tanks can be dangerous and is regulated by the Minnesota State Fire Marshal as well as the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

**Check the Trees! 

Buying a home  AS-IS also applies to the landscaping. Check for dead or dying trees on the property. If any are found, it would be a good idea to assess them to see if they died due to a disease. The most common tree killers in Minnesota are oak wilt, Dutch elm and the emerald ash borer.


Looking for your DEAL on a Minnesota Acreage Home? I can help!  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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Friday, November 7, 2014

Declutter NOW for your 2015 Home Sale…and make a few bucks too!


Step one in selling a home isn’t calling a REALTOR®. It is decluttering your home.  Let’s face it. Most people don’t live in a perfectly “staged” home.  Homes are lived in and full of clutter.  And do you really want to pack and move all that accumulated STUFF to a new home? Probably not.  So if you want to sell a home next spring it might be time to donate unwanted items.  Or better yet, sell all those extras.

I know, I know. It’s hard to have a garage sale at any time of the year. But in Minnesota in the middle of winter, it can be next to impossible. No one wants to have people with their muddy, wet, salt-covered boots tromping through their house and frankly it is too darn cold in the garage! Of course, Craigslist is an option. But did you know there is a new option on Facebook for selling items locally? Many communities have pages for online garage sales. It is a bit safer because it is less anonymous than Craigslist. You see the face of the person on their profile page. (Some people do make fake profiles so be cautious.) There are thousands of people selling and more importantly buying on these boards! I know. I’ve sold a ton of stuff this fall. How does it work? If you have an item to sell, you post a photo, a price and where the buyer would have to pick it up. This can be at your home or a public place. My favorite place is a grocery store parking lot. This way there are lots of people and lights for safety.


Surprisingly, there is a lot a home seller will learn about negotiation and selling a house by selling on a online garage sale site.  Selling is selling after all and people are people no matter how high or low valued an item is. Here are a few similarities that I have encountered.

  1.  The LOWBALL offer   Recently I offered a brand new tool on a local site. Someone messaged “I can buy this online for your asking price so why don’t you sell it to me for half?” Hmmm…It’s brand new and you’d have to pay $20 online plus shipping and tax of around $15. I’m asking $20 and your offer me $10? I said no. I had priced the item right and someone else purchased it the next day at full price.
  2. There will be NO Shows. Just like when there is a showing request for a home, some online buyers will not show up to a scheduled meeting or will have to cancel. Unfortunately, this does happen from time to time with home showings too.
  3. Negotiate the Terms Cash is best in an online transaction. Although there are few cash buyers in real estate, it is important to understand how a buyer will pay for any item.
  4. Condition Affects Value. Something new in the box will always sell for more than something that is well worn.  I clean up all my items before posting a photo online. It sells more quickly if the photos are clear and the item is in its best light. Same is true for a home.  Good photos of a well prepared clean home, will help it sell more quickly too.
  5. Read the Rules Every group has rules to keep things fair for buyers and sellers. Reading and following the rules to selling items on line is very similar to understanding and following all laws when it comes to the sale of real estate.
So if you are planning to move in the spring, there is no reason you cannot start the decluttering/selling  process now. You could even make a few dollars for the upcoming holiday season too!


Looking to Buy or Sell a HomeIf 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Safety Tips for Homeowners!

Pumpkin Emoticon Halloween Safety Tips! Pumpkin Emoticon 
 Make your house Trick-Or-Treater Friendly!

Halloween is an exciting holiday for kids of all ages. It is FUN to dress up, get together with friends, and go door-to-door in search of the best treats in the neighborhood.

Whether you are in a development full of little ghosts, goblins, superheroes and princesses or you only have a few costumed visitors, you’ll want to be sure your yard and front steps are safe and welcoming. Plan ahead to prevent unfortunate accidents that could ruin a festive evening.

Here are a few pointers to keep your home a safe place for trick-or-treaters on October 31st!

Pumpkin Emoticon Keep Pets in Check. Dogs, cats, and other furry family members can be agitated when oddly dressed strangers approach the front door. Make sure your pet is in a safe and comfortable place away from costumed visitors.
Pumpkin Emoticon Keep Walkway and Steps Clean and Clear. Pack away the toys, rakes and other yard tools, hoses and rake the leaves. Make sure the path to your front door is free of potential hazards like electrical cords and pumpkins.too.
Pumpkin Emoticon Keep it Lit!. Spooky is fun but if it is too dark, it could be dangerous. Make sure the path to your candy bowl is well-lit. 


I hope your family has a frightfully fun-filled, but very safe Halloween with no tricks but many, many treats!


Looking to Buy or Sell a HomeIf 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Luck of the Double Rainbow

 

A few weeks ago I was attending a wedding of the artist I use for my house cards for home buyers. She is a brilliant artist and was having an semi-outdoor wedding in a rustic barn. Storms were in the forecast but the wedding started without a hitch and the bride walked down the aisle to very unusual selection of Rainbow Connection. Maybe it was an omen but shortly after the ceremony, just as everyone moved from the barn to the reception tent, there was a torrential downpour. Spirits were not dampened and the festivities continued and shortly after the winds blew through, the happy couple and all of their guests were blessed with the view of a double rainbow over the barn. Sometimes things are just meant to be.  

Real estate is like that. Sometimes a home buyer will write an offer on the "perfect" house but then there are multiple offers and it becomes the dream home of someone else. Sometimes a seller accepts an offer an the buyer backs out or financing falls through. These things happen in real estate. But in every case where I have seen this happen, down the road there is another home, another buyer, and another often better deal. It is my job to remind my buyers and sellers of that. When the clouds turn dark, we look for the double rainbow! 


Looking to Buy or Sell a HomeIf 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Friday, September 19, 2014

Beyond Raking Leaves--Fall Home Maintenance Tips!



The recent cold blast that brought a blanket of frost this past week has most Minnesotan's embracing the return of fall. Down every street l drive throughout Minneapolis/St Paul's north metro, I am seeing leaves just beginning to turn gold, red and yellow. The fallen acorns and ripe apples have attracted white-tailed deer to our backyard  for their annual autumn feast. And all of these are just signs that we have to speed up the outdoor chores as we prepare our home for the winter ahead.

As a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities metro, I know how important how important continued home maintenance. There's no guarantee whether the upcoming winter will be on the mild side or brutally cold. But it is Minnesota so best to prepare for the worst. Getting your home ready in the fall can prevent damage from the winter ice and snow as well as costly repairs come spring.

Here is a quick list of recommended repairs and preventive maintenance tips for all homeowners to consider this fall:

  1. Clean Gutters of leaves and other debris that might clog the drainage. A blocked gutter can cause an ice dam when the snow flies.
  2. Winterize the lawn tractor or mower and get that snowblower tuned. If you have a plow service, make contact and update your contract prior to the first snowfall.
  3. Change security lightbulbs in hard to reach outlets. It would hazardous to climb ladders to reach the tip of a garage over an icy driveway.
  4. Unhook, coil and remove hoses from water spigots. Turn off and winterize sprinkling systems. Turn off water to outside spigots if not frost-free to prevent burst pipes in subzero temperatures.
  5. Have the annual furnace cleaning and tune-up to be ready for those first cold evenings. Remember to change the furnace filter every month for best efficiency…even if the packaging says “6-month filter”. QUICK TIP: Change filter when you make your monthly mortgage payment so you don’t forget.
  6. Check all windows and doors to see if new caulk or weather-striping is needed.
  7. Fall is the perfect time to paint with the low humidity and crisp breeze. Check deck, siding and trim for peeling paint.
  8. Fall is the last chance to seal the asphalt driveway prior to winter freezing. Fill cracks and topcoat if necessary.
  9. Inspect the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Verify that the flashings are sealed from rain and snow.
  10. Snap a few fall photos while the mums and trees are vibrant with color! Golden yellow oak leaves and vivid red sumacs are a striking contrast to the homes blanketed with white should you choose to list your home in the winter months!
Looking to Buy or Sell a HomeIf 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Monday, August 11, 2014

5 Budget Friendly Activities in Maplewood Minnesota



Looking for some family AND budget friendly activities in Maplewood, Minnesota? Here are a few of my favorites:
  1. Bike the Gateway! The Gateway Trail Cuts right through the heart of Maplewood.  Use the trail head at the Maplewood Community Center to walk, rollerblade or bike along this picturesque route that runs through Ramsey County from Stillwater to St Paul.  CLICK HERE to Download a map at the DNR website.
  2. Picnic at Keller Lake If you haven’t visited Keller Lake Park in years, you haven’t visited Keller Lake Park. In addition to the multiple picnic pavilions, there is a wonderful new wooden trail that expands across the wetland and under Hwy 36 with access to Spoon Lake and Phalen.  Fish, Kayak or walk the trail to see where the bald eagle’s nest is too!  Planning a big picnic? Pavilions might be rented so check with Ramsey County for availability.
  3. Commune with Nature! Visit the Maplewood Nature Center and look for herons. Located just off Hwy 120 this is a hidden gem! Explore by taking a self-guided tour offer or stop in the Visitor’s Center to see snakes, salamanders and other critters.  Best of all…it’s free!
  4. Ride the Carousel Did you know that Maplewood Mall has an indoor carousel? This double decker treasure was built in Venice, Italy but now makes its home in Minnesota. For $2 it is an inexpensive 
  5. Make a Splash! Waterworks at Battle Creek Park is fun and cheap way to have fun and stay cool in the summer.  Admission in 2014 is just $7 per guest.  This water attraction is located in an awesome park so bring a picnic and explore.


Looking to Buy or Sell a Maplewood HomeIf 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Friday, August 8, 2014

SOLD! Home on Coon Lake in Anoka County, Minnesota!

Welcome to 35XX Edmar Lane!
This home is now SOLD

Updated 2BR/2BA ONE LEVEL home on 100ft Shoreline
   

This wonderful lakeshore property has been SOLD!  With spectacular views of full recreational Coon Lake, this might be the perfect place to move into and never leave! A nature lover’s paradise—watch loons, white tailed deer, hawks, ducks, geese, raccoons, fox, cranes and numerous other wildlife as they wander along the shore. Swim, fish, sail or jet ski on the largest lake in Anoka County!

    • Great fishing! 100 ft of shoreline with natural reed growth provides habitat for fish. Permits are available through DNR to clear aquatic plants for larger boat near dock.
    •   Huge entry foyer/mudroom with full sized washer dryer and convenient half bath. Note vaulted ceilings, ceramic tile flooring and neutral décor. Hallway off the garage near bedrooms features HEATED ceramic tile flooring that is also in the full bathroom.
    • Great Location for year round living or as a weekend get-away just 35 minutes from downtown Minneapolis. Located in award winning St. Francis 15 School District with quick access to Hwy 65.


COON LAKE is a 1486 acre, full recreational lake with depths to approximately 27 ft. It has a public beach and two public boat accesses. Land use is a mix of single family residential, undeveloped land, a public park and wetland. Homeowners are allowed docks and can pontoon, water ski, kayak, swim, fish and jet ski on the lake.
 Need additional information on how to buy or sell a beautiful Minnesota Lakeshore home?
Call or Text me, Teri Eckholm, Boardman Realty, at 651-336-7073 today!
OR VISIT MY WEBSITE to request additional information.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

AFFORDABLE Homes on Minnesota Lakeshore! (Under $400K...some way under too!)

Are there affordable lakeshore homes in Anoka County? You betcha!

I checked the multiple listing service (MLS) in the Minneapolis/St Paul area today (July 17, 2014) and found a baker's dozen lakeshore homes priced at less than $400K. This doesn't see like a lot but we are talking affordable lakeshore here. Some are as close as Coon Rapids and a few are further out in Ramsey and Nowthen but all are homes have shoreline on one of Minnesota's 10,000 Lakes.

And you don't have to break the bank either. There is a cute one bedroom cabin on Martin Lake with 50 feet of shoreline for under $90,000. Need a bigger home? There's a spacious two story on Ham Lake with a 100 foot shore for $350K. Looking for a one level home? There is one on Coon Lake with 2BR/2BA with 100 ft shore for just under $275K. And there is even one just minutes from Minneapolis on Crooked Lake in Coon Rapids for $210,000. 

If you are interested in Minnesota lakeshore, there are properties in every price range. There are hundreds of options more over $400K throughout the state but that is not affordable to most. These lower priced options often are on full rec lakes where you can boat, fish, jet ski, but they might not have the perfect sandy beach or executive style home. Sometimes they are perfect inside but have a channel shore line while others might be in need of updates. But they are an affordable way of getting a home on the lake.

If you would like a link to lakeshore homes currently available in Anoka County (or any other Minnesota county), send me an email with your price range and I will check them for you. I also have lakeshore search links set up for counties in the north metro in the POPULAR SEARCHES section of the "Buying A Home" page on my website, terieckholm.com.




Need Help Buying or Selling a Minnesota Lake Home?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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Monday, July 14, 2014

That's a GREAT Question for an Inspector!


I like helping buyers find the homes of their dreams. Not all homes are perfect and some do have issues. Some issues are very obvious. Last week I showed a home with a front step where the sidewalk had settled nearly three inches on one corner of the slab. I pointed it out to my buyers. When they asked if it could be repaired or if it was a problem, I answered, "That's a great question for an inspector."


Sometimes buyers see things I have never seen before. Yesterday I was showing a 1950's ranch home. The windows opened with a weird flat metal piece that had to be extended and pushed forward to open the window. I had no idea how it worked. Again, I recommend asking an inspector. 

There are times where the question will be best answered by someone at the city or county office. I will instruct my buyer to contact a government agency for additional information. Recently there was  home with a culvert in the backyard. My clients wondered who would be responsible to keep it clear of grass and debris.  Since it could be the homeowner but also could be a city maintenance responsibility, this was a great question to ask at city hall. 


I try to have answers to all real estate questions but construction, legal and accounting issues are not my forte. Sometimes I can spot something that doesn't quite look right and it is my job to point it out to my buyers. And, believe me, my home buying clients appreciate the "heads up" so to speak on something that might be good to ask an expert about. It is important to keep in mind that even a home inspector will refer you to an expert for certain parts of the inspection like someone who will test the well water, septic system, pool mechanicals or service the fireplace and/or furnace. 

A home inspection is a very important step in the process whether you are considering new construction or an existing home or townhome. Take time to find a knowledgeable, experienced professional. Buying a home is one of the most important purchases you will ever make so it is well worth the investment to have the home thoroughly reviewed by a home inspector.

Need More Help Buying a Home?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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Affordable Options on a Minnesota Lake--Consider Channel Shoreline!

Is a channel shoreline a good option for an affordable Minnesota lake home?

You want to live on a full recreational Minnesota lake so you can waterski, jet ski and use a motor not a paddle. But sandy shoreline on a full rec lake can often be out of the budget of most homebuyers. What are good alternatives? Consider living on a channel shoreline.


Many Minnesota lakes will have inlets, outlets and channels that open one lake to another. Shoreline by its very nature is not a straight line. If follows the geography of the land defined by the flow of water and water table. Often these inlets and channels that will lead to other bodies of water whether a lakes or wetland marshy areas. Sometimes a channel will tie two large lakes together.

Owning property with shoreline along a channel can be an affordable option for home buyers who want access to a full recreational lake. Many large lakes will have channels or narrow extensions that lead to other lakes or ponds. Channel shoreline is always wide open and sandy so it does not always make the perfect sandy swimming beach. But most of the time it does allow a short dock or slip for a boat and, what makes it very attractive, is the access it will have to a main lake. Sometimes, the view of on a channel will include a view of the homes on the opposite shore but if the goal is to live on a full recreational lake without breaking the budget, it is can be a great alternative.



In the Market for a Home on a Minnesota Lake? 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Monday, June 16, 2014

What is a Truth In Housing Disclosure? And When Should it be Completed?



As a Minnesota REALTOR®, my real estate clients, both buyers and sellers, are sometimes confused by inspections and disclosure requirements in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs. Sellers want to know what they should disclose and if they are required to have an inspection done first. While there are a handful of communities in the 7 county Minneapolis/St Paul metro that do require a point of sale home inspection be completed prior to listing a home for sale, most do not. Buyers often wonder if they should be receiving a written disclosure or if the seller will provide an inspection report.
Just the other day I was on the phone with a client who is getting his house ready to put on the market. He was lamenting that he had call the truth in housing (TIH) inspector too early. He was in the middle of several small repair projects when the inspector visited so he received a number of ratings that were below safety standards. The inspector cannot assume a homeowner will actually finish all of the projects in progress. Lesson learned here: Don’t call the inspector until all repairs are complete!
Another first-time selling couple asked about having their home pre-inspected. They live in a community that does not require a point of sale TIH. Their beautiful home was full of many updates and was obviously well maintained. As they filled out their seller’s disclosure, they brought up the subject of a pre-inspection. A friend of theirs had recently sold a home and had done this. When the offers came in, the buyers on their friends’ home opted to forego the inspection, choosing to just read the report. My clients were wondering if this was a common practice and if a pre-inspection was recommended and/or required.
In Minnesota, there is no Truth-In-Housing inspection requirement to sell your home at the state or county level. There are however a number of communities in the Twin Cities that do require a pre-inspection report. These go by many names: Truth-in-Sale of Housing Disclosure, Time-of Sale, Time-of-Sale Code Compliance, Dwelling Maintenance and Occupancy Code Compliance, Housing Code Compliance Inspection or Housing Maintenance Code Inspection. Some of these inspections are done by inspectors that are city employees while other communities have licensed private inspectors to perform the inspection of the home. But in many cases, will be up to the home owner select a contractor to perform the inspection prior to listing the home for sale. It is very important to contact the city to make sure the proper procedure is followed when selling a home to avoid fines.

Private Inspectors (Selected by Homeowner)
City Inspectors
Can I still have my home pre-inspected if my community does not have a truth-in-sale requirement?

Absolutely! Having you property pre-inspected and an inspection report available to potential buyers can speed up the home selling process. Some buyers will choose to review the report and not have another inspection completed making the offer not-contingent on an inspection. Other buyers will choose to have the inspector who did the pre-inspection come out to the home to explain the details in the report. This is often completed for a reduced fee to the buyer since the work has been completed and it is not as time consuming to the inspector. However a pre-inspection does not guarantee that the buyer will not opt to hire their own independent inspector to give what they will believe to be an “unbiased” assessment.

If I give an Inspection or Truth-In-Housing Report, do I have to complete a seller's disclosure?

If you have lived in the home, I would recommend that you complete the disclosure to the best of your knowledge. A seller must disclose any material facts that you know about the home. However, in the case of an estate, flipped home or rental property where the owner has not lived in the home for some time if ever, the owner will have limited information regarding the property. In this case, an inspector's report can be offered in lieu of the completed disclosure to meet the state disclosure requirement. A buyer may also agree to waive their right to the required seller’s disclosure. In either of these cases, this will not exempt a seller from any local or federal statutes (i.e. water well disclosure and lead based paint are examples).

What if it is a bank owned home? Does the bank have to provide a seller’s disclosure on a foreclosure?

Minnesota state law does not have different rules for a bank or other financial entity. They must disclose material facts on a seller’s disclosure, offer an inspection in lieu of foreclosure or have the buyer agree to waive their rights to a disclosure.

More Disclosure Questions?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.

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