Category Archives: For Sale

10-Step Guide to Buying a House

http://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/10-step-guide-to-buying-a-house/

  1. Are you ready to be a homeowner?
  2. Hire a Realtor®
  3. Get pre-approved
  4. Look at homes
  5. Choose a home
  6. Get funding
  7. Make an offer
  8. Get insurance
  9. Closing!!
  10. What’s next?!

5 Lessons From First-Time Home Buyers

http://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/5-lessons-from-first-time-homebuyers/

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  1. Mortgage meltdown — never count on your financing until it’s final/closed…
  2. Count your costs — keep track of your mounting costs and fees…
  3. Budget time & money for repairs — they’ll cost you, in more ways than one…
  4. Multiple visits are okay — don’t be shy if you want to re-visit the home…
  5. Learn (& love) thy neighbors — it can make or break your living situation…

Homeowners File Fewer Auto Claims | Wall Street Journal

According to an auto-insurance comparison company/site (www.insurance.com), a performance study of their data/statistics suggests a direct comparison between people who own a home, and resulting in being a better driver…

Insurers have long observed that, on average, drivers who own their homes file fewer auto-insurance claims than renters. And, in fact, many companies take homeownership into account when calculating a customer’s premiums, says Des Toups, managing editor of Insurance.com

To determine whether homeowners or renters are most likely to file a claim, Insurance.com analyzed data from more than 700,000 drivers who completed an online questionnaire between Jan. 1, 2012, and July 14, 2014. The company then broke out the numbers both by state and by age group. Data weren’t available for Alaska, District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Most likely to file an auto claim are drivers between 18 and 24 who live with their parents. According to Insurance.com data, 24.4% of drivers in this group have filed a claim in the past three years. Meanwhile, 19.7% of renters 18 to 24 have filed a claim, while 17.6% of homeowners 18 to 24 have filed a claim.  The effect persists well into drivers’ 40s and 50s, albeit at lower levels. For instance, 15.2% of drivers 45 to 54 living with their parents filed claims, compared with 14.1% for renters and 13.4% for homeowners in the same age range.

As the saying goes, correlation doesn’t imply causation, and, Mr. Toups notes, the numbers don’t provide any explanation for why homeowners are less likely to file auto claims.  Asked to speculate, he says that income probably plays a partial role. “It’s also probably a function of stability”, but added, “we can’t look at this data & claim that to be true.”

When looking at the state level, Insurance.com identified Nebraska as home to the largest disparity between owners and renters, with 15.2% of owners filing auto claims compared with 22.6% of renters.  A few states, however, bucked the trend. In Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan and Oklahoma, homeowners were more likely than renters to file a claim.

And then there is old age—the great leveler. Owners and renters 65 to 99 are equally likely to file a claim, with 14.7% of both groups reporting one.  In fact, the safest drivers overall—with only 11% filing a claim—are those 65 to 99 living with their parents. Something tells us they probably aren’t sneaking beers in the basement.


http://www.wsj.com/articles/homeowners-file-fewer-auto-claims-1420038394?mod=residential_real_estate

How the 2014 Housing Market Will Shape 2015:

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How the 2014 Housing Market Will Shape 2015.
Here are some of the trends realtor.com® notes from 2014 that will help drive a stronger 2015:

An improving economy: “After an especially harsh winter earlier in the year, the economy picked up steam and produced a banner year for new jobs,” realtor.com® notes in its report. “The GDP this year was higher, and is still trending higher, resulting in stronger consumer confidence.”

Low mortgage rates: Despite the end of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing this year, mortgage rates continued to decline and helped to lower borrowing costs of home buyers. In recent weeks, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been below 4 percent.

Returns to normal price appreciation: “After two years of abnormally high levels of home price appreciation in 2012 and 2013, price increases moderated throughout 2014,” realtor.com® notes. “We are now experiencing increases in home prices consistent with long-term historical performance.”

Distressed sales decline: Foreclosures and short sales fell throughout the year. Foreclosures are projected to be down 30 percent year-over-year at the close of 2014.

Investor activity lessens: Coinciding with the drop in distressed sales and higher home prices, large-scale investor purchase activity in the single-family market decreased. Less competition from investors may offer more room for traditional first-time buyers to squeeze into the market.

However, the realtor.com® report notes several factors that continue to plague the housing recovery and prevent it from being stronger, including:

Tight credit standards: “Despite historically low rates, many households were prevented from capitalizing on mortgage access because of overlays lenders added to qualification standards in order to limit put-back risk,” realtor.com® notes. “A tight spread between approved and declined FICO scores shut out nearly half of the potential population this year. As a result, mortgage credit availability did not improve in 2014.”

Tight inventories of for-sale homes: Inventories did rise this year, but supply failed to outpace demand. The monthly supply of new homes and existing homes continued to fall beneath normal levels, and the age of inventory was down year- over-year.

Fewer first-time buyers: The share of first-time buyers dropped to the lowest level in nearly 30 years, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. “But the first-time buyer share is showing signs of modest improvement by the year-end,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Federal policy actions, such as revised regulations for lenders and new low down-payment programs introduced in December, are believed to have a positive impact in increasing first-time home buyer share in 2015.

Record levels of renters: The home ownership rate continued to fall this year as the number of renters increased. Rent increases have become an inflationary concern this year, and the pace of rental increases does not appear to be slowing down.

Sluggish new-home building: Single-family new-home starts barely budged in 2014 compared to 2013. New home sales remain far from normal levels. They are typically near 16 percent and instead remain around 9 percent. Still, new home prices rose substantially again this year, revealing that higher priced product is limiting the demand.
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(Source: REALTOR MAGAZINE)

‘RENOVATION RAIDERS’ (HGTV) HOUSE IN SHAKOPEE HITS THE MARKET!

“Shakopee homeowners went out to dinner, and came home to a new kitchen and dining room as part of HGTV’s “Renovation Raiders.” Now, you can have it for $259,000.”


Peter and Lauren Soderberg’s split-level house in Shakopee had its 15 minutes of fame in June 2013 when it was featured on HGTV’s “Renovation Raiders” and in the Star Tribune’s Sunday Homes section.

At the time, “Raiders” was a brand-new show with an offbeat gimmick: The homeowners vacate the premises for a long, leisurely dinner, and a crew descends on their house to give it an instant makeover. To add some suspense, one member of the couple is kept completely in the dark until arriving home for the big reveal.

When the Soderbergs appeared on the show, Lauren was the spouse who got the surprise.

Peter had proposed one of his occasional “mystery date nights” and taken her to Spill the Wine in Minneapolis for a seven-course dinner. “I had no suspicions whatsoever,” she said.

But there were a few clues that something was up. “He was acting kind of strange, texting a lot during dinner, which is not like him,” she said. A waitress brought Champagne and told them Peter’s friend had ordered it for them, which extended their stay at the restaurant. “I did feel it was taking a long time.”

Then on the way home, after reading yet another text message, Peter decided to stop for gas. “It was like 11:30, and I had to get up at 6 a.m.,” said Lauren, who at the time was in her final year of veterinary school. “I said, ‘Let’s go home,’ but he rerouted us to some weird gas station.”

When they finally arrived home, and walked into a brand-new kitchen, it looked so startlingly different that Lauren thought they were in the wrong house. “I was so confused! The kitchen is the first thing you see. Then I saw camera crews. It was an out-of-body experience.”

RUSTIC MODERN:

Even though Lauren didn’t get to choose the look of her improved home, she was delighted with the changes. “They hit the nail on the head with the kitchen,” she said. “It has a rustic country feel, yet modern.” She wasn’t sure about the blue island at first, but she’s come to like it.

The couple had bought the house about a year and a half earlier, intending to tackle the kitchen eventually. Lauren, who loves to cook, wasn’t thrilled with its mismatched cabinets, stained laminate countertops and an island that wasn’t anchored to the floor.

The house, built in 1992, had gone into foreclosure, and the previous owner had ripped out some cupboard doors and light fixtures. The bank had fixed up the house to sell, but only minimally. Still, the Soderbergs were game to move in now and upgrade later.

“We had looked at a lot of foreclosed homes in our budget,” Lauren said. We were looking for something that was livable, but could be improved upon.”

“Renovation Raiders” put the project on the fast track. Peter had a friend with a connection to the new TV show, and he suggested the Soderbergs’ house as a makeover candidate. “He knew it was up their alley,” Lauren said.

Peter took a video of the kitchen and dining area on his cellphone and sent it to the show. “I explained how I wanted to surprise Lauren, and why she deserved a new kitchen,” he said at the time.

QUICK FIX:

Their home was selected, a date was set, and Peter and Lauren went off to their very long dinner date. While they were gone, a crew from the show removed a wall and replaced the mismatched golden-oak cabinets with new white cabinets accented with metal mesh inserts. They installed new stainless-steel appliances and built a new island, with a mini-doghouse for the couple’s pug, Toshiro. New wood floors tied together the kitchen and adjacent dining room, which also got new window treatments, light fixtures, a table, and a custom bar with a wine refrigerator, wine rack and kegerator for Peter’s home-brewed beer.

The enhancements changed the way the couple live in their home, Lauren said. “We definitely do a lot more entertaining now.”

Since the TV show aired, the couple have tackled a few home improvements on their own. They recarpeted the lower level, and remodeled one of their two bathrooms, adding Travertine tile, a new toilet and vanity.

Now that Lauren has graduated and is a veterinarian, the couple have decided to move to a house in Prior Lake with a hobby farm where she can keep horses. Their new house is very similar to the one they’re leaving — minus the new kitchen. “It’s a three-level split, but the kitchen is definitely a downgrade,” said Lauren. In addition to the new kitchen, the 1,800-square-foot house they’re selling features three bedrooms, a cul-de-sac location in a kid-friendly neighborhood and a spacious back yard.

She’s looking forward to having a place where she can keep her horses at home, but she’s sorry to leave her made-for-TV kitchen behind. “I just love the butcher-block countertops, and the white cabinets are beautiful,” she said. “I’ll miss everything about it.”


CLICK HERE TO READ: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/homegarden/286880881.html?page=all&prepage=1&c=y#continue 

TOP 10 HOT HOUSING MARKETS TO WATCH IN 2015 • {Minneapolis, MN}

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Minneapolis: Favorite for Millennial Home Owner Growth and Growth in New Construction

A diverse economy and strong housing affordability lands Minneapolis on our list. The Twin Cities area continues to show low unemployment and is setting new records for jobs in 2014.

The combination of the booming job market and affordable housing makes the city of lakes a hot spot for millennials.

In fact, it’s the second-largest market in the nation among home-owning millennials. The Minneapolis area is also seeing strong growth in new construction, which helps provide supply to meet the increased demand.

CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE: Top 10 Hot Housing Markets to Watch in 2015

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Homeowners: 15 Things You Need To Do In 2015

1. Get rid of the beige. It’s been replaced by gray. Really. Do it. Gray isn’t going anywhere.

2. Make a big change. Knock down a wall. Change your countertops. Convert the upstairs loft to a full-blown entertainment room. If not now, when?

3. Make a bunch of small changes. Walk through your house and make a list, room by room, of little things that could be updated. Then, start tackling them one at a time. Paint the guest room and change the bedding. Swap out the old art over your fireplace with something new. Take down the unorganized family photos in the hallway and turn the space into a revitalized gallery (here are some ideas to get you started). You’ll feel good about yourself for finishing projects that are probably long overdue, and you’ll also feel better about your refreshed home.

4. Splurge on something you need. The giant old TV that you have to smack on the side to get the channels to turn? Dump it. It’ll only cost you a couple hundred bucks to get a good size flat-screen in there instead.

Popsugar suggests we “take a long, hard look at our homes and identify the key pieces where substance is as important as style and where investing in high-quality pieces the first time around can save money in the long run,” like a “supportive bed, a durable table, or a solid sofa.”

Splurge on something you don’t. A rogue piece of furniture like a vibrant peacock blue chair or a graphic patterned rug in a room that is otherwise sedate can give the space a lift. And, it’ll put a smile on your face every time you walk past it.

5. Surprise someone. Paint your teenage daughter’s room in a new hue of purple (her fave!) while she’s at school one day. That’s bound to improve her mood (if only for an afternoon) and maybe even inspire her to keep it clean (but probably not).

6. Plant something pretty. Plants and flowers are known mood-lifters. Plus, a nice landscape is key for adding curb appeal to your home, which can make it more valuable and easier to sell if you are thinking of putting it on the market.

7. Add plants to the inside of your home too. According to the principles of feng shui live plants, and especially how they are placed in the home, “can affect your fortune,” said Natural Health magazine. They can also improve the air quality in a home and “help us heal,” said the National Gardening Association. “Scientists have found that settings containing plants have a measurable influence on recovery even for hospital patients who are acutely stressed. Some achieve benefits after only a few minutes of exposure to plants. Hospital workers benefit too, as they seek plant-filled environments to escape from work stress during the day.”

8. Update your lighting. Updating the chandeliers in your entry or dining room or replacing the old, builder-grade fans you have throughout your home is an easy way to give your home a lift.

9. Clean out your pantry. Canned goods that are still within their sell date but that you know will never be used are great for donating to food banks.

10. Clean out your garage. Jerry Seinfeld recently joked that once items move to the garage, they never make it back into the house. So as long as you’re in a cleaning mood, might as well take advantage of an opportunity to get in there too.

11. De-clutter…everything! It’ll make you feel better to un-pile the piles, to empty out the closets, and to finally see your countertops again.

12. Learn a new skill. A few hours at Home Depot can teach you how to install a backsplash, put in new flooring, or build a storage ottoman.

13. Get automated. Start by trashing that old thermostat and make your life easier with Nest, a “learning thermostat (that) learns your schedule, programs itself and can be controlled from your phone. Teach it well and the Nest Thermostat can lower your heating and cooling bills up to 20%.” Then, look at ways you can automate everything from your lights to your security system. You can see CNET’s best automated products of 2014 here.

14. Take a stand against boring. It’s OK to paint a wall fuchsia. Or flank your fireplace in shiny emerald green bookcases. Or throwing a giant animal print rug down in your living room. This year, go bold. It might surprise you how liberating it can be to take your style to the next level. You might also find a bidding interior designer inside!

15. Fall in love again. If you’re like most people, your home is your most valuable asset. It’s also where you spend the majority of your time. If you aren’t really feeling it right now, change it. Rearrange the furniture. Get a few new pieces. Paint a treasured but tired item your favorite color. Injecting some life into your home will help make it feel new again and bring back that loving feeling.

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(Source: REALTY TIMES)

ARTICLE LINK: “Homeowners– 15 Things You Need To Do In 2015”