Friday, April 26, 2019

8 Guides That Make You a Better Homeowner

Being a homeowner is exciting and rewarding, but it comes with a lot of responsibility. Luckily, there are many tools and guides available to help you be the best homeowner you can be.

The following is a guest post written by Jessica Thiefels.
Homeownership in the U.S. in increasing, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In fact, the Q2 2018 U.S. homeownership rate was 64.3 percent, up from 64.2 percent in Q1 2018 and 63.7 percent in Q2 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Being a homeowner is exciting and rewarding—not to mention it comes with a lot of perks. No more landlord, no more renting, and no more leases. While owning a home has a long list of benefits, it also comes with great responsibility and hard work. Being a good homeowner means retaining the value of your home with continuous maintenance, keeping your financial health in check and much more.
Luckily, there are many tools and guides available to help you be the best homeowner you can be. Below are eight of our favorite guides and tools to help you be a better homeowner.
If you plan on renovating your home, head over to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide. This tool gives you accurate estimates for common home renovation and repair costs.
Whether you are planning on remodeling your bathroom or installing a new garage door, True Cost can help. The tool takes real costs from real home projects and combines it with local and national cost data to give you the closest estimate for what you can expect.
Use this estimate to vet potential contractors and companies so you can avoid working with someone who will charge too much.
Homeowners insurance is critical, as the protection for your most valuable and expensive asset—your home. However, not all homeowner insurance policies are created equal, and with so many to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which is best for you.
Consumer Report’s Homeowners Insurance Buying Guide not only gives homeowners tips on how to choose the best insurance but it also provides ratings for the top homeowners insurance companies such as Allstate, Amica and State Farm.
If you’ve already signed up with homeowner’s insurance, use this guide as a way to evaluate whether now is a good time to switch to a new provider, negotiate rates, or update your current coverage.
With TV’s being part of the modern home, more and more people are mounting them to make space and create a cleaner look. However, mounting your TV isn’t the easiest homeowner task and one that can lead to a lot of damage, both to your home and your TV.
Puls’s guide is a great resource if you want to mount your television without ripping out a wall or making one too many holes—you own that wall afterall, so you want to take good care of it. The Puls blog is also filled with homeowner guides for your garage door, kitchen and more, so keep it bookmarked.
CrimeReports is an online tool that provides up-to-date information on crimes within your neighborhood. All you have to do is type in your zip code to see what’s happening or what has happened recently. 
The tool also allows you to set update alerts, so you always know if something is going on in your neighborhood. You can even register your security camera as a resource for local law enforcement, keeping your home and your neighbors safe.
When deciding what to remodel in your house, consider both use and need within the house, in addition to return on investment (ROI). The Cost Vs. Value report is put out each year and tells you which renovations will lead to the greatest and lowest return.
For example, the 2018 report found that a garage door replacement has the greatest return. Consider this data as you embark on new home projects to make sure you’re getting the most for your time and money.
Are you the handy type who likes to take on home renovation and d├ęcor projects yourself? Home Depot has a robust selection of DIY and how-to guides on a variety of home projects, including lawn and garden ideas, shower door configuration and kitchen backsplash guides.
These how-to guides and helpful DIY videos provide step by step instructions as well as material recommendations pulled straight from their shelves. It’s a one-stop-shop for those looking to start a home passion project.
Being an eco-friendly homeowner doesn’t have to be expensive. EnergySavvy is an online tool that helps homeowners minimize wasted energy and save money. Create a profile and get a score based on your current energy efficiency. Once you’ve done that, the tool then finds different ways you can improve your energy efficiency. The tool even suggests contractors to help you implement the improvements and find rebates to make it cost-effective.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Top Tips to Make Your Offer Stick



WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRIPOSTED ONTUESDAY, 09 APRIL 2019


It’s that time again, when the Spring real estate market starts to get hot (or gets even hotter, depending on how steamy your particular corner of the world is). Multiple-offer situations and selling prices that soar over asking prices are great for sellers, not so much for buyers.

If you’re looking for an edge to ensure you get the home you want, we have some tips.

Work with the right real estate agent

You can’t underestimate the experience and skills of a quality real estate agent. Not only will a great agent be able to guide you toward the best properties for you, but also may be able to use their network to identify homes that aren’t even be on the market yet or to work closely with an agent to get your offer accepted.

Make sure your offer is first

Some sellers will hold off on accepting an offer to see if they get more offers. There might not be anything you can do to entice them unless you’re planning to make an offer that’s over their asking price. But being the early bird can have its benefits. That may mean being ready to run to a listing at a moment’s notice, or giving the thumbs up via Facetime if one of you can’t leave work the minute the perfect home hits the MLS.

Go without an inspection

This is risky, and your real estate agent may advise you against this. We would only offer it as an option in cases where you’re being shut out of home after home and are looking to do extensive renovations anyway.

Up your budget

If you’ve made several offers on homes and have thus far been unsuccessful, you’ve probably already had a discussion with your real estate agent about increasing your budget. Here’s another really good reason to go ahead and put more money toward your home purchase: It could allow you to move into another price bracket. If you’re a first-time buyer who is looking in a lower price range, you’re in the most competitive market there is. Adding even a few thousand dollars could make the difference, and the change to your monthly mortgage payment will be negligible.

Consider the associated expenses

If you’re worried about upping your budget, think about how you can save on associated expenses, and put that money into your mortgage, instead. Look for homes without a homeowner’s association. That could save you up to several hundred dollars per month. Look at areas where you don’t have to pay a toll for your daily commute. That adds up. If you’re looking at attached properties, front-yard maintenance may be included, and there may also be an on-site gym. There are two monthly expenses you can get rid of.

Watch the contingencies

“Sellers have the upper hand in a multiple-bid situation, and they want offers that are clean and concise,” said NerdWallet. Bruce Ailion, Atlanta-based Re/Max Town & Country Agent, told them, “Don’t include things like needing to wait for a spouse or partner’s approval, asking the seller to purchase a home warranty or requesting that the seller leaves or repairs certain items. You also don’t want to ask the seller to pay your closing costs; find an affordable attorney or title company to represent you. Having too many of these items in your contract will make it likely that a seller tells you ‘no’ over another offer.”
Be flexible
In a multiple-offer situation, the seller is looking for the easiest path to closing. Provide that, and you just might be the home’s new owner. The trick is finding out what they really want—beyond the right price, of course. It could be that a shorter closing would do the trick. Or maybe you can offer them the opportunity to rent back until school gets out so their child can finish up the year.

Write a letter

Yes, writing a sappy letter to the seller telling them all about you and why you love their home so much is shameless pandering, but sometimes shameless pandering works. Don’t forget to include pictures, and the cuter your kids look, the better.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending April 13, 2019

Housing activity is on the upswing after a slow start to the year. Showings, new listings and pending sales are increasing across much of the country, and inventory is straining to keep pace with demand. These pivotal weeks of the spring market are worth watching with extra care, as they may portend the entirety of the 2019 residential real estate market. Buyers are certainly active. Sales and prices will be strong if there are enough options to choose from.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending April 13:
 • New Listings increased 1.8% to 1,689
 • Pending Sales decreased 6.0% to 1,228
 • Inventory decreased 2.0% to 9,223

For the month of March:
 • Median Sales Price increased 6.5% to $275,000
 • Days on Market increased 15.8% to 66
 • Percent of Original List Price Received decreased 0.5% to 98.6%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale increased 5.6% to 1.9

Publish Date: April 22, 2019 • All comparisons are to 2018 All data from NorthstarMLS. Provided by Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. Report © 2019 ShowingTime

Minneapolis Area Assosiciation of Realtors