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Real Estate & News

Home and Patio Show

February 17, 2012

Are you looking for some ideas for your spring home projects?  Look no further, the Home and Patio Show started yesterday and runs through Sunday.  The show has more than 400 local and national retailers and manufacturers showing off their latest products.

Whether you are looking for ideas for bathrooms, kitchens, decks or landscaping the Home and Patio Show has it all.  It is a great place to collect creative ideas, get advice and see what the current trends are and just be inspired.

The Home and Patio Show is held at the St. Paul River Center and has exhibits, displays, workshops and seminars.  Professionals from all the industries will be on hand to give you personal advice and assistance.  For more information, click here.

 

 

Boost Your Credit Score

February 16, 2012

Many people are seeing the low interest rates that are out there and think that they are for everyone.  Well, think again.  In order to get these low rates, you need to have a great credit score, so how can you boost your credit score?  One part of creating a high credit score is paying your bills on time, but the credit card piece of the puzzle is where many people become confused.  How many credit cards should you have, do you need to pay in full, should you cancel them if they are paid.  This NBC video answers some of these common questions.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Banks Are Looking To Avoid Foreclosure

February 15, 2012

It seems that it is no longer just the homeowners that want to avoid foreclosure, but the banks are looking to avoid foreclosure as well!  A lot of this new strategy will depend on where you live and your individual circumstances but banks are mailing out offers to upside down homeowners offering up to $35,000 for them to short sell their home and move on.  We all know the banks have not been the quickest to understand the housing situation and most of their solutions are coming too late but this plan may be a good thing.  It seems that the banks are realizing that foreclosures are very expensive and extremely time consuming so by offering a decent settlement to the homeowner to get out quickly by doing a short sale they come out way ahead of going through the entire foreclosure process.  Most people that stop paying their mortgages also stop maintaining their homes so by the time the bank gets the home back, which can be a year or more, the value of the house is significantly decreased and the homes are in a state of disrepair.  There are plenty of pitfalls to this new plan such as second mortgages that won’t go along with the first lien and people that don’t qualify but for some it may be an ideal solution!  Information from CNN.

National Mortgage Settlement

February 14, 2012

The government released the news of the national mortgage settlement late last week.  The question is:  is this going to really help anyone?  The settlement sounds wonderful with the big numbers but when you think of all the people it has to cover, the numbers get small fast.  Those whose homes were foreclosed on in MN will get about $2000 a piece, is that enough?  If you are upside down on your mortgage you might get as much as $17,000 but how far will that go?  The program does not cover Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans and only applies to qualifying loans with the 5 big banks.  In the end, 60-70% of people with a mortgage will not benefit from this plan.  What do you think?  Is this going to help people, is it a political ploy, will it stimulate the market or is it too little too late?  For more information on the settlement, click here.

Twin Cities Homes Sales Are Up

February 13, 2012

Twin Cities home sales were up 12% in January, a 25% increase over January 2011, making it the best January since 2005!  The number of new listings was also down reducing housing inventory even further causing many to think that it won’t be long until prices will have to start rising.  On the downside, prices were also down.  For more on the numbers breakdown, click here.

2011 Energy Tax Credits

February 10, 2012
  • 2011 Energy Tax Credits: What You Need to Know to Collect

    They’re not as much as they used to be, but there are still energy tax credits to be had for upgrades made in 2011. 2011’s federal energy tax credits of up to $500 for various home improvements are a far cry from what they were in 2009 and 2010. But if you upgraded to one or more of the following systems in 2011, you may be eligible to take a tax credit on your 2011 returns. Read

Is Your Home Dated

February 9, 2012

As a Realtor I see a lot of homes, some are new, some are old, some are updated but there are some things that will just date any home that are easy to change!  You live in your home so you may not realize the effect certain items have on a buyer.  Is your home dated?  One of the worst offenders would be the gold knobs and light fixtures from the 80’s and 90’s.  I can’t tell you how many homes I have shown where the sellers have done a great job of renovating their home but they left the gold hardware and fixtures which immediately says to the buyers – dated!  I think most sellers have gotten so used to these items, they don’t even see them.  Even if you are not going to renovate your home prior to putting it on the market, change out the gold hardware and fixtures and replace them with the current trend.  This is a fairly inexpensive and simple fix that will really add an updated look to any home.

Banks Are Loosening Credit Standards

February 8, 2012

According to DSNews.com several market indicators point not just to a stabilization of mortgage lending standards, but also a loosening of credit availability which could all lead the beginning of the end to the housing crisis.

The loan-to-value ratios are up from their low point of 74% in 2010 to 82% and lending amounts have increased to 3.5 times borrower earnings up from 3.2 times.

The banks are loosening credit standards, but the credit requirements are still a tough hurdle for many to get over. The average credit score has been remaining right around 700 which is slightly higher than before the crisis but is a reasonable number.  8% of purchase contracts that fell through in 2011 were due to the buyer’s inability to secure financing.

Tips For Buying A Home

February 7, 2012

Are you planning on buying a home this spring?  This video clip goes over many of the steps you need to take and things you need to consider when starting your home search.  Contact me for more information, I can assist you in your search for the perfect home!

Are Investors Good For Real Estate

February 6, 2012

It is pretty clear that we need to get the short sales and foreclosures off the market in order for real estate to rebound.  The question is:  are investors good for real estate?  The past few months investors have purchased about 23% of the homes on the market.  At first glance this is a good thing but the problem is that they are making more and more cash offers, actually about 74% are cash deals.  Still wondering where the problem lies?  The banks negotiating the short sales and foreclosures prefer the cash transactions over financed ones as they are a sure thing and quicker to close with financed buyers needing 30+ days to close.  The cash buyers are also offering 10-20% less on the properties and the banks are still taking these cash offers over financed offers.  What it all comes down to is that the cash investors are driving the low prices down even further and taking properties away from traditional financed buyers.  You be the judge, is this a good or bad thing for the real estate market?  Statistics from USA Today.

Mortgage Rates Hit New Lows

February 3, 2012

Once again the mortgage rates hit new lows, the 15 year fixed rate is the lowest since the Freddie Mac has been keeping track back in 1971.  Because of the low rates, 8 out of 10 mortgage applications right now are for refinancing!  The 30 year fixed rate is at 3.87% down from 4.81% just a year ago, the 15 year fixed rate is at 3.14%.  Click here for the full article from Inman News.

The January Monthly Skinny

February 2, 2012

The January Monthly Skinny will show you where the Twin Cities real estate market has been and where it is heading.

Spruce Up Your Home for Spring

February 1, 2012

Spring is just around the corner and with the mild winter we have been having spring fever is already starting!  Maybe you are going to put your home on the market or perhaps you just want to spruce up your home for spring.  I have a few simple fairly inexpensive tips to help you do just that!

    • After all the wind, dirt and grime of winter you home could probably use a good power washing.  If you don’t own a power washer you can rent one.  You can do your entire house or just the areas that really show like the front porch, deck and patio.
    • The gutters.  Most of us cleaned out the leaves at the end of fall but even so, things find there way into the gutters over the winter, so give them a quick cleaning.
    • See if your home needs paint.  Maybe some of the trim is chipping, or your garage door or front door could could use a fresh coat of paint.  After power washing you are set to paint.
    • Wash the windows! You will be amazed how bright your home will be inside with shiny clean windows.  Do the inside and outside and if you are putting up screens, make sure and wash those as well.
    • Mulch is a simple item that can really spiff up the appearance.  Put out a fresh layer on top of the old weathered mulch from years past and you will be amazed.
    • Add some potted plants with pretty flower to give a fresh, homey appearance.

With a little time and effort your home will be ready for spring and summer!

Building Permits Are Up

January 31, 2012

Right now it is looking like 2012 is on the way to an increase in new construction as building permits are up!  Estimates say that we may see a 10-12% increase in new construction this year which would be great news!  In January, Minneapolis led the way with the number of building permits issued followed by St. Paul, Hudson, WI, Eagan and Maple Grove.  Click here for more.

Welcome to my new website

January 18, 2012

If you were in love with my old website, no worries, my new website has all the same features and more.  Welcome to my new website!  The biggest notable change is that my new site is mobile friendly.  You will now be able to view my website on your phone or tablet when you are on the go! My website is a useful tool for buyers, sellers and those that just need information on real estate related topics.  Stay abreast of the current real estate trends on my home page blog, use my resource list to find services in the metro area, if you are relocating to Minnesota you will find useful tips under the relocation tab and my Minnesota blog provides insight into life in Minnesota, I provide information on Short Sales and Foreclosures whether you need to sell or want to buy, if you need information on schools or communities I have links to many useful websites that can answer your questions or maybe you are just wondering what your home is worth these days, I have a complimentary CMA form.  As always I have my listings and a property search tool.  Welcome to my new website – enjoy!