Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending November 18, 2017

Home price appreciation is on the rise in most of the country, which is welcome
news for any homeowner that experienced a time when it was not. Although trends
vary by region and state, the overarching trend is increased prices, according to
research performed by the National Association of REALTORS® on American
Community Survey data from 2005 through 2016. Price growth is strongest in the
South and less so in the Northeast, and only a few states show no growth or losses.
Affordability is most favorable in the Midwest, and the West is least affordable, on

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending November 18:
 • New Listings decreased 6.6% to 896
 • Pending Sales decreased 5.1% to 912
 • Inventory decreased 20.1% to 10,407

For the month of October:
 • Median Sales Price increased 6.1% to $244,000
 • Days on Market decreased 14.8% to 52
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.8% to 97.7%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 18.5% to 2.2

Publish Date: November 27, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016
Information Gathered from MAAR

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Disclosaphobia? 5 Tips for Completing a Seller’s Disclosure

The dreaded seller’s disclosure – it’s that pesky document that asks you umpteen questions. How many ceiling fans are in the property, what’s the make and model of each appliance, how old is the roof, A/C system and so forth. Really? Do you have to answer these questions and all of them? Well if you are selling your house, the answer is YES and you must answer to the best of your knowledge.
The seller’s disclosure is one of THE most important documents that a buyer closely scrutinizes prior to going under contract. If there are any blank questions or ambiguities, you are likely going to be asked for further clarification and it could delay or prevent a buyer from moving forward.
Here are 5 tips to help you overcome “disclosaphobia” and complete this document with ease:

1. Do Your Research

If you purchased your home within the recent past and had a home inspection, that document can be a useful reference as to the make, model and age of certain components in your home such as the A/C system, water heater, etc. Keep in mind that if you have replaced any of these items, then you will need to complete the disclosure reflective of that information.

2. Be Accurate

If you had a four point inspection for insurance purposes at the time of purchase, that could tell you the age and type of key components such as the roof, plumbing and electrical. Use this to help determine the present age when you are completing the disclosure.

3. Be Honest

Answer every question to the best of your knowledge. If there was something that happened such as a roof leak or water damage for example, provide as much information as possible. Buyers want to know when the issue occurred, the nature of the damage and what was done to repair or address the issue. If an insurance claim was filed, be sure to note that and what the outcome was as far as coverage. The claim could very well turn up when the new buyer works on obtaining insurance – better for the buyer to learn about it from the disclosure first. Attach any relevant paperwork as well such as receipts or invoices. Buyers need assurance that all adds up. Surprise is never a good thing in real estate.

4. Be Clear

Don’t leave a buyer guessing. Avoid vague answers or leaving questions blank. That only raises more questions for a buyer. If you don’t know or the question is not applicable to your kind of property, note that.

5. Set Expectations

The biggest challenge for disclosures arises when the party selling the property has never occupied it or only lived in it for a brief period of time. Be sure to clearly state what your occupancy situation was and to what extent if any, you have knowledge about the property. Setting proper expectations upfront in this regard with potential buyers is important.
If necessary, attach an additional explanation for anything that requires more information than what the form provides. Make sure all information is legible and will transmit clearly across a variety of mediums when printed, emailed, scanned or faxed.
In short, be thorough and provide information to the buyer that will give them confidence in their decision. Contrary to popular belief, buyers are not frustrated with too much disclosure, but rather not enough.

Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog 
Cara Ameer is an agent with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending November 11, 2017

During the final two months of the year, residential real estate traditionally slows
down to make way for more holiday, travel and retail spending. Assessing the
dominant trend of 2017, most housing markets have seen the number of homes for
sale decrease in year-over-year comparisons. So much so, that further decreases in
2018 will be newsworthy, as prices would likely keep rising in a seller's market.
Presently, in a thriving economy with low unemployment, agents and consumers
alike still have reason for optimism.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending November 11:
 • New Listings decreased 7.6% to 924
 • Pending Sales increased 7.1% to 976
 • Inventory decreased 18.5% to 10,871

For the month of October:
 • Median Sales Price increased 6.1% to $244,000
 • Days on Market decreased 14.8% to 52
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.8% to 97.7%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 18.5% to 2.2

Publish Date: November 20, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016
Information gathered from MAAR

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

12 Essentials to Know When Hosting Thanksgiving for the First Time

Are you hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year? Hosting and cooking this great American meal is a big milestone for a cook, but it also can be a moment of some anxiety and nerves.
Well, the readers of Kitchn have quite a lot of advice for you. We asked them for their best advice on hosting Thanksgiving dinner, and here are 12 essentials, distilled from the most frequent points we heard. If Thanksgiving seems daunting, these 12 essentials will make it less so. They'll show you how to get organized, stay calm, and enjoy Thanksgiving more than ever!
(Image credit: Rachel Joy Baransi)

1. Never turn down help.

Thanksgiving is often a potluck affair, and that's the beauty of it. Let friends and family bring things, and be shameless about delegating the parts of the meal that stress you out.
Delegate, delegate, delegate. Just because you're hosting doesn't mean you need to make every single thing. Pick the dishes that are most important to you (read: if it's not my recipe then I'm not eating it) and then ask your guests to contribute! - MajkenMay
Divide and conquer! Whether it's your spouse, family members, or friends, don't be afraid to reach out and let those around you help. - misplacedtexan
The host makes the turkey and gravy. Make sure guests are bringing items that don't require using the only oven upon arrival. Mashed potatoes can be brought by someone in a crockpot. Appetizers should be covered by someone who doesn't arrive late! Non-cooks can bring drinks, rolls, whipped cream and pie. - amberminty

2. Make as much ahead as possible.

The stressiest part of a meal is the last-minute rush. Our readers reiterated one of our favorite tips for Thanksgiving (and any big dinner): When you're planning your menu, look for dishes that can be made ahead. (Or just use our make-ahead Thanksgiving menu and check out our Make-Ahead Schedule. Even if you can't make a full dish ahead, look for ways to peel off pieces, like toasting nuts or breadcrumbs.
Make things ahead. I work full time and do the full dinner except for the turkey, my parents do that. I start the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week making casseroles and pies, things that can be reheated the day of Thanksgiving. Cranberry sauce also can be made days in advance. I do one thing each day when I get home from work and it all works out. - Michconnors

3. Don't experiment with new recipes.

Thanksgiving is all about the classics, so stick with the tried-and-true. Our readers said this over and over. Leave your brain free to deal with the turkey (especially if it's your first time).
The biggest advice I want to give is that Thanksgiving (or any other major holiday meal) is NOT the time to experiment with a new recipe! - Grossvater

4. Start early on your non-food prep.

It's not just the food that needs to be prepped. You probably are pulling out serving dishes that need to be washed, or extra silverware, or counting your napkins to make sure you have enough. Do all of that the week before. Double-check your serving plates and utensils and iron your tablecloth, if needed!
Spread out prep tasks. Maybe a week in advance I iron table cloths. Another day I wash and dry china, crystal, and serving pieces. Another day I clean house or go grocery shopping. Closer to time, I set the table and do some prep work in the kitchen. Spreading out the work makes it seem a little less overwhelming. - misplacedtexan

5. Consider making the turkey the day before.

Sure, you can make rolls and cranberry sauce days ahead. Casseroles can sit in the fridge before baking. But do the turkey ahead? Wow! I heard from several readers who suggested this and they say it makes everything much easier.
If you don't care about presentation of your perfect turkey you can like many have already said you can cook your turkey the day before, carve it and place it in your crock pot with a coil of tin foil to elevate the meat. You can then use the bones to make a fantastic stock for your gravy and use some of it in the bottom of the crock pot for when you reheat your turkey. - peariso
Make the turkey the day before. I know some people think "day old" isn't as good but, you know what? It is. I did this last year and no one knew except for whoever was in the kitchen at the time and I swore them to secrecy! :-) Use the time you would have spent fretting over the bird and spend it with your guests instead. I'm so glad I did. - Map Girl
(Image credit: Rachel Joy Baransi)

6. Set the table the night before.

Don't fuss with the table on the day of. Set it the day ahead and you have your goal in sight all day. (Tip for cat-owners: Throw a sheet over the table so curious kitties stay away.)
Set the table the day before. I feel like I can handle anything if the table is set. - Nami13
Set the table the night before, and think through who will sit where. Put out your serving vessels and serving utensils as well, and put a little note in each one of what goes where. It is embarrassing to have to root around in your messiest cupboard for the turkey platter in front of guests. - clutterbuggy
(Image credit: Rachel Joy Baransi)

7. Have a cocktail (or wine) ready to go.

Have wine chilling in the fridge or a pitcher of sangria ready to be poured. If everyone has a drink in their hand, they won't care if dinner is served an hour later than you planned. (As for pitcher drinks, may we suggest sparkling apple cider sangria?)
I always have a pitcher or two of a festive cocktail ready in the fridge: homemade cranberry simple syrup (super easy to do and I make it with leftover cranberries while I make cranberry sauce, sometimes the night before), vodka, club soda, and juice from a few limes. (Bonus: keep the cranberries in the simple syrup—they look beautiful floating around with the bubbles). That way, when guests come in I can hand them a glass, get them socializing, and get them out of the kitchen. - ErikaI

8. Don't make a big deal over appetizers.

Thanksgiving is a huge meal! Don't stress about appetizers. Ask someone else to bring one, or just put out some store-bought crackers and dip.
Appetizers are totally overkill! Set out some crudites if you feel people need to nibble. - breezyslp

9. It's fine to buy parts of your meal.

Know a great bakery? Buy a pie. Hate making gravy? Buy some from a specialty grocery. There's absolutely nothing wrong with buying a few pieces of the meal, especially if it makes for a more relaxing day. We heard this over and over from the readers.
From-scratch everything is usually too much work (unless you've delegated quite a few things to other guests). Don't be afraid to buy the rolls or appetizers or whatever it is that makes you cringe. - LitNerd

10. Make a timeline and master list of everything that needs to happen.

Avoid last-minute overload by counting backwards from the time dinner is served and scheduling out prep time and oven time. This list can stick on the fridge or wherever you'll see it. I also find it helpful to set alarms on my phone for really key moments, like putting the turkey in the oven.
Every year I do a reverse timeline. Start with what time service is, and count backwards for each item. No more worrying about things not finishing at the same time! - Kerri C
Take a deep breath. Make a list in advance, then add to it as things occur to you. - cooksalot55

11. Don't forget to shower!

And on that master list of events, schedule in time to primp or shower. You need to schedule it in — seriously.
Plan to shower early, and put it in your schedule. Last year, I had an unexpected guest show up 4 hours early, and he needed to be entertained. I had played tennis with my folks (a holiday tradition) before he arrived, And I had planned to shower after spatchcocking my bird. Not only did I now have an audience for the butchery, I couldn't shower as planned immediately after being arm deep in a turkey belly. Frustrating. - fi_burke
(Image credit: Rachel Joy Baransi)

12. Relax, have fun, and live in the spirit of the holiday!

And the most important piece of advice? Relax! Remember people are there to gather with you and one another, not to be entertained. Ask for help, laugh a lot, remember the turkey can rest for an hour while you finish everything else, and above all, find moments of gratitude in a busy, messy, loud, and delicious holiday.
It's cheesy, but remember what the day is about: being thankful! At the end of the day, it's about taking a moment to be grateful and sharing a meal with those you love. People will remember the laughs and the hugs and the stories much more than they'll remember the meal. And as traumatizing as a failed recipe may seem at the time, it really will be a funny story down the road. - misplacedtexan

From Curated by Alicia Eisenbise on Nov 13