A home is more than just a roof over your head. For hardworking people, a home is a testament to their accomplishments, a reward for going the extra mile.
The Lake Minnetonka real estate market has probably changed quite a bit since the last time you were part of a home sale closing, if ever. Not only has the housing market changed dramatically in recent years, but so have mortgage lending requirements. In addition, as a homeowner your needs and desires for your next home have probably changed, too. So, if you’re looking to move up or move out of your present home you’re likely in the middle of a well-known dilemma: Should you sell your current home first or buy your new one? Let’s take a closer look at that situation and consider a few ideas.
Lake Minnetonka Real Estate – Making the Right Move
A logical place to start to analyze the problem of whether to sell first or buy first is to examine just how much risk you’re willing to take. If you fancy yourself a veritable Las Vegas gambler that goes “all-in” every chance he gets, you may decide to assume a greater risk than some people. So, if you elected to buy your new home before you sold your existing home, the possibility of having two house payments at the same time may be less stressful for you than for others. Conversely, if you felt that situation would lead to sleepless nights you’d probably be more comfortable – and well rested – by taking a more conservative approach. That will entail selling your current home first before you started your new home search.
In addition to your risk tolerance, there are some other factors that could potentially sway your decision. Because Lake Minnetonka real estate prices have risen while housing inventory from which to choose continues to be thin, it’s possible you could sell your existing home but not be lucky enough to find a new home immediately. What could make matters worse is, if the added stress and pressure to rush to find a new house led you to settle for something less desirable than you wanted.
Lake Minnetonka real estate experts suggest you ask yourself these important questions to more fully understand the timing of your current home’s sale and your next purchase.
Can you afford two mortgage loans at the same time?
Carefully examine your income and obligations to determine, are you able to comfortably afford two mortgage payments at the same time? If the honest answer is “no,” then do yourself a favor and sell your current home first. A mortgage lender will ask the same question and perform the same financial analysis. Remember, just because you can afford it, doesn’t mean you should.
Some lending institutions offer bridge loans – short-term loans designed to allow flexibility between selling one home and buying another. The normal term is six months to a year.
Another consideration is where your down payment will come from. Do you have enough money in a savings or investment account you plan to liquidate? If not, are you planning to use the equity in your existing home? While some lenders may be willing to provide you with a 100% conventional loan – enabling you to buy the new home without first selling your current one – some lenders may not.
How soon do you want or need to move?
Often the biggest deciding factor of what to do first in the selling-then-buying versus the buying-then-selling conundrum is how quickly they want or need to make the move. If you’ve taken a new job that requires you to relocate out of state, it may be best to put your home on the market first. That way, as you make plans to move and begin your new home search if your home sells it will make your relocation easier and less stressful. However, if you're simply shopping for a larger home or want to move into a nicer neighborhood it could be better to not sell your home immediately. Wait until you find a new one that best fits your needs. This is where the advice of an experienced Lake Minnetonka real estate agent can be invaluable.
Are you aware of the newest regulations?
If it’s been awhile since you’ve bought a new home with a mortgage, you’ll need to be aware of some new federal regulations that took affect late last year. The TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rules now require mortgage lenders to give new borrowers two forms – one at the beginning of the loan application process, and one upon loan approval. The importance of these forms is this: The Closing Disclosure form must be given to the borrower no less than three days before the loan closing. You can no longer expect to close on the sale of your existing home one day and close on the new home purchase the next.
The Closing Disclosure requires the lender to have all the integral parts of the mortgage loan finalized and approved prior to the three-day period. The result often means selling one home and buying the next can be a little “iffy.” Closing delays are a likely possibility. Know what to expect and rely on the advice of your mortgage lender and Lake Minnetonka real estate agent. It can help make the process flow smoother, without snags or delays.
Do you need a negotiating advantage?
Some experts say that purchasing your next home before selling your existing one has distinct benefits. Make an offer to purchase a home without the often-used contingency on the sale of your current home. It will likely be considered more favorably by most sellers. So, if you can swing both loan payments or can get a bridge loan or other financing, go for it!
Do you have somewhere to move while you wait to buy a new house?
As we’ve discussed, a tight housing market with low inventory gives you little from which to choose. As a result, you could find yourself without a home if you sell prior to buying something else. Before making a move requiring you to find a new home quickly or renting a place, think it through. Don’t panic or rush into buying a home you don’t really want. Take your time and make a plan. Remember, too, that it’s okay to rent while you’re looking to buy something new. Be aware that most rentals require at least a six-month lease – and many require a year.
You can find more articles pertaining to Lake Minnetonka real estate in several categories below Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.
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Buying Lake Minnetonka real estate is an emotional process. Many buyers see a house they fall in love with and decide in their heart and mind that's the home they want to buy. If you find what appears to be the perfect home for you and your family, it’s a good idea to take a more detailed, in-depth look at the home’s exterior. The old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply in this case. For homes in the Lake Minnetonka real estate market, it’s important to give the outside of the home a thorough inspection. By doing so, the “cover” may, indeed, give you a better idea of the entire “book.” Let’s take a look at some of the exterior considerations to keep in mind when looking for a home to buy.
Lake Minnetonka Real Estate – Check the Outside
Trees and Foliage
Take a closer look at the trees surrounding or near the home. Pay particular attention to how close the trees are to the home’s foundation. As those trees continue to grow, the roots can expand and cause problems to the foundation. In addition, other areas like concrete or paved walkways and driveways can be affected. Furthermore, if an older tree is removed it could create a void when the roots decay, resulting in a drop in the foundation.
To ensure you can avoid potential problems it may be a good idea to seek the opinion of a foundation expert during the inspection process. Enlist the aid of an experienced tree expert of arborist to evaluate the health of trees that may affect your home.
In addition, those beautiful mature trees may have limbs that extend over the home’s roof. Have the home inspected for any signs of damage to the roof shingles or eaves. Squirrels, possums, and rodents often use tree branches to get into accessible areas of your home. When that happens, they can enter your attic through the smallest of openings in the fascia or soffit. If the home you’re looking to buy has foliage extending over its roof, consider asking the seller to prune the tree limbs. It’s also advisable to inspect the shrubbery that may be in direct contact with the house to make sure it doesn’t contain evidence of termites or carpenter ants that may have gained easy access. Naturally, to be completely sure, it’s always good to have a professional termite or wood-destroying insect inspection and treatment.
The Home’s Foundation
Check the foundation of the home for cracks. Some cracks are to be expected and most will be minor in nature. However, cracks allow moisture in the foundation and can cause deterioration – especially in climates subject to freezing temperatures in the winter.
Experts suggest that if you encounter foundation cracks you should have a contractor inspect them to determine the degree of severity. If you decide to move forward with the home purchase, the cost of the repairs – if necessary – could be a factor in the price negotiation.
Lastly, in areas prone to foundation problems, a potential purchaser should take note of the grade or slope of the soil around and against the house. The foundation should be exposed by a minimum of two inches and it should be sloped away from the house. This ensures that rainwater runs away from the foundation and doesn’t collect or pool against the home.
A Swimming Pool
If the home in the Lake Minnetonka real estate market you’re interested in has a swimming pool, there are several questions you should ask:
How old is the pool lining?
Has the pool liner been resurfaced?
How old is the pool equipment?
For a more in-depth inspection, contact a professional pool company. While a swimming pool can seem like a wonderful amenity for a home, it can also become an expensive and problematic feature for prospective home owners.
What if You Find a Problem?
If you find an issue or two with the home’s exterior, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the house. Compile an analysis of the home’s plusses and minuses. Consider the problems objectively, taking into consideration the cost to remedy them. Then, armed with that information you can either request that the seller make the necessary repairs or use that in the negotiating process. In many cases, the seller may discount the sales price based on the estimated cost of substantiated repairs a buyer may have to make. In addition, some lenders may require certain repairs be made before they provide final approval of the financing.
What if Everything’s Good?
If everything regarding your exterior inspection checks out, you should still keep in mind the future maintenance of the home.
• Continue to keep foliage and tree branches pruned
• Determine what type of grass your yard has and care for it accordingly
• If you have a lawn sprinkler system, check it regularly
• Inspect you landscape lighting
Remember, Curb Appeal is More Than Just the Obvious
Curb appeal is important in evaluating Lake Minnetonka real estate, but curb appeal is more than just an attractive mailbox or driveway. There are many other components that should be considered and inspected to make sure your prospective home is all you want it to be. Be cautious, inquisitive and have an expert inspect the home. A little knowledge beforehand can save a ton of frustration and expense after the fact.
You can find more articles pertaining to Lake Minnetonka real estate in the real estate section of our site below Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.
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The Lake Minnetonka real estate market contains a relatively tight supply of homes for sale. During market conditions in which demand exceeds supply, you'd ordinarily assume that the chances of selling your home would be pretty good. However, homeowners selling older or outdated homes are finding it a little more difficult to sell. To combat this, smart sellers are turning to smart technology to attract prospective buyers. This article will examine some of the smart home technology available in the Lake Minnetonka real estate market.
Making Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Smarter
Selling your home is a competitive undertaking. No matter whether you're in a seller's market or a buyer's market, the homes that get the most attention are the ones that offer the newest, most up-to-date features. If you're over the age of, say, 50 you may remember how "cool" it was for the new refrigerator in your home to have a built-in ice-maker. How about a two-car garage with an automatic door opener? Even homes equipped with motion-detector floodlights were considered "in" just a couple of decades ago. That's why some sellers are electing to ramp up their homes with a little hi-tech to garner attention. They want to show prospective purchasers that their homes are a little more "state-of-the-art" than some homes in the same age range or price range.
According to a survey published in January by Harris Polls for a nationally-known real estate firm, roughly half of all American homeowners either enjoy some type of smart home technology or have plans to invest in it during the remainder of the year. In addition, 70% of survey respondents said they were so satisfied with the purchase or installation of their first smart home product that they were likely to purchase another one.
One of the popular misconceptions about smart home technology is that retrofitting an out-of-date home is too difficult a task or too costly. The truth is, one of the attractive features of some of the technology is the ease of installation and the comparatively affordable cost. More than 50% of current homeowners agreed they would probably install smart home technology because they felt it would help sell their home quicker. To quantify that response in a dollar amount, 65% of respondents surveyed said they would likely pay $1,500 or more to bring their home into the 21st Century. Experts say most homes won't require that much of a smart home investment.
Real estate professionals say a few hundred dollars is enough to add enough smart home technology to make a difference. Citing the gradual lowering of the prices of some of the technology over the past few years, they say it's easily affordable for most sellers interested in positioning their homes for sale. Items such as smart door locks or security cameras can be purchased for less than $500. And smart thermostats are popular with buyers that like the "set it and forget it" advantages of saving energy – and money. More complete home automation systems can be a little pricey, but often pays for itself because of the attractiveness to a potential buyer.
Smart home technology experts in the Lake Minnetonka real estate market suggest these five areas as "smart home starters:"
- A strong Internet connection and Wi-Fi network
- A smart doorbell • Smart door locks
- Smart climate controls
- Smart lighting and lighting controls
Smart technology is no stranger to newer homes and newly built homes. Now, as a result, homeowners choosing to include it into existing homes is becoming increasingly popular, both for the convenience of their owners and in an effort to provide an advantage when the time comes to sell.
Surprisingly, the rate of older American homeowners acquiring some type of smart home technology outpaces younger owners. Forty percent of homeowners aged 65 or older who own smart home products also have smart climate control technology. Comparatively, only 25% of millennials (aged 18-34) have those products.
Real estate agents remind sellers that buying a home is very much an emotional decision. If prospective buyers are able to "connect with the house" through various features that help make the home stand out above the rest, they are more likely to move it to the top of their short list. Smart technology can – and does – give the buyer the impression that the house is modern and is likely well-maintained.
See more articles pertaining to Lake Minnetonka real estate in the Lake Minnetonka Real Estate section of our site below Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. As always, you can find information here on a variety of topics ranging from home buying and home selling tips to home improvements, home inspections, mortgage financing, homeowner's insurance and of course, all the latest Lake Minnetonka real estate news that affects all of these categories.
Remember, we also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook. Check us out there, too.
Higher Lake Minnetonka real estate prices have ushered in the return of the house flipper. Flippers are loosely defined as investors who buy homes, maybe perform some minor or major improvements and try to immediately sell the properties –– usually at a much higher price than they paid for it. In 2015, the number of active home flippers in the market reached the highest level in almost a decade. Let's take a closer look at the future of flipping.
Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Flips Popular
According to RealtyTrac, there were nearly 180,000 single-family homes and condominiums flipped in 2015. Technically, a flip is defined as a home that is bought and resold within a 12 month period. Flip transactions comprised 5.5% of all sales in 2015 – the first increase in the flipping share in more than four years. RealtyTrac reports that flipping activity increased in 75% of the nation's housing markets. In addition, profits are setting records, too.
Lake Minnetonka real estate experts attribute the growth in flipping to the renewed confidence in the housing market's ongoing recovery. RealtyTrac says not only is the share of home flips rising again, but even smaller investors are participating in the buy and sell activity.
In some markets across the U.S. there are still a number of distressed properties on the market for sale. And, investor demand fueled by the unstable stock market has reopened this avenue for investment growth and profit gain. Real estate agents report multiple offers on the best investable properties as soon as they hit the market. If there's money to be made in a particular house, the flippers are very interested and are acting fast.
One concern on the horizon is that home prices could be rising too fast – even for the flippers' tastes. the main reason for the increase in prices during 2015 and so far this year is the basic law of supply and demand. The supply of homes on the market is low – especially near the lower end of the housing market – and the demand is high. Everybody, not just the flippers, wants a good deal. The prices for homes sold in January were nearly 7% higher than January 2015 and represented a higher annual gain than the month of December, according to CoreLogic. The fear is that house flipping will cause prices to rise even higher – artificially higher – most notably in markets experiencing the lowest inventory.
Some economists warn that as home flipping increases, it's usually an indication of potential problems in the housing market. Such was the case in the housing boom of a decade ago. The difference then, however, was that the flippers were utilizing cheap and available credit to buy their properties, with little of their own money invested in the homes. Because that type of credit and lending is no longer available as it once was, flippers instead are using a larger amount of their own cash into their deals, even with investor financing.
One leading economist said, "More inexperienced home flippers with a smaller financial cushion could be a sign of an over-speculative market, but the data indicate that flippers in 2015 continued to operate within relatively conservative margins." He went on to say that, "Homes flipped in 2015 were on average purchased at a 26 % discount below estimated market value and resold by the flipper at a 5% premium above estimated market value."
Even more concerning is the ever-weakening home affordability for the first-time home buyer or owner occupant looking to trade up. With first-time buyers comprising a much smaller share of total home buyers today than ever before, the risk of a recurring housing price bubble could continue to dissuade them from buying.
In some markets – especially urban areas – investors have to put more of their money into the property to finance it and renovate homes that are often in critical disrepair. And while the properties can be bought for relatively low sales prices and investors stand to make handsome profits once the houses are renovated and sold, investors must be careful to buy the right property in the right market. The failure to do so will result in not having the buyers they need.
Immediately following the recent housing crash, large institutional investors swooped in and purchased thousands of properties in distress. They were able to transform the overwhelming majority of those properties into single-family rental homes. Institutional investors today are buying fewer properties. Smaller investors are taking their place. And those small investors have a penchant to buy and sell – flip the homes – rather than hold onto them in a Lake Minnetonka real estate investment portfolio.
The total number of investors completing at least one flipped transaction in 2015 was at the highest level in more than eight years. The number of flips per investor was at the lowest level since 2008 according to RealtyTrac.
As home prices continue to rise, flippers in turn are seeing their returns increase. Of the homes that were flipped in 2015, the average gross profit was $55,000 nationwide. That amount represents the highest gross profit levels in a decade (since 2005,) RealtyTrac reports. The return on investment neared 46%, an increase of 2% over 2014 and an 11% increase compared to 2005, when flipping was widespread.
See additional articles pertaining to Lake Minnetonka real estate in the Lake Minnetonka Real Estate News section of our site below Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. You can find information here on a variety of topics ranging from home buying and home selling tips to home improvements, home inspections, mortgage financing, homeowner's insurance and of course, all the latest Lake Minnetonka real estate news that affects all of these categories.
Remember, we also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook. Check us out there too.
The Lake Minnetonka real estate market has begun the year with existing home sales at the highest annual rate in six months. In a recently-released report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) total existing home sales (by transactions) increased by .4% adjusted seasonally for an annual rate of 5.47 million in January. December's transactions were 5.45 million. Total existing-home sales are defined as the sales of single-family residences, condominiums, townhomes and co-ops.
Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Sales: Good So Far
The recent report reinforced the latest sales numbers that show sales 11% higher than this time a year ago. The totals represents the largest year-over-year increase since July 2013 when year-over-year sales reached 16.3%.
The slight increase in transactions is partly due to the spike in sales attributed to loan closing delays in November 2015. The delays were the result of implementation of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures regulations in October. The new disclosures are designed for lenders to be more transparent in their dealings with borrowers. In addition, the regulations were intended to simplify and streamline some of the consumer disclosure documents to make it easier for borrowers to understand various lending programs. Among other documents, the new guidelines include cost estimates that must approved by the borrower in writing before the application process can continue. This disclosure must be given to the borrower within three business days of the loan closing. If the borrower wants to make any changes during the three-day window, the three days start over. As expected, coupled with the additional paperwork, software implementation and training challenges, the new disclosure rules caused closing delays in the Lake Minnetonka real estate market.
Despite the strong start to 2016 in the Lake Minnetonka real estate market, economists warn the biggest obstacle for continued growth is a lack of inventory. Simply stated, supply and demand need to mirror each other in a good real estate market. When demand exceeds supply – in this case where there are more buyers that homes on the market – a seller's market is created, often driving sales prices even higher.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR had this to say about the increase in existing-home sales. "The housing market has shown promising resilience in recent months, but home prices are still rising too fast because of ongoing supply constraints," Yun said. "Despite the global economic slowdown, the housing sector continues to recover and will likely help the U.S. economy avoid a recession."
With spring and the official start of the "home buying season" just around the corner, housing supply isn't meeting market demand. Inventory of available homes on the market reached 1.82 million in January, increasing 3.4%. The inventory is 2.2% lower than it was in January 2015. Unsold inventory or MOI (months of inventory) is also tracked as part of the NAR report. Currently the MOI is at a 4-month supply and represents a slight uptick from 3.9 months at the end of 2015. What that means is if buyer demand remained the same and no new single-family housing units were added to the market, they all would be sold in four months.
"The spring buying season is (nearing) and current supply levels aren't even close to what's needed to accommodate the subsequent growth in housing demand," says Yun. "Home prices ascending near or above double-digit appreciation aren't healthy – especially considering the fact that household income and wages are barely rising."
For all types of housing analyzed in January, the median existing-home sales price was $213,000. That's an increase of 8.2% compared to January 2015. In addition, the price increase in January was the biggest since April 2015. The increase marked the 47th consecutive month with year-over-year price gains. Real estate analysts say this trend is likely to continue, given the tight supply and steady demand – a combination that usually bodes well for sales price increases.
In other Lake Minnetonka real estate news, the percentage of first-time home buyers remained stagnant at 32% in January. That percentage was unchanged from December, but is up 4% from 28% a year ago. For the year ending 2015, first-time buyers comprised 30% of all buyers, a slight increase from 29% in 2014 and 2013.
Purchases paid in cash made up 26% of all transactions in January, an increase of 2% over the previous month. All-cash sales were 27% of all transactions this time last year. Individual real estate investors – who account for a large number of all-cash sales – bought 17% of the homes in January. The 17% investment share matched the highest level since January 2015. Economists and real estate analysts attribute some of this activity to investors disillusioned with the stock market and seeking real estate as a means of growing capital as prices continue to rise steadily.
So, what does all this mean for the coming months? Most economists say more of the same. With interest rates near all-time lows and good mortgage availability, home buyers who find a home to their liking will probably continue to buy. And prices will probably remain at or near their current levels. The big question looming is two-fold. Will existing inventory satisfy demand long enough for new housing starts to kick in? And what about economists who say 2016 will suffer a mild recession? Those answers remain to be seen. In the meantime, the Lake Minnetonka real estate market is enjoying the good start. Only time will tell if it will continue.
See more articles pertaining to Lake Minnetonka real estate news in the Lake Minnetonka Real Estate News section of our site below Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. As always, you can find information here on a variety of topics ranging from home buying and home selling tips to home improvements, home inspections, mortgage financing, homeowner's insurance and of course, all the latest Lake Minnetonka real estate news that affects all of these categories.
Remember, we also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook. Check us out there too.
It’s that time of the year again where the experts dust off the Lake Minnetonka real estate crystal ball and look into the future. Whether you’re buying, selling or renting the real estate market affects you in one way or another. Here are a few predictions for 2016.
Lake Minnetonka Real Estate: 4 Expectations for 2016
Home price appreciation may level off. Now that the Federal Reserve has decided to raise interest rates slightly, analysts expect home prices to stagnate. Home affordability will become a bigger hurdle in 2016, especially with recent increases in home values. If prices rise and rates continue to go up, there could be a big increase in the number of unaffordable homes.
An improving U.S. economy may be offset by rising home prices and a lack of credit. Those factors will most likely limit Lake Minnetonka real estate demand and housing growth. The exception will be in markets where rents have skyrocketed, making buying more attractive. Higher rents typically spur home buying. However, when rents are rising it’s usually more difficult for first-time buyers to save money for a down payment and loan closing costs.
A larger number of millennials are expected to buy. According to trulia.com, more millennials say they want to become homeowners between now and 2018. Typically, millennials wait for a job change or promotion or when they’ve saved enough money to buy. While real estate experts don't expect a huge surge of new buyers, they are confident there will be a gradual increase in 2016.
There could be fewer houses on the market. Most experts say the gradual recovery in home prices over the past few years has been both good and bad for people looking to buy for the first time or move into a larger home. This is due, in part, to the Baby Boomers who are slowly retiring and aren’t selling their homes as fast as they once did. As one economist said, “People aren’t going to trade in their low mortgage rate for a higher one.” Instead, Baby Boomers are remodeling rather than buying a larger home with a bigger mortgage and a higher interest rate. In fact, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) predicts home improvement projects will reach a record high in 2016.
Additional new mortgage loan options are needed. With rising interest rates come the need for new loan products with lower down payments. The growth in credit availability has been in the consumer lending arena, not in the mortgage loan industry. Borrowers have been more successful in using their improved credit scores to buy cars and boats, not homes.
New loan originations are expected to rise in 2016 by more than 10% to $905 billion, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Still, experts say additional creative mortgage products are needed to make home buying and borrowing more affordable.
Keep up with Lake Minnetonka real estate trends as we move through 2016 by checking out articles we post in the Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Categories to your right. We also post daily tips at Twitter and Facebook.
If the Lake Minnetonka real estate market isn't confusing enough at times, many people have misconceptions that make it even more so. Often these myths dissuade others from entering the home buying or home selling maze. Don't believe everything you hear. Here are a few popular real estate myths.
Lake Minnetonka Real Estate – Misconceptions
Myth: With all the information available online you don't need a real estate agent.
While there is a wealth of information on the Internet, it's probably more important than ever to use the services of a knowledgeable real estate agent. Because buying a home is one of the most important purchases you'll ever make, it just makes sense to have someone on your side to help. Remember, a good agent has probably helped scores of homebuyers. Wouldn't you agree you could use the experience and assistance?
Myth: To buy a home you need a minimum of 20% for a down payment.
This may be the most popular misconception among millennials. This myth was likely the result of the last housing and credit crisis. After that debacle, lenders tightened their credit policies and getting a mortgage without great credit and a huge down payment was difficult. Today, there are loan programs available for borrowers to qualify with as little as a 3% down payment. Despite the overall relaxation of mortgage lending requirements, borrowers must still have a good credit score and sufficient income and assets. However, having to come up with a 20% down payment is a thing of the past.
Myth: The value of my home is determined by a real estate appraiser.
This misconception is probably fueled by misunderstandings in real estate terminology. An appraiser's job is to evaluate a home –– usually for a lending institution –– and determine a market value of the property for lending purposes. The lender wants to ensure that its collateral, the home, is valued high enough to cover the loan amount and minimize the credit risk. The market value of a home is always defined as what a willing buyer will pay a willing seller in an arm's length transaction on the open real estate market.
Myth: The best time to sell a home is in the spring.
While it's true a number of homes hit the market during the spring, it's certainly not the only time to buy or sell. The truth is people buy and sell Lake Minnetonka real estate every day. The best time to sell your home is when real estate inventory is low –– typically in the middle of winter. Similarly, it may also be among the best times to buy, since there are fewer buyers shopping for homes over the winter. Fewer buyers means that sellers who need to sell may accept the best offer.
Myth: An open house isn't all that important in selling a home.
Despite the cliche', most homes really don't sell themselves. A long-standing practice in the real estate marketplace is to conduct an open house for prospective buyers to visit and view your home. Not only can it save time and remedy the need to set up numerous showings of your home, but studies show many buyers are motivated to make serious offers on houses when other prospects are vying for the same home.
Find more information about Lake Minnetonka real estate by checking out the various sections of articles just below the Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Categories heading to your right.
You may have read about auctions as a unique way of selling certain homes in the Lake Minnetonka real estate market. Some creative home sellers have employed this option as an alternative to a traditional listing.
A Closer Look at Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Auctions
There are basically two different types of auctions: "with reserve" and "without reserve." An auction without reserve is also referred to as an absolute auction. An absolute auction is one in which the property seller has not established a reserve, or minimum price, and will accept and agree to the highest bid. A reserve auction implies there is a minimum price threshold that the seller has no obligation to accept. For example, on a home the seller feels should fetch, say, $500,000, he may refuse any and all bids less than the $500,000 reserve.
Auctioning real estate does, however, have certain challenges and an auction may not be the right fit for all properties. Three major factors must be examined before selecting an auction as the best method to sell a property: the home being offered for sale, the seller's situations and desire to sell in a non-traditional manner, and the condition of the real estate market.
- Unique Lake Minnetonka real estate that is difficult to appraise may be good prospects for an auction. Often large estates comprised of substantial acreage in addition to a huge house are candidates for auctions.
- The seller needs to be committed to the concept of an auction and be prepared to act swiftly to accept the highest bidder in the case of an absolute auction.
- The Lake Minnetonka real estate market should have a healthy demand for comparable homes even if the inventory is scarce. And when conditions exist that characterize the real estate market as a “seller’s market,” that’s usually a good sign that an auction may be a good idea. Many experts suggest that a home that hasn't sold after a substantial time on the market may be a prospective candidate for an auction.
When a home is scheduled for auction, sellers often enjoy higher prices fueled by competing bids between buyers who are both motivated to buy and bid with the serious intention of being prepared to act quickly.
On the downside, there are several potential pitfalls that sellers need to consider:
- The seller must pay for the cost to advertise the property in the Lake Minnetonka real estate market even if it isn't sold.
- In the case of a reserve auction, there are no guarantees that the auction will generate a price that meets the reserve.
- There is always a risk that the advertising and promotional activities won’t deliver a sufficient number of bidders.
From the buyer’s perspective, financing — if the purchase isn't a cash transaction — is required to be arranged beforehand. Typically, auctions do not accept bids that are contingent on financing.
Buyers may also experience some prospective problems in the auction process:
- Of course, they may be outbid and may lose their chance to purchase the property.
- They may incur the expense of property inspections or even appraisal estimates before the auction date, with no guarantee they will be the successful bidder.
- They may have to pay required or desired repairs of improvements if they are the winning bidder.
In summary, if you’re intrigued by the idea of auctioning your home for sale, it could possibly be something to consider. An auction could potentially reduce the time your property would be on the Lake Minnetonka real estate market. Experts recommend visiting other auctions to see how they are conducted. Consult a real estate agent and interview professional auctioneers. Armed with a little knowledge and preparation, you will be better equipped to determine if an auction is the best way to sell your home in the Lake Minnetonka real estate market.
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In many ways, the Lake Minnetonka real estate market is still paying for the sins of lax lending practices in the last housing boom. It's been five years since the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill was enacted, putting into motion new credit extension and lending rules for mortgage lenders.
What it Means for Lake Minnetonka Real Estate
The Dodd-Frank legislation encompass reams of documentation and have required Lake Minnetonka real estate mortgage lenders to incur millions in expenses to comply with the regulations. The requirements, however, are fairly forthright and logical. Gone are the days of the extreme risk loan offerings such as negative amortization mortgages or no documentation loans. Today, lenders are required to obtain full documentation from their borrowers for both income and debt, and lenders must further verify the borrowers credit history and ability to repay the mortgage loan. And while that may sound like the proverbial "no brainer," it's one of the basic reasons that led to the Lake Minnetonka real estate meltdown. Lenders granted mortgage loans that borrowers simply couldn't pay back.
The end result has created a current environment in which consumers find it more difficult to obtain financing. Lenders report the average FICO score required on approved mortgage loans are higher than ever before and many point to tighter credit as the reason the homeownership rate is at its lowest in more than twenty five years. Lenders also contend that while loan approvals are still being issued, the additional documentation and verification makes the mortgage approval process lengthy and cumbersome. Borrowers, on the other hand, say it’s not only the process, but the higher credit levels that is thwarting their home buying efforts in the Lake Minnetonka real estate market.
The Dodd-Frank legislation seems to have almost had the reverse affect from what was intended. Mortgage lenders are skittish when it comes to taking risks and, while that’s not a totally bad result, the legislation was designed to improve lending practices and stimulate the Lake Minnetonka real estate market’s recovery.
Time will ultimately tell how Lake Minnetonka real estate will be affected, but one thing’s for sure: since fewer homebuyers are paying cash for homes, affordable and readily-obtainable mortgage loans will always be necessary. Lenders and regulators need to find a common ground on which they can stand, and at the same time offer consumers products that are innovative, attractive and that affordably fit their needs.
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