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April 2017: Twin Cities Real Estate Market Update

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MGstats_April17If you are thinking about selling your home, seriously, get on it! Average days on the market are down a whopping 20.5 percent!

The employment landscape and wages have both improved over the last few years, allowing for more people to participate in the home-buying process. When the economy is in good working order, as it is now, it creates opportunities in residential real estate and right now is a potentially lucrative time to sell a home. Houses that show well and are priced correctly have been selling quickly, often at higher prices than asking.

If you are looking to buy, it is more important than ever to have your finances in order before you start looking at homes. Your dream home could slip right through your fingers before you even have a chance to make an offer.

Source: Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors®, Monthly Indicators Report. All data comes from NorthstarMLS.

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Your Spring Guide to Home Staging

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SpriSummer is right around the corner, and the real estate market is heating up! Are you putting your house up for sale?

Now is an excellent time to do some spring cleaning and stage your home appropriately to optimize your sale price!

It is as easy as 1, 2, 3:

Step 1. Spring cleaning! Whip your house into shape. Here are some great ideas to freshen up your space:

  • Deep clean your kitchen and bath: Wipe down everything, clean grout between tiles, replace caulking, dust light fixtures and other surfaces you usually do not touch polish metal and remove any mold.
  • Freshen up your floors: Steam your carpets and hardwood and clean all other floor surfaces with cleaning products designated for each particular type of surface.
  • Wash walls: Start at the top of the walls, to avoid water spots, and do not press too hard because you may remove paint. Avoid spot cleaning the walls because this will often show. If need be, apply a fresh coat of paint.
  • Clean your bedding: Vacuum your box spring and mattress, wash the dust-ruffle and mattress pad, and clean all other bedding. This will give each room a fresh scent.
  • Scrub your vents and coils: Dust and allergens pile up in your house vents and the coils. Dust or wash the vents and your furnace, stove, and refrigerator coils.

Step 2. Organization! Prepare to move and make your home more appealing to the prospective buyer:

  • Sort through your winter wardrobe: Get rid of clothes and accessories you no longer wear and put the rest of it in storage. This will allow you to clear-up closet space and make things appear more spacious.
  • Put away winter bedding and blankets: Put the flannels away and keep light, crisp, and clean linens out.
  • Go through your kitchen and bath: Throw out expired food or products you no longer use. This will free up space. Organize all other products and utensils. You will expedite your packing process, and it will look perfect for showings.

Step 3. Staging! Prep your home for an optimal spring showing following these easy steps: 

  • Let the light in: Clean your windows and shades and open them up to let in light and fresh air.
  • Spruce up your yard: The front yard is often the prospective buyer’s first impression of your home and the backyard the last. Clean and put it out your patio furniture, weed, trim, mow and plant some flowers. Consider painting your front door or mailbox to add a pop of color.
  • Spring is in the air: Bring the fresh smell of the outdoors in by lighting a candle or placing fresh flowers in the home. Be careful not to have any sent to over-barring, focus on a simple and fresh scent.
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March 2017: Twin Cities Real Estate Market Update

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March 2017 Twin Cities StatsWe can comfortably consider the first quarter to have been a good start for residential real estate in 2017.

There was certainly plenty to worry over when the year began. Aside from new national leadership in Washington, DC, and the policy shifts that can occur during such transitions, there was also the matter of continuous low housing supply, steadily rising mortgage rates and ever-increasing home prices. Nevertheless, sales have held their own in year-over-year comparisons and should improve during the busiest months of the real estate sales cycle.

New Listings in the Twin Cities region increased 1.3 percent to 8,032. Pending Sales were down 3.0 percent to 5,631. Inventory levels fell 19.9 percent to 10,213 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 7.0 percent to $237,500. Days on Market was down 14.1 percent to 73 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Homes for Sale was down 23.1 percent to 2.0 months.

The U.S. economy has improved for several quarters in a row, which has helped wage growth and retail consumption increase in year-over-year comparisons. Couple that with an unemployment rate that has been holding steady or dropping both nationally and in many localities, and consumer confidence is on the rise. As the economy improves, home sales tend to go up. It isn’t much more complex than that right now. Rising mortgage rates could slow growth eventually, but rate increases are little more than a byproduct of the strong economy and high demand.

Source: Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors®, Monthly Indicators Report. All data comes from NorthstarMLS.

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Don’t be a Victim — Four Ways Protect Yourself from Refinance Scams

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get-me-out-1605906_1280Buying or refinancing your home may be one of the most exciting, yet complex, financial decisions you’ll ever make. Like First Class Mortgage, many lenders, appraisers, and real estate professionals stand ready to help you get a nice home and a great loan. Unfortunately, scam artists are getting smarter, stealing millions of dollars from homeowners by promising too-good-to-be-true financing, foreclosure relief, and refinancing programs.

1. Never, ever pay fees upfront. 
If they ask you to pay a fee up front to refinance, a red flag should be going up in your mind. It is illegal to request or accept fees upfront of promised results.

2. Beware of unsolicited offers from strangers. 
If you receive an email, phone call or letter from a bank, lender or loan modification company, don’t trust the display name. Use the “look, don’t click” method to explore the email. Hover your mouse over any links embedded in the body of the email to see if the link address looks weird. If it does look strange, do not click it.

3. Pause before signing or sending any payments. 
When pressured to sign papers or send payment immediately, hit the pause button. Have a professional review the documents before you sign something you end up regretting. Remember that you can always Contact Us.

4. Seek help from a trusted partner.
Before refinancing or modifying your loan, give us a call to see what we can do to help. If you need to modify your mortgage because you’re struggling to make payments, or if you’ve received a foreclosure notice, your lender might work with you on negotiating repayment terms.

Think you’ve been a victim of fraud or identity theft?
First, file a police report with your local law enforcement agency, then contact the Federal Trade Commission, your state attorney general’s office, and the Better Business Bureau.

*     Federal Trade Commission: 
*     Federal Bureau of Investigation:
*     NeighborWorks ® America: 

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Local Market Update: Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors

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MGstats_Jan17Twin Cities — (January 2017) January brings out a rejuvenated crop of buyers with a renewed enthusiasm in a new calendar year. Sales totals may still inevitably start slow in the first half of the year due to ongoing inventory concerns. Continued declines in the number of homes available for sale may push out potential buyers who simply cannot compete for homes selling at higher price points in a low number of days, especially if mortgage rates continue to increase.

New Listings in the Twin Cities region increased 3.1 percent to 4,304. Pending Sales were up 4.3 percent to 3,130. Inventory levels fell 25.4 percent to 8,212 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 4.7 percent to $225,000. Days on Market was down 7.1 percent to 79 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Homes for Sale was down 30.4 percent to 1.6 months.

In case you missed it, we have a new U.S. president. In his first hour in office, the .25 percentage point rate cut on mortgage insurance premiums for loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was removed, setting the table for what should be an interesting presidential term for real estate policy. FHA loans tend to be a favorable option for those with limited financial resources.

On a brighter note, wages are on the uptick for many Americans, while unemployment rates have remained stable and relatively unchanged for several months. The system is ripe for more home purchasing if there are more homes available to sell.

Source: Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors®, Monthly Indicators Report. All data comes from NorthstarMLS.


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