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