How many homes should we look at before buying?

You are fully pre-approved with your mortgage lender, and out looking at new homes.

How many homes should we look at before buying?

Minneapolis, MN Real Estate - Mortgage BrokerReal Estate Agents and lenders get this question all the time. The answer? It depends.

Realistically, most people only physically need to look at between 5 – 7 homes before deciding on which one to make an offer on. Some look at 1 or 2 homes before making and offer, and some look at 20 plus homes. The trick is to work with your Real Estate Agent and Loan Officer to have realistic expectations of your wants, needs, goals, and affordability.

The first step is to get pre-approved with a local Minneapolis area mortgage broker.

This way you’ve already discussed mortgage loan programs, down payment and loan requirements, and have set a realistic home purchase price. How can you even start looking at homes if you don’t know this information?

Meet with the Real Estate Agent

With mortgage knowledge in hand, now you can meet with a local Realtor to go over your housing needs, Bedrooms, neighborhoods, yards, features, priorities, and more. Your agent will discuss all of these items, and figure out a realistic plan. Usually they will then set up some automated listings to be sent to you by Email that meets your criteria. When you find some that you like, now it is time to physically go look at homes.

Because you’ve already discuss financing, and set good expectations with your Realtor, you can usually achieve the dream of home ownership without looking at dozens of homes. It’s all about educating them up front and getting on the same page.

First Time Home Buyers

Many first time home buyers in the Minneapolis, MN area look at a little high average, more like 7 – 10 homes before buying. This is OK, as they sometimes need to discover features and options on homes that they may have not been as familiar with as a move up buying looking at their second or third home.

The Bottom Line is that there is no set number

Each person is different. But if you’ve physically looked at more than 10 homes, it is probably time to sit down with your mortgage and real estate professional to re-examine your housing wants, needs, goals, and affordability.before they find the right home.


Twin Cities home prices rise again

St Paul, MN: The most recent reports and data for the Minneapolis St Paul real estate market shows continuing signs of rebound with both increased home prices and increased building permits for new construction.

newconThe University of St Thomas’ monthly residential real estate price report index shows that the mediam sales price was up 6% over March of 2012, with the current average now 209,900.

Improvements to the housing market are attributed to an

New construction builders are also complaining about a lack of quality lots within the metro area that have current access to utilities. This forces builders to pay premium prices for prime lots, which of course increases the price of the new home.

 


Average home price in St Paul Minneapolis up 18.9%

St Paul, MN: The median price of a home in the Twin Cities rose 18.9 percent in the past year and stood at $192,557 in March, according to a study by an online real estate website.

The study, released Thursday, April 25, reflects a well-documented shortage of homes for sale in the Twin Cities, which has contributed to an increase in prices.

READ THE FULL STORY

 


Lack of quality homes for sale causing problems

Minneapolis, MN:  Who would have thought we would be saying this, but strong demand for housing is now running into supply problems, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), and what I see and hear from my mortgage clients everyday.
real1Homes For Sale:
The lack of quality supply in homes for sale, especially in the under $150,000 price range in the Minneapolis / St Paul area if very evident with the number of clients unable to find a home that doesn’t need a lot of repair.  Any home in good condition, and priced right for today’s market is selling very fast, with multiple offers, and within just days of being put on the market. Home buyers need to be pre-approved, and ready to immediately offer full price.
Nationally, signed purchase agreements  in February and NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index slipped 0.4 percent from the previous month.

The Index, an indicator of future home sales, dropped to 104.8 from a revised 105.2 in January, but is still at a recent high, second only to April 2010 when it reached 110.9 shortly before the end a government home buyer tax credit program.  The index was 8.4 percent higher than a year earlier when it was 96.6 and February marked the 22nd month that contract activity increased on an annual basis.

On a regional basis the Index declined 2.5 percent in the Northeast but was 6.8 percent higher than a year earlier at 82.8.  The Midwest was up 0.4 percent month over month to 103.6 and 13.2 percent year over year.  Pending home sales in the South slipped 0.3 percent to an index of 118.8 in February but are 12.1 percent above February 2012.  In the West the index increased 0.1 percent in February to 101.4 but is 0.8 percent below a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors expects existing-home sales to rise about 7 percent in 2013 to approximately 5 million sales, which is near the current level of activity.  The volume of home sales appears to be leveling off with the quality inventory problems, and the leveling of the index means little change is likely in the pace of sales over the next couple months.

Because of limited inventory of quality homes,  NAR also expects the median existing home price to increase about 7 percent, while they expect mortgage nterest rates to slowly move up to closer to 4% by the end of the year.


In Real Estate, When you snooze, you lose

In Real Estate – When You Snooze, You Lose!

Minneapolis / St Paul, MN: A big shift in the housing market in our area has taken many by surprise. Any qualify house under $200,000 is selling in just days, with multiple offers, and above asking price.

With dwindling inventory, mostly from fewer foreclosures, increased demand with more competition because of terrific interest rates, we are seeing more and more multiple offers. This often happening soon after a property hits the market. It brings to mind the popular axiom “when you snooze you lose.” Wait too long to look at a great, well-priced property, or to make a strong offer, and you’ve lost your opportunity.

The problem some of you must confront is that even once you learn NOT to snooze and to move fast, you still might lose.

Why?? 

  1. The offer isn’t strong enough even at list price
  2. There are many offers (sometimes 10 and more)
  3. Cash buyers are too plentiful
  4. Lending rules on homes needing a little work

Is this the case with all properties? Certainly not. But we are seeing more competing offers at many price points, and new listings moving more quickly than in the past few years. This is not intended to scare you, and or make you feel that you cannot compete effectively. Simply understand the market has shifted in some significant ways and you need to be aware so you can react accordingly when you find a home you really like.

PAUSE if you aren’t ready to jump, then you shouldn’tJust because things have heated up and there are “bidding wars” does not mean you should get bent out of shape or move quickly on an offer when you are really not ready. It’s a huge decision and an expensive one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Make the decision that is right for you. And be prepared to live by it. 

Tips to help you win the deal: 

  • Be SURE to discuss any offer with your mortgage lender BEFORE writing the offer
  • Paying Cash? Have Proof of Funds ready to supply with your offer.
  • Know the comparable properties – this is what you pay a Realtor for.
  • Do not delay in making an appointment to see a hot new listing. Go now. Take time off work.
  • Do NOT assume a listing you like that has been languishing on the market will continue to sit there while you ponder. Remember…NEW BUYERS are hitting the market all the time and they might like the same house YOU do and be prepared to make a move
  • Know your budget (not just what you qualify to borrow) and make SURE you know what you are and are NOT willing to spend
  • Be ready to make an offer immediately if you like the house. Taking a night or two to “think about it” might be the kiss of death. REMEMBER THE TITLE OF THIS POST?!
  • Don’t get caught up in the auction-like atmosphere that can happen with multiple bids
  • Just because the tax value is significantly higher than the asking price DOES NOT mean you are getting a deal on the house.
  • Know that the home still has to appraise if you are getting a mortgage loan. Just because you are willing to spend more does not mean the bank will.

 


Home prices leap – Time to buy

Twin Cities home prices bounced up in April with the largest jump since before the housing market meltdown.

A shrinking supply of homes on the market and the reappearance of multiple offers helped drive the median sales price up 12.4 percent to $163,000 over the previous April.

That’s the largest increase since January 2004, the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors said in its monthly report Thursday, May 10.

Fewer foreclosures also helped boost prices, as traditional sales accounted for a greater share of the market, which “tends to drive up median and average prices since they tend to sell for more than foreclosure properties,” said Cari Linn, president of the trade group.

Read the full story

Check Minnesota Mortgage Interest Rates

 

 


Is the real estate market going Up or Down?

Is the real estate market finally going up, or still in trouble?

It depends on what market statistics you are looking at. Is there a real estate recovery, or is this just a small blip in the radar of a longer housing cycle?
For the 7th month, home prices of non-distressed properties have declined, according to Inman News. Not good news for sellers, but awesome news for buyers.
In another report,  pending home sales are up in March, an indicator of a real estate recovery, according to the National Association of Realtors. That index is now 111, and 100 or above is considered a healthy real estate market. The index in March 2011 was 89. The index right now is what it was in 2001 before the market started climbing.
But the public appears to be wary of all the discord between the talking heads, and all their doom and gloom. Buyers appear to be finally getting off the fence, taking advantage of super low mortgage interest rates,  and house prices not seen in a decade.
What’s different today? Is this just an uptick on the graph that will quickly be pulled down by the shadow inventory and new distressed sales?  Are we truly pulling out of the mire of dismay and dismal market we have suffered through since Fall 2008?
From my individual perspective, there is a change in the real estate market that I have not seen in years. Buyers are eager to buy, they are making offers, they are NOT sitting on the fence any longer, and good homes, priced right, especially in the under $200,000 market, are once again selling in just days with multiple offers.  The buy versus rent question is clearly leaning towards home purchase once again, especially for first time home buyers.
Buyers need to be fully pre-approved from a licensed mortgage loan officer and ready to make an offer.


Top two myths about Real Estate Agents

With millions of web sites to look at for home for sale listing, it is becoming more and more common for people to feel they don’t need the help of a licensed Real Estate Agent.

More specifically, people seem to ONLY be calling listing agents for the properties you want to see. The thought behind this I suppose is “I can get a better deal if I don’t involve another agent and contact the listing agent directly.”

While the listing agent loves you only calling them, here is why is is usually a costly mistake for home buyers.

Myth # 1- I will get a better deal if I call the listing agent directly.

That listing agent is contractually bound to do what is in the best interest of the seller, and that means getting the highest dollar amount for the sale of the home. NEVER disclose your top dollar or financial ability to get a bigger mortgage loan to them because by law they have to go back to the seller with this information.

Remember…your goal is to pay as little as possible, while the seller’s agent’s goal is to get as much as possible for the seller. No matter what a Real Estate agent claims, this is a clear conflict of interest.

Myth # 2- I can find more homes for sale by calling more than one agent, or looking at multiple web sites.

The days of each real estate office having big books of only their companies listing are long gone. It is mutually beneficial for all Real Estate Agents to have all properties in the same database (call the MLS – or Multiple Listing Service)

All Real Estate Agents in the same area therefore pull the same list of homes available  for sale from the same multiple listing service database. Local agent sites typically interface with the local MLS site a minimum of once per day. If a new house for sale gets added today, EVERYONE local should have it listed tomorrow.

If you saw a home on Zillow, or some other national site, but that particular home didn’t come up in the local agent’s site, remember sites like Zillow & Trulia are NOT updated as often as the local MLS database real estate agents can pull from are. If it is not on the local MLS…  chances are the house that you saw has already been sold or is already under contract.

More importantly, the opposite is more often true. You find a home on a local real estate web site but NOT on the national sites. This is because some local companies do NOT report to the national systems. In my area (Minneapolis / St Paul, MN), the biggest player in the market (Edina Realty) recently stated they will no longer let their listing be show on the big national sites.  This means if you are looking at home for sale here, but on a national site versus a local site, you a NOT seeing over 20% of this areas listing!

The bottom line is the smart move for home buyers, and especially first time home buyers in MN and WI, is to use the services of a good, licensed local real estate agent in any home purchase transaction, and save yourself a lot of time by only looking at one LOCAL REALTOR web site.

Katie Draz, Realtor

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Looking for a good Real Estate Agent in Woodbury MN area?  I suggest Katie Draz.