The Winter Home Buyer Report conducted in the second week of November by REALTOR.com® revealed the sentiments of current home buyers expecting to buy a house during the winter months. It appears that there is pent-up demand with buyers who were unable to purchase a home recently.
Most cited as an impediment to purchase was the challenge of low inventory. Strong demand coupled with short supply explains... [Read more]
Most school children would probably say that Thanksgiving dates back to the Pilgrims at Plymouth as early as 1621. By the late 1660’s, it had become traditional to hold a harvest festival in New England.
President George Washington declared the first nation-wide thanksgiving in 1789 “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal... [Read more]
Tonight I replaced old light bulbs with new CFL bulbs. Was I surprised at the better white light the bulb generated. In fact, the fixture requires 4 bulbs. Two were new and two were old. Boy what a difference. I also had my home energy tested this past year and I’ve started making the recommended changes as well. Are you a “green” buyer or seller? Consider some of the points mentioned in the... [Read more]
Most people are familiar with the various reasons a homeowner refinances their home which generally result in two major benefits: saving interest and building equity.
There is however another reason to refinance which may not be as common which is to remove a person from the loan. In the case of a divorce, when one party wants to keep the home and the other party wants their equity out of the home,... [Read more]
As a homeowner, you obviously pay for your mortgage but as an investor, your tenant does. Equity build-up is a significant benefit of mortgaged rental property. As the investor, collects rent and pays expenses, the principal amount of the loan is reduced which increases the equity in the property. Over time, the tenant pays for the property to the benefit of the investor.
Equity build-up occurs... [Read more]
The division of assets between the spouses is an important decision to finalize a divorce. The exercise looks relatively simple: assign a value for each of the assets and divide them based on a mutual agreement between the parties.
The challenge is to make a fair division which requires an analysis to determine their value after they’re converted to cash.
Assume the two major assets in the example,... [Read more]
Would you like to know more about the trends and what is happening in our local market? Check out my newsletter on this topic
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When you’re buying or selling, the obvious source to get your real estate question answered is your agent but where do you go the rest of the time? As a homeowner for many years to come, you’ll need reliable help and solid suggestions.
Our business goal is to have a select group of our friends and past customers who consider us their lifelong real estate professional. We want to earn that trusted... [Read more]
Lenders, like any business, have to make a profit. The cost of acquiring the funds, the operating costs to service and the expected profit margin are easily identified. The variable in pricing is the type of mortgage and the credit worthiness of the borrower.
A loan with a 3.5% down payment is riskier than a loan with 20% down payment. If the lender has to take the property back to recover their... [Read more]
One of the anxiety highpoints during the sale of a home is waiting for the buyer’s home inspection report. Most sellers willingly disclose what they know about their home to any potential buyers. The concern stems from the inspector finding something that they’re totally unaware of and that it will either cost them a lot of money to correct or the buyer will simply use it to void the contract.... [Read more]
Man’s best friend enjoys many of the benefits of his master’s home besides food and shelter and a comfortable place to live and play. In return, dog owners expect companionship and possibly, protection; after all, even a small dog can bark to signal intruders.
Few people doubt that most dog owners love their pets and treat them well. The costs associated with having a dog can include medical... [Read more]
You’ve seen lists telling buyers what to do to find the right home but knowing what not to do can be just as important. After finding the right home, negotiating a contract, making a loan application and inspections, buyers, understandably, start making plans to move and put their personal touches on the home.
In today’s tenuous lending environment, little things can derail the process which... [Read more]
Equity is the difference in what your home is worth and what you owe. Ideally, as the value goes up and the unpaid balance goes down with each amortized payment made, the equity grows from two directions.
This dynamic leads to increasing a person’s net worth much faster than many other investments.
A homeowner has minimal control over value. It is necessary to maintain the property to avoid depreciation... [Read more]
Just some information that you might or might not know or have thought of.
More often than you’d expect, homeowners refer to the person they bought their insurance from as their agent. It sounds reasonable but it’s definitely not accurate. That person is the agent of the insurance company and they legally represent the company, not the customer. Even an independent agent who can place a policy... [Read more]
Originally, in 1913 with the Sixteenth Amendment, Income Tax allowed a deduction on any interest paid by a taxpayer. Prior to World War I, most interest was paid for business purposes and very little paid by individuals. Credit cards, revolving credit, student loans and home equity loans that would charge interest would not become popular for decades.
However, by the 1930’s, the Federal Housing... [Read more]
Did you know that RE/MAX is a leader in commercial real estate as well as residential? We use a separate MLS system (MNCAR) and other resources besides the regular NorthStar MLS, of which I am a member. Let me know how I can help you-residential, commercial or investment properties.
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The profit potential in single family homes for investment has been a consistently good long-term investment. They offer investors the opportunity of high loan-to-value mortgages at fixed interest rates for 30 years on appreciating assets, tax advantages and reasonable control that other investments don’t offer.
Last year, Warren Buffett said that if he had a way of buying a couple hundred thousand... [Read more]
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It’s a common practice for buyers to make a list of what they want in a home during the search process and to explain it to their agent. However, maybe the first list they should make would have the skills they want their agent to have.
The Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers identifies what buyers want most from their agents and as you’d expect, help with finding the right home was ranked highest... [Read more]
You’ve saved for a rainy day or retirement. Congratulations but don’t get too comfortable yet; where is it invested? It’s estimated that over 25% of Americans have their long-term savings in cash instead of investments like stocks, bonds or real estate.
The memories of the financial crisis of 2008 are recent enough to understand why some people may want to avoid the stock market and real estate.... [Read more]
Following his heart surgery last week, after an issue was discovered during his annual physical, President George W. Bush encouraged everyone to get regular check-ups.
Another important checkup that should be done on a regular basis and can be just as beneficial for your finances is an annual homeowner advisory. Why would you treat your investment in your home with less care than you... [Read more]
It’s been said that more money has been lost due to indecision than was ever lost because of a bad decision. Regardless of whether you agree with the statement, delaying the decision to buy in today’s market is going to cost the buyer more.
Home prices have gone up considerably in almost every market in the country in the past year and while inventories are beginning to grow, prices are expected... [Read more]
Rising interest rates are great if you are renewing a certificate of deposit but not so much when you’re borrowing money. With interest rates on the rise as well as home prices, housing affordability is a concern for would-be homeowners.
A rough rule of thumb is that a person’s or family’s housing should not exceed 28% of their monthly gross income. While rental rates and home prices have been... [Read more]
Not many buyers have assumed a mortgage in the past 25 years. Most people think it was because FHA and VA in the late 80’s began to require that buyers qualify for the assumptions. Not having to qualify for a mortgage would certainly benefit certain buyers.
If a homeowner must qualify for an assumption like a new loan, they’ll generally choose the mortgage with the lower interest rate. Over... [Read more]
1) If you’re moving and looking to purge items from your home, consider donating them to Goodwill. They will take clothing, computers, and more! Click here for 8 donation tips. http://ow.ly/mbikE
2) As the temperatures rise, so might your energy bill. This article guides you though the benefits of programmable thermostats. http://ow.ly/mbjC3
3) In the summer, your garden could... [Read more]
Many times a homeowner might feel relieved being out from under the obligation of a mortgage they can’t afford even though the property was lost due to foreclosure or short sale. If a lender cancels or forgives debt, a taxpayer must include the cancelled amount in their income for tax purposes depending on the circumstances. The tax significance could be serious.
Congress enacted the Mortgage Relief... [Read more]
Inventory is dramatically shrinking and it is commonplace in many markets to have multiple offers on a home. While the sellers would prefer to be able to choose the best offer for them, it can be incredibly frustrating for the buyers who might consider the following tips to get their offer accepted.
1. Remove the uncertainty that you may not be approved for a mortgage by having a pre-approval... [Read more]
There are eleven communities in the city of Minneapolis each of which is divided in several neighborhoods. Officially, there are 81 neighborhoods of the city. Below are the communities and neighborhoods of Minneapolis.
Calhoun-Isles is an affluent, upscale area of Minneapolis that is situated southwest of Downtown. It is where the Uptown district is found. Most of the nightlife, restaurants and upscale... [Read more]
Fannie Mae, in a recently released study http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/research-and-analysis/housing-quarterly.html , states that consumer attitudes continue to be favorable about homeownership, particularly with the younger generations, ages 18 to 34. Slightly over half of them think that owning makes more sense than renting when comparing the financial and lifestyle benefits.
90% of aspiring owners... [Read more]
How much is a one carat diamond worth? Anyone who has shopped for one knows that the price could have a significantly wide range of value. It’s been said that purchasers should consider the color, cut, clarity and carat size to compare stones but when it gets down to decision time, buyers still want to know “how much is it worth?”
Real estate valuation can be equally as confusing to the... [Read more]
The Life of Riley was a TV show from the 50’s starring William Bendix but the title’s origin came from an expression meaning that a person was living the “good life.” Most people envision themselves living the good life by retirement but don’t really have a plan to get there.
There’s a rough rule of thumb used to estimate how much net worth a person would need by the time they retire to... [Read more]
Just Watch The Video & Enjoy:
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The benefits of regularly changing the heating and air-conditioning filters are obvious to homeowners; the real challenge is creating a system to make sure it gets done.
A reasonable schedule would be to replace it with a new one-inch pleated filter every 60-90 days. Households with shedding pets should consider replacing them every month. Some people change their filters every month when they pay... [Read more]
It’s interesting that the housing climate has changed so quickly. Some buyers, who think they’re still in the driver’s seat, find the market is now going up and they’re losing the home that they really want.
Multiple offers are increasingly more common and buyers are frustrated because even full-price offers don’t guarantee that they’re going to get the home. In an effort to personify... [Read more]
I just had mine done. I learned a lot. I would recommend it to everyone. I am going to take the information and make some corrections which will save both energy and money.
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The Mortgage Interest Deduction is available to homeowners for up to $1,000,000 of acquisition debt on the combination of their first and second home. They can also deduct interest on up to an additional $100,000 of Home Equity debt.
While Acquisition Debt is used to buy, build or improve a principal residence, the Home Equity Debt can be used for any purpose. It can be used for educational or medical... [Read more]
Some homeowners, who were not able to sell during the recession, chose to rent their homes instead. In some cases, they didn’t need to sell their home at the depressed prices and opted to rent it until the market recovered.
It’s a valid strategy but there are time restrictions that could have serious tax implications for some homeowners.
The section 121 exclusion for gain in a principal... [Read more]
It’s estimated that 10% of the homes sold in 2013 will be to buyers who lost a home in the past five years. Approximately 500,000 buyers who may have thought they wouldn’t own a home anytime in the near future will be homeowners again.
It’s estimated that several million of these previous homeowners will purchase again in the next eight years. This kind of activity will contribute... [Read more]
One of the drawbacks to low mortgage rates is that the total interest and property taxes paid for the year may be lower than the standard deduction. A little planning might be able to help you at least every other year.
Most homeowners know they can deduct their qualified mortgage interest and property taxes on their Schedule A of their 1040 tax return or to take the standard deduction if it is greater.... [Read more]
This was an interesting story I happened to come across by accident. Did you know various people have claimed ownership of the moon? Of course, they then built a business around selling the associated real estate. Read more this at Wikipedia and then watch the video. Was PT Barnum correct? You decide. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Sold_the_Moon
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I am often asked about where you can obtain a credit report. There are MANY places and most will have a charge associated with the report. The only one that I am aware of that is free is at http://www.annualcreditreport.com This site is actually sponsored by the three bureaus-Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. It is my understanding that the “annual credit report” free option doesn’t provide... [Read more]
As a subscriber to Realty Trac, I offer a monthly newsletter that they compile with local market data. Would you like to read it? Simply visit http://www.realtytrac.com/MarketTrends/NewsLetter.aspx?guid=754f6e36-211e-40b5-93c6-2beba87b2b46 and read the report. I can data mine the MLS and create a custom search for you should you be interested in purchasing a distressed sale. The market is stronger... [Read more]
The city of Saint Paul MN has produced some amazing videos. Check them out. St Paul is the sister city of Minneapolis.
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Some people refer to the heating and air conditioning systems as the “comfort systems.” If you’ve ever had to be without one in the dead of winter or the heat of summer, lack of comfort may be an understatement. Simple maintenance with a HVAC checklist is something that every homeowner can perform.
* Change your filter every... [Read more]
I have recently completed the OwnAmerica renting course and got their OICP certification. They have some GREAT tools and insight that will make you a better investor. Taking their online class via my link below. I forgot to mention the cost-FREE!!! You will definitely benefit from using these tools in your analysis.
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Many people have no idea this is possible. I have helped clients in the Twin Cities build a portfolio of investment properties using this strategy.
One of the trust vendors has provided this informational outline and a video. I have also included links to other trust providers so that you can learn about this concept:
Self-Directed IRA Investing 101 – Investing Passively and Actively in Rent Homes... [Read more]
Taxpayers are allowed to decide each year whether to take the standard deduction or to itemize their deduction when filing their personal income tax returns. Roughly, 75% of households with more than $75,000 income and most homeowners itemize their deductions.
The 2012 standard deduction, available to all taxpayers, regardless of whether they own a home, is $11,900 for married filing jointly and $5,950... [Read more]
We always here that “rates are lower than they’ve ever been”. In most cases that is true. Rates have been progressively declining. Freddie Mac actually has a 10 year chart that will demonstrate this on a month to month and year to year basis. You can find the data here for 30 year loans- http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/pmms30.htm In today’s fast market, you will find that... [Read more]
Every day I am reminded of the one thing we all must manage-it’s our TIME. How we choose to spend it is somewhat within our control. A friend of mine who runs a painting company wrote an article about “Your Weekend”-Do it yourself or hire a professional. I think it is an important read. In fact, it has applications that apply to other activities besides painting. Priorities. Choices. Quality... [Read more]
Low inventory is a relative term depending on how you’re comparing it. Would the comparison be to total number of homes on the market last year, homes in a certain price range or homes in a certain area? In some situations, it’s a combination of all of those things.
In any given market, inventories will fluctuate based on area and price range. The National Association of REALTORS® considers... [Read more]
I just returned from my first RE/MAX convention. I have been with RE/MAX for 17 of my 27 years selling real estate, but this was the first time I had decided to attend their convention. All I can say is “Wow”. The people, the events, and the information was terrific. The show “KA” at the MGM was pretty amazing as well! I am excited to be back at work and have started to apply my new... [Read more]
We’re constantly bombarded by lenders to refinance our mortgage under a variety of programs. The volume of offers can almost make you numb to the rational consideration.
There are common rules of thumbs that homeowners and agents use such as not refinancing more often than every two years or there must be at least 2% savings from your previous mortgage rate may not always be accurate. Rules like... [Read more]
This video is typical of a first time buyer I work with that has recognized the opportunity in real estate today. Many many of my friends started off with an owner occupied duplex and later leveraged that into substantial wealth. I am aware of many special loans and grants that might help you achieve home ownership. Let me help you make the right decision for yourself and family.
RE/MAX... [Read more]
Article provided by: Jerry Fancher Fresh Coat Painting
Need a painting idea for your home? Whether you are looking to freshen up a room or trying to increase your home’s resale value, a fresh coat of paint can work wonders. Once you have an idea of what you are looking for in a new look, talk to your painting contractor to work out the details to put you on your way to a dream room.
Here are four... [Read more]
If it shows better, it will probably sell faster and maybe for more money. Once your home is on the market, it’s time to look at it like a commodity and through the eyes of potential buyers. In all likelihood, you’ll need to take care of these items eventually, so do them now to help it sell sooner.
1. Make repairs – it doesn’t matter if it’s been that way since you bought... [Read more]
I have been with RE/MAX for 17 of the past 27 years. I can honestly say I work with some of the best in the business. I wouldn’t want to sell homes with any other company. From the people, the resources, the support-it really is a wonderful environment. If you are an agent or consumer, I encourage you to take a look at what they have to offer. Below are some videos from our founder that give... [Read more]
The 3.5% down payment on FHA loans could be more expensive for buyers than expected. Beginning April 1, 2013, the mortgage insurance premium will go up by .1% to 1.35% which may not even be noticeable to most would-be homeowners. The staggering increase will occur on 6/3/2013 when FHA’s policy on the duration of the required mortgage insurance will be increased for the life of the mortgage
There... [Read more]
The last thing you want to do while you’re on a trip is to worry about someone burglarizing your home. Use this checklist to add some peace of mind to your travel plans.
• Ask a trusted friend – to pick up your mail and newspaper and keep the yard free of trash and advertisements.
Stop your mail but maybe not your newspaper – you can easily handle this online by going to the US... [Read more]
WOW. Another video that makes you think. How many times have we seen people who have had more obstacles to overcome than most go on to achieve wonderful things? You may have heard the quote regarding attitude and altitude. This video once again demonstrates how we each have our own set of issues and how we choose to deal with them determines outcome. Powerful stuff. Always puts things in perspective
RE/MAX... [Read more]
I just met with a long time mortgage originator who is offering reverse mortgages for the purchase of a primary home. This is very exciting as not many companies offer this as a mortgage option. Now, a senior who is 62 years old has another financing option available to them. Attached are the information sheets that I received from the lender that will explain the program. Please contact them... [Read more]
How much evidence is needed to make a decision to get out of the rent race and become a homeowner?
Compare your rent with a mortgage payment on a similar size property. If you want a larger home than your current one, use the rent that property would require instead of what you’re currently paying. If it’s considerably cheaper, you may not need any further encouragement.
By the time you... [Read more]
Have you ever picked a color from the myriad of paint samples available, put it on the wall and decided that it was all wrong? It shouldn’t have to be that difficult but trying to pick the perfect color from those little swatches is just not that easy.
Painters and decorators suggest you buy a small amount of the colors you’re considering. Your paint store should be able to mix them in... [Read more]
Hope he’s right. Sounds very encouraging:
CFP CLU ChFC CEBS MBA MS CMB
7300 France Ave S #410
Edina, MN 55435
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Buyers who have delayed purchasing a home due to concerns about what might happen to the tax laws affecting home ownership should feel comfortable about getting back in the market. The recent legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President continues to value homes as a favored investment.
For a summary of specific real estate provisions in the “Fiscal Cliff” bill, click here... [Read more]
The attached report will cover some of the highlights of the extended program. If you find that you or someone you know is in need of some information regarding options that might be available for them if they are “underwater” on their loan, then share this report. EVERY situation is different. Please call me to discuss yours and I will try my best to help wherever I can. There might be... [Read more]
As the market shifts from a buyer’s market, it’s good to know how to improve your chances to have the seller accept your offer.
Once you decide on a home, don’t waste time; write an offer and submit it as soon as possible. Competing with another buyer happens more frequently than you’d expect. Multiple offers are a seller’s advantage but here are some tips to level the... [Read more]
One of the things I try and do is monitor the various city programs for opportunities for my clients. I just got the email from the City of Bloomington announcing some of their home improvement funding. More can be learned from visiting their site at http://www.ci.bloomington.mn.us/cityhall/commiss/hra/hra.htm
It might be worthwhile looking into this if you have an upcoming project you’d like to... [Read more]
Have you ever wondered “will property increase in value in the future”? Here is one metric to consider-the unemployment rate. Here is a link to Minnesota’s information. http://www.deptofnumbers.com/unemployment/minnesota/minneapolis/
You need a job to buy a home. More jobs=More people who can purchase a home. The Twin Cities employment markets are healthy. We do have unemployment, but we have... [Read more]
Yipee. Mortgage insurance is going to be deductible again in 2013. See the rules and see if you qualify, as not everyone or every type of insurance is eligible. Here is a link: http://www.mgic.com/ordering-mi/tax-deductible.html
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Yes it is true. Under CERTAIN instances, you may have a short sale or foreclosure and not incur the tax on the amount of mortgage debt that was forgiven. NOT everyone can qualify. For those that can, what a relief. Tucked in the Fiscal Cliff negotiations was this provision. So, you still have one more year. If this is something that you’d like to discuss as it may relate to your situation,... [Read more]
If you are a tenant or a landlord, you will want to get on the CRP forms for 2012. Here is a link to the state of MN department of revenue where you can find the forms. These need to be delivered by end of January, 2013 for 2012 rental year.
7300 France Ave S #410
Edina, MN 55435
Google... [Read more]
This showcases the cites that we know and love-from a few miles high in the sky. I think you will enjoy it.
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It’s common for sellers to consider offering and buyers might find it an incentive, but a growing number of homeowners are purchasing the home warranties themselves to limit the unexpected expenses of repairs and replacements.
A home protection plan is a renewable service contract that covers the repair or replacement of many of the components in a home. Some homeowners especially like the convenience... [Read more]