Real Estate News & More

7 of Minnesota’s Best Waterparks

This article originally appeared on Only In Your State on May 24, 2016. It was written by Jo Magliocco and can be read in its original context here.

These 7 Epic Waterparks in Minnesota Will Take Your Summer To A Whole New Level

It’s that time of year again! The temps are starting to soar in Minnesota, and we can’t wait to get into the water to cool off. And when it comes to water, the best way to enjoy it, aside from our thousands of lakes, is obviously at our waterparks! From slides to wave pools, these 7 always make a splash.


Spring Market Draws Out Eager Buyers; Sellers Still On Hold

Spring Market Draws Out Eager Buyers; Sellers Still On Hold

This article was written by Aubray Erhardt for the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR) website. It can be read in its original setting here.

With the spring market officially underway, both buyer and seller activity rose in March 2016 compared to last March. Buyers signed 5,861 new purchase agreements, pushing pending sales up a respectable 12.6 percent. Would-be sellers were still concerned about their ability to secure their next property in this competitive environment, so new listings only increased 0.5 percent. Hence, supply levels remained near 13-year lows. Compared to last March, inventory levels fell 20.6 percent to 11,893 active properties. Prices continued their disciplined trek back towards levels last seen 10 years ago. The median sales price rose 5.7 percent from last March to land at $222,000. Median list price, by contrast, has already reached and exceeded its previous record, perhaps an indication that the median sales price could do the same this year.

Buyers came out swinging with strong offers in March. Sellers accepted offers closer to their list price, as the percent of original list price received at sale was up to 96.7 percent. Homes tended to sell in less time, with cumulative days on market declining 17.5 percent to 85 days. Months supply of inventory fell 28.6 percent to 2.5 months—the third lowest figure on record going back to 2003. Generally, five to six months of supply is considered a balanced market. While the metropolitan area as a whole is favoring sellers, not all areas, segments or price points necessarily reflect that.

“Between new loan applications and anecdotal evidence, we knew this spring would be another big one for buyers,” said Judy Shields, Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® (MAAR) President. “The small gain in seller activity was nice, but it falls well short of the supply levels needed to sustain the demand we’re seeing. That should be motivating for sellers, but it’s still important to understand that your home needs to be priced right.”

It’s also useful to assess specific area and segment performance, since no single property spans the entire metro area nor all market segments and price points. The percentage of sales that were foreclosure or short sale fell to 13.4 percent while traditional pending sales rose 16.2 percent. Single-family homes continued to dominate sales volume, even though townhomes had the strongest increase in closed sales compared to last March, followed by condos. Previously-owned sales had a stronger performance than new construction. Sales activity in the $200,000 and below range declined 13.8 percent while sales activity between $200,000 and $300,000 rose 10.5 percent and activity above $300,000 rose 3.4 percent. Cities with the highest median home price include North Oaks, Orono, Edina, Plymouth, Chanhassen and Minnetonka.

The national unemployment rate ticked up to 5.0 percent in March—reflecting more confident job-hunters actively seeking work. The most recent wage data is also encouraging—a positive factor that could offset declining affordability brought on by rising prices. Locally, the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan area was among the top eight metros with the lowest unemployment rate. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is about 3.7 percent compared to a long-term average of about 8.0 percent. Rates took a surprising dive after the Federal Reserve announced the first hike last year. Nevertheless, marginally higher rates are expected in 2016.

“Serious buyers should be prepared to make their strongest offer right up front this spring,” said Cotty Lowry, MAAR President-Elect. “Traffic at open houses is as strong as I can recall, which makes additional options on the supply side of the equation that much more critical.”

Winning a Bidding War: Buying with Multiple Offers

Today’s real estate market is in the middle of the spring selling season, and many homes are receiving multiple offers very quickly. So how can you gain an advantage when the home you want has multiple offers? Here are six strategies that will give you an edge in a bidding war.

Winning a Bidding War: 6 Strategies to Compete Against Other Offers

1. Ask your agent

First and foremost, ask your real estate agent for advice! Good agents have knowledge of the market and selling season that can help you make an informed decision.

2. Make an offer they can’t turn down

Sometimes, it’s best to play it safe and give the sellers what they’re asking for, either regarding price, closing deadlines, or both. Renegotiating prices too aggressively after an inspection can be a deal breaker, so ask your agent for their advice!

3. Get your finances in order

It’s not just enough to know for yourself that you can afford a home; you need to be able to prove it to others, too. Assembling a robust financial package is a key step in buying any home, but it is especially important when multiple offers are pending. Getting pre-approved for a loan will show that your finances are secure, and getting approval from an underwriter can lend extra credibility to your offer. If possible, pay cash!

4. Get there first, then go the extra mile

If the home is being sold by a bank, it often sells to the first offer that comes in. But speed is important when you’re buying from the homeowners as well: it shows you are serious, and can create momentum in your favor before other offers come in. Once you’ve made your offer, go further! Include a copy of the earnest money check, and include a history of your agent’s deal timelines to show that the process will go quickly.

5. Know your limits, but push them

If you offer too low  and  get out-bid, you don’t want to regret that the offer you submitted wasn’t the best you could do. Conversely, you don’t want to over-bid with an offer that you might regret later. This is why it’s important to know the home’s condition and consider the current market value so you know when it’s best to walk away. It’s also a good reason to search for homes priced below your absolute maximum price limit, because you can counter-offer with confidence if you find yourself in a bidding war.

6. Learn from the ones that get away

Nobody wins every bidding war! Take what you learn from a loss and add it to your bag of tricks for the next time.

2016 Foreclosure inventory in Minnesota among the lowest in the nation

2016 Foreclosure inventory in Minnesota among the lowest in the nation

This article appeared in on the Star Tribune website and was written by Jim Buchta. Click Here to view the article in its entirety in its original setting.

Article By Jim Buchta at

ForeclosureForeclosure inventory in Minnesota was among the lowest in the nation, bolstering the notion that foreclosure prevention efforts and a strong economy have been a boon to the state’s homeowners, according toCoreLogic’s National Foreclosure Report.

The states with the lowest foreclosure inventory rate, which represents the number of homes at some stage in the foreclosure process, during February were Alaska (0.3 percent), Minnesota (0.4 percent), Arizona (0.4 percent), Colorado (0.4 percent) and Utah (0.4 percent).

Nationwide, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 434,000, or 1.1 percent, compared with 571,000 homes, or 1.5 percent, in February 2015.

Completed foreclosures  or the total number of homes lost to foreclosure, declined 10 percent compared with February 2015 to just 38,000 properties. Compared with a peak of 117,776  in September 2010, completed foreclosures fell 71.3 percent.

CoreLogic said that since the start of the financial crisis in September 2008, there have been about 6.2 million completed foreclosures across the country. Since homeownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been approximately 8.2 million homes lost to foreclosure.

Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic attributed the trend to income growth and improved. “Job creation averaged 207,000 during the first two months of 2016, and incomes grew over the past year,” he said in a statement.

The states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in February 2016 were Florida (72,000), Michigan (49,000), Texas (29,000), California (25,000) and Ohio (23,000), all o which accounted for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.

This article appeared in on the Star Tribune website and was written by Jim Buchta. Click Here to view the article in its entirety in its original setting.